COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Sep 22, 2020 • COVID-19 Campus Updates
Campus Update graphic

Given the increasing number of students in isolation and quarantine, I am writing to you in place of Dr. Spicer to make you aware of some changes we will be putting in place this week. Please read this information carefully.

Dashboard

The latest dashboard numbers are available here. You will see that on-campus numbers have continued to increase. Numbers are also on the rise in Woodbury County as you can see in this trends report.

Operation Level

Based on the latest data, the Senior Staff and I have made the decision to move to Operating Level ORANGE beginning TOMORROW, Wednesday, September 23, 2020. We will remain in ORANGE until further notice. Our hope is that numbers will stabilize and begin trending downward so that we can return to yellow at some point in the coming weeks.

What Does Moving to Orange Mean?

  • All face-to-face classes will be required to be taught in a hybrid format that allows for adequate physical distancing within each classroom. Faculty may assume that at most 50% of the physical student seats may be used at any one time. Faculty will contact students by Wednesday with information about how your specific classes will proceed.
  • Seating in The Caf will be further reduced to ensure more physical distancing.
  • We will implement enhanced enforcement of occupancy requirements in residence halls (see below).
  • All co-curricular activities (music, athletics, student clubs, etc.) may continue. Physical distancing and face coverings should be used where possible. 

Enforcement of Occupancy Requirements in Residence Halls

As I referenced in my note to all of you last Friday, we have seen an increasing number of students who test positive for COVID-19, then produce a list of a dozen or more close contacts who then must quarantine for 14 days.  About 80 percent of the time, those close contacts are resulting from larger friend gatherings in the dining room, residence halls, or at off-campus homes.

For that reason, we are increasing our enforcement of on-campus guest policies in the residence halls. This policy stipulates no more than double occupancy inside any residence hall room or apartment. Going forward, individuals who violate this policy will be considered a community threat and will face disciplinary action.

Masks in Residence Halls

Effective Wednesday, Sept. 23, masks will be required in all residence hall spaces except for student rooms and restrooms.

Quarantine & Isolation Housing

Students are strongly encouraged to have a conversation with your at-home support system to discuss whether or not it would be possible for you to return home for your comfort if it becomes necessary for you to quarantine or isolate.

Morningside does have on-campus quarantine and isolation housing available for students; however, students in quarantine may be asked to room with an individual who is quarantining for similar/same reasons and/or dates, and students may be asked to quarantine in off-campus facilities that Morningside has secured if on-campus options are at capacity. 

Town Hall Meeting

As a reminder, the Town Hall meeting will take place tomorrow from 12:30-1 p.m. via WebEx. You can submit questions ahead of time to Erin Edlund. Check your email for additional meeting details.

What You Can Do

Please keep following these basic guidelines:

  • Wear a face covering.
  • Wash your hands. Frequently.
  • Physically distance from others.
  • Practice self care, and care for others in the community by following the guidelines.
  • Limit who you have close contact with (less than six feet, longer than 15 minutes - EVEN IF YOU ARE WEARING A FACE COVERING). Should you test positive for COVID, every person you have had close contact with will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Consider that when you are making choices about where and how you spend your time.

I sincerely hope that all members of the campus community will work together to help us reverse the trend of isolation and quarantine numbers we have been seeing. Take care of yourselves and one another so we can get back to operating in yellow soon.

Be well,
John Reynders