COVID-19 News

Megan Scott

Author: Megan Scott

Operational Status Update to Yellow | December 3, 2021

Dear Lawrentians,  

We write with good news to share with the community.  

The results of the 231 COVID-19 tests administered on campus this past Monday, November 29, revealed only one positive test result. This follows a week in which we saw a decrease in positive cases from our fall 2021 high of 29 active cases on campus to 20 last week and 5 active cases this week as of today. (Please note that this week’s test results will be reflected on the COVID-19 dashboard on Monday, December 6).  

In light of this positive trend, as well as the fact that fewer community members are living and working on campus during the month of December, we are changing the university’s operating status to Yellow Light: Moderate Risk. The following safety measures will take place immediately:  

  • Masking is required in all public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status.   
  • All campus buildings will remain closed to the public and will be accessible only by keycard.   
  • In-person co-curricular activities may resume; all participants must be masked. 
  • In-person dining spaces will remain adjusted to accommodate enhanced physical distancing.  
  • Campus is open to organized guest activity only; access to campus will be granted only via a host or through advanced registration or ticketing. Guests will be allowed to eat on campus in a designated area. 
  • Surveillance testing will continue on Monday, December 6, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Wellness Center. Students living and learning on campus are required to attend testing; employees may self-select to participate. 

While the campus community’s risk has decreased, our surrounding community is still experiencing serious community spread. We encourage everyone to remain diligent in their efforts to protect themselves and others in all of their daily activities. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster at your earliest convenience.   Please use this link to schedule your booster shot: 

As always, please submit questions to, stay tuned to your email for updates, and continue to Honor the Pledge.  

Be well and stay well,    
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team   

Immediate Operational Status Change to Orange Light | November 18, 2021

Dear Lawrentians, 

Last Thursday, we wrote to alert the community to an increase in viral spread on our campus. This week’s surveillance testing has revealed that the trend continues. As of this morning at 11:00 a.m., nine students and two employees have tested positive for COVID-19, for a total of 11 new cases so far this week. Based upon the positive cases on campus and the number of community members we are closely monitoring through contact tracing, it is clear that there is community spread on our campus. 

Due to this fact, as well as a significant increase in COVID-19 cases within the larger Appleton community, we are immediately changing the university’s operating status to Orange Light: Open, Substantial Risk.  

The following safety measures will take place immediately: 

  • All campus buildings will remain closed to the public and will be accessible only by keycard.  
  • All community members are encouraged to take extra precautions, including limiting in-person meetings and gatherings whenever possible and double masking for all indoor activities, regardless of vaccination status. Surgical masks will be available in all campus buildings. 
  • In-person dining spaces will be adjusted to accommodate enhanced physical distancing. Capacity in the Bringel 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. 
  • Outside guest activities will be limited, and guests must remain masked at all times.  

Final exams will proceed during the scheduled exam period, but location and modality may be adjusted. Faculty, please stay tuned for a message from Provost Catherine Kodat addressing potential adjustments. Students, please stay tuned for communications regarding potential changes to your exam locations or modalities. 

We recognize that the end of fall term is a challenging time during which to make an adjustment to our operational status, and we appreciate the additional stress that our students, faculty, and staff may experience. This is why we have opted to adjust our dining spaces to allow our students to safely gather with their community during meals and are working to accommodate any necessary changes to complete the term as safely as possible. 

If adjustments to our plans or operational status are needed, we will be in immediate communication with our campus community. We will also share updated information with those students and faculty who be on campus over winter break as soon as it is available. 

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.  

As always, please submit questions to and stay tuned to your email for updates. 

Be well and stay well,   
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team  

Important COVID-19 Update | November 11, 2021

Dear Lawrentians, 

While we update our COVID-19 dashboard every Monday, reflecting the previous week’s testing results, we write today to update you on the current status of the virus on campus. 

