COVID-19 News

Megan Scott

Author: Megan Scott

Planning for Fall | June 22, 2022

Dear Lawrence Community,

We hope that everyone’s summer is off to a great start! We write today to share updates on our plan for Fall 2022, including arrival protocols. Like last year, we will start the academic year fully in-person. This means that all curricular and co-curricular activities will proceed using each room’s full capacity limits.

Arriving on Campus 
New and returning students, including our Community Advisors, international students, and fall student athletes, will begin to arrive on a rolling basis in mid-August, with new student arrival scheduled for Monday, September 5, and returning student arrival scheduled for Friday, September 9.

Please note the following arrival protocols:

  • All new and returning students are encouraged to be tested within 72 hours prior to traveling to campus.
  • In addition, all students will be tested upon their arrival on campus.
  • Employees may be tested in the fall at their discretion. 

More information regarding testing protocols will be shared later this summer.

Masking Protocols
Lawrence currently requires masking in all indoor public spaces, but we also understand that the pandemic will continue to evolve over the summer. Specific masking protocols for the fall will be determined by Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team closer to the start of fall term, based on the status of the virus on- and off-campus at that time. We will share information with our community as soon as a decision is made.

Vaccination Protocols 
With more than 90% of the Lawrence community fully vaccinated and boosted, we continue to meet the CDC’s definition of an institution of higher education with a fully vaccinated community. As we have learned over the last year, vaccination is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves healthy and reduce the severity of a COVID-19 infection. As such, all new members of the Lawrence community, including both students and employees, are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted prior to your arrival on campus. Exemptions are granted to individuals based on a medical condition, strong religious or sincerely held belief, or personal conviction.

Students are required to provide this information to Wellness Services at WellnessServices@lawrence.edu, and employees are required to provide this information to Human Resources at Humanresources@lawrence.edu. For additional information please reach out to either Wellness Services or Human Resources.

Honor the Pledge
One of the principles that has continued to facilitate our success mitigating the virus is the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge, which outlines the living, learning, and working tenets for all in our campus community. We will continue to Honor the Pledge this fall and encourage new members of our community to familiarize themselves with the Pledge before coming to campus. Highlights include:

  • Vaccination and testing (as needed) adherence.
  • Commitment to follow masking protocols.
  • Quarantine and isolation protocols.
  • Encouragement to stay home if feeling ill or wearing a mask if one must be on campus.

Campus Guests & Visitors 
We will continue to welcome guests and visitors from outside the Lawrence community to campus for events and performances. When hosting or attending indoor campus events that include non-Lawrence community members (e.g., recital, athletics event, performance), we may require all spectators and/or participants (depending on the event) to wear masks. Again, more information regarding our guest policy will be shared prior to the start of the academic year.

Please stay tuned for future messages as the fall approaches and remember to visit—our bookmark—the COVID-19 News blog at https://blogs.lawrence.edu/covid-19/ for all current information regarding pandemic protocols. Please also send questions to coronainfo@lawrence.edu.

We look forward to welcoming new and returning students, faculty, and staff this fall.

Be well and stay well, 
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

COVID-19 Update | May 6, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,

Our close monitoring of the pandemic on campus, as well as our latest testing results, show continued improvement in mitigating COVID-19 transmission on our campus. As of yesterday, May 5, we have received 5 reports of positive COVID-19 cases. That compares to 19 total new cases on campus last week and 54 total cases the week before.

With this downward trend in cases on campus, we will increase capacity in all Warch Campus Center dining spaces, including Brengel Dining Room and Kaplan’s Cafe, starting with breakfast on Monday, May 9. 

Please remember that university remains in Yellow Light status, and we ask that you continue to follow are current health protocols, including wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces and conducting daily health checks. We will continue to offer voluntary testing for asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff on Wednesdays in the Wellness Center from 12:00 to 4:45 p.m. Rapid tests are also available to students exhibiting symptoms through Wellness Services or campus safety. 

Lawrence will host two important events on campus next week–the spring Board of Trustees meeting and the inauguration of President Laurie A. Carter. Trustees and guests from the Fox Cities and around the country will be on campus, including the Warch Campus Center, starting on Wednesday and here through the weekend.

All guests are required to follow all university safety protocols: Masks are required for all indoor events and COVID-19 vaccinations and pre-arrival testing are requested for attendance at the inauguration ceremony on May 13. 

