November 6, 2020 (1:15 pm) Central Time
Dear Simpson College family,
Today, we move back to the Orange Operational Phase with modifications, which I will explain below. Overnight, we added seven additional positive cases of COVID-19 on our campus and Warren County added 45 positive cases. The Crisis Management Team (CMT) and the President’s Cabinet met both yesterday and this morning and made the decision to revise our operational phase.
Because our campus data show that the majority of our positive cases are coming from socialization — being close together without masks, gathering in large groups to eat, go out, party, visit local bars or other establishments and not from the classroom, structured activities or even athletic interaction — we are modifying some of the protocols as we return to Orange.
Our protocols for return to Orange are as follows:
- Housing — we will return to our initial protocols of no visitors. Only roommates will be allowed in individual residence hall rooms. Lounges and other common spaces are to be used by one person at a time and masks are required.
- Dining — we will continue to allow dine-in but limit seating to roommate pairs.
- Academic/classroom management — again, as we do not see spread from classroom interactions, we will continue face-to-face instruction through the end of the semester. Students in Isolation/Quarantine who wish to return home will be permitted to complete the semester remotely. Students who are not in Isolation/Quarantine must go through the existing exemption request process to request an exemption from face-to-face learning if they wish to leave campus prior to November 24, 2020, the final day of in-person instruction. Any students who return home for the remainder of the semester will not receive a refund on room and board.
- Events/gatherings — small group meetings up to 10 will be allowed. Sponsored events up to 35 with Activities approval; events for groups of more than 35 require advance CMT permission.
- Athletics — our data show the spread does not appear to be through outdoor athletic practice, with indoor activities (including strength/conditioning) posing a little more risk. We have the ability, through an aggressive approach at first signs of any spread, to mitigate further infection. Athletics will continue to work with and through the CMT on ways to structure drills and practices to monitor and reduce spread in the future.
We have been adamant in stating your best protection right now against contracting COVID-19 is following the established campus and CDC protocols — practicing safe six, masking up and STAYING HOME. We cannot emphasize enough that our campus data and data from across the globe points to gathering with friends and families for dinners, weddings, a night out, visiting bars and restaurants as the leading cause for falling ill with COVID-19.
For the few weeks we have left on campus, we implore you to follow the protocols for your safety, that of our campus family and your family at home. Do not 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. And remember, we are back to Orange as of today.
Heidi Levine, Vice President for Student Development and Planning
Chair, Crisis Management Team