This week’s testing results and individual reporting have revealed an increase in viral activity. Eleven students have tested positive for Covid-19 this week, bringing our total number of student cases since November 7 to 13. All students who tested positive are currently in isolation, and none were in violation of the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge. 

With this uptick in cases, as well as our transition to colder weather, it is more important than ever that we continue to Honor the Pledge. Our collective efforts have reduced the spread of the virus on campus this fall. Let’s continue to work together to protect our community and finish the term as safely as possible.   

Additional information on this week’s testing results will be available on the Covid-19 dashboard next Monday, November 15. As always, questions can be sent to

Be well and stay well, 
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Important Employee Vaccine Update | September 28, 2021

Dear Lawrence Faculty and Staff,

The continuing spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across the nation and in our surrounding community remains concerning. While our ongoing mitigation efforts, such as a vaccine mandate for students, indoor masking requirements, and surveillance testing, have kept our campus healthy and safe, we recognize that further steps need to be taken to ensure the continuing safety of all community members living, learning, and working on campus.  

Vaccination and masking continue to be the most effective means to mitigate the spread of the virus. We are pleased to report that 83% of our faculty and staff, including Bon Appetit employees, have followed university guidance and have been vaccinated (or are in the process of being vaccinated) to date. While we know that the university will not achieve a 100% vaccination rate because some members of our community have medical accommodations or other waivers, we also recognize that the higher the number of vaccinated individuals on campus, the better we can contain the spread and avoid serious effects of the virus.  

To protect community health, the university will now require all faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Employees must submit proof of their completed series or that they received their first dose by end-of-day Wednesday, October 6. Exceptions will be made for medical reasons, religious beliefs, or personal conviction. More information regarding the employee vaccine policy, as well as links to accommodation and waiver forms, can be found on the COVID-19 websiteNoncompliance with this policy will result in disciplinary consequences calibrated according to the community risk level of the behavior and/or persistence of the behavior. 

The Fox Cities offers several opportunities for vaccination, and more detailed information regarding vaccination opportunities can be found on the Wellness Services websitePlease submit your proof of vaccination or an accommodation/waiver form to Human Resources by emailing

Our students remain our inspiration, as 95% of our student body is fully vaccinated (or are in the process of being vaccinated), and we are confident that our faculty and staff will follow their commitment to Honor the Pledge. Please also remember to stay home if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, or fatigue.  

We remain grateful for your dedication to protecting the health and safety of our community. As always, please email if you have any questions. 

Be well, and stay well, 
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Update on Fall Plans & Operational Status | August 24, 2021

Dear Lawrentians,   

It has been wonderful to see the Lawrence campus come to life as new and returning students, faculty, and staff arrive for the start of our academic year.  As we continue our preparations for our return to campus, we write to share updates on the university’s plans for fall and its operational status.  

Thanks to our campus-wide commitment to Honor the Pledge, which includes vaccination, mask wearing, surveillance testing, and other mitigation strategies, we look forward to in-person living, learning, and working this fall. This means:  

  • All members of our community must agree to honor the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge at the beginning of each term. Please complete the Pledge now if you have not done so already.The Pledge includes full participation in COVID-19 surveillance testing and adherence to the campus guest guidelines.  
  • Residential Education is prepared to welcome new and returning student arrivals as in a traditional year, while following our current safety protocols. Please note that Little Exec has been reserved for potential quarantine and isolation needs.  
  • New Student Orientation activities for incoming students will begin on September 9, as well as a sophomore orientation so that a portion of our returning sophomores can experience a more robust welcome to campus.   
  • Faculty are planning for in-person classes. Please consult the course catalog for more specific details.   
  • Staff are returning to campus, and all student-facing offices will be fully staffed by the start of classes on September 13.  

The pandemic has taught us to be agile, which is why we have developed plans to modify our housing processes, course modality, and workplace rules if necessary. Vaccination and masking continue to be the most effective means to mitigate the spread of the virus. To date, we have heard from more than 80 percent of our students, and 96% of responders are fully vaccinated or plan to receive their vaccination upon their return to campus. 4% percent of responders have submitted waivers. 85.6% of our faculty and staff are fully vaccinated. In addition, surveillance testing resumed with the arrival of fall athletes and Summer Institute participants last week (results available on the COVID-19 dashboard). We remain grateful for your dedication to protecting the health and safety of our community. 

Yet the alarming spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across the nation and in our surrounding community is extremely concerning. While our continued mitigation efforts have kept our campus healthy and safe for the last 18 months, we must rethink and reconsider the campus’ current operational status considering current pandemic trends. Following the protocols and metrics noted in the Stoplight GuidetheLawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT)has changed theuniversity’soperational status to Yellow Light: Open, Moderate Risk. 

The following safety measures will take placeimmediately: 

  • Surveillance testing will be increased. All students will be tested upon their arrival. Beginning on Monday, September 20, all unvaccinated individuals and a larger sample of vaccinated individuals will be tested weekly. Any member of the Lawrence community may participate in weekly testing if they are asymptomatic. Wellness Services will provide more information regarding testing location and procedures soon. 
  • Masking is required indoors regardless of vaccination status.  
  • High-traffic and affected areas like classrooms and Andrew Commons, among others, will be deeply cleaned regularly. 
  • Campus is open to organized guest activity only; access to campus will be granted only via a host or through advanced registration or ticketing. 
  • All campus buildings can only be accessed by keycard. 

The university’s operational status will remain Yellow for the foreseeable future or until evidence suggests we move in a different direction. As we have for the last year, the LPPT will continue to monitor CDC and public health guidelines and consult with local and regional experts throughout the term. If adjustments to our plans are needed, we will be in immediate communication with our campus community.     

It is because of our dedication to one another and our collective resilience that we can return to campus this fall. We look forward to coming together again as a community . . . even in a modified way.  As always, please submit questions to and be sure to read the weekly LU Insider each Thursday for additional updates and other campus news.  

Thank you, again, for your commitment to your fellow Lawrentians.  

Be well and stay well,  
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Renewed Lawrence Campus Community Pledge | June 8, 2021

Dear Lawrence Community,

Thank you all for your continued resilience and dedication to Honor the Pledge. To date, more than 75% of our on-campus community is fully vaccinated, and, for the third week in a row, no active cases of Covid-19 are present on campus

As we transition into summer, we are introducing a renewed Lawrence Campus Community Pledge. This renewal is informed by recent CDC guidance for communities like ours with a high level of fully vaccinated members, which allows for those communities to expand permissible activities and behaviors that carry a low risk of viral spread.

The renewed Pledge will take effect Monday, June 14, and operate throughout the summer.As we have each term, we ask that all community members living, learning, or working on campus affirm the pledge by completing this form in Voyager.

Please note that proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or an approved waiver is required for students to live or work on campus this summer. Students should send vaccine records or waiver, as well as questions about your vaccine status, to We strongly encourage the rest of our faculty and staff to be vaccinated so we can continue to reintroduce a richer sense of community and belonging here on campus. Faculty and staff should send vaccine records to Please also anticipate a renewed Pledge for Fall 2021 to affirm closer to the start of the new academic year.

We look forward to spending the summer together. Please contact with any questions.

Be well and stay well,
Lawrence University Pandemic Planning Team

Update to Masking Protocols | May 14, 2021

Dear Lawrentians,

Thank you for your commitment to Honor the Pledge. Your ongoing efforts have helped us sustain a COVID positivity rate of less than 0.5% for the majority of Spring Term. Thanks also to those able to be fully vaccinated. As of this week, nearly 75% of our campus employees and more than 50% of our students learning on campus are fully vaccinated. These are efforts of which we should be so proud. 

