COVID-19 News

Community Updates

Category: Community Updates

Preparing for Fall Term | August 10, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,

We hope that you all have had a relaxing and rejuvenating summer, and we look forward to welcoming our new and returning students back to campus. As members of our community will begin to arrive within the next week, we write today to provide updates on our health protocols for the academic year.

Based upon the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College Health Association (ACHA), and our regional health department—and consistent with the Lawrence Campus Community Pledgepersonal responsibility will be key to our pandemic response strategy this year. With the availability of testing and continued development of vaccines and boosters, combined with our own experiential knowledge we have gained over the last two years, we are confident that we can adjust our approach while also keeping the health and wellbeing of our community at the forefront of our efforts.

As noted in the June 22 message to the community, we will start the academic year fully in-person. This means that all curricular and co-curricular activities will be in-person and proceed using each room’s full capacity limits. Courses, rehearsals, or lessons will not be held virtually or asynchronously unless warranted by a change in operational status, and students who test positive for COVID-19 will follow standard guidelines for illness as outlined in the Course Catalog.

Campus Community Pledge 
Lawrence’s success in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the Lawrence campus can be attributed to our community’s dedication to Honor the PledgeThe pledge outlines the living, learning, and working tenets for all members of our campus community and asks each of us to take an active role in the care, health, and wellbeing of ourselves and fellow Lawrentians. Vaccinations, daily symptom monitoring, and personal responsibility are key components of the pledge. We encourage members of our community to familiarize themselves with the Pledge before arriving on campus.

Vaccination Protocols  
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 members of the Lawrence community are required to be fully vaccinated—meaning all students, faculty, and staff have received all vaccination doses in the primary series and a booster if eligible—prior to arrival on campus. Exemptions may be granted to individuals based on a medical condition, strong religious or sincerely held belief, or personal conviction.

Additional information about updated or new boosters may be forthcoming this fall, and we will communicate any changes to our vaccination requirements as soon as possible, including new deadlines for required boosters.

Proof of vaccination, including a booster dose, must be submitted to the university. Students are required to provide vaccination documentation to Wellness Services at WellnessServices@lawrence.edu, and employees are required to provide this information to Human Resources at HumanResources@lawrence.edu.

Arriving on Campus 
All new and returning students are encouraged to be tested within 72 hours prior to traveling to campus. If you test positive prior to your arrival, please email the Dean of Students at DeanofStudents@lawrence.eduto make alternative arrival plans.

  • All students will be provided with two rapid response tests upon arrival on campus.
  • One will be used for testing immediately upon arrival; the second is to be saved for use if symptoms develop.
  • If students test positive upon arrival, immediately contact Wellness Services at WellnessServices@lawrence.edu for further instructions.  

Employees who are returning to campus after an extended absence should take a test prior to your arrival. If you test positive, contact Human Resources and your supervisor, and isolate accordingly.

Symptom Monitoring 
As is highlighted in the Pledge, self-monitoring is one of the most important steps we can take to remain a healthy community: 

Students should contact Wellness Services if they test positive. Please see the Wellness Services webpagefor additional details. Employees should contact Human Resources if they test positive. Employees do not need to report a negative test result.

Testing
Wellness Services and Campus Safety will have tests on-hand for students if needed. Employees can purchase tests at their local pharmacy. You can also order tests for free from the federal government or use health insurance. We will not conduct regular surveillance testing during fall term and ask that all community members living, learning, or working on campus Honor the Pledge.

Masking Protocols
We plan to start the fall term as a Mask Friendly campus. Being a Mask Friendly campus means that masks can be worn by anyone at any time on our campus but are not universally required. Additionally, 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.
  • Printable signage is available in the Communications Tool-Kit if needed.  

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community, follow the most current guidance from the CDC and ACHA, consult with local health agencies, and adjust our protocols if necessary.

To stay up to date on all COVID-19 protocols and information, we encourage you to visit the COVID-19 News webpage regularly. In addition, please read the weekly LU Insider e-newsletter, as well as emails from Wellness Services. Any questions or concerns regarding our fall plans or other issues can be emailed to coronainfo@lawrence.edu. As always, be well and stay well.  

Sincerely,
Rich Jazdzewski 
Dean of Wellness Services  

Update to Green Light, Mask Friendly Status | June 28, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,  

We write today to announce that the Lawrence campus will transition to Green Light status starting Wednesday, June 29, 2022. This transition also includes shifting to a Mask Friendly campus. 

