In an email on Wednesday, Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar, University of Lynchburg’s president, informed the campus community of three more active COVID-19 cases among students, adding to the two cases reported Tuesday.
Currently, there are five active cases of COVID-19 among the student population, including four on campus. A total of 21 students are in quarantine and another 10 are in isolation on campus. Test results are expected for an additional seven suspected cases.
The three most recent cases move the University from Alert Level 1 to Level 2, which is defined by three or more active positive cases on campus. Under Alert Level 2, the following changes will take effect beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, and continuing through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26.
- All campus dining options are takeout/delivery only.
- All classes move to online delivery for one calendar week from Thursday, Aug. 20, through Wednesday, Aug. 26, with the exception of graduate health programs and students in clinical/hospital rotations.
- All in-person athletics and student organization programming is suspended.
- All indoor recreational facilities are closed.
- Residential facilities remain open.
The University will reassess in a week and decide upon next steps, Morrison-Shetlar said.
“If we see that the above actions have helped and that the number of positive cases drops back to below three, we may return to Alert Level 1,” she said.
In addition to changes outlined in Alert Level 2, Morrison-Shetlar urged all students, faculty, and staff to “double-down on precautions.”
“Wear your mask or face covering, take your temperature every day and use the LiveSafe app to monitor your health, wash your hands, practice safe physical distancing, and — most importantly — avoid gathering in groups of any size,” she said.
“I want all of our students to know that we recognize how serious you are about your safety and that of your friends and classmates. We see that you are speaking up and reminding others to follow safety protocols.”
But, Morrison-Shetlar, added, “We need you to keep it up. Some of these recent positives and suspected cases have occurred between roommates. Still others have come about when students let down their guard in small gatherings in individual rooms and apartments. If we are to stay ahead of the virus and return to in-person classes next week, this is where you can make a difference.”
In addition, Morrison-Shetlar encouraged students to stay on campus over the next week. “Minimizing off-campus interactions will help to stem the spread and we must be mindful of the community at large,” she said. “Remember, we planned the semester to begin early and end at Thanksgiving to help mitigate the spread of the virus by limiting travel to and from campus.”
Morrison-Shetlar also reminded the community that, in keeping with public health practices used to prevent exposure to an individual infected with COVID-19, isolation separates the sick from students who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of students who have been exposed to COVID-19 to see if they become sick.
“These students may have been exposed and not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms,” she said.
Factors the University of Lynchburg will consider in the decision to close residential facilities on campus and move classes online include:
- The University can no longer meet or provide essential functions such as safety, shelter, food service, and cleaning/sanitation.
- The University is actively quarantining or isolating 3% of the undergraduate population on campus. The residential student population as of Aug. 19 is approximately 1,300, making the threshold 39 students.
- The University can no longer deliver courses (hybrid and in-person) safely.
- The number of positive cases in the greater Lynchburg community grows to a sufficient level so as to endanger the University community.
- Caseload grows to a level that cannot be adequately served by the University’s Student Health Center staff.