Dear Campus Community,
The last few days have been good ones on campus. Thank you.
As we approach the end of the second week, we are going to loosen up restrictions a little bit. Our goal is to prevent a COVID outbreak on campus. This is new terrain and we are still learning how to do this effectively. Hence, we would rather err on the side of caution and maximize the odds of preventing an outbreak rather than overly loosening restrictions and having campus problems arise. We will loosen things up more as we continue to get into the semester. If students have ideas, please send them directly to me. I am interested in hearing and learning from students.
Starting Saturday, we are going to allow students to travel into Granville. We are going to ask students to not eat in restaurants or go to bars. We want to avoid indoor spaces where people tend to not be wearing masks. But students should feel free to walk down to IGA or Whit’s, get take-out, play golf, or go for a run. Masks and distancing guidelines must be followed at all times.
We are going to ask students to limit travel outside of Granville to only that which is essential. One source of concern is students driving together to Easton or to get food in Heath/Newark. Driving in an enclosed car is an easy way for COVID to spread. This is a risk we don’t need to take at this time. DoorDash is available and we are working to get food trucks up to campus starting this weekend.
A number of students have asked about congregating in dorm rooms. For now, we are going to continue to not allow students to have visitors in their rooms/apartments. But, we have places available in residential halls for students to socialize. Please use those common spaces, they are open and available to you. You must adhere to capacity limits for common areas and remember that no groups larger than ten can gather at a time.
There will be a longer announcement from Student Development tomorrow with more details. They are working with students to plan more events and activities and to free up spaces for students to socialize and study. They are working with student leaders to get campus organizations going. Athletics is working to get intramural sports started.
Lots of students have written to me with ideas and suggestions. I want to thank you for doing so. We are all in this together and we need to learn from one another as we work to manage COVID on campus, have a great academic semester, and find a new normal for campus life that respects the relationships and activities that make Denison, Denison.
As of the sending of this message, we have five or fewer confirmed cases on campus. Our campus quarantine and isolation spaces remain in low use. We continue to have significant capacity available in the designated isolation and quarantine residence halls.
I want to close by sharing a compliment. I am often accused of wearing my Denison pride on my sleeve, which is true. I love this college and believe deeply in it. Over the last two weeks, I have received so many nice compliments from local community members. This one arrived this morning, “I want to give a shout out of praise to the students of Denison. Every one of the students that I have noticed, in the village and in Ross' Market, have on their masks. A very responsible and courteous student body this year. I hope that you can give recognition to them in some way.”