As members of a college community, we can potentially have a significant amount of contact with one another. When this occurs, and there is a high level of exposure to other humans, it quickly becomes a “transmission party” for this virus. We have to find a way to balance our interactive and busy lives with a healthy respect for the seriousness of COVID-19.
So, what does this mean? It does not mean we cannot ever have any interaction with one another. It does require that we are extra cautious when we do – using heightened health and safety behaviors even when in small groups or with close friends or family. In addition, we must test frequently.
The community can follow the progress of our testing and outcomes by accessing the COVID Tracking Dashboard. It helps illustrate the contributions of our faculty, staff and students in fighting against this virus, and also how it is impacting our college community.
This spring you can expect that some form of regular surveillance testing will be in place. Since the science on this practice continues to evolve, future tests may not include the nasopharyngeal swabs that we are currently using, but an appropriate scientifically based substitute. We are also exploring other possibilities to add layers of early detection and protection, including wastewater surveillance.
Committing to testing can be inconvenient, and the nasopharyngeal swab can also be uncomfortable, but this important sacrifice will help us achieve our common goal of reopening for the spring semester.
Let’s keep our numbers low, and our spirits high!
Christina Moylan, Ph.D.
Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness