Dear Denison Community,
Earlier today, I spent time walking around campus and talking with students. I want to start the week by stating how grateful I am to be on this campus with our incredible students, faculty, and staff.
As we start week 11 of the semester, we have two new cases within our campus community (students, faculty, and staff), bringing the total to seven. Following our protocol, we quickly conducted contact tracing and determined that, in both new cases, the contacts within our campus community were very few. We have 43 community members in quarantine with 29 of them in on-campus quarantine spaces.
Testing: We are conducting signal testing today and believe those results will give us a better understanding of our community’s viral health. Also, based on a recommendation from our epidemiological partners, we are retesting the close contacts of the five positive tests from last week as an extra precaution. All of those close contacts are in quarantine. I will, of course, keep you updated this week on all of the testing results.
On-campus gatherings: If the signal testing results look good, we will open back up the option of in-room gatherings and parties this week. As a reminder, students are still able to gather in residence hall common spaces and in other reservable spaces across campus (following posted capacity limits). Outdoor gatherings are still encouraged and many of the tents on campus now have heaters. The fire pits are also available and provide a good gathering option.
As the weather gets colder, we want to ensure students can socialize indoors, and we want to provide as many options as possible. Our success in doing so is dependent on our commitment to mask wearing and distancing. As I said last week, it is not only large gatherings that we need to be concerned about, but also small groups gathered, especially indoors, without masks and distancing -- that is how the virus most easily spreads. Keeping six feet of distance and wearing masks will not only help mitigate the spread of the virus but also reduce the number of people who have to be in quarantine when an individual in our community does test positive.
Thank you for everything you are doing!