Based on scientific evidence and guidelines from the CDC and because of our community’s diligence, the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT) has determined that members of our community are able to be outdoors and unmasked, regardless of one’s vaccination status, in most situations. Specifically: 

  • Regardless of vaccination status, if you are outdoors and at least 6 feet from others, you do not need to wear your mask. 
  •  For all outdoor physically distant activities, masks are no longer required unless specified by the event organizer, e.g. Commencement. Masks are still recommended for crowded outdoor spaces and large events when physical distancing is difficult. 
  •  If you meet the conditions to be unmasked outdoors, you maintain the personal choice to wear masks in these settings. 

Please remember that masks will continue to be required in all indoor public areas. Masks may be removed in these areas if you are eating. 

The opportunity to return to a more familiar and personal experience as we gather outdoors is a positive step as this challenging year comes to a close. As health and safety guidelines are evolving nearly every day, we will continue to explore strategies that both allow for us to build community, while prioritizing the health and safety of our community in our decisions.

Please stay tuned to additional details on this shift and any other COVID-19 related news here and in the LU Insider. Also, please contact with any questions or comments. Thank you, again, for your commitment to your fellow Lawrentians.  

Be well and stay well, 
The Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Fall 2021 Plan Update | April 28, 2021

Dear Lawrence Community,  

A few weeks ago I shared the news that the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT), in consultation with campus colleagues and public health experts, was developing plans for Fall Term. In the meantime, our community commitment to Honor the Pledge has continued to keep infection rates below 0.5% for most weeks during this academic year. Many members of our community have also diligently pursued vaccination.  

Thanks to this shared effort, we can now confirm our plan to return to in-person living, learning, and working this fall. The university made this decision grounded in the guiding principles that have framed our planning from the pandemic’s inception:  to protect the health and safety of our community; to sustain our academic mission; and to support faculty, staff, and students. We continue to pair these principles with our core Lawrentian values of community, equity, and student empowerment.  

To protect community health, we will require all students accessing or residing on campus to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. This requirement begins this summer and joins the existing requirement that students be immunized for various other highly contagious diseases. Exceptions will be made for medical reasons, religious beliefs, or personal conviction. Faculty and staff are highly encouraged to be vaccinated. Aspects of university activity will be restricted to vaccinated individuals in order to sustain community health. For members of the Lawrence community who are living, learning, or working on campus, the Fox Cities offers several opportunities for vaccination

Thanks to the efforts of many, our plans for the fall are now taking shape.  

  • Faculty have worked hard to reestablish in-person classes.  The class schedule provides more specific details.  
  • In-person services provided by staff offices are being evaluated and expanded to meet the needs of all constituents. 
  • The housing lottery has begun.  All residence halls will be available except for 300 South Meade Street (Big Exec) and the guest houses along North Park Avenue, which will be reserved for potential quarantine and isolation needs.
  • We have relocated new student move-in and orientation from September 6 to September 9.  This orientation will be augmented with online programs provided during the summer for incoming students. 
  • For students currently in their first year at Lawrence, we also plan to provide time before the Fall Term begins to reconnect to campus. More information regarding orientation and move-in dates will be shared in the coming weeks. 

We know the pandemic will continue to have an impact on campus life. We will adapt the university’s health framework as the CDC and others provide new guidance. Additional information will be provided by the LPPT in the coming weeks and months, including:

  • Updated health and safety protocols, including changes to the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge, surveillance testing, and campus guest guidelines.
  • New rules for hosting public events and providing public access to campus. 
  • New guidelines regarding employee density in campus offices and departments.
  • An updated travel policy.  

We are planning a live question and answer session for students and families, as well as for faculty and staff, within the next few weeks. Please stay tuned to your email for additional details.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about our plans, or other issues surrounding the pandemic, please email  

Even as we create a framework for the fall, we need to continue to be flexible as new information and conditions unfold. If adjustments to our fall plans are needed, we will be in immediate communication.  

Examples of our community’s creativity and resilience will always be foremost in my many memories of my time at Lawrence. Thank you, again, for your commitment to your fellow Lawrentians. 



Mark Burstein