A decline in active positive cases among students means the University of Lynchburg will be able to resume in-person and hybrid classes on Monday, Sept. 7.
As of Friday, there are 26 active positive cases among the student population — down from a high of 46 one week ago. The University is managing a caseload of 103 students in quarantine or isolation. That number has dropped significantly from a high of 125 earlier in the week. There are two active positive cases among faculty and staff.
“I am so encouraged by the efforts of our students, faculty, and staff over these past two weeks,” President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar wrote in her weekly email update today. “If you have been following our daily status reports on the web, you know that we are doing well in managing COVID-19 on campus. Thus far, our decision to stay the course and remain on campus is working, and I am pleased that we will return to in-person and hybrid classes on Monday.”
Morrison-Shetlar said that doing “the things that we know are the right thing to do for our community on and off campus” contributed to the decline in active cases — wearing masks, physically distancing, hand-washing, checking one’s temperatures twice a day, and staying on campus.
“To continue on this forward trajectory, we need to continue to be actively vigilant in our approach and not become complacent,” she said.
Moving classes online while keeping students on campus was the right decision, Morrison-Shetlar added. “In fact, Drs. Fauci and Brix of the White House Task Force are urging colleges and universities nationwide not to send students home in an effort to reduce transmission of the virus and protect families,” she said.
Throughout the week, the president has been in frequent contact with students and parents, and she said she’s noticed a shift in tone.
“As I talk with students and correspond with families, I continue to hear the anxiety and the fear,” she said. “Lately, I am also hearing the hope that we will get through this together because of what we are doing — together.”
Morrison-Shetlar went on to thank the Lynchburg family on and off campus for supporting each other.
“I want to express my appreciation — to the parents who have come together on social media to support their students and one another; the faculty who have adjusted and accommodated to continue delivering a high-quality educational experience; and to the many staff who have provided round-the-clock support to our students,” she said.
“I especially want to recognize our students who have worked diligently to stay on campus, do the right things, and get back into the classroom.”
Morrison-Shetlar reminded the campus community that all University task force decisions are based on data.
“As a biologist by training, I find comfort in data,” she said. “The data supported our temporary move to online classes and now, because of the efforts made by so many, the data support our return on Monday to in-person and hybrid classes.”
The following adjustments to Alert Level 2 will be in place starting Monday, Sept. 7, when the University returns to in-person and hybrid classes.
Alert Level 2 continues to be defined as three or more active positive cases on campus. The following protocols will be in effect as of Sept. 7:
- Classes will again be delivered in person, hybrid, or online. Fluctuations in caseload (the number of positive cases, quarantines, and isolations being managed by Student Health) may require a temporary move to online delivery of classes.
- Residential facilities will remain open.
- Students will be allowed one guest per resident present up to a 10-person maximum for gatherings in residential spaces, yards, porches, decks, etc. Outside (off-campus) visitors are not permitted in any residential spaces. Failure to follow this protocol may be cause for disciplinary action, including possible removal from campus.
- Outside visitors to campus are permitted; wearing of masks or face coverings and physical distancing are mandatory.
- In-person campus dining will resume.
- Masks or face coverings must be worn inside any University building and outdoors. Exceptions are permitted only when exercising alone, actively eating, and when a student is in their own residence room.
- Students are urged to limit travel away from campus.
- Students are encouraged to be outside on campus; wearing of masks or face coverings and physical distancing are mandatory.
- Athletics and student organization programming will be permitted with strict physical distancing and mask protocols enforced. Activities will be supervised by trained staff.
- Indoor recreation facilities — Drysdale fitness, Turner fitness, and Turner gym — will operate on regular schedules with safety guidelines in place as outlined in the COVID-19 Reopening Plan. Scheduled use of Wake Field House is permitted under the supervision of non-student staff as outlined in the COVID-19 Reopening Plan.
Fluctuations in caseload may require adjustments to the above, including limits on student and athletic activities, prohibition of visitors to campus, and changes to dining services.