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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Simpson College is currently in Phase Yellow

 

October 1, 2021 (8:11 a.m. Central Time)

Dear Simpson Students, Faculty and Staff: 

As we move into October, we continue to make encouraging progress toward our vaccination rate goal of 80% for full-time students, as well as our faculty and staff. I am pleased to share these numbers for our main campus as of September 30: 

  • Full-time students:  76%  
  • Faculty and staff: 85% 

Vaccination rates, however, are lagging for our West Des Moines campus students: that vaccination rate stands at 49% (but West Moines faculty and staff are at 91%!).  

CURRENT COVID CASES 

The number of active COVID cases on both campuses remains relatively low. We currently have seven active cases on campus, which is up slightly from our last report two weeks ago. Our testing positivity rate remains low, with 2% of on campus test results being positive. 

Your continued diligence in following our COVID protocols, primarily as it relates to consistently masking indoors, is greatly appreciated. This is paramount to safeguarding our community and key to keeping our campus COVID rates low. 

LOOKING AHEAD—LARGER COMMUNITY CONCERNS 

While Simpson’s vaccination rate is climbing and our incidences of COVID remain relatively low, we continue to see high rates of transmission in our larger community, throughout Warren County and all of Iowa. 

This troubling trend adds significant complexity to our evolving COVID response strategy and plans moving forward. Opening much of campus life has been wonderful and we look forward to further easing restrictions in the weeks and months ahead. At the same time, we must do so in a responsible manner that reflects both Simpson’s reality and the status and trajectory of COVID in our larger community.  

Our COVID Management Team (CMT) is monitoring the situation very closely to make sure we continue to make thoughtful and responsible decisions that will best serve the health of our entire community. We will continue to provide updates, as events warrant. 

In the interim, if you haven’t done so already, please get your vaccination as soon as possible—the vaccines have proven to be safe and highly effective at reducing risk of infection and (especially) severe illness. Thank you for all you do to keep you, your friends, your colleagues and our #ONESimpson community safe and healthy. 

Heidi Levine, Ph.D. 
Vice President for Student Development and Planning 
Chair, Covid Management Team  
 

 



Resources for Students & Campus Community

Frequently Asked Questions

Parent and Student Town Hall Recordings

Previous Updates

To read previous updates, please click on the links below.


 

Healthy Practices

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has changed its quarantine guidance to advise against quarantine following exposure if both parties were properly wearing masks. While this is not consistent with CDC guidelines, there are a number of emerging studies that back this up as the right decision and adopted in other states. To that end, Simpson College will adopt the IDPH standards for exposure and quarantine. 

  • Allow the option for people to choose to quarantine 
    • Employees due to campus workplace exposure
    • Occurring in a classroom, using socially distanced seating
  • Continue to quarantine if the exposure occurred outside classrooms.
  • We still need faculty seating/attendance information for contact tracing and if we need to revert to Orange Phase. 

As the new protocols and procedures around quarantine are contingent upon proper face-mask use, please see the following CDC criteria for appropriate mask use on the Simpson campus: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.

  • Masks need to be correctly worn, completely covering the mouth AND nose.
  • Face shields and vented masks are not recommended and will result in quarantine if identified as a close contact.
  • Gaiters are not permitted and will result in quarantine if identified as a close contact.