COVID-19 News

Community Updates

Category: Community Updates

COVID-19 Update from LPPT | January 11, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,

As is reflected in this week’s update of the COVID-19 dashboard, we have seen a significant increase in the number of positive cases as our community returns to campus. Based on regional and national trends, we are not surprised to see this level of increase due to the Omicron variant’s high rate of transmission. We continue to follow appropriate guidance to mitigate the virus and reduce its impact within our campus community and write today to share more information regarding our response to the current situation on campus.

A total of 30 students and 16 employees were identified as new cases last week. Our total active cases on campus, which includes on- and off-campus test results, stand at 62 (38 students, 24 employees). Those community members who have tested positive for the virus or have been contact traced are currently in isolation or quarantine on campus, at an approved off-campus location, or at home. 

In anticipation of the increase in positivity rates, the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team secured additional quarantine and isolation (Q &I) space for our students, supplementing our on-campus Q & I space with rooms through Airbnb and local hotels as needed. These spaces were secured so that we can mitigate the effects of virus and reduce the spread of infection on campus.

Students who test positive or are contact traced will be notified by Wellness Services of the details regarding their temporary Q&I housing assignment. Members of the Dean of Student’s office, Spiritual and Religious Life, and Wellness Services offices then provide support to students, regardless of their location.

While any increase in positivity rates is a concern, 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—and have seen around the world—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. 

The goal of our surveillance testing and health and safety protocols is to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus and to keep the Lawrence community as safe as possible. This is especially true as we face a variant that spreads quickly regardless of vaccination status. To help us ensure that all Lawrentians remain as healthy as possible, we would like to remind all community members to do the following: 

  • 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
  • Double mask or wear a KN95 mask in all indoor public spaces. Given the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, these actions provide the best protection. Masks are available in all campus buildings, and KN95 masks for the community have been ordered and should be available prior to the start of in person classes. We will share more information upon their arrival. 
  • Continue to practice health and safety protocols like physical distancing where possible and washing your hands. 

Over the last week, we received questions regarding the availability of COVID-19 tests on-campus outside of our surveillance testing.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 at other times. Employees who experience symptoms should seek testing off-campus. More information regarding our testing protocols can be found on the Wellness Services website

All current policies and procedures, including the guest policy, will continue to be reviewed and adjusted by LPPT as needed to ensure that we are responding to the current situation on campus. We will also continue to review the results of this week’s testing closely and will be in touch as soon as possible regarding results and/or any adjustments to our plan to return to in-person learning next week on Tuesday, January 18.  

Recognizing that more students may be in quarantine and isolation than in the past, we want to remind students that the Center for Academic Success and individual faculty members will work to help students keep up with their coursework if they are in quarantine or isolation when we return to in-person classes. 

Please continue to send questions to coronainfo@lawrence.edu. We greatly appreciate your patience as we work to answer questions as quickly as we can and thank you for your continued commitment to Honor the Pledge. 

Be well, and stay well, 
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Returning to Campus & In-Person Learning | January 7, 2022

Dear Lawrentians, 

We write today to share more details about your return to campus and our planned return to in-person learning.

At this time, the university plans to resume in-person instruction starting on Tuesday, January 18. Students need to be on campus before January 18 and be prepared to attend classes in-person by that time, abiding by test protocols (i.e. obtaining one test upon arrival to campus and a second test 3-5 days after arrival). This means that you should return on January 9 or 10, so that you can be fully tested before the start of in-person classes. 

Once we return to in-person instruction, remote learning options will not be available.  If a student is unable to return to campus prior to January 18 and complete the testing requirements, they should contact the Dean of Academic Success (cas@lawrence.edu) to discuss the options available to them. These options will be limited to exceptional cases and students who remain at home should not expect to be able to Zoom in to in-person courses. It will not be possible for you to remain at home and take courses remotely for the entire term. 

Students who fall ill with COVID or another illness during the term should follow the university catalog policy on “illness or injury” from the section on Academic Expectations for instructions on how to work with faculty to complete coursework. Faculty will work with you to make sure you keep up with the material, as they would in any circumstance in which illness or injury prevents you from attending class. 

