Jan. 30 COVID Cases

Message to students from the Core COVID Response Team:

You likely have seen the rise in COVID cases reflected on our dashboard this week. We are monitoring the health of everyone in isolation and quarantine, and we have space for both. 

Many of you are leading by example and following our guidelines. THANK YOU. However, a major cause for this uptick: the failure of some  to follow the health and safety measures to which we all have committed. 

In particular, many of these cases have been traced back to indoor gatherings, going to restaurants and to individuals having multiple close contacts. 

It is within all of our power to keep the number of cases under control by following the guidelines. What you do, fulfilling our shared obligation to each other, enables us to stay here.  PLEASE lead by example. Stay healthy and keep your friends out of quarantine. 

The COVID Response Team is evaluating additional measures, for example: closing common spaces such as the Union and moving to takeout only for all dining.

We need your leadership and we need your help. This is a caring community. Let’s look out for each other—no gatherings; wear a mask; stay on campus.

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Jan. 27: Campus COVID Update

Message to the Davidson Campus Community from the Core COVID Response Team:

We write with a COVID update. 

At this time, nearly all residential students are here.  They started returning in late December, and by mid-January we had about 600 students in residence or nearby. Over the past weekend, the remainder of students living on campus or nearby returned. 

We’ve been testing students on campus regularly since early January. This past Monday (January 25), we tested roughly 975 students and 16 were positive. Of these, 3 had arrived over the weekend, 5 were rapid tests given as a result of contact tracing, and 2 were already in quarantine as a result of previous exposure. We’re monitoring all of these students carefully and attending to their needs. 

We can’t pinpoint a single source for this significant uptick in positive cases, and there likely is no single explanation. Some of the students who tested positive are on either the football team or the women’s soccer team. Out of an abundance of caution, students who play on these two teams are taking extra precautions through the middle of next week. These precautions include no organized practice, drastically scaled down conditioning, participating in class remotely and using takeout options for dining.  

We want to stress that these students don’t meet the criteria for quarantine (within six feet for a period of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) and are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution. They will continue to be tested three times per week. 

During these initial few weeks of the semester, we expect that we will continue to have positive cases with no obvious source. Given the prevalence of the virus, we won’t know where every case originated. What we do know, however, is how we can contain the spread: 

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • Stay six feet apart
  • Limit your close contacts [to your roommate(s) if a student] 
  • Wash your hands
  • Leave campus or home only for essential trips

Thank you for your help and leadership. 

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Jan. 26: We Need Your Help and Leadership

Message to students from the Core COVID Response Team:

We write today, just two days into the official start of our semester, with sobering but not unexpected information. Initial on-campus testing has indicated a number of positive cases. We’re ensuring that these students have access to what they need. 

Given the prevalence of the virus nationally, we expected positive cases. We also know that these numbers will rise in the next few weeks. Even with PCR testing, it can take two weeks after COVID exposure for a person to test positive. 

To manage these next few weeks, we need your help and leadership. We need you to follow these guidelines:

  • No visitors in your apartment (on or off-campus) or room. 
  • Do not gather indoors. 
  • Limit your close contacts to your roommate(s).
  • Stay on campus; leave only for essential trips (e.g. to the grocery store or CVS).
  • If you must drive,  have at most one other person in the car with you. You and that person wear a mask. Your passenger sits in the back seat. Open the windows.
  • Do not go to restaurants, bars, or indoor recreation areas. Stay on campus as much as possible.  
  • Wear a mask all the time. Stay six feet apart. 

With your help, we can manage through these initial weeks, we can limit spread on campus, and we can keep each other healthy and out of quarantine so that we can be together all semester. Thank you for your help and reach out with any questions. 

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Jan. 22: Welcome Back

Message from the COVID Response Team to welcome back students:

We’re excited to see you back on campus and what we know are smiles underneath masks. You already received a lot of information about move-in, so this is what you need to think about after you have settled into your room.

