August 27, 2020 (1:49 pm) Central Time
Simpson College has its first confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our Indianola campus.
The individuals received positive test results yesterday. The individuals are now isolated and those who were less than six feet for more than 15 minutes have been contacted directly and placed in quarantine.
We are working directly with the Iowa and Warren County Departments of Public Health (IDPH, WCDPH) on all our protocols, including contact tracing and quarantine. At Simpson, we begin our process as soon as we receive notification of a positive test – sent by the Iowa Department of Public Health late in the afternoons.
The kind of brief contact that occurs with passing in a hallway or coming through a door is not sufficient to cause heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. IDPH’s clear direction is that quarantine is needed for those who spent more than 15 minutes and in less than six feet of someone who tests positive. Sitting 12 feet away from someone in class does not require quarantine, but those on either side likely will result in quarantine. That is one of the reasons we have asked instructors to make and use seating charts.
We know that COVID-19 is present on our campus, in the broader community and across the country. We also understand this may increase concern and anxiety among our students, faculty and staff. The most effective action we can all take is prevention. While we cannot control what our community does off-campus and in their private lives, we – in the strongest possible way – encourage you to make the best, most-thoughtful decisions for not just for yourself but for our campus family. Avoid being in crowds, continue to practice social distancing and mask use even when off campus. When you use alcohol, be aware that you may make riskier decisions which can ultimately affect the whole campus. To avoid entering the Red Phase, everyone at Simpson must do their part by practicing our stated health and safety protocols.
Please continue to follow all of the on-campus health requirements, including practicing social distancing, wearing a face mask, practicing proper hand and respiratory hygiene, staying home when you’re sick and monitoring for symptoms every day, as well as completing the daily Moodle Check-in.
If you are on-campus and have come in close contact with a member of our community who has tested positive, you will be notified and given next steps. If you are off-campus and learn you have been in close contact (within six feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has COVID-19, we ask that you do the following:
Self-quarantine as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), IDPH and Warren County health officials
If you are a student, please contact Health Services immediately
If you are a faculty or staff member, please contact Human Resources immediately, as well as your immediate supervisor
We also ask that faculty or staff contact their healthcare professional to be tested for COVID-19.
Simpson College remains committed to taking necessary actions in the interest of the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff, including rolling out campus-wide training, our daily Moodle Check-ins, practicing social distancing and minimizing person-to-person contact.
We will continue to monitor the situation and share information specific to Simpson through official channels, including www.simpson.edu/covid19. Information about subsequent confirmed COVID-19 cases will be posted at https://scconnect.simpson.edu/wkgrp/COVIDDashboard/default.aspx. This notification complies with requirements under the Clery Act.
Your health and safety are our top priority. The actions each of us take can help to stop the spread of COVID-19 at Simpson College and in our community. Thank you for your commitment to protecting yourself and others. We are #ONESimpson.
Be well. Be safe,
Heidi Levine, Vice President for Student Development and Planning
Chair, Crisis Management Team