The goal of two weeks of remote instruction is to implement health and safety protocols, such as testing upon your return to campus, so that we can mitigate the spread of the virus and successfully return to the in-person experience. Lawrence’s residential, liberal arts experience is valued by all of us—students, faculty, and staff alike—and we greatly appreciate your patience and cooperation as we work to ensure that this experience continues. 

If you have any questions regarding your coursework, please consult with your advisor or the Dean of Academic Success. Questions regarding other COVID-19 protocols can be sent to coronainfo@lawrence.edu

Be well and stay well, 
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Prepping for Winter Term | December 13, 2021

Dear Lawrentians,  

Student Life has been working hard to plan for the start of Winter Term and the arrival of students on campus after the winter break. With our continuing focus on the health and safety of our community, particularly as we enter the winter months, it is critically important that all Lawrentians arrive for Winter Term on time and complete surveillance testing. Below is important information to keep in mind prior to your return to campus. 

Vaccine Booster Shots 
CDC’s booster recommendation was updated on November 29, 2021, in response to the emerging Omicron variant. Those 18 and older should receive a booster dose of one of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) six months after the primary series or at least two months after the initial single dose of the J&J vaccine. All eligible Lawrence students, faculty, and staff should make every effort to receive their vaccine booster shot prior to the start of winter term. Please use this link to schedule your booster shot: https://www.vaccines.gov/.  

Preparing to Join Campus 
We ask all students who will live and learn on the Lawrence campus this winter to be vigilant about your safety and avoid potential COVID-19 exposure for 14 days prior to your arrival on campus. I understand limiting your contacts runs counter to the normal impulse to see friends and family before leaving, but your actions will help ensure the health and safety of our entire community. Avoiding exposure involves not only following standard safety protocols, such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing your hands, but also minimizing contacts to protect yourself and others during travel. Additionally, we encourage anyone who has not already gotten a flu vaccine to do so over winter break.   

We also encourage everyone to get tested 1-3 days prior to your 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. 

Joining Campus 
As was shared in the November 1, 2021, communication from the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team, move-in for students is January 2, 2022

All students living on campus or who will be commuting to campus, as well as faculty and staff, will be tested on the following days: 

January 3, 8:00 – 10:45 a.m. & 12:00 – 4:45 p.m. 
January 4, 8:00 – 10:45 a.m. & 12:00 – 4:45 p.m. 

Randomized testing of our on-campus population will occur weekly for the rest of the term. Since there are no pre-assigned testing appointment times, you are free to come at a time that suits your schedule. If you arrive early and there is a significant wait, feel free to come back later.  

All on-campus COVID-19 tests will be conducted by our new testing partner, Primary Health. This change will require that you complete a few important steps listed below before being tested. Please take about 5 minutes to create your account using this linkhttps://my.primary.health/l/lawrence-university-testing

As you know, participation in our campus testing regimen is a crucial aspect of our commitment to Honor the Pledge and is a required precondition for living, learning, or working on campus, in any capacity. 

First Week of Classes 
As was noted in the November 1 communication, the first week of winter term classes will be held remotely. In addition: 

  • All student meals will be grab-and-go;
  • All student activities will be held virtually; and
  • Personal residence hall rooms will be limited to room capacity +1.  

We ask that all employees conduct meetings and other gatherings virtually during the first week of the term as well.  

Our goal is to have the opportunity to test the entire Lawrence community for Covid-19 upon arrival on campus and to isolate positive cases before returning to fully in-person classes. When the testing results from the majority of students are known, we will be able to assess our status and, hopefully, resume increased in-person activities. 

Ensuring the health and safety of the Lawrence community and beyond only works when we all do our part, together. I’m confident that we will prioritize the health and safety of our community again this winter. 

Be well, and stay well, 
Rich 

Richard Jazdzewski Psy.D., LP 
Dean of Wellness Services 

P.S. A quick reminder that the university is closed from December 18, 2021, through January 2, 2022. If you do have any questions, please send them to coronainfo@lawrence.edu. We will check the inbox periodically over the break, so please be patient as you await a response from us. Please also continue to utilize the COVID-19 Website as a reference. Thank you! 

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: https://www.vaccines.gov/. 