You are the reason we were able to be together on campus last semester – your hard work and concern for each other. We know you bring that same dedication and support with you this weekend…and your patience. We have to be careful and care for each other, as COVID-19 is surging. The latest mutation of it already is presumed to be in the state, and it will take up to two weeks for any virus brought on to campus to show itself in a positive test result. So our safety guidelines will be stronger for the first two or three weeks, specifically:

  • You will be completing COVID tests two times a week.
  • No visitors in your room.
  • Houses on Patterson Court that are serving meals will be takeout only.
  • Lake Campus will be closed.
  • New tents, some with heat and lights, are up on campus to serve as destinations for eating and gathering, while still following safety protocols.  We encourage students not to visit restaurants in town during this time.

We know that these things detract from the kind of experience that we want at Davidson and that creates the distinctive, tight community here. We also watched last semester as you found creative ways to build connections across 6-foot buffers, through masks and along the digital path between laptops.

Thank you, again, for meeting the challenges of this semester with the determination and kindness that helps define our community.

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Jan. 20: Important Information About this Weekend (Jan. 23-24)

Message to students arriving on campus Jan. 23 and 24:

We are excited that we will see you this weekend and hope that your travel is both safe and uneventful. To help move-in run smoothly, here is how the weekend is going to work:

Students living on-campus are permitted to arrive between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, or Sunday, January, 24 to move-in.

All move-in traffic must go through the Ridge Road entrance, which you reach by turning on to Ridge Road from Main Street. This includes students arriving by rideshare and friends. All other campus entrances will be closed to move-in traffic.

We will ask the arriving vehicles to line up on Ridge Road as each students' pre-arrival COVID test status is checked in our database. Students who are cleared will head onto campus, and students who are not cleared will proceed to our on-campus rapid testing site.

Because we anticipate test results will be coming in continuously, we will not be notifying most students if they are clear before they arrive. Students who have positive tests are immediately notified, so students who have not yet heard are either clear or we don’t have your results yet.  

Vehicles will be given a dashboard parking pass at the Ridge Road entrance which will allow you to leave and enter campus through other entrances thereafter (Glasgow Street, Baker Drive, etc.). Hang on to that special parking pass. You will be required to have it any time you depart or return to campus throughout the weekend. Students who are already on-campus can pick-up a dashboard parking pass in the Residence Life Office during business hours starting Thursday, January 21. 

Please be prepared by bringing masks for everyone coming to campus. Masks are required while checking in and any time you are outside of a vehicle, and following the guidelines from Dean Snipes' January 14th email. 

Students who are arriving after 5 p.m. need to coordinate with Dean Shaffer (jashaffer@davidson.edu) as soon as possible, before departing home for campus.

Travel safely and we'll see you at the Ridge Road entrance between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. this Saturday or Sunday!

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Jan. 14: How to Return to the Residence Halls Spring 2021

Message to students living on campus about their arrival process for spring 2021. 

As the college continues to adapt to the circumstances related to COVID-19, all things are subject to change.

The Move-in Process

We anticipate everyone has been abiding by public health guidelines in their communities and our goal is to create the safest and healthiest possible arrival and move-in for all parties. Students are required to adhere to all provided and posted check-in expectations.

As stated in the email students received on Friday, January 8, 2021, “students living on-campus can move-in on either Saturday, January 23rd, or Sunday, January 24th.”  RLO will not assign you a move-in period nor do you have to tell us in advance which date you will arrive.  However, you must arrive between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the arrival dates in the effort to confirm your negative COVID-19 test results. 

Due to testing limitations, students must arrive before 5 p.m. on each date. Students who believe they cannot arrive prior to 5 p.m. must email Dean Jason Shaffer (jashaffer@davidson.edu). For now, those students must plan to remain off-campus for the night and check-in the next morning.

Though we understand students can have circumstances that warrant a request to arrive earlier than the January 23, 2021 arrival date, we are not approving these early arrival requests for the spring 2021 semester.  Students will have to arrive at the established arrival dates and adhere to all check-in processes. 

Students moving into a new residential space for spring 2021 may bring up to two assistants to help at move-in. The assistants may only be in the halls while bring belongings to the room and must leave the hall once everything is moved in to minimize the amount of non-resident contact.  We ask students and families to understand that we are working to meet expectations that will allow us to be residential in the spring and request their understanding at this time.  Please contact the Residence Life Office by emailing rlo@davidson.edu with any questions. 

