Dear Lawrence Community,
Last week President Burstein alerted the Lawrence community to the alarming spread of COVID-19 in the Fox Cities. Since his original message, the situation has continued to deteriorate. Widespread transmission is present in Appleton and beyond, testing the capacity of our local health care facilities and public health departments. The results of our current round of on-campus testing indicates that we at Lawrence have continued our outstanding efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. Our rate of positivity remains less than one half of one percent—a continuing testament to your diligence in adhering to health and safety guidance.
We remain grateful for your efforts to Honor the Pledge, as it is only by working together that we will mitigate the spread of the virus and keep each other healthy. Yet the alarming spread of the virus in our surrounding community has caused the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team to rethink and reconsider our current operational status.
After careful assessment of the situation in Appleton and following the protocols and metrics of the Stoplight Guide, the LPPT has changed the university’s operational status to Yellow Light: Open, Moderate Risk.
The following enhanced safety precautions will take effect immediately:
- We are reducing the number of non-essential employees on campus to 25% or fewer. This includes both faculty and staff. Essential services, such as dining, campus safety, and Mudd Library, will continue, while diligently following all university health and safety protocols. This is in line with yesterday’s Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services emergency order limiting the size of crowds in public spaces to 25% of capacity.
- Our randomized testing pool will be increased next week to help us better assess the presence of the virus on campus during this time of increased risk. If you are selected for testing, you will receive an email notification.
- Individuals who believe they may be at higher risk for contracting the virus will be given the opportunity to participate in next week’s testing. For this context, higher risk is considered individuals who have multiple contacts with individuals off-campus. Examples may include a student who works with the public off-campus or an employee who has multiple in-person contacts with the Appleton community. These individuals have the opportunity to attend testing on Tuesday, October 13, between the hours of 8 a.m.-11:45 a.m. or 1 p.m.-5:45 p.m. Please remember you should be tested ONLY if you are not exhibiting any symptoms of the virus.
The LPPT has decided not to limit campus activities, including in-person classes, as outlined in the Stoplight Guide because there is currently no evidence that community spread of COVID-19 is present on our campus. In fact, the Appleton Health Department has advised us that our campus is the safest place for our community at this time.
To keep our campus and community safe, it is more important than ever that we do all that we can to mitigate the spread of the virus:
- It is imperative that we continue to Honor the Pledge both on- and off-campus: Practice physical distancing no matter where we are, wear a mask, and monitor your daily symptoms.
- If you reside on campus, please stay on campus as much as possible. Our colleagues in Student Life are working to provide more areas on campus where students can safely gather or study, as well as additional food options and on-campus or virtual programming. Vice President of Student Life Christopher Card will be sharing a message with the campus community tomorrow with more details on these opportunities for students.
- If you commute to or from campus to learn or work, be even more diligent in following all university health and safety protocols, as well as regional or statewide mandates. Please also consider working remotely if this is possible for you. The Texas Medical Association created a helpful guide to the health risks associated with our activities and behaviors. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these guidelines, assess your own level of risk, and avoid any activities outside of the low risk category.
The university’s operational status will remain Yellow for the foreseeable future or until evidence suggests we move in a different direction. We will continue to closely monitor and review the situation on campus and in the Fox Cities, including regular check-ins with the Appleton Health Department and local health care providers, in our weekly LPPT meetings. Any changes to the university’s status or the presence of the virus on our campus will be communicated immediately with our community.
We understand that this change in status has an impact on our daily lives, both physically and emotionally. If you are experiencing anxiety or stress, please take advantage of the many supportive resources available on campus for our community. Please continue to submit any questions or concerns you may have to email@example.com, check the COVID-19 Dashboard, and pay close attention to your email for additional updates and information.
Thank you all for your continued support, resilience, and patience as we weather this global pandemic together. It is because of your ongoing efforts that we have successfully mitigated the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.
Be well, and stay well,
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team