Dec. 21: Students Returning for the Spring Semester

Message sent to students from the Core COVID Response Team:

We share your concerns about the coming weeks and the possible impact COVID could have on the spring semester. More information from across the U.S. and around the world will take shape between now and late January, but one fact is clear today:  full vaccination makes more of our campus experience possible. Learning, activities, performances, social life and even the serendipitous encounters with friends across campus all were closer to normal this past semester because you were 99 percent vaccinated and wore masks in indoor public spaces.

That vigilance is essential to our spring semester and sustaining the residential and in-person experience for which you come to Davidson.

We will require a COVID vaccine booster shot for those who had their primary shot more than 6 months ago in order to return for Spring Semester. We understand that based on timing of your initial series, you may not be eligible for a booster until after you return to school. If that is the case, you should plan to get a booster shot as soon as you become eligible. For those who received their last shot more than 6 months ago, please take the opportunity during the next four weeks to get a booster shot. Chain drugstores and other retail outlets are offering the shots, and most states have a website that will help you locate a provider.

If you received a Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, the CDC recommends that you get one of the mRNA boosters – Moderna or Pfizer.

Please upload your booster shot information in the same way that you submitted the first shot(s), through this link. This must be done by January 20 unless you are not yet eligible for a booster. If you previously received an exemption, you will be contacted.

For the spring semester, we will continue our current policy of requiring masks in all indoor public spaces. Our greatest priority is the health and well-being of our community. We also hope to avoid any additional restrictions. Those decisions will be guided by circumstances and the guidance of public health officials, and we will provide information prior to the start of the semester about any changes. Moving to remote instruction would be a last resort, and there are many possible steps ahead of that.

We also will require a negative COVID test before you return to campus for classes on January 20. We will provide information in January about when and how to submit those results. 

The headlines about the Omicron variant extend the stress we all have endured for nearly two years, and we share both your anxiety and hope for relief. We have drawn strength and resilience from each other during these many months, and that formula will carry us through this coming semester together.

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Dec. 10: COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

We are grateful for everyone’s help in managing COVID this semester. We had a total of 22 cases in our student population, compared to 150 in Spring Semester. Vaccinations and masks were very effective in limiting the spread of the disease on campus. Students lost more class time to the flu than to COVID this semester.

We have one case among students now, off campus, that will clear tomorrow.

We are looking toward the spring semester, and we highly recommend taking the time over the break to get a booster shot and a flu shot. There are a lot of unknowns with the new COVID variant, but early reports suggest vaccine boosters are beneficial. While we’re not requiring the booster right now, this may change as new information becomes available. The CDC now recommends all people 16 and older get a COVID booster.  

Getting your COVID booster and the flu shot helps protect the overall health of our students and employees, and those vaccinations will help mitigate the impact of these infectious diseases as we come back to campus in January. 

We will send information in January, before you return, to let you know about any guidelines for the first weeks of the semester. We anticipate putting some additional measures in place, temporarily, as members of our community travel and return from across the country and around the globe.  

This is our last weekly message for this semester, and we wish you a safe and fun holiday season. 

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Nov. 30: COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

The end of the semester is starting to come into focus, and we know you are looking forward to the long break. You also likely have some questions following the various news reports about the Omicron variant of COVID. We are equally eager to learn more from national and global health authorities. Our guidelines and decisions throughout the pandemic have been premised on adjusting as circumstances guide us, and that will continue to be the case. 

We can’t provide all of the answers you seek, but below we offer a few resources that may be helpful now or if you continue to look to them for information in the coming weeks. Below those links, we have tried to answer a few questions specific to Davidson. 

Q&A

Will the college impose more restrictions? 

Thanks to you, our campus is highly vaccinated, and masks are worn inside academic buildings. That has helped us keep COVID cases to very small numbers. If we see evidence that those measures are insufficient, we will consider additional steps, as we have at previous points over the past 20 months. 

Does the college still plan on in-person classes in the spring? 

Yes

Will the college allow travel for study abroad? 

We have no plans to revoke authorizations for study abroad in the spring. Restrictions imposed by the governments of the U.S. or other nations may create barriers, and our Office of Education Abroad continues to monitor advisories and are in close touch with partner providers. Many of our partner organizations are adjusting deadlines and maintaining flexibility on plans for overseas programs. Students should revisit their travel safety plans to take into account the possibility that countries may impose travel restrictions in a short timeframe.

Will the college allow travel using college funds and insurance? 

Our existing approach on this remains in place with the same caveat that restrictions by the U.S. or other nations’ governments would create barriers to travel.