Move-in Requirements

Before you arrive on move-in day, there are several tasks you will need to complete: 

  1. As stated in the email sent on January 8, 2021, you must complete and mail your COVID-19 test on Monday, January 18, 2021.  Tests are shipped by FedEx, which still operates on the holiday. As contained in the January 8th email, “Your test kit directions include a different timeline, but please send it on the 18th, as that allows for the current transit and processing time. If you did not pick up a test kit or you lost your kit, you MUST get tested and provide us with the test result BEFORE arriving on campus. Please email Covid-student-testing@davidson.edu for details on how to get those results to us or if you have other questions or concerns.”
  2. Please follow public health behaviors, including social distancing and wearing face coverings, so that you arrive on campus in the best possible health. The college must have a negative test result before you can return to the residence halls or receive your residence hall room key. 
  3. All students will need to enter Davidson College via Ridge Road. 
    • The other entrances to the college will have restricted access. 
    • Once you enter Ridge Road, you are to follow the directions until you are approved to return to your residence hall
    • If we do not have your test results upon entrance, you will be directed to address any testing concerns prior to being approved to return to your room.
  4. For those students moving into a new room, you must adhere to the following steps:
    • Come to the Residence Life Office (located between Belk Residence Hall and Vail Commons)
    • Only the students can come to the check-in station
    • Present photo identification (CatCard, driver’s license or passport). you will receive a new CatCard during the check-in process. Your old CatCard will no longer be active, but can be used as identification at check-in.
    • Wear a mask or face covering
    • Participate in physical social distancing (six feet distance from the nearest person)

Collecting Spring 2020 Belongings

For those students who received an email about their personal belongings being stored over the summer 2020, please remember to obtain your belongings from Physical Plant.

  • Physical Plant packed the items in your spring 2020 room into boxes moved and stored at the Ridge Road Warehouse. Items that would have spoiled were discarded.
  • Physical Plant labeled the box with your spring 2020 assignment (i.e. Belk 101)
    • If you shared a room with another student (i.e. double, triple, or double suite), your items were placed together in the boxes.
    • If you lived in a private room, but share common space (i.e. Tomlinson suite/pod), the items in the common space were boxed and labeled based on the suite/pod (i.e. Tomlinson 101) and the items in your private room were boxed and labeled based on the room (i.e. Tomlinson 101A). 
  • Physical Plant kept an inventory list of the boxed and non-boxed items by room number.  Physical Plant did not inventory the items within the boxes. 
  • To obtain your belongings, you must schedule an appointment. Email jilowe@davidson.edu to schedule an appointment to obtain your belongings. 
  • Physical Plant will store the items until two weeks after the first day of the spring semester class.
  • Failure to obtain your belongings after the deadline will result in your items being donated or discarded

Possibly Going Remote for Spring 2021

The last day for a student to move out of the residence halls (e.g., take a personal leave, participate in remote learning for the remainder of the spring 2021 semester, or move off-campus) and be eligible for a housing refund is Friday, February 5, 2021. The student will need to complete the official move-out process within 48 hours to be eligible for the refund. Additionally, students would be eligible for a prorated dining refund.

Other Important Items

  • The Covid Shared Responsibilities from fall 2020 are still in effect. 
  • Students will only have CatCard swipe access to the hall for which they are assigned.  
  • The COVID Core Response Team has reinstated restrictions on guests and visitation. This means no visitors are permitted in resident student rooms for the first several weeks of the semester. This does include significant others and close contacts. You may receive additional directives or recommendations from the COVID Core Response Team. 
  • RLO will not grant apartment access requests for students not assigned to a specific Martin Court apartment until further notice. 
  • The lounges not converted to student rooms will remain closed to assist in adhering to guidelines regarding social gatherings in the residence halls.     
  • To meet the guidelines and expectations of the College regarding spaces for gathering, the following are prohibited:
    • All parties are prohibited until further notice. 
    • No open consumption of alcohol is allowed anywhere on campus except for alcohol purchased at and consumed on grounds of the Summit Outpost. Open consumption remains prohibited in the Armfield Courtyard and Patterson Court areas.
    • The community kitchens (Akers, Chidsey Hall (main lobby), Duke, Irwin, Knox, Little, and Tomlinson), those areas are closed until further notice.  As guidelines for open kitchen usage change, RLO will update students in the hope to adjust the current decision

If other questions arise, please email rlo@davidson.edu.

