We write today to update the campus on our operational status as we move into week three of the term.
The current results of this week’s testing have revealed a promising trend. As of 5:30 p.m. last night, 3.8% of the surveillance tests administered on Monday and Tuesday were positive. While we are still waiting for additional test results, our campus positivity rate is trending down from 5.84% last week. Please note that this week’s final test results will be reflected on the COVID-19 dashboard on Monday, January 17.
We are grateful to our students and faculty for adjusting to remote learning for the past two weeks, as well as our staff for quickly adjusting their work arrangements. This time has allowed us to test each community member twice, identifying individuals who were COVID positive and their close contacts and placing them in isolation or quarantine. We are pleased to say that Lawrentians have done a fantastic job honoring the Pledge, resulting in a low number of close contacts.
These mitigation strategies, as well as our community’s high vaccination rate of more than 90%, mandatory boosters for all eligible community members, a masking mandate, and a robust surveillance testing protocol, have contributed to our decision to resume in-person curricular and co-curricular activities starting next week. Please note the following:
- In-person activities, including curricular and co-curricular activities, will resume on Tuesday, January 18, adhering to all current health and safety protocols (see below). Students and faculty must have two negative COVID tests prior to returning to the classroom.
- In-person dining spaces will be adjusted to accommodate enhanced physical distancing starting Tuesday, January 18. Capacity in the Brengel Dining Room will be reduced, and Somerset will be opened as an alternative dining space. Capacities will be monitored, and students may be asked to move to another space to ensure physical distancing. Meals will remain grab-and-go through Monday, January 17.
- Guests in individual residence hall rooms will return to occupancy +3 on Tuesday, January 18. More information is available on the Residential Education web page.
- All employees may return to campus for work on Monday, January 17, after taking two required COVID tests. If an employee participated in off-campus testing, proof of negative results must be sent to Human Resources.
- We ask that in-person meetings be limited and adhere to all health and safety protocols (see below); remote meetings are encouraged.
- All campus buildings will remain closed to the public and will be accessible only by keycard.
- Campus is open to organized guest activity only; access to campus will be granted only via a host or through advanced registration or ticketing. See the guest policy for more information.
Recognizing that students will remain in quarantine and isolation as we return to in-person learning, we want to emphasize that the Center for Academic Success and individual faculty members will work to help students keep up with their course work. Read more about quarantine and isolation protocols.
Orange Status & Health & Safety Protocols
With the high transmission rates of the Omicron variant and the level of community spread in Appleton and the Fox Cities, we have opted to remain in Orange Light status even as we return to an in-person experience. It is more important than ever that our community Honor the Pledge and adhere to current health and safety protocols:
- Get a COVID-19 booster shot if you are eligible and submit proof of your booster as soon as possible. Students should send their proof to Wellness Services; employees should send their proof to Human Resources.
- Wear a KN95 mask or double mask in all indoor public spaces. Given the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, these actions provide the best protection. KN95 masks are currently on-order and will be distributed to the campus community, starting with students, as soon as they are available. We will share more information upon their arrival.
- Continue to physical distance where possible, conduct a daily symptoms check, and wash your hands frequently.
The university will take appropriate corrective action to address noncompliant behaviors, including not allowing community members to attend classes and disinviting individuals from the community.
We will continue our practice of weekly surveillance testing using PCR tests on Mondays in the Wellness Center. Please note that Lawrence community members may self-select to participate in weekly surveillance testing if they are asymptomatic.
Students who experience symptoms may contact Wellness Services to arrange for testing. Employees who experience symptoms should seek testing off-campus. More information regarding our testing protocols can be found on the Wellness Services website.
With the status of the virus and guidance shifting regularly, sometimes daily, LPPT will continue to closely monitor our campus and surrounding community, shifting our operational status as needed based upon the information we have available at the time. We thank you for your continued diligence and patience as we’ve worked to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially upon our return to campus during this challenging new phase of the pandemic.
Be well, and stay well,
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team