Currently, one Lawrence community member living or working on campus is in quarantine or isolation, and positivity rates are on the decline in our surrounding community. These facts, along with the university’s status as a highly vaccinated community, informed our decision to update our status.   

Green Light status means that: 

  • All curricular and co-curricular activities will remain in-person. 
  • All academic and administrative buildings will remain 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
  • Students living on campus must abide by residential expectations

Being a Mask Friendly campus means that masks can be worn by anyone at any time on our campus but are not universally required. Additionally, 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.  
  • Printable signage is available in the Communications Tool-Kit if needed. 

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 and KN95s, from Wellness Services.  

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 viral activity on campus, pivoting as necessary to continue to mitigate the spread of the virus within our community. 

Thank you, as always, for your care and cooperation, and please send any questions or concerns to coronainfo@lawrence.edu.    

Be well and stay well,    
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team  

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 Saturday, September 10.

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 

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.  

Update from LPPT | January 19, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,  

Today, we write to share a few updates regarding our transition back to in-person curricular and co-curricular activities. 

Positivity Rate on Campus 
This week’s COVID-19 Dashboard shares results from last week’s testing, which shows total active cases at 81 (61 new student cases and 20 new employee cases). The numbers reflect both on-campus testing results and off-campus test results submitted by community members. We recognize that this is the highest number of active cases we have seen to date. As we have shared, we are not surprised to see an increase in the positivity rate among members of our campus community due to the Omicron variant’s high rate of transmission. One thing that is important to note is that we administered 1,000 more tests last week than the previous week. While our active case numbers did increase week over week, the actual percentage of positive cases decreased from 5.84% to 3.0%, which shows that our current mitigation efforts are working. 

We encourage us all to remember that Lawrence is a highly vaccinated community—94% of our students and 93% of our employees are vaccinated. As we have learned, breakthrough cases of the Omicron variant are inevitable. We also know that vaccinated individuals, particularly those who have received a booster, are less likely to experience severe infections. This is why we require all vaccinated individuals to get a COVID-19 booster shot if eligible and submit proof of having received the booster as soon as possible. Students should send their proof to Wellness Services; employees should send their proof to Human Resources. 

Testing 
Over the winter break, we transitioned to a new testing firm. We used this firm for surveillance testing for community members participating in D-Term and did not experience delays or disruptions to our testing process. With our full community’s return to campus and the increase in testing numbers—both on campus and around the nation—we are seeing concerning delays in our testing results. Our colleagues in Wellness Services are in touch with our testing provider daily to address and resolve these delays.

In the meantime, we ask for everyone’s patience as we work to resolve these issues and continue to conduct our weekly surveillance testing. Please check your email regularly for any updates and information about individual and campus-wide surveillance testing.

Return to In-Person Classes 
While most community members were able to return to in-person classes yesterday, there are individuals who are not in compliance with the university’s testing policy: Faculty, students, and staff must take two on-campus or local COVID-19 tests, 3-5 days apart, as part of our safe return-to-campus process. These individuals have been contacted, are not currently attending classes, and will need to be compliant with our testing expectations before returning to classes. 

Due to the recent testing result delays, there is a small number of students, faculty, and staff who received a negative result on their first test and would have been in compliance with our policy if their second negative test result was received in a timely manner. For those individuals, LPPT decided after robust discussion to allow them to return to in-person classes, following all current safety protocols. Wellness Services identified those individuals and contacted them on Tuesday morning so that they could attend classes.

We believe this was the best decision for our community at this time. Our goal is to ensure that as many individuals can participate in our academic program, being mindful of the health and welfare of our community and the fact that we are a highly vaccinated campus with strong mitigation strategies in place.

If faculty or students have concerns about the decision or practices within their classroom, please email coronainfo@lawrence.edu. We will be in touch as soon as possible to address your concerns.

Masking 
Masking is required in all indoor public facilities, regardless of vaccination status. We recommend a KN95 mask or double masking, pairing a cloth mask with a disposable surgical-style mask, as these provide the best protection against the virus. Learn more about the proper way to wear your mask here.

Our first order of KN95 masks for the community has arrived on campus. These have been placed in residence halls for students and are also available in Wellness Services. Additional masks have been ordered and will be distributed accordingly once they arrive.

Again, we thank you for your continuing patience and diligence as we navigate the pandemic. We will continue to update our campus community as soon as possible when additional information or a shift if operational status is needed. 

Be well and stay well, 
LPPT