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COVID-19 Update: Feb. 21, 2022

Simpson College RECOMMENDS MASK USE in all indoor public spaces

Latest Campus Update

February 21, 2022 (10:06 a.m. Central Time)

Dear Simpson College students, faculty, and staff: 

Given trend over the past few weeks, we are now in position to make adjustments to our COVID masking protocols, effective today. The new protocols detailed in this message are based on CDC recommendations related to the following factors: 

  • We have experienced significantly declining COVID positivity rates on campus and in Warren County over the last three weeks 
  • Omicron has produced less dangerous illnesses than previous COVID strains for otherwise healthy individuals 
  • Our campus benefits from high initial vaccination rates 

While current conditions are making it possible to relax some protocols, it is imperative to understand that mask use will continue to be required in all classrooms until further notice.  

The revised indoor masking protocols effective Monday, Feb. 21 are as follows: 

  • Mask Use Required 
    • Campus test positivity rate > 8% for preceding two weeks 
    • In all classrooms until further notice 
  • Mask Use Recommended 
    • Campus test positivity < 8% for preceding two weeks AND 
    • Warren County 7-day test positivity rate > 8% 
  • Mask Use Optional 
    • Campus test positivity < 8% for preceding two weeks AND 
    • Warren County 7-day test positivity rate < 8% 

The latest data reveal a campus test positivity rate of 0% for the past two weeks and a current county positivity rate of 14%. This puts us in the “mask use recommended” stage for most campus spaces except classrooms and events specified as requiring mask use.  

Here are the protocols for Simpson events:  

  • Event mask use should follow campus guidelines, with these additional considerations: 
    • Event sponsors may opt to require mask use, even if the general campus is not requiring universal, indoor masking 
    • When masks are recommended/optional, areas should be provided where mask use is required at larger events 
    • Food and drink at events are permitted, but if masks are required, people should be masked when not actively eating/drinking and areas should be provided where mask use is required throughout event (no food consumption in those areas) 

As always, please take these reminders to heart: 

  • If you are sick, stay home! 
  • Vaccination and boosters remain best way to avoid serious illness and protect others 
  • If you are with others who are wearing masks, please consider that they are doing so because of conditions with which you might not be aware, such as being immunocompromised or having a family member too young to be vaccinated.  
    • Please show respect by masking up in those situations 

While we are generally encouraged by the current COVID trajectory, we must remain vigilant in following all COVID protocols with special care to protect our most vulnerable community members. As the situation around us and public health guidance continue to change we will adjust accordingly. CMT will continue to monitor events and provide timely updates, as warranted. 

Thank you for your continued grace and care for our #ONESimpson community. 

Heidi Levine, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Development & Planning
Chair, COVID Management Team