In the spirit of 17 Days of Kindness, please welcome our guests to campus and join us for our historic community celebrations.  

As always, submit any questions or concerns you may have to coronainfo@lawrence.edu

Be well, and stay well,  
LPPT

COVID-19 Update | April 26, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,

We write today to provide an update on the status of the pandemic on campus, new opportunities for testing this week, and a reminder of our current mitigation strategies.

Over the past two weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus. Two weeks ago (4/11-4/17), we saw 68 total new cases on campus. Last week (4/18-4/24), we saw 54 total new cases.

This recent significant spike in positive cases remains a concern for campus, but we are encouraged to report that fewer positive cases have been reported over the past 5 days. As of 2:30 p.m. today, we’ve had 6 new positive cases, compared to 19 during the same time last week.

To continue to monitor cases, we will offer voluntary PCR and rapid testing tomorrow, April 27, in the Wellness Center. Testing will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.  

  • We encourage all individuals who have been designated a close contact or may have been exposed to COVID-19 to attend.
  •  If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not attend testing.
  • If you have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, please use a rapid test. 

In addition, we plan to offer voluntary testing weekly until the end of the term. Students will also continue to have access to free rapid tests during business hours from Wellness Services or after hours from Campus Safety.

Please continue to Honor the Pledge and: 

  • Wear a mask in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. 4-ply masks are available in the Wellness Center. 
  • Take extra precautions, which includes checking your symptoms daily and limiting in-person meetings and gatherings whenever possible.
  • Coordinate large events with the following groups for guidance:  

Dining spaces will remain adjusted to accommodate enhanced physical distancing. Capacity in the Brengel Dining Room will remain reduced, and additional spaces in Warch will remain opened as an alternative dining space.

If adjustments to our plans or operational status are needed, we will be in immediate communication with our campus community.

As always, please submit questions to coronainfo@lawrence.edu and stay tuned to your email for updates.

Be well and stay well,     
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Update to COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies | April 19, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,  

Last Wednesday, we wrote to alert the community to an increase in viral spread on our campus. We have continued to see concerning viral activity this week. As of 3:00 p.m. today, an additional 19 community members have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. 

It is more important than ever that we continue to Honor the Pledge as we face this steep increase in positive cases over the last two weeks. 

We are also implementing the following safety measures:  

  • Voluntary PCR testing will be available tomorrow, April 20, in the Wellness Center. Testing will take place at 12:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. 
  • All community members are encouraged to take extra precautions, which includes checking your symptoms daily, limiting in-person meetings and gatherings whenever possible, and wearing a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. KN-95 masks are available in the Wellness Center. 
  • Dining spaces will be adjusted to accommodate enhanced physical distancing as quickly as possible. Capacity in the Brengel Dining Room will be reduced, and additional spaces in Warch 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.  
  • Students, faculty, and staff planning large events are asked to coordinate with the following groups for guidance: 
    • Student organizations should contact the SEAL office (Student Engagement, Activities, and Leadership).   
    • Employees should consult with the Facilities Request Group.   

We also encourage all community members who have not yet received their booster shot to participate in two upcoming clinics: Friday, April 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Somerset Room and Thursday, April 28 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Pusey Room. 

If adjustments to our plans or operational status are needed, we will be in immediate communication with our campus community.  

The recent increase in positive cases on campus is a disappointment, especially as we look forward to spring term’s many opportunities to gather as a community. We greatly appreciate your patience, flexibility, and dedication to Honor the Pledge as we work to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus. 

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to monitor the situation, learn from our experiences, follow the science, and adapt our mitigation strategies as quickly as possible to limit the spread on campus. Together, we will overcome this challenging moment for our community.   

As always, please submit questions to coronainfo@lawrence.edu and stay tuned to your email for updates.  

Be well and stay well,    
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team

Shift to Yellow Light Status | April 13, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,

We write today to share an update on the university’s operational status.

Over the course of the past week, we have seen an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus. As of today at 2:30 PM, 26 students and 0 employees have tested positive for COVID-19, for a total of 26 new cases to date this week. Active cases reported during this week (Monday, April 11-Sunday, April 17) will be reported on the COVID-19 Dashboard on Monday, April 18. 

If you think you have been in close contact with an individual who has COVID-19, please refer to the quarantine and isolation process on campus

To mitigate the spread of the virus on campus, we are immediately changing the university’s operating status to Yellow Light: Open, Moderate Risk.

