Important Campus Update

Dear Students, Colleagues and Families,

I write today with an update on our campus public health situation, as we conclude our first week of working remotely in response to the COVID-19 cases that arose late last week.  I want to start by thanking all of our staff, faculty and students for the incredible work over this week to be sure that we continue to move forward in these very challenging circumstances, and that we stop the spread of the illness on campus. Your efforts have made a difference in so many ways.

Unfortunately, though, as I shared yesterday, despite extensive testing, contact tracing and quarantine work, as well as so many other efforts, we have not yet stopped having new cases. We are seeing significant numbers of new positive tests among students daily.  Of the 613 tests done so far this week, a total of 61 have come back positive so far.  All of these individuals have been moved to isolation, and their identified close contacts have been quarantined.  Most of the cases are connected to the social-event clusters we identified and reported to you on Tuesday. However, there are some other individuals who have tested positive as well.  (The dashboard has been updated to reflect data from tests done so far this week.  Results are still coming in, and the information will be updated again on Monday.) 

Throughout the fall we have worked closely with the Wayne County public health department as well as with our advisors at Ohio State University.  At this time, it is their recommendation that we pivot to a longer period of remote learning, lasting for the remaining five weeks of the term.  We support this recommendation.  I know this is tremendous disappointment, and I am so very sorry.  However, we believe this pivot is the best interest of everyone’s health. 

We know that students and families will have many questions about what this means for you and next steps.  We have set up a web page with specific answers. Below, we answer the ones that we believe will be most critical to many people.  In addition, we will have a Q&A for students at 5:30 pm and for Parents and Families at 8pm this evening, both on Zoom.  Here are those links.

Important Questions and Answers:

Are students required to leave campus at this point? 

No.  Students may stay on campus if they wish or need to do so at this time.  However, you are free to leave campus for the remainder of the term if you wish to.  Students wishing to leave campus should see important information here on packing your room, room and board refunds and other matters.  Students who have already left campus temporarily should be in touch with the Dean of Students’ office next week for information on their next steps.

I want to go home, but I want to be sure I don’t want to make my family ill.

If you go home, you should plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive.  Wear a mask and keep significant distance from your family, and monitor yourself for any symptoms.  Advice for travelling home safely is here.

What will campus operations look like for the remainder of the semester?

We expect that they will be the same as they are this week.  You can see those details here

I am a senior working on an IS in the lab or studio.  May I continue to do so?

Yes, definitely.  We are prioritizing students having access to what they need for their IS work.

This situation is creating additional financial need for me.  Can you help?

We do have emergency funds available for students, and want to be able to help you in this difficult time.  Please apply here.

I would like to go home, but I am worried about whether I have the right technology to continue my courses.  

If you do not have a working laptop or have other technology needs with the switch to remote instruction, please complete this form to request technology support.

What about spring semester?

We are reviewing our spring semester plans in light of current campus and national health trends, and will share an update on them by November 10th

We know this is extremely difficult news at an already extremely stressful time. It is heartbreaking for those on campus who were so enjoying rebuilding our in-person community to have to pull back from it again. We are working to be sure that students have all the support that would be most helpful to them.  Counseling will continue to be available to students whether they are on or off-campus.  The staff of the CDI, Student Activities, Residential Life, APEX and Dean’s office are also eager to meet virtually and talk with students.

On a personal note, I want to thank everyone for your incredible care for one another and for this community through this terribly difficult time.  While this is a very difficult set back, I am certain that the Scot family will continue to care for one another and to find the right ways forward for teaching, learning, and community.

All my best,

Sarah Bolton