COVID-19 News


Category: Uncategorized

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 and stay tuned to your email for updates.  

Be well and stay well,    
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team

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 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   

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

Be well, and stay well, 

Operational Status Update to Yellow Light | January 28, 2022

Dear Lawrentians,  

The results from this week’s surveillance testing shows that our mitigation strategies—and our community’s dedication to Honor the Pledge—continue to work. Out of the 872 community members tested on Monday, we have currently received 19 positive test results. This week’s full testing results will be shared on the COVID-19 Dashboard on Monday, January 31. 

Given this positive news, and our desire to provide our students with more opportunities to gather on campus and more fully participate in Lawrence’s curricular and co-curricular activities, the university’s operational status will change to Yellow Light starting immediately.  

This change in status means that the following activities will now be permitted:  

  • University-sponsored travel will resume following all appropriate CDC guidelines. Lawrence community members must continue to Honor the Pledge on any university-sponsored trips.  
  • Bjorklunden will be open for co-curricular (non-credit bearing) trips. All trips will be voluntary, and visitors must acknowledge the increased risks associated with travel and lodging prior to the trip. If you will be visiting Bjorklunden on an upcoming trip, please look for your registration packet via email prior to your visit.  
  • Dining options in Warch Campus Center have been extended to include Mead Witter Room, in addition to Brengel Dining Room and Somerset. Dining spaces remain adjusted to accommodate enhanced physical distancing. Grab-and-go options will remain available; Kaplan’s Café will continue to only offer grab-and-go meals. Affinity group kitchens are open for physically distant eating. Masks may be removed for active eating only.    
  • Co-curricular activities may include dining options, as long as participants are physically distanced and wear masks when not actively eating. 

Please note that the following protocols remain in place:  

  • Masking is required indoors regardless of vaccination. KN95 masks or double masking is recommended. KN95 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

Submit Proof of Booster Shot by February 9 
The university requires all vaccinated individuals to get a COVID-19 booster shot if eligible and submit proof of having received the booster by February 9. Students should send their proof to; employees should send their proof to  

If you have not yet received a booster, please note you can schedule them locally at CVS, Walgreens, or locations listed on the Wellness Services webpage; local same day appointments are available. 

It is important to remember that community spread of the virus remains high in Appleton and the Fox Cities. This is one of the main reasons why we want to provide more opportunities for our community to gather on campus, where we know our mitigation efforts have been effective in slowing the spread of the virus and protecting the wellbeing of Lawrentians. We do ask that all community members continue to Honor the Pledge and remain vigilant both on- and off-campus. 

Your ongoing dedication to protecting the wellbeing of our community continues to inspire us. As always, please submit any questions or concerns you may have to  

Be well, and stay well,   
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team

Return to Work & Testing Update | January 7, 2022

Dear Faculty and Staff,

We would like to thank you for your efforts to Honor the Pledge as we begin winter term. We write today to provide an update on the plans for returning to work and testing next week, January 10-14.

The university currently plans to resume in-person instruction starting on Tuesday, January 18. All community members living, learning, and working on campus must abide by testing protocols: faculty, students, and staff must take two on-campus COVID-19 tests, 3-5 days apart, as part of our safe return-to-campus process. Two rounds of testing help us to best track the presence of the virus on campus and mitigate its spread, allowing us to return to the in-person campus experience more quickly.

Those employees who have not yet returned to campus should continue to work remotely during the week of January 10-14, but must report for COVID testing on Monday, January 10, or Tuesday, January 11 and, again, on Thursday, January 13, for a second test. Testing is offered in the Wellness Center between 8:00–10:45 a.m. and 12:00-4:45 p.m. Employees may return to work on campus after receiving two negative test results.

Employees who are unable to attend on-campus testing may submit proof of two negative COVID tests (taken 3 days apart) to Human Resources at We will accept both PCR and antigen tests (see the FAQ or more information on antigen tests); it is important that both tests are administered locally.

Student employees will be permitted to resume working at this time. They may work remotely during the week of January 10-14 if their position allows. If this is not possible due to the nature of their position, student workers may work in campus offices and spaces after receiving two negative COVID tests.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience. We will continue to monitor the situation both on campus and in our surrounding community. If an adjustment to our plan or operational status is needed, we will be in communication with the campus community.

Please continue to send questions to, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Be well and stay well, 
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

Important Winter Term 2022 Update | December 23, 2021

We have updated the message below to reflect the following: “Please note that students who arrive on campus on or after January 9, 2022, will be entitled to a refund of the room and board charges for the first week of winter term.” The original date listed for arrival in the email message was January 8. We apologize for the confusion. — LPPT, 12/23/21

Dear Lawrentians, 

Today we write with an important update for the Lawrence community regarding our plans for winter term 2022 and the university’s operational status.  

