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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Simpson College provides COVID-19 tests for its own students, faculty and staff. Its testing site is not open to the public.

February 2, 2021 (11:12 a.m. Central Time)

Dear Simpson family, 

The Simpson College Crisis Management Team (CMT) met yesterday to review the current COVID dashboard and operational phase parameters for campus. During its robust discussion, it was determined that the campus — having met the criteria put in place for the change — could move from its current Orange Operational Phase to Yellow.

The campus has had a 1.1 percent random positivity rate for the second week in a row. One trigger for moving to Yellow is a random positivity rate < 5 percent.The most recent cases were related to an out-of-season team that had been working out off-campus and eating together, unmasked and not socially distanced. They had been asymptomatic and as the team begins testing, we should get a better sense of the impact. The coach is aware and the results were picked up through initial team testing — meaning our interventions, policies and procedures are working well.

Even with more students who need to isolate choosing to do so on campus, we are seeing an acceptable turn-over rate in the Isolation/Quarantine spaces. There are currently no capacity issues in our I/Q spaces.

As a reminder to all as we move into the Yellow Operational Phase today, there are still a number of parameters to follow to keep our Simpson Community as safe and healthy as possible.

  • Gatherings are capped at 35 persons without special or prior approval by CMT. Even with approval, individuals and groups need to follow our policies and procedures around COVID-19 — proper social distancing and mask use.
  • Residential student

  - May add a Plus-One to family unit (after notification to CA)
  - Masks in common spaces
  - More information about residential COVID protocols can be found at https://simpson.edu/internal/residence-life/housing-during-covid

  • Dining students

  - Residential family unit seating will begin again — does NOT extend to athletic or other teams/groups
  - Masks in common spaces
  - Please do not linger — eat and go

  • Open computer labs as soon as staffing is available
  • Continue random testing at 20 percent of student population

Please take the move seriously. Enjoy the lightening up of some of the restrictions but remember that we need to be sure to practice safe six and wear masks to keep one another healthy. Please, do all you can to ensure our Simpson family is safe.

Thank you,

Heidi Levine,
Vice President, Student Development and Planning
Chair, Crisis Management Team


Resources for Students & Campus Community

Questions and Answers about COVID-19

Parent and Student Town Hall Recordings

Previous Updates

To read previous updates, please click on the links below.


Healthy Practices

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has changed its quarantine guidance to advise against quarantine following exposure if both parties were properly wearing masks. While this is not consistent with CDC guidelines, there are a number of emerging studies that back this up as the right decision and adopted in other states. To that end, Simpson College will adopt the IDPH standards for exposure and quarantine. 

  • Allow the option for people to choose to quarantine 
    • Employees due to campus workplace exposure
    • Occurring in a classroom, using socially distanced seating
  • Continue to quarantine if the exposure occurred outside classrooms.
  • We still need faculty seating/attendance information for contact tracing and if we need to revert to Orange Phase. 

As the new protocols and procedures around quarantine are contingent upon proper face-mask use, please see the following CDC criteria for appropriate mask use on the Simpson campus: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.

  • Masks need to be correctly worn, completely covering the mouth AND nose.
  • Face shields and vented masks are not recommended and will result in quarantine if identified as a close contact.
  • Gaiters are not permitted and will result in quarantine if identified as a close contact.