March 31: Weekly COVID Update

Message to Davidson students from the Core COVID Response Team:

The Situation

We have two positive cases on campus. Your attention to safety measures and concern for each other continues to help. Thank you for remaining on campus during the last mini-break, and we encourage the same next week. Please remember that we cannot relax our vigilance. The CDC reported a 12 percent rise in the seven-day average of cases and hospitalizations nationally. France is entering a third lockdown.

The Good News

Despite the context nationally, we continue to manage the virus on campus. Recognizing that, students are now permitted to have one guest per resident in their room or apartment.  The following guidelines remain: 

  • Only Davidson College students may be guests in a residential space.
  • No student may be provided card access to a living space that is not their own.

More Good News

This week we switched to testing only once. We are extending once-a-week testing to next week. We will carefully monitor any spread of the virus on campus, and that will determine if once weekly testing will continue beyond next week. Scholar athletes will continue testing under NCAA requirements.

Thank you for those who signed up for tomorrow’s clinic or encouraged a friend to go. Please remember to upload your proof of vaccination to the Student Health Portal.

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March 27: Sign Up for Davidson College Campus Vaccination Clinic on April 1

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

We are holding two COVID vaccine clinics in the next two weeks. 

The first is on Thursday, April 1, and is being organized in partnership with Atrium Health. This clinic is only for the campus community, and students will have priority in signing up. So we ask that students sign up for this clinic

We understand there may be circumstances that require a student to sign up for the second clinic, on Saturday, April 10. That clinic, however, is being organized in partnership with the Town of Davidson and the Mecklenburg County Health Department and is for the public, who do not have access to our earlier clinic. So we would ask that, if at all possible, you take advantage of the April 1 campus clinic.

Davidson College employees will have the opportunity to sign up starting Tuesday, March 30, for any unused time slots at the April 1 clinic. On Wednesday, March 31, we will open any remaining appointments to employee family members. We will send an email notification with details if those opportunities develop.

To schedule an appointment: Signup for the April 1 vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

UPDATE: You do not have to have a “MyAtrium” account before signing up.

You will be required to show your CatCard at the appointment.

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March 26: The Fall Semester

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

We plan to be fully in-person in the fall – working, teaching and learning. Read more about our plans.

Students taking classes should plan to be in residence in the Fall. We recognize that circumstances could change between now and August, but our expectation is that all students will be in residence. Students may not elect to be remote for the Fall semester. The college will contact and work with international students if COVID-19 travel restrictions impact students’ fall travel plans.

Staff who have been working remotely should plan to be on campus by August unless you have worked out an arrangement under our telecommuting policy with your division head. If you have questions, staff should contact Kim Ball. We also plan to have two vaccine clinics on campus during the first two weeks of April, and details for signing up will be coming soon.

Information about COVID vaccines and how to get one.  

We expect the overwhelming majority of classes will be taught in person. We understand that the current course catalogue still lists remote and hybrid courses. Those listings have been changing, and the percentage of courses with at least some in-person component have been increasing, rapidly. We ask your patience as COVID vaccines are rolled out and faculty are, then, positioned to ensure in-person instruction. Faculty who need any information or assistance with securing a vaccine can check the employee information page. Alternatively, faculty can sign-up for the vaccination clinic scheduled to be on campus on April 1 or the public clinic on April 10.

Education Abroad

Effective immediately, Education Abroad will revert to program approval policies that were in place prior to the pandemic regarding what countries are cleared for travel and study.

Last year the U.S. State Department issued a warning against all international travel, and we instituted a temporary policy on study abroad based on the CDC’s assessment levels for individual countries. The State Department has since rescinded that warning.

We now will return to following the State Department’s assessments of risk to travelers. This removes the prohibition on using funds for travel to a country with CDC Level 2 or higher advisory.  As before, the college’s International Education Committee must approve individual programs.  The Office of Education Abroad maintains the list of approved programs.  As part of the approval process, the Office of Education Abroad and the committee will review each program’s COVID safety protocols as well as U.S. Department of State advisories and other factors by June 15.  Travel to countries with U.S. State Department level 4 advisory is not permitted.  Additionally, if the committee feels a program is unable to support students adequately given ongoing risk factors, they may suspend approval of programs.

Students traveling to higher risk locations will have to fill out waivers acknowledging risks, and must be prepared to submit a plan detailing the precautions they will take to protect their health and safety, and the health and safety of others, and what steps they will take if their country experiences a lockdown. OEA will communicate more details on these requirements to students over the next few weeks.

Individual programs are still making determinations whether they will run in the fall or not, so it is possible that a student would get approval but then have their plans fall through.

Thank you, again, for understanding as we work through constantly changing circumstances here and around the globe.

