Dear Denison Community,
Consistent with my update on Thursday, cases within the campus community remain low. We have one new confirmed case reported over the weekend of an individual who has no close contacts within the campus community. The individual is isolating in an off-campus space. We currently have 18 community members (students, faculty, and staff) in quarantine, 7 are in on campus quarantine spaces.
We are conducting signal testing today and I will share those results with you on Thursday. This is the last week we will be conducting signal testing, although diagnostic testing will continue, and we will be testing students over the next two weeks based on the protocol outlined below.
As we enter the final three weeks on campus, I want to provide information to support students as you prepare for your transition off campus. Just as we have worked hard over the last 11 weeks to maintain a healthy campus environment, we must work equally hard to ensure students minimize risk of exposure as they prepare to leave campus.
Testing. While every indication is that we have low prevalence of COVID-19 on campus, we want to provide students and their families an extra layer of reassurance by offering a COVID-19 test for all those who want one. We are making three options available to help meet the individual needs and preferences of students and families.
On campus COVID-19 test (Vault PCR saliva-based test) this Friday, November 6. Conducting the tests two weeks prior to departure will ensure those who test positive and their close contacts will be able to serve out isolation and quarantine in time to travel home for Thanksgiving.
On campus COVID-19 test (Vault PCR saliva-based test) Friday, November 13. Please know that by selecting this option, students who test positive (and their close contacts) will need to remain on campus until they fulfill their isolation or quarantine requirement unless they can safely travel home.
International students traveling out of the country will be able to receive a test closer to departure if necessary to meet the requirements of the country they are traveling to.
At home COVID-19 (Vault PCR saliva-based test). We will provide students with a link to order a Vault health test to be shipped to the address where they will spend the semester break. Because a test reflects the health of the individual at the moment it is taken, this option is recommended for those who want the most reassurance upon returning home, especially for those returning to households with at-risk members and/or students who have a higher risk of exposure based on their mode of travel (airplane/bus). We will share information with measures students and families can take to reduce risk while waiting for test results.
Denison will cover the cost for students to choose one of the options above. All students should complete this form by 8am on Wednesday, November 4 to indicate which test option they choose or to decline participation in these optional tests. If you select an on-campus option, you will receive a link to register for a testing appointment.
Final two weeks on campus. For the final weeks on campus, we are asking students to:
Reduce the number of individuals with whom you have close interaction.
Maintain strict adherence to mask wearing and physical distancing guidelines.
Travel. Students are encouraged to review the regulations governing travel to their destination (both within the U.S. and outside the U.S.). If traveling within the U.S., you can check each state's health department site for travel information, or this compiled list (some states require the completion of a traveler’s form prior to arrival, along with specific restrictions and testing requirements after arrival). If traveling outside the U.S., please consult your airline carrier and your home embassy website for details on entrance requirements.
I am confident we will end the semester strong and that students will do what is necessary to protect their families and local communities as they prepare to leave campus. I am proud of how we have met the challenges of this semester and am already looking forward to the next semester.
For those who are able to join, our first spring semester information session for students and parents is this evening at 7:30 Eastern (you can click here to watch). We will provide an overview of our plans for spring semester as we know them today and answer many of the questions we received from students in last week’s pulse survey. As always, we will record the session and make it available online for you to watch at your leisure.