Important: What You Can Do to Keep Wooster Safe

Dear Students,

We write with an update on campus public health.  We know that our current situation is very frustrating and concerning for everyone.  This is especially true as so many students, staff and faculty have worked so incredibly hard to keep everyone safe.  We all want to be back in – person as soon as we can, but we cannot do so until we are sure the COVID-19 cases on campus have stopped.  We will be in touch again later in the week to let you know how the situation is evolving and whether we can return to some in-person activities next week.

Now that we have completed extensive contact tracing, we wanted to share the patterns we have seen, and some things you can do to reduce the chance of further spread.  

The COVID-19 cases on campus are directly connected to social gatherings or other situations (such as intimate partners or roommates) where individuals are close together, especially when they are unmasked.  Here are some specifics about what we have learned, and the actions everyone on campus can take to increase safety for our community.  We have also made some important changes in policy.  Click here to see all the current policies in one place.

  1. Some spread of COVID-19 took place when students brought food to their dorm-rooms and ate there, in a small space, with a few friends who are not their roommates.
    • Because it takes place unmasked, shared eating presents one of the highest likelihoods of illness transmission if one person is infected.  Shared eating less than six feet apart is never safe, indoors or out.   Students may not eat in their rooms with more than one other person.  When eating anywhere – indoors or outdoors - be extra-careful to keep at least a six-foot distance, and to put masks back on when not actively eating.(This rule will be in place for the remainder of the academic year.)
  2. Spread of COVID-19 took place in at least two social events which were in violation of the COVID-19 community of care agreement.
    • We will no longer be giving warnings in the COVID-19 conduct process.  Students who violate the COVID-19 agreement can expect the minimum sanction in the conduct process to be leaving campus to study remotely. (This rule will hold for the remainder of the academic year.)
    • Until further notice, no social gatherings of more than 4 people – whether indoors or outdoors - are permitted.  No student may have more than one guest in their dorm room. Masks and social distancing of 6 feet should be in place whenever people are together (except for roommates or suite mates).  (These rules will last at least until the current campus clusters of COVID-19 are fully resolved.)
    • If a social event appears to violate the COVID-19 community of care agreement, the students who participated will be quarantined immediately, so that we can be certain they do not spread any illness they may have caught at the social event. The quarantine is not a punishment. It is there to protect the community immediately.  (This rule will be in place for the remainder of the academic year.)
  3. It is more important than ever to follow critical public health practices.  Always wear a mask except in your own room, always keep six feet from others, and practice good handwashing.  Staying apart is the hardest part for many of us in daily life, as we naturally drift together for conversation, to take photos, to express encouragement, and more.  Masks are very important, but they are not magical.  Distance is also important, and we ask everyone to focus on keeping six feet apart. If you can reach out and touch your friend, roommate or teammate, you are definitely too close.  

While the Scot Center is currently closed, we will continue our COVID-19 monitoring and focused testing there.  Please be sure to watch for emails letting you know when to come in.  If you are not feeling well, please do NOT come to the Scot Center for a test.  Call the Wellness Center at 330 263 2319, and they will help you with next steps.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to wooster-covid-19@wooster.edu 

We know that this is a very difficult and concerning time for many people on our campus.   So, here is one more thing you can do; take care of one another.  Check on a friend.  Ask a staff or faculty member how they are doing.  Remind someone, kindly, if they are sitting too close.  Encourage folks to connect with resources for support.  This pandemic affects each person differently, but all of us need one another and this community.  Together, we can do this, with Scots protecting Scots! 

Take care,

Sarah Bolton, President
Myrna Hernández, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Steve Glick, Director of Emergency Management