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March 26: Vaccine Clinic for Campus – Thursday, April 1

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

We have partnered with Atrium Health to hold a COVID vaccine clinic on Thursday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  It will be held in the upper level of Belk Arena.  Appointments will be by signup only, and students will be given priority in the opportunity to sign up.  We will open signup to employees through a tiered process. Here is what you need to do:

  • If you don’t already have a “MyAtriumHealth” account, please create one here now.
  • Watch your email closely, as we will announce when signup begins.
  • Show up for your appointment.
  • Upload your proof of vaccination to the Student Health Portal, for students; and employees please submit your document through the link on Inside Davidson.

Students and employees in the weekly testing group who are fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination will be excused from weekly testing. Being fully vaccinated is defined as starting two weeks after the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. You also will not have to be quarantined if you come into contact with an infected individual.

Fully vaccinated students will, however, be tested if they are symptomatic. Unvaccinated students and unvaccinated employees in the weekly testing group will continue to test weekly. And all students and employees will be required to continue wearing a facemask, practicing physical distancing and using the symptom tracker. 

This clinic is scheduled to offer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. There will not be a follow-up shot. If you received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine you should NOT sign up for this clinic. If you are waiting for your second shot of either of those vaccines, the provider you used should provide access for you. If you need additional information on finding sources for either of those vaccines, North Carolina’s vaccine website may help.

If you are not here on April 1, we have partnered with the town of Davidson and Mecklenburg County Health Department for a public vaccine clinic on Saturday, April 10. Information on signup for that clinic is expected to go out later today. No group will have priority in signups.

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March 24: Weekly COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

The Situation

We have 3 active cases. We are doing great in watching out for each other. THANK YOU!

The Vaccines

Davidson College is planning two vaccine clinics:

We are partnering with Atrium Health to hold a COVID Vaccination Clinic on campus as soon as possible. College students are in the group that is eligible starting April 7, but Gov. Cooper may accelerate the timeline. We have a request in to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for 1,000 doses of vaccine, and our working date is Tuesday, April 6, under the assumption that the eligibility date gets advanced.  Alternative dates are April 9 and April 13. We will notify you of the date and the process to sign up as soon as the information is available.

The college also is partnering with the Town of Davidson and the Mecklenburg County Health Department to hold a public vaccine clinic on Saturday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Vance Athletic Center in the Baker Sports Complex. This will be open to the public, as well as campus. Appointments will be available through an Eventbrite registration. We will alert you as soon as the registration link is available. 

We also will be able to inform you soon about options for students who are not able to receive the vaccine on campus.  

The Stats 

Keeping a count of how many students or faculty and staff have been vaccinated will be challenging, as it is voluntary whether they disclose that information to us. It would help if, when you get your shot, you could report it on the Student Health Portal:

  • Go to davidson.studenthealthportal.com.
  • Log in using your Davidson credentials.
  • You should see a line at the top that says “You have pending forms.”  
  • Click on that and it will take you to any outstanding forms, including the COVID vaccine form.  
  • Please enter the date(s) of your vaccine and then upload a copy of your vaccine documentation.  

The Calendar

You should have received an email from Dean Snipes, in Student Life, about the schedule for moving out between May 1 and May 13. Please remember that if you leave the area after classes end, you may not return for final exams and will have to complete finals remotely. 

The Car

Effective immediately, the Baker Complex Parking Lot ONLY will be first come, first served for the rest of the semester. Anyone can park in any spot. This is a temporary change through the end of this semester and does not carry over to the fall.

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March 17: Weekly COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

The Situation

We have six active cases on campus. In our most recent conversation with North Carolina officials, they emphasized that the state is ahead of the national average in terms of the decline in cases and hospitalizations and that the positivity rate has not been as low since before last summer. At the same time, they emphasize that we can’t let up on our preventive measures, a message echoed in Germany’s announcement yesterday of a “third wave.”

The Vaccine

Starting today, those who fall into the first wave of Group 4 are eligible for a vaccine, so that’s anyone on campus with an underlying health condition who has not already received their vaccination. Everyone else will be eligible on April 7.

The Fall Semester

Our primary goal in the fall will be the same as today: keeping our community safe, and that includesminimizing community spread of the virus. We also know that vaccines are becoming more available, and we are looking at ways to re-establish the unique features of our residential liberal arts community, those moments of mentoring, time spent learning alongside each other and chance meetings that make Davidson special.

We are encouraging as many faculty, staff and students as possible to receive a vaccine. Faculty and many staff already are eligible, and everyone else will be soon. We continue to pursue a possible vaccination clinic on campus, but in the meantime, you can find resources about finding a vaccination site here. We need our eligible community members to receive the vaccine in order to return to more in-person activities on campus and reduce restrictions on events and college-sponsored travel.

Our faculty are starting to get vaccines and prepare for a shift back to in-person instruction for the fall. The email from Registrar Angie Dewberry yesterday likely gave you a sense of that. At least 84 percent of fall classes are scheduled to have some in-person component, whether hybrid or fully in-person. That’s up from about half this semester, and the interest is increasing with vaccine availability and the success of our health and safety guidelines in preventing spread of the virus in classrooms. And, like you, our faculty find teaching remotely to be stressful and, for many, unsatisfying and isolating.

