Dec. 4: COVID Questions and Updates
We wanted to update you on a few topics that have raised questions, appeared in the news or both.
CDC Quarantine Guidance – The CDC issued guidance this week saying that quarantine for someone exposed to a person who tested positive can be reduced to seven days with a negative test result and ten days with no test. This guidance is based on reducing the burden on those who are quarantined and provides flexibility to health professionals. The CDC’s 14-day recommendation remains in effect. The CDC acknowledges that shortening the quarantine carries additional risk. We have data from the testing in our community, including testing among those in quarantine, that will guide us on any quarantine adjustments. For now, our medical team plans to continue the 14-day protocol.
Vaccines – North Carolina officials said this week that they are preparing to receive the first shipment of a COVID vaccine, once approved, which could be as early as January. The vaccines would be free for everyone. State officials recapped their vaccination plan, submitted to the CDC last month, in saying that the first round of vaccines would go to priority populations, such as frontline health care workers, including first responders and long term care staff and residents. Succeeding rounds would include: those with two or more chronic conditions and those in high risk settings. Vaccines for K-12 and college students would be available in phase three of the plan. That would be after more than two million people in the preceding groups have been vaccinated, according to the plan. Leaders from Davidson and other colleges and universities in North Carolina continue to meet regularly with state health officials.
Returning to campus – Our plan remains to return to campus at the end of January. We continually monitor the guidance from public health officials and the COVID data for our surrounding community, the state of North Carolina and beyond. We would approach any changes in our plans as we did in the fall – based on our ability to operate with as little risk as possible to our community, looking at questions such as whether we still have sufficient quarantine space or whether we still have the staff and resources to serve meals, maintain cleaning or manage an outbreak.
Plans for Faculty and Staff – We attached the November 12 email which should answer questions about Winter Break and returning in the spring. The key takeaway: If you were working remotely in the fall, plan on continuing that in the spring unless you and your manager agree on a change.