Expectations for Life on Campus
August 28, 2020
Because your health and safety is our top priority, life on campus this fall will be different and, unfortunately, more restrictive than it has ever been. The decision to limit or restrict certain events and opportunities is intended to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to best enable us to continue delivering the on-campus experience you know and love.
Limiting social contacts
All LC undergraduates, both on and off campus, are being asked to limit their social contacts (your “pod”) to 4 to 6 individuals for the semester, or until circumstances warrant a new approach. Although you could invite people from different residential areas or off-campus to be a part of your pod, realize those individuals will not be able to socialize or visit with you in your residence halls because of our policy limiting visitations to the residence halls. Individuals that you invite into your pod should be people who you trust are upholding the health mitigation standards that you have learned about through our WeB4Me educational campaign or the Moodle course you completed, as well as the various communications we have sent to you over the summer. Although we highly recommend that you maintain social distance of at least 6 feet between you and others at all times, it is acceptable for you to have closer contacts with members of your pod.
In order to keep our campus community safe, we will be monitoring the overall positivity rates for the virus on a regular basis. This will include testing of the entire undergraduate student body in the beginning of the semester as well as periodic random testing.
Students must limit their social interactions to their own residence hall complexes as noted below, common areas in their complex, Templeton Student Center, the Library, classrooms, study rooms, and outdoor spaces. On campus residential students will not be able to socialize in residence halls complexes that they are not assigned to. Here are the expected residence hall areas that residents are allowed to interact with:
Complex 1 - Copeland
Complex 2 - Stewart, Odell, Akin (SOA)
Complex 3 - Platt-Howard
Complex 4 - Forest
For Holmes, Hartzfeld, and the Apartments, the following pods are expected:
Hartzfeld C & D Complex
This is to allow us to maintain the safety of the residence hall and to limit the possibility of transmission of the virus. Students can meet up with their pod members (who may be assigned to different residence halls) in non-residential hall common areas (e.g., Templeton, classrooms, the library, etc.) or outdoor space.
Events and gatherings
It is expected that all students will limit any social activity to under 10 people at all times and adhere to posted capacity/occupancy limits. This is reflective of state and local guidelines that limit gatherings indoors to 10 or less and outdoors to 25 or less, with the exception of classroom gatherings which are allowed up to 25. We will follow this same guideline on and off campus at all times. So far, large parties have been the main spreader of the virus on other campuses, so this guideline must be strictly adhered to at all times by all students.
Students are encouraged to create virtual and in-person social events if they can do so safely and if the social event meets expected guidelines. As much as possible, we recommend that you gather virtually. But it is permissible for you to plan gatherings and in-person social events as long as they are pre-approved and follow expected guidelines. Students can propose in-person events by consulting with the Office of Student Engagement.
Safe Sex/Physical Intimacy
As always, students are encouraged to practice safe, healthy sexual behaviors. Given the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission during close contact and sexual activity, all students, both on and off campus, are encouraged to limit your close, physical interactions to partners who are practicing safe health mitigation practices and who are a part of your regular social group. As has been mentioned above, residential students will be limited to ongoing close contact with individuals within their complexes and are not permitted to visit other residential complexes. Off-campus students should take similar precautions. The Health Promotion Office will be sharing safe sex practices in the age of COVID with the undergraduate population in the upcoming weeks and throughout the semester.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the outdoors and to participate in outdoor activities in a safe manner. College Outdoors will be providing a number of outdoor educational and social activities for students to participate in, and will post these opportunities in the next few days in time for the upcoming Labor Day holiday. Additionally, students are allowed to take advantage of the nearby Tryon Park to participate in low-risk activities such as going for a run, walk, or hike while socially distancing and wearing a face covering as appropriate. Participating in higher risk outdoor behaviors such as high-contact sports (basketball, football, soccer, etc.) is not permitted. In the next few weeks, we will provide opportunities for students to seek exceptions to allow travel off-campus for brief, safe, low-risk events. But, before doing so, we want to be sure that students are complying with all necessary COVID-mitigation expectations and we want to have completed our first round of COVID testing so we have a better sense of the positivity rate of the virus in our community. Once we have more information, if all is well, we will loosen some of these restrictions if we believe we can do so safely.
As has been stated previously, we want students living on campus to remain on campus to the greatest degree possible and to refrain from leaving campus for non-essential travel. For those students who live on campus and who must have jobs, we ask that you look for jobs on campus first. For those who can’t obtain a campus job and must work, we ask that you fill out an exception form to allow for off-campus work and submit that exception form to the Vice President of Student Life’s office. We will provide you a link to that exception form shortly.
We are a community, and we are all in this together. Please be gracious and understanding toward your residential assistants, fellow students, and staff who may, at times, remind you about required health mitigation practices. As a community, we need to be able to give gentle reminders when someone forgets a face covering or might be making decisions that are not in the best interest of the community. If you see something, say something. If the unsafe behavior persists even after you have tried to intervene, you should contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or the Vice President for Student Life’s Office, and we will assist you.