We encourage you to get your booster shot, which the CDC recommends for everyone ages 18 and older. And please get your flu shot. If you have any concerns about your own health, please remember that testing is available to all students seven days a week. Students need to contact Student Health and Well-Being between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to arrange a test. On weekends, students should go to the Tomlinson conference room between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Where we are: 

Our vaccination rates remain the same (99 percent for students and just below that for employees). We have no COVID cases on campus, and we know of two students who are at home and tested positive over the break.  

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Nov. 19: COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

The good news: Your care and work continue to help us keep COVID contained. 

The bad news: The flu is here and getting around. 

In the past week, 30 students have tested positive for the flu. Many of you already took the step of getting a flu shot – thank you – but we need your help. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot, please do. They are available at Student Health and Well-Being and at CVS and Harris Teeter. Please boost your safety steps that were helping prevent COVID and, now, will pull double duty and help fend off the flu. 

  • Wear your mask.
  • Wash your hands – a lot. 
  • Use sanitizer. 
  • Keep distance from others. 

Thank you for continuing to protect each other. 

COVID Cases

We have two active cases among students. 

Vaccinations

Employees remain at 98.5 percent vaccinated. Students remain at 99 percent. 

Boosters

Booster shots now are readily available at many retail outlets, including the CVS on Main Street. We encourage everyone to get a booster shot, and students and employees all are eligible. 

This webpage from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services synopsizes your options of what shot to get and includes a search function for finding a provider. 

Tests

We continue to test the same group of exempt students. Testing is available to all students seven days a week. Students need to contact Student Health and Well-Being between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to arrange a test. On weekends, students should go to the Tomlinson conference room between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Symptom Tracker

We have heard from employees who are weary of using the symptom tracker, and want you to know that it is still helping us stop the spread of COVID on our campus. Employees who thought they were fine (“it’s just a cold, it’s just allergy, it’s just sinuses”) but stayed off campus and got tested because of a symptom tracker response have found they were positive for COVID. We’ve limited a lot of spread with the symptom tracker this semester, and that’s still the case now. We know of 20 (mostly breakthrough) cases among employees including four positives in a recent four-day period. The symptom tracker is still serving an important role, and we appreciate your patience and diligence in using it each day you will be on campus. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Nov. 12: COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

The two critical pieces of keeping COVID in check on campus this semester have been vaccinations and masks. Thank you! We know that masks protect those around us by preventing spread of the virus. Mecklenburg County is approaching the statistical criteria that county commissioners set for lifting the county’s mask mandate. We will keep the existing campus mask mandate in place through the end of the semester, given that many in our community are expected to travel over Thanksgiving before returning to campus. In January, we will examine the circumstances and determine guidelines for the spring semester.

Booster shots now are readily available at many retail outlets, including the CVS on Main Street. We encourage everyone to get a booster shot, and students and employees all are eligible. 

This webpage from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services synopsizes your options of what shot to get and includes a search function for finding a provider. 

Federal and state health officials have advised that you can receive any brand of booster shot, but they also suggest that those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may receive a greater benefit from a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please consult your doctor. 

Cases

We have zero active cases among students. 

Vaccinations

Employees remain at 98.5 percent vaccinated. Students remain at 99 percent. 

Tests

We continue to test the same group of exempt students. Testing is available to all students seven days a week. Students need to contact Student Health and Well-Being between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to arrange a test. On weekends, students should go to the Tomlinson conference room between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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Nov. 5: COVID Update

Message from the Core COVID Response Team:

Beginning last spring, you did an amazing job of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, of protecting others in the community. As you know, booster shots are available, and federal health officials have emphasized that immunity from your original vaccination diminishes over time and that booster shots are important for continued protection against the virus. 

We encourage all of you please to get a booster shot.

This webpage from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services explains who is eligible, synopsizes your options of what shot to get and includes a search function for finding a provider. 

For students, you are eligible because you reside in a place where many people live together.

Employees are eligible because you are in a profession in which you come in contact with a lot of people. 

Federal and state health officials have advised that you can receive any brand of booster shot, but they also suggest that those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may receive a greater benefit from a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot. 

Please take this step to continue protecting each other.

If you have any questions or concerns, please consult your doctor. 

Cases

We have three active cases among students. 

Vaccinations

Employees are at 98.5 percent vaccinated. Students remain at 99 percent. 

Tests

We continue to test the same group of exempt students. Testing is available to all students seven days a week. Students need to contact Student Health and Well-Being between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to arrange a test. On weekends, students should go to the Tomlinson conference room between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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