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COVID-19 Update: Feb. 28, 2022

Simpson College RECOMMENDS MASK USE in all indoor public spaces

Latest Campus Update

February 28, 2022 (10:33 a.m. Central Time)

Dear Simpson College students, faculty, and staff: 

As you know, the CMT recently revised campus guidelines pertaining to mask use in public settings on campus. Those revised guidelines were based on campus and county test positivity rates and followed what was the CDC’s metrics for determining levels of community spread. 

In a very brief period we have seen county test positivity rates jump drastically, with a reported 100% 7-day positivity rate on February 27, data that are actually misleading. When considered alongside other metrics (such as numbers of cases and area hospitalizations) what becomes clear is that those high positivity rates are largely a consequence of decreasing numbers of asymptomatic individuals getting tested and are increasingly not a good indicator of actual community risk. 

In fact, the CDC issued new guidance late last week shifting their determination of community risk away from a focus on test positivity. Their new guidelines address a combination of factors including the number of COVID-related hospitalizations and percent of hospital beds being used by COVID patients. The CDC is now recommending that in communities with low or moderate community levels mask use be individually determined.  

We realize that the latest CDC guidance moves away from the clear and transparent metrics which make it easier to predict what steps we should take as a campus community. However, the shift also better reflects a multifaceted and nuanced approach to COVID management for which this phase in the pandemic calls. The CMT will, again, review Simpson’s current protocols alongside the most recent recommendations of the CDC and will update the campus community of any resulting changes. 


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