October 02, 2020

VPSL COVID-19 Weekly Column: Oct. 2, 2020

Happy Friday, students!

In times of great uncertainty and angst, it’s vitally important to have a gratitude practice. For me, it is taking a few minutes a day to reflect on those things for which I’m grateful: my unwaveringly supportive wife, my children, and the opportunity to be part of, lead, and serve the Lewis & Clark community during these uncharted times.

To that last point, I want to again commend the vast majority of you for remaining vigilant about your health and the health of your peers, professors, and friends. Please continue to monitor your own health and follow all of the necessary health and safety precautions. The latest saliva tests and wastewater analyses continue to show little or no coronavirus:

  • COVID-19 cases: As of yesterday, Oct. 1, we have had one positive COVID-19 test out of the 1,887 tests we’ve conducted on campus since August. We have no students currently in quarantine or self-isolating. Well done, Pios! Keep it up! As always, use your face coverings, practice good hygiene, and maintain your social distance. Don’t visit residence halls other than your own, and definitely don’t use restrooms in other halls.
  • Effluent testing results: Results returned to the college on Sep. 29 from wastewater samples pulled on Sep. 27 showed a moderate positive presence of coronavirus in effluence from Roberts and East Halls. However, subsequent results from the end of the week sampling are all negative—so there will be no need for any self-isolation over the weekend. Great news, and good job!
  • Contact tracing: Lewis & Clark’s new full-time contact tracer, Ami Hannah, is on board and hard at work. We appreciate all she will contribute to keeping our community healthy and safe in the months to come.
  • Air Quality: Wildfire smoke has reappeared over western Oregon and the Willamette Valley. The National Weather Service has issued an “air stagnation advisory” in effect until Monday evening. “People with respiratory illness should follow their physician’s advice for dealing with high levels of air pollution during periods of stagnant air.” If the situation were to change in a way that warranted curtailing campus operations, we would notify the community via our emergency notification system (text and email alerts) and shift to remote instruction and take other actions to protect indoor air quality to the best of our ability, with a priority on residence halls. If you aren’t receiving these alerts or haven’t updated your emergency notification system registration, please do so right away.
  • COVID Risk Assessment Survey: We are interested to hear how well you feel our community members are observing safe health practices in the prevention of COVID-19. We will be asking you to fill out a survey about once a month, and comment on how well you think the community is observing expected health mitigation efforts. This will be a quick but important check to show how our community is doing in following expectations regarding COVID risk mitigation. Thanks for taking the time to help keep our LC community safe and for filling out the survey. It will be sent to your lclark email shortly.

The Health Service has another flu shot vaccine clinic scheduled next week, on Monday, Oct. 6. Reducing the incidence of the flu on campus will help keep health and wellness resources available for other needs, including any COVID-19 cases that may arise. Please check your email for the message from Health Service.


Lastly, as we have discussed, as we keep our positivity rates low, we will be able to loosen some of the social restrictions on campus. Beginning this weekend, we will start to open up classroom spaces for residential students for gathering, programming, and hanging out. To start, classrooms on the 1st and 2nd floor of Miller will be available for residential students to use:

  • Friday from 7 p.m. - midnight
  • Saturday from 10 a.m. - midnight
  • Sunday from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

As with all indoor activities, participants are expected to observe documented occupancy requirements and maintain appropriate social distancing measures: wearing masks, staying six feet apart, etc. All participants are required to sanitize the equipment before and after use. We ask that residents using the classrooms sign in and out of each space for potential contact tracing.

Have a safe weekend. And, as always, WeB4Me@LC.

With gratitude,

Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan
Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students