Wellness Center

March 17 - Important Updates on Athletics, Testing, and Student Activities

SUMMARY:

–We’ve had seven individuals test positive this week; testing resumes for students tomorrow. A reminder that students should have alternate plans to quarantine off campus should it ever become necessary.

–No spectators (including students and parents) will be permitted to watch sport competitions beginning this Saturday.

–We’re asking faculty / staff who’ve completed vaccinations in 1A to fill out a brief form; vaccinated students should be in contact with the wellness office.

–A reminder that students interested in holding activities on campus must complete a campus activity proposal form on the student affairs website.

***

Dear Campus Community,

Over the previous four weeks, we recorded only four unique positives out of nearly 5,200 tests–a remarkable accomplishment. Unfortunately, that trend hasn’t stayed true this week, as we recorded seven new positives in the past three days. Our challenge moving forward is to remain focused and work even harder to maintain the health of our campus.

This commitment is critically important as we head into Thursday’s full-day testing session and, on Saturday, into the beginning of intercollegiate competition. Our student-athletes, each of whom will be tested up to three times every week during the season, are complying with a rigorous series of guidelines outlined by the Centennial Conference Presidents Council. A key element of those guidelines is that no spectators will be permitted into the venues. The safety of our campus community depends on our ability to significantly minimize any social interaction with campus visitors, so there will be no attendance during any competition. This seasonal ban applies to students, faculty, and staff, as well as parents, and will be strictly enforced.

While our positivity rate remains under 1 percent–far below those at the county and state level–we owe it ourselves to remain vigilant. That is why individuals and student organizations must demonstrate a well-thought-out commitment to our COVID guidelines and other mitigation measures when applying to host student activities. That activity proposal form can be found online. Furthermore, students should have already created alternate, off-campus quarantine plans, in case they are ever identified as a close contact through our contact tracing program. These plans should include provisions even if they cannot return home.

We have done a great job of quickly adapting whenever it’s become necessary, particularly because we’ve managed an efficient contact tracing program. We’ve also adjusted our testing schedule to monitor the health of our campus more routinely. Our data overwhelmingly indicates the virus is most likely to be spread during social events–not in the classroom or in the dining halls and rarely in the residence halls. Remember, it usually takes a few days before those infected with the virus test positive. That is why we continue to test on Thursdays and decided to add the new Monday test times; they allow us to monitor the health of campus more regularly while providing routine testing intervals for our student-athletes, as well as for faculty and staff.

On a related note, we are working with local officials on several vaccination scenarios. While we don’t have news to share at this moment, we continue to strongly encourage faculty, staff, and students who are eligible for Phase 1A to consider getting vaccinated. Vaccinated students are asked to contact the wellness center, while faculty and staff who’ve completed their vaccinations should complete this new form. Keeping us apprised will allow us to better take the pulse of our campus community.

We have a lot to be proud of. Thank you for your commitment to Defending our Den, Bears! Let’s keep up the good work and redouble our efforts to look out for one another.

Sincerely,

President Brock Blomberg