The following safety measures will take place immediately:

  • Masking will be required in all indoor public spaces.
  • All community members are encouraged to take extra precautions, including physical distancing and washing your hands whenever possible.  
  • Guest activities will continue, following all current safety measures listed above.

We recognize it may be frustrating to shift from Green Light to Yellow Light so soon after we opened the campus, but our commitment to protecting the health and wellbeing of our community remains our top priority. Our goal is to slow the spread of the virus on campus so that we can return to a “mask-friendly” status as soon as it is viable to do so.

Our commitment to Honor the Pledge, our dedication to one another, and our collective resilience is more important than ever. Together, we have limited the spread of virus on campus, and together we will overcome this challenging moment for our community.

We will continue to closely monitor the status of the virus on campus and in the surrounding community and will adjust our mitigation strategies or operational status accordingly. As always, please submit questions to coronainfo@lawrence.edu and stay tuned to your email for updates.

Be well and stay well,
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team  

Shift to Green Light Status (And we’re not joking.) | April 1, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,

We hope that you had a relaxing spring break and that your term is off to a great start. We’re happy to say that the term has gotten off to a great start from a health and safety standpoint.

On Monday, we tested 1,020 returning students using rapid tests. Of the students tested, one individual has a confirmed case of COVID 19, which gives us less than a .1% positivity rate. In our February 28 community message, we stated that positive testing results below 1% upon our return to campus after spring break would lead to a status to Green Light. Following this guidance, the university will shift to Green Light status as of Monday, April 4.

Green Light status means that: 

  • All curricular and co-curricular activities will remain in-person.
  • All academic and administrative buildings will be open to the public (no key card access required) from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. This includes the Mudd Library. More information regarding building hours is available in the Guest Policy on the COVID-19 news blog .
  • Lawrence remains a mask-friendly campus. Masks can be worn by anyone at any time on our campus but are not universally required. Individuals may also determine their own guidelines for their individual space. 
  • Students living on campus must abide by residential expectations
  • For those traveling, review the updated Travel Policy

Please remember that we do not currently plan to conduct on-going surveillance testing over spring term due to the reduced viral activity in our surrounding community. We will continue to closely monitor the virus through symptomatic testing on campus and regular assessments of local community risk levels. We will also continue to use CDC guidance to help inform our testing protocols and operational status.

Students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to obtain a test from Wellness Services during business hours or request a test from Campus Safety after business hours.

Our hope prior to break was that our community’s continued dedication to Honor the Pledge would be reflected in our return-to-campus testing results, and that hope was realized. Thank you, once again, for your commitment to protecting the wellbeing of our community.

Please continue to remain vigilant both on- and off-campus. As always, submit any questions or concerns you may have to coronainfo@lawrence.edu.

Be well, and stay well,  
LPPT 

Spring Break housing information and travel guidance | March 10, 2022

Dear Lawrentians, 

As we wind down the winter term, I know that many of you are looking forward to spring break and the opportunities it brings for a change of pace. Whatever your plans, I hope you will find time to rest and recharge even as we prepare for the Spring Term. Thank you for all you have done to keep our campus community safe. Please note that while residence halls will close at noon on Thursday, March 17, 2022, students may stay on campus during the break at no extra cost.  

If you wish to remain on campus, you will need to register to prevent a loss of ID access to your residence hall:

  • Log on to Voyager
  • Go to Student Services
  • Click ‘Request for housing’

Note too that residents cannot use meal plans over break, but the café will be open temporarily for lunch from March 21-25th, and will accept Viking Gold, credit, or debit cards.

I am also writing  to share guidance as we head into a well-deserved Spring Break and to remind you of our plans for Spring Term.