We are confident that, barring a significant surprise from the virus, we will be able to return safely to in-person teaching in the fall. We share your great desire for that and that we all want to do so without compromising our health and safety requirements that are serving us well.

We remain prepared to adapt, as conditions of this pandemic change rapidly. We will be prepared to respond in the event that community spread increases or variants of the virus pose significant risk. The COVID Core Response Team will continue to monitor conditions and will be prepared to adjust in order to keep our community safe.

We hope this gives you a sense of what Davidson may look like in academic year 2021-2022, and we look forward to a day when we see each other outside of a small square. Thank you for what you have done for each other, from small gestures of kindness to moments of inspiration.

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March 10: Weekly COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

The Situation 

We have four active cases on campus (the dashboard will be updated), and we remain grateful for students’ help in bringing, and keeping, this number down.

The trends in North Carolina continue going in the right direction.

The Vaccines

We mentioned last week that most students will fall into Group 4 in North Carolina but in the second wave of that group. (If you are unsure where you fall in the groupings, you can use this survey to find out.) Group 4 vaccinations were scheduled to begin on March 24 for those with high risk medical conditions and two other at-risk groups, however state officials yesterday said they are optimistic that will start sooner. No date has been announced yet for the rest of Group 4.

Right now, the state includes students who live on campus in the second wave of Group 4, because they are in a group living setting, specifically residence halls. Students who live off campus would, at the moment, fall into Group 5, unless they have an underlying health condition. 

We want to help every Davidson student who wants a vaccine to get one. We continue to regularly meet with state officials and stay on top of changes in vaccine schedules and availability. We are actively exploring the possibility of a vaccine clinic on campus, but the window between when all students will be eligible and the end of the semester is narrowing. And enormous questions remain around vaccine availability and, as you see from the first paragraph of this message, a constantly shifting timeline. 

Once you are vaccinated…please let us know. We are creating a form in the new health portal so that you can tell us when you have gotten your shot. We hope to send you a link in next week’s update.

Once you are vaccinated…your weekly testing assignments will continue, and you will still be expected to follow the safety protocols on campus until we receive more insight and guidance from the CDC. These guidelines are part of our shared obligation to support and protect each other.

The Guidelines

We hope we soon can relax some of the restrictions on campus, particularly regarding guests in rooms. During last week’s mini-break, as many as 200 students left the Davidson area, and we are only now at the point where the impact of that on positive tests will start showing up.  We plan to assess the data on Friday, examine options and report back to you then. Please look for any update to be included in your weekly testing assignment email sent by the COVID Testing Team on Friday afternoon.  

Many of you have asked questions about using institutional funds for study abroad travel to higher risk countries (CDC Level 2 or above) in the fall, and the short answer is that we don’t know yet whether it will be possible. There are many changing variables in the U.S. and the countries where students would study. Our hope is to have better visibility on what is possible by late April. Students’ health and well-being is paramount.

Lastly, our numbers improved because of your vigilance. The reverse easily can come true. Simply put: egregious violations of our safety protocols, such as parties, or repeated violations over a weekend or in one night will result in your being sent home. 

Thank you for helping us and each other navigate these unpredictable days. Stay safe and well.

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March 3: Weekly COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

You may have seen news reports about changes in the schedule for COVID vaccinations for various groups.  We remain in regular contact with state and county officials regarding vaccinations and are staying on top of information that could be helpful to you.  We wanted to pass on two key pieces of information, which you already may be aware of.

For Students

On March 24, North Carolina will open vaccinations for some but not all people in Group 4.

What does it mean? – Most of you will fall into vaccination Group 4, because you are in a close group living setting or because you have an underlying health condition.  If you would like to confirm your group, you can answer a few, quick questions on this page.  Group 4 vaccinations are now scheduled to begin on March 24. However, the state’s guidance says that they will start with those with a high-risk medical condition and two other at risk groups.  Those who are in Group 4 because  they live in a college/university congregate setting (a residence hall or dorm) will follow at a later date.  We will provide more information about the schedule and how you can access the vaccines as it becomes available.

For Faculty and Staff

Vaccines for those in Group 2, adults 65 and older, have been available. 

Vaccines for those in Group 3 – frontline, essential workers – are available starting today, a week earlier than previously announced. Messages have gone out to faculty and affected staff with more detail.

Other employees fall into Group 4 as workers in an essential industry. Those vaccinations are scheduled for March 24 if you have a high risk medical condition and a later, not yet scheduled, date for everyone else in that group.

What does it mean? – If you are a staff member identified as Group 3 or a faculty member coming to campus and meeting with students, we encourage you to sign up right away and be vaccinated as soon as possible. Please see Information about Vaccinations for Davidson College Employees for guidance on signing up to be vaccinated.

Thanks to all of you for helping us bring the number of cases down and for helping and supporting each other.

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