Important Updates to Spring Reopening Plans
Dear faculty, staff, and students,
As we prepare for spring semester 2022 amidst a continuing public