  • Spring Break Travelers: Students who are traveling over spring break are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines during travel. Individuals who would like to participate in testing prior to departure are welcome to self-select and be tested on Monday March 14, from 12-4:45 P.M.
  • Spring Break Residents: All students who will remain on campus over break are welcome to be tested on Monday, March 14. Students living in the surrounding community may also self-select to be tested on March 14.
  • Masking Expectations: As indicated in the March 4 Community Message, campus will be transitioning to a Mask Friendly campus in alignment with current CDC guidance on the first day of spring break, Thursday March 17. Please see the initial email (linked above) for additional details related to masking. Individuals who would like additional high-quality masks including KN95s and N95s may pick them up at Wellness Services.
  • Protocol for Returning to Campus: All students who are on campus in any capacity will be tested on Monday, March 28, from 8-10:45 A.M. and 12:00-4:45 PM in the Wellness Center. We will utilize rapid tests at that time so that community members will receive their results as quickly as possible. This testing process will take longer as individuals wait on site to complete the testing process, so please plan accordingly. Students who receive a negative test result will be provided documentation indicating that they have completed testing and are able to participate in classes. Students who receive a positive test result will complete the contact tracing process at that time in Wellness Services. All students will also be given an additional test to be completed off-site 3 to 5 days later.
  • Lawrence Campus Community Pledge: All members of the Lawrence Community will be expected to continue to follow the Pledge. The Pledge has been updated to reflect current expectations. Members of the community who are returning to campus this term and have not signed the Pledge this academic year are expected to sign the Pledge on Voyager.
  • Vaccine Booster Clinics: We are excited to host two additional vaccine booster clinics during the month of March. If you still need to receive a booster, please be sure to visit the on-campus clinics on March 17th from 1 – 5 PM and March 29th 1-7 PM, all in the Warch Campus Center’s Pusey Room.
  • Surveillance Testing: Currently, surveillance testing is not scheduled during the spring term. Lawrence will maintain a relationship with our testing partners and will continue to monitor COVID-19 activity on campus and in the community. Surveillance testing may be reinstated if necessary.
  • Symptomatic Testing: Lawrentians continue to be tested for COVID-19 when displaying any symptoms associated with the virus. Students will have access to testing via Wellness Services during business hours and through Campus Safety after business hours. Employees continue to seek symptomatic testing off campus.

Best wishes to all as you wrap up this term and complete your final assignments, and safe travels to those who will be leaving campus over break.  Take and enjoy a deep breath!  Please continue to watch your email for additional information before the start of term. And if you have any questions, please contact  coronainfo@lawrence.edu.

Be well and stay well,

VP Card

Mask Guidelines for Spring Break & Spring Term | March 4, 2022

Dear Lawrentians, 

As promised in our previous community message, we write to share the university’s new policy on masking.

The CDC’s recently updated guidance on mask usage states that in areas considered to be low or medium risk (i.e., low number of new cases in communities and the availability of hospital treatment), residents may wear a mask based on personal preference. Our current numbers on campus—2 positive test results out of 559 tests on Monday—demonstrate low virus activity in our community. In addition, Outagamie County is currently categorized as low risk.

With both the campus and community numbers in the low range, the Lawrence campus will transition to being a Mask Friendly campus starting on Thursday, March 17, 2022. We will continue to require masks throughout the remainder of winter term to allow our community to prioritize our energies on completing the term. It also affords us time to transition into our new masking guidelines.

Being a Mask Friendly campus means that masks can be worn by anyone at any time on our campus but are not universally required. Addition, individuals may determine their own guidelines for their individual space, meaning that:  

  • Faculty may require masks in classrooms based on room capacity, air ventilation, and/or personal preference.
  • Students may require guests to wear masks in their residence hall rooms.
  • Employees may require others to be masked in individual offices.
  • Meeting and event organizers may also require the use of masks. 

The LPPT asks that we continue to demonstrate care, respect, and compassion for each other in our community. Individuals who prefer to be masked may obtain additional high-quality masks, including 4-ply masks, KN95s, and/or N95s, from Wellness Services. These provide the best protection from infection.

We will continue to recommend that individuals wear masks if they are ill or have COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, there will be times when individuals will be required to wear masks following current health protocols, such as individuals who have been identified as close contacts or who are in the five-day period following the completion of isolation for COVID-19. 

LPPT will continue to monitor the COVID-19 activity on campus, pivoting as necessary to continue to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus. 

We hope that you are excited as we are to take this next step. We ask that we continue to honor the wellbeing of others as we continue to make this important transition. 

As always, please send any questions or concerns to coronainfo@lawrence.edu.   

Be well and stay well,   
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

P.S. We are also excited to host three vaccine booster clinics during the month of March. If you still need to receive a booster, please be sure to visit the on-campus clinics on March 7, 17, and 29, all in the Warch Campus Center’s Pusey Room. Find more information on the upcoming clinics in the LU Insider.  

