November 12, 2020 (8:57 a.m. Central Time)
Dear Simpson College family,
The Crisis Management Team (CMT) and the President’s Cabinet both met yesterday to evaluate the state of campus and current environment. We know this is an anxiety-provoking time, with COVID cases rising around the country, state and in our community. We understand and appreciate your concerns. Underpinning both discussions was the information from a semester's worth of experience and data which have told us:
- We have not had a single documented case of transmission to a student or faculty member from classroom exposure.
- We have not had a single documented case of transmission during a sponsored event that followed our structured event protocols.
- Athletics has been and continues to test athletes involved in practice and competition, and we have seen minimal spread through organized team activity. We continue to monitor, track and follow our athletes closely and take immediate action if there are any changes.
When we transitioned to our Orange Operation Phase last week, it was to minimize the risk of continued spread where we have seen COVID transmission: through close, informal and unmasked social contacts.
That, combined with the fact that none of the data support a change for our campus status, we are remaining in Orange. We are closely monitoring the triggers that would cause us to move to our Red Operational Phase. Those triggers are:
- Outstripping our on-campus capacity for quarantine and isolation
- Significant quarantine or isolation among faculty and staff that make continuing campus operations impossible
If any of those triggers shift, or we see signs of spread resulting from classroom contact, we will change our operational status and immediately notify our campus community.
In the meantime, here are things we all need to do to keep one another safe and healthy:
- Practice safe six
- Mask up
- Return to dining ONLY alone or with roommates
- Wash your hands often
- Use hand sanitizer
- Cover coughs and sneezes well
- Stay home if you do not feel well
- If you have been told to quarantine or isolate, do it
- Avoid dining in restaurants and going to bars – two activities which national studies have shown are closely correlated with contracting COVID
- Avoid socializing in larger groups, especially unmasked and in close contact
We implore you to follow the protocols for your safety, that of our campus family and your family at home. Do not unnecessarily expose yourself and take this disease home to the more susceptible members of your family. Please. Be a hero.
Stay safe. Be well. Take care of yourself and those you love.
Heidi Levine, Vice President for Student Development and Planning
Chair, Crisis Management Team