As always, please submit questions to coronainfo@lawrence.edu, 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 coronainfo@lawrence.edu 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 coronainfo@lawrence.edu.

Be well and stay well, 
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Fall 2021 Plan Updates | July 14, 2021

Dear Lawrence Community, 

We look forward to welcoming Lawrentians new and returning in the coming months! Below, please find information on our Fall 2021 plan, including updated mask and visitor/event policies. 

When we decided that mounting a fall 2021 in-person session was of utmost importance for our community, we followed the science as we have throughout the pandemic. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is the best mechanism to mitigate risk of coronavirus spread in a community. Because of the inherent nature of proximity on a residential campus, which increases the risk of transmission of any sort, we decided to mandate full vaccination for our student population. Exemptions will be made for medical reasons, religious beliefs, or personal conviction. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. 

Lawrence is over 80% fully vaccinated as a community. This includes over 85% full vaccination for our on-campus student population from this past spring term and over 80% full vaccination among employees as of today. Thanks to this community-wide effort, and because we anticipate an even more fully vaccinated population this fall, we will meet the CDC’s definition of an institution of higher education with a fully vaccinated community.  Following the CDC guidance for Institutions of Higher Education with a Fully Vaccinated Community, we are excited to share information on the Lawrence Fall 2021 plan: 

  • We will not mandate masking for any Lawrence community member when solely amongst our community. 
  • All modes for meetings/gatherings will be available, including: in-person, Zoom/Teams, and “Walk & Talks.” 
  • We will use full room capacity limits.  
  • We should each continue the practice of having a mask with us at all times. 
  • When an individual is in their own space (e.g., personal office, personal room), that individual determines if the space is a masked space. If the space is designated as masked, then anyone entering must wear a mask. If the space is not designated as masked, then mask wearing is the decision of the visitor. At any point, someone may wear a mask. Please note: Classrooms are considered meeting spaces where faculty may require masks at their discretion.  
  • We are excited to welcome back visitors from outside the Lawrence community to campus for certain events and performances. (More information on open events will be available before students join us on campus.) When hosting or attending events that include non-Lawrence community members indoors on campus (e.g., recital, athletics event, performance), we will require all spectators and/or participants (depending on the event) to wear masks.  
     
    As stated earlier, our decision to not mandate masking within our community is predicated on our assurance that we have a highly vaccinated population on campus. We will follow CDC guidance for “mixed” populations (combination of those vaccinated and not vaccinated) of people from both on and off campus which suggests masking in these settings. 
  • In a peer group setting (e.g., student organization, department/division meeting), a request for collective masking can come from anyone and should be honored. 
  • We have designated quarantine and isolation space for those living on campus should the need arise. 
  • Disposable masks will be available in every building.  

We continue to be thankful to those who committed to our efforts this past year, making our mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 a success.  

One of the principles that facilitated our success was the community-wide agreement we all affirmed by Honoring the Pledge. We treated each other with respect and held each other accountable. Because the world is still living through the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to have a Pledge this fall outlining the living, learning, and working tenets for all in our campus community.  

Highlights of the upcoming Pledge include:  

  • Vaccination and testing (as needed) adherence. 
  • Commitment to treating everyone with respect regardless of mask use. 
  • Quarantine and isolation protocols. 
  • Encouragement to stay home if feeling ill or wearing a mask if one must be on campus.  

Please stay tuned for a future message with the updated Pledge as the fall approaches. Additionally, we will have information on the Return to Campus policy for our employees by the end of July, articulating how we are operating as a residential campus community.  

We are grateful for all in the Lawrence community who have worked so diligently to bring us to this point – preparing for an in-person session. And again, we look forward to welcoming Lawrentians new and returning. 

Find Lawrence University COVID information at https://blogs.lawrence.edu/covid-19/ and please reach out with any questions to coronainfo@lawrence.edu.  

Regards,

 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 wellnessservices@lawrence.edu. 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 HumanResources@lawrence.edu. 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 coronainfo@lawrence.edu 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 coronainfo@lawrence.edu 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 coronainfo@lawrence.edu.  

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. 

Yours,  

Mark 

Mark Burstein
President