Looking Forward to Spring Term | February 28, 2022

Dear Lawrentians, 

As we turn to the final two weeks of winter term, we write today to provide information on spring term, as well as guidelines for spring break. 

The results from this week’s surveillance testing show continued improvement in mitigating COVID-19 transmission on our campus. Out of the 731 community members tested last week, we received 5 positive test results. The current total of active cases on campus is 8, down from 17 last week and down from the high of 85 last month. 

Additionally, given the CDC new masking guidelines, the LPPT is currently in the process of reviewing our current masking policies for campus. The LPPT will share a recommendation on masking related to this guidance on Thursday, March 4.  

After two terms of Honoring the Pledge and working to protect the wellbeing of our campus and community, we plan to enter spring term with new protocols that will allow us to experience more of campus life, while continuing some of the practices and protocols that supported our good outcomes this fall and winter.

Spring Term Protocols

We plan to open spring term in Yellow Light. This means that:

  • All students who are on campus in any capacity at the start of spring term will be tested on Monday, March 28. Additional information regarding testing will be forthcoming.
  • All eligible community members need to be up-to-date with their Covid-19 vaccines, including booster shots.
  • Curricular and co-curricular activities will be in-person, following safety protocols. 
  • All dining spaces, including Brengel Dining Room, Kaplan’s Café, and affinity group spaces will be open. Grab-and-go options will remain available. 
  • University offices and buildings remain closed to the public. Campus guests must be accompanied by a host as outlined in the Guest Policy.  

If testing results upon our return to campus reveal positive results below 1%, we plan to shift our status to Green Light. In addition to the protocols listed above, the following protocols will be in place during Green Light:

  • All curricular and co-curricular activities will remain in-person. 
  • All academic and administrative buildings will be open to the public (no key card access required) from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. This includes the Mudd Library. 

Due to the reduced virus activity in the community, we do not currently plan to conduct on-going surveillance testing over spring term. We will continue to closely monitor viral activity on campus and in our surrounding community and reassess our testing status if necessary. 

Returning to Campus after Spring Break

For those students who are leaving campus over the break, we encourage that you continue to Honor the Pledge and follow standard health and safety protocols during your travels. We also recommend that you get tested as close as you can to departure for campus, but no more than 3 days prior to travel. PCR or home antigen tests are recommended. Our continued dedication to the wellbeing of our community over spring break is key to our ability to shift to Green Light upon our return to campus.

If you have a positive test or if you experience illness of any kind before traveling to campus, please stay home and contact the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@lawrence.edu to arrange for your arrival on campus.

The LPPT will continue to monitor the state of the virus in our community over break, and we will communicate with the campus community if our status or plans for spring term change.

Ensuring the health and wellbeing of the Lawrence community and beyond only works when we all do our part, together. We are confident that all community members will continue to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our community this spring.

Be well and stay well,  
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team

Update to Yellow Light Status | February 21, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,

The results from this week’s surveillance testing show continued improvement in mitigating COVID-19 transmission on our campus. Out of the 820 community members tested last week, we have received 8 positive test results. The current total of active cases on campus is 17, down from 32 last week and down from the high of 85 last month. This information is currently reflected on the COVID-19 dashboard, which was updated this morning. 

This encouraging trend and our desire to provide our community with more opportunities to gather on campus results in the following change to on-campus activities:

  • All dining spaces, including Brengel Dining Room, Kaplan’s Café, and affinity group spaces will reopen fully starting with breakfast on Tuesday, February 22. Grab-and-go options will remain available. Masks may be removed for active eating only.  

Please note the university remains in Yellow Light status, as viral spread in our surrounding community remains high. The following protocols remain in place:

  • Masking is required indoors regardless of vaccination. KN95 masks, 4-layer masks, or double masking is recommended. KN95 and 4-layer masks are now available in all residence halls and in the Wellness Center.  
  • Weekly surveillance testing of the campus community continues.
  • Students living on campus must abide by residential expectations.
  • University offices and buildings remain closed to the general public. Campus guests must be accompanied by a host and follow the expectations outlined in the Guest Policy.  

Please continue to Honor the Pledge and remain vigilant both on- and off-campus. As always, submit any questions or concerns you may have to coronainfo@lawrence.edu.   

Thank you, once again, for your continued dedication to protecting the wellbeing of our community. 

Be well, and stay well, 
LPPT