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Scroll through these commonly asked questions to learn more about our approach to mitigating COVID-19 risk at Lawrence.

“I’m vaccinated! Why is it still important to wear a mask when I’m indoors?”

The best way to limit the spread of the coronavirus (and other illnesses) is to use a layered approach.  A virologist explained this idea using an analogy of layering Swiss cheese on top of each other (Mackay, VirologyDownUnder.com).  Each individual cheese slice has holes, but in different spots.  Similarly, no prevention measure can prevent spread 100%, but, when multiple prevention methods are layered together, prevention is much more successful.   For this reason, the LPPT has used the layered approach to on campus policy, including multiple mitigation measures: Required vaccinations, routine testing, masking indoors, and improved ventilation in key spaces around campus. Learn more about the Swiss Cheese Model of Pandemic Preparedness from the New York Times.

“Why mask elsewhere when we are already eating together in Warch Campus Center?”

Warch Campus Center offers larger spaces and an advanced ventilation system.  Masking indoors is part of our layered mitigation strategy.  Additionally, the ability to eat with friends can be an important aspect of mental health.  Risk is mitigated in large spaces with advanced ventilation among community members honoring our pledge to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Nonetheless, LPPT continually monitors campus and community pandemic variables to ensure our operational status is reflective of an environment conducive to in person activities. 

Read the CDC’s summary about ventilation strategies to reduce exposure to COVID 19.

“If we have a high vaccination rate on campus, why do I need to mask indoors?”

We want to do our best as a community to prevent post-vaccination breakthrough cases. The CDC has said that “no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness. Some fully vaccinated people will get sick, and some will even be hospitalized or die from COVID-19.”

While the odds are that most of us will not have a breakthrough case, the possibility still exists. A Yale study from September of 2021 has shown that emerging variants make it more possible for vaccinations to lose their effectiveness. Masking indoors is one of the easiest ways we can all help keep ourselves and each other safer. While we know more than we did a year ago, we still don’t know the full long-term effects of COVID-19 and therefore want to mitigate the risks for EVERYONE in our community as much as possible.


Yale Study

“If I’m vaccinated, does it matter what I do off campus?”

While our vaccination rates on campus (students, faculty, and staff) are at 95%, vaccination rates in Appleton and Outagamie County are around 57% currently (as of 10/20/21). 25% of our campus are faculty and staff who live out in the community where the vaccination rate is much lower. Masking indoors, as well as off campus, helps all of us stay relatively safe, even within the larger community.

Masking on and off campus helps us protect faculty and staff’s families since they come and go more frequently from the campus. Masking helps keep students’ family and friends safe as well since students will leave campus for weekends and breaks.

“What is the deal with the color-coded risk levels? What changes with different levels?”

Even one positive case can affect how the campus is color coded for safety. When the safety level changes, the allowable activities change along with it. If we are able to change our color-coded risk level from Yellow to Green, that could enhance our ability to hold programs in different spaces, allow students to have more students in their private rooms, or even start opening up the campus to outside guests.

If the color-coded risk level moves from Yellow to Red, we will have to close off some of the activities we have been able to enjoy, change room guest policies, switch to grab & go meals, etc. As a campus, we want to do everything we can to be able to engage with each other in person.

Stoplight Guide