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Jan. 12: How We Get to Stay

Message to students from the Core COVID Response Team about returning to campus:

We were able to return to campus and stay this past fall because each of you took and shared in important steps to keep each other safe. Thank you. 

We return to campus in two weeks. Here are three critical toolsets that will help us remain through the semester:

Doing What You're Doing

Wearing masks indoors and outside. Keeping your distance. Participating in routine testing. Tracking your symptoms. Avoiding risky gatherings.  

COVID numbers are up. The threat is real, and these techniques have proven to help protect us and the people we care about.

Living Up To Our Shared Obligations

We are grateful for the community’s broad commitment to our COVID-19 Shared Responsibility in the fall and look forward to continuing that commitment to each other's health and well-being this spring semester. Your actions can mitigate the risk of the virus spreading on campus.

Any COVID-19 Shared Responsibility violation incurred by a student in the fall for failing to adhere to our guidelines, such as violating the guest policy or not wearing a mask in a required area, stands. Violations are not "erased." Any student who has already received a formal warning and incurs another violation this semester will be considered for removal from campus. Students who refuse to follow the guidelines will not be allowed to stay. Please note: if a student is removed from campus they will not be able to complete any "fully in person" classes that they have. Our deep desire is that all students are able to remain on campus.  

Getting Extra Help

This spring, we are encouraging each of you to take one more, voluntary step to help protect each other and yourself. The college encourages all student, faculty and staff smartphone owners to download and use the SlowCOVID NC app, available at no cost from the Apple App Store and Google Play (Android) app stores.

What does SlowCOVID NC do? This app alerts you if you were in close proximity for 15 minutes or longer to other, anonymized app users who later have a confirmed positive test for COVID-19. And, if you test positive for COVID, you can use the app to anonymously alert others. Many colleges and universities (including Queens, Catawba and CPCC in the Charlotte area) are encouraging the use of this app by their campus communities.

What does it NOT do? The app does not track anyone. It does not collect or share personally identifiable or location data, or share COVID exposure information with the college, public health officials or Apple or Google, whose technology it uses. 

Is this another app I have to activate each day? No. Once the app is installed and set up, you’re done. You will only interact with it if you test positive for COVID or if you were a close contact of someone who tested positive. 

Who developed this app? The app was developed by North Carolina’s Health and Human Services Department, using technology developed by Apple and Google together. 

How does this app alert me to a COVID exposure without identifying me? 

  • The app exchanges anonymous IDs between phone users that are in close contact (6 feet or less for more than 15 minutes). 
  • After a confirmed positive COVID test, an app user can receive a PIN code from a public health authority and should enter it in the app. Other app users who were close contacts receive a notification on their phone that they may have been exposed to COVID. (Specifically, your phone regularly checks the anonymous IDs of app users who have confirmed positive tests against the anonymous IDs you have had close contact with.)
  • These notifications are anonymous, both between app users and with authorities (the college, public health officials, Apple/Google, etc.)

Does this app take the place of the Symptom Tracker that we have been using?  No, the two apps do different things.

  • SlowCOVID NC provides anonymous warnings of possible COVID exposure between individuals after a positive COVID test. No data come to Davidson, and the use of this app is voluntary.
  • The symptom tracker prompts you to think about whether you have any symptoms and, if you report that you do, gives you instructions about what you should do next. You are required to use the Symptom Tracker on any day that you are going to come to campus, and if you have symptoms you must follow the instructions and confidentially let the college know your status. 

Why is Davidson recommending SlowCOVID NC? This app is one step among many to help reduce COVID transmission by helping potentially exposed community members take preventative steps early, hopefully before they may become infectious to others. Research from Oxford University and Google highlights that exposure notification apps can significantly reduce infections over time within communities.

