Weekly COVID-19 Committee Update - Faculty and Staff

To: W&L Faculty and Staff
From: COVID-19 Committee
Date: Wednesday, October 7

Below is this week's update on the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please remember to check the COVID-19 Resources website for the latest campus messages, resources, and FAQs that are being updated regularly, and to submit your questions to covid19@wlu.edu.

Update on Current Cases

In mid-September, our campus saw two spikes in COVID-19 cases among undergraduate students, all connected to several clusters of related cases. The Student Health Center conducted significant contact tracing, and the affected students and all identified close contacts were isolated or quarantined accordingly. Many of those students have now completed their isolation or quarantine periods and are returning to normal activities. Thanks to the affected students' compliance with both contact tracing and I/Q procedures, the clusters were identified and contained in a relatively short period of time.

This past week, we saw a small number of new cases, several of which appear to be a new cluster unrelated to the previously known clusters. In addition, a law student and a dining services employee both received positive test results; neither of these appears to be related to any of the known clusters. Fortunately, since these new cases were identified last Thursday, testing based on contact tracing and symptomatic testing in the SHC have only identified a few additional positive cases, all of which appear to be related to the new cluster. This is a positive trend we hope we're able to maintain as we move into the second half of the term.

We'd like to thank our students, faculty and staff for their continued vigilance in following the current guidance and doing their daily attestation. While we know this has not been an easy term thus far, the steps we're taking together as a community to keep one another safe and slow the spread of COVID-19 on our campus have helped us to keep the virus at a level that has not overwhelmed our resources, and which we have been able to successfully manage thus far. We appreciate all that you are doing and continue to do to make this semester a success!

Town Hall Meetings with COVID-19 Committee Members

Town Hall Meetings with members of the COVID-19 Committee are being held via Zoom next week, to provide opportunities for faculty, staff and students to ask questions of, and share their thoughts, with the committee. Please register in advance and submit questions ahead of time.

A Faculty COVID-19 Town Hall Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 5:30-6:45pm. Click the following link to register: https://wlu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMqc--vpjosGNUsV-cKHuQsc6VjdVKHjJgx. The date and time for the Staff COVID-19 Town Hall Meeting is forthcoming and will be emailed separately and posted in Campus Notices.

Flu Vaccines

During the pandemic, public health authorities stress that it's more important than ever for people to get a flu vaccine. CVS will be on campus administering flu vaccinations for W&L employees on Thursday, Oct. 15 from noon to 4pm, in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room. Schedule your appointment by emailing a preferred time to wellness@wlu.edu.

Reminder: Travel Update for Winter Break

All personal travel continues to be strongly discouraged through the end of Fall Term. Inform your supervisor or department head of all travel plans, regardless of location. Given the current spread of COVID-19, you should expect a 14-day self-quarantine requirement upon your return. We have started to receive questions about personal travel during winter break. While we do not anticipate restrictions on personal travel during the break, faculty and staff who travel during that time will need to plan ahead to quarantine for 14 days after returning, and before resuming work on campus.

Reminder: Student Conduct Data

COVID-related student conduct data are being made available to interested faculty and staff. The data, along with information about how COVID-related charges are being handled, will be updated regularly and can be found on Box in the file: Student Conduct at W&L During COVID. For questions, please contact Tammi Simpson.

Recent Communications (as information)

  • On Oct. 2, the Assistant Dean of Law Student Affairs sent an email to law students with information about the first known law student COVID-19 case, testing options, and mental health support resources.
  • On Oct. 1, President Dudley President Dudley wrote to the W&L community about where the university stands at the Fall Term midpoint.
  • On Sept. 30, the COVID-19 Committee sent an email to undergraduate students with information about cases on campus and conduct sanctions, mental health support resources, University Library restrictions, and testing options.
  • On Sept. 30, the COVID-19 Committee sent an update to W&L students, faculty and staff, and parents regarding COVID-19 cases on campus.