Since the close of the fall term, the pandemic has continued to evolve. The introduction of the Omicron variant has resulted in rapid community spread across the country and world, with a surge expected to hit the Fox Cities region in January. As a highly vaccinated community with standing practices and protocols in place, including weekly surveillance testing and contact tracing, we have managed to live, learn, and work with the pandemic over the last 18 months. While the risk of severe illness from Omicron appears to be low at this time for those who are fully vaccinated and boosted, the risk of contracting this highly transmissible variant, even among vaccinated community members, is high.  

This risk has led us to change the university’s operating status to Orange Light: Open, Substantial Risk, and to adjust our return to campus in the new year. 

Changes to Winter Term  
Winter term will officially begin as planned on Monday, January 3, 2022, beginning with all curricular and co-curricular activities taking place remotely. The following changes will take place: 

  • Remote curricular and co-curricular activities will be extended through the second week of classes, January 10-14. We will evaluate the status of campus during the second week of classes with the intention of resuming in-person classes on Tuesday, January 18, after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. 
  • Student move-in will be moved back one week to Sunday, January 9. We understand that this shift may be difficult for some students, as travel plans may not be able to be adjusted. Special accommodation for those who need to return to campus on the original move-in date, January 2, may be arranged.  
  • We ask that all returning students fill out this survey by Tuesday December 28, to let us know when you plan to return to campus. 
  • All meals will be grab-and-go through Monday, January 17.  
  • Personnel who provide direct support to the student experience, including Student Life, Facilities, Campus Services, and Bon Appetit, are expected to report to work as scheduled following the winter break, unless otherwise informed by your supervisor. 
  • All other personnel should work remotely, if possible, during the first week of January. Please contact your supervisor if you have any questions. More information regarding ongoing work arrangements through January will be shared by January 7. 
  • We are currently awaiting guidance from our athletics conferences to determine the next steps for our winter sports. 
  • All official university travel except athletics competitions is suspended until further notice.  

Please note that students who arrive on campus on or after January 9, 2022, will be entitled to a refund of the room and board charges for the first week of winter term. This will appear as a credit on their student accounts. 

Return to Campus & Testing 
Students and employees living, learning, and working on campus are expected to adhere to their commitment to Honor the Pledge, which includes adhering to the following:  

  • All community members will take a pre-test before returning to campus. More information on recommended tests and what to do if you cannot access a test can be found on the Covid-19 FAQ. Only return to campus if your test is negative. Students who test positive should contact the Dean of Students at to make necessary arrangements. Faculty and staff should contact Human Resources at and their supervisor.  
  • All students and employees will be tested upon their return to campus. Students and employees on campus during the first week of January (January 3-7) will be tested on January 3 and, again, later in the week. Students and employees returning during the week of January 10-15 will also be tested twice. Please stay tuned to your email for additional information regarding testing. You can also visit the Wellness Services website as we update information. 
  • All vaccinated community members must get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible. Information on booster eligibility is available here. While breakthrough cases of the Omicron variant are inevitable, it is proven that a booster shot significantly lessons the severity of infection. You can use this link to schedule your booster shot:  
  • Vaccinated community members need to submit proof of a booster as soon as possible. Students send proof to Wellness Services at; employees send proof to Human Resources at Information regarding individual booster deadlines will follow shortly from Human Resources and Wellness Services. 
  • Students and employees on campus will participate in regular surveillance testing. Weekly surveillance testing will resume starting the week of January 17. Unvaccinated individuals will be tested each week; vaccinated individuals will be randomly selected for ongoing weekly surveillance testing. More information on testing can be found on the Wellness Services website

All community members are also 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. It is also important that we continue to practice other health protocols like physical distancing and hand washing.  

Moving Forward 
We recognize that this change in operational status, particularly during the winter break and holiday season, is a challenging one for us all. All changes allow us to provide greater flexibility for our campus community to obtain boosters, confirm negative test results, and address potential health concerns related to holiday gatherings and travel. We greatly appreciate our community’s continuing flexibility, patience, and dedication to one another as we continue to adjust and adapt to the challenges the pandemic brings.  

new set of FAQs have been added to the COVID-19 website, which addresses questions regarding testing and other important information regarding winter term. Please also continue to submit questions to As the university remains closed until January 2, we will respond to you as quickly as we can, and we greatly appreciate your patience as you await a response.  

We will continue to monitor the viral situation on-campus and in our surrounding community, following CDC guidance and working with our local health agencies. If adjustments to our plans or operational status are needed, we will be in immediate communication with our campus community.  

As we have said many times before, we are confident that together we will overcome this challenging moment for our community. We wish you a safe holiday season. 

Be well and stay well,   
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team  

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   

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