What do I need to do? After installing and setting up the app, please keep these three things in mind:

  • Continue all other precautions: Wear masks, keep social distance, complete the daily symptom tracker, wash your hands and notify Student Health & Well-Being or Human Resources if you are ill. SlowCOVID NC is one additional step we encourage you to take.
  • Remember to keep Bluetooth on: The app doesn’t track your location, but does rely on Bluetooth to determine exposure risks.
  • Take action if you’re notified: If you receive an exposure notification message on your phone, please contact Student Health & Well-Being or Human Resources and follow the instructions you receive.
  • Take action if you test COVID positive: If you receive a positive test result, follow the instructions you receive from Davidson or public health officials and enter into the app the PIN code that will be provided to you. Only when you do this will others who may be at risk receive an anonymous notification.

These frequently asked questions about SlowCOVID NC tells you more about the app and how it works, including how it protects privacy. 

If you need help downloading and installing the app, please contact the T&I Support Center (ti@davidson.edu, 704-894-2900). If you have other questions, please contact Student Health and Wellbeing if you are a student and HR at 704-894-2020 if you are an employee. 

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Jan. 8: Move-in Dates

Message to students about spring 2021 move-in dates:

We hope you are well and safe in the new year. Thank you for your patience as we received information from public health officials that helped us plan move-in dates.  

We want you to know that students living on-campus can move-in on either Saturday, January 23 or Sunday, January 24. You pick which day, and you don’t need to tell us in advance. However, you MUST arrive between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on either day so that we can confirm your negative COVID-19 test results. 

More information about that move-in process will be shared in future messages.

Please complete and mail your test on Monday, January 18. Your test kit directions include a different timeline, but please send it on the 18th, as that allows for the current transit and processing time.

If you did not pick up a test kit or you lost your kit, you MUST get tested and provide us with the test result BEFORE arriving on campus. Please email Covid-student-testing@davidson.edu for details on how to get those results to us or if you have other questions or concerns. 

We’re excited to have you back on campus. Travel safe.

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Jan. 5: COVID Vaccinations

Message to employees about COVID vaccinations:

Several of you have inquired about vaccination plans at Davidson, and we want to provide you with the latest information from the state and Mecklenburg County and how it affects our employees.  

In the most recent development, Mecklenburg County announced yesterday that the Public Health Department is now scheduling vaccination appointments for adults 75 years or older.  Find more information and the link for requesting an appointment on the MECKNC.gov website. Other counties, such as Gaston, also are offering vaccinations, and you may wish to consult their public health department webpages.

The cost of the vaccine is covered by the state, but the vaccination itself may be charged to your healthcare coverage. The government has classified the vaccination as a preventative service that healthcare plans must cover at 100 percent, so you will not have to pay anything for being vaccinated, even if you have not yet reached your annual deductible.

NC’s COVID-19 vaccinations plans divide vaccinations into five phases. 

The first phase includes primarily health care workers and long term care residents and staff, and they are receiving their shots.  

The second phase (officially labeled 1b on the state’s website) is divided into three groups. The second group includes frontline, essential workers over the age of 50, and the third group includes frontline, essential workers of any age. Yesterday we received clarification that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is including employees in the education sector as frontline, essential workers and at greatest risk for work-related exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 under the following definition: "their work-related duties must be performed onsite and their duties involve being in close proximity (<6 feet) to the public or coworkers."

Colleges and universities will be required to submit information about those employees who will be eligible for vaccination under that definition. Those working remotely will not qualify. 

We expect the state to release information soon about the process for applying for vaccination authorization for essential workers, and we will begin to work on that application immediately upon receiving that guidance.

Some of you also have emailed us to ask about whether vaccinations will be available at the college. We do not expect the college to be a vaccine site. It also may not be possible to get a vaccination through your primary care physician, as many practices will not have capacity to store and administer the vaccine to large numbers of people. We currently expect that most vaccinations will be provided at sites set up by county health departments and/or healthcare networks, and possibly at pharmacies. We will provide more specific information about locations as it becomes available.

We know that many in our community are understandably anxious to understand how and where vaccines will be administered. The state is figuring this out now, and we are in regular contact with state health officials and other schools in the state and are following this closely. We will continue to communicate regularly when we have new information to share.

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