VPSL COVID-19 Weekly Column: Feb. 1, 2021
Happy Monday, Students!
Thank you for your diligent efforts at staying healthy. We’ll get through this together. As you remain vigilant about maintaining personal health and safety best practices, the College is beginning the semester with a multi-pronged approach to testing. Our testing approach, and the results of our PCR and effluent testing, are below.
COVID-19 spring semester regular testing:
- Implement surveillance testing: Starting this week, the College will conduct weekly testing clinics for a sampling of persons on campus (e.g., a portion of on-campus students, off-campus students, employees in close contact with students). Clinics will be held on Tuesdays. Please watch your emails for more details.
Continue effluent testing: Continuing to monitor the wastewater leaving our residential buildings on campus serves as an additional indicator of the presence of virus on campus, an early warning system of sorts. It helps us watch for potential hot spots and will help inform decisions about who should be included in surveillance testing samples.
- Learn and adjust: If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that situations change quickly and we need to remain as flexible and nimble as possible. As we did in the fall semester, we will assess the facts and modify our approach as needed. We will monitor and consider the trajectory of the virus in the metropolitan area. And we will communicate with the campus quickly, regularly, and transparently.
COVID-19 cases: So far this semester, Lewis & Clark has administered 2,326 COVID-19 tests to employees and students from all three campuses. Positive cases represent 0.34% of the total tests administered. Positive cases with current campus impact are being managed through rapid isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine protocols, as well as support for those living in isolation or quarantine on the campus. We owe a great debt of gratitude to staff, faculty, and students who are working tirelessly to keep our campus as healthy as possible.
Effluent testing results: Effluent testing results returned on January 29 from wastewater samples pulled showed positive results in the wastewater leaving Forest/West and Platt/Howard Halls. Follow-up testing results are expected tomorrow.
Lastly, I want to address a matter from the last week on campus: the graffiti/spray-painting of a number of campus buildings, the subsequent responses from the administration, and where we can go from here. As you will likely read about in the Pioneer Log’s first issue of the semester, President Wiewel and other senior administrators have been in communication with a number of student groups that expressed concerns about President Wiewel’s initial response to the vandalism. Issues of police brutality, especially toward persons of color, is a concern that we know has been highlighted and exposed recently, and rightly so. I have no doubt that concerns for personal safety and demands for police reform around the country and in our own community are top of mind for many communities–I know it is for me. However, some of that upset that fueled the campuses’ response to the graffiti incident came from a misunderstanding (that Campus Safety had called the Portland Police, and they did not take that action). We cannot and will not tolerate destruction of campus property or threats against community members, even as we understand and take seriously the concerns students have with policing in Portland and the nation.
I look forward to being part of constructive dialogue in the days and weeks to come.
As always, WeB4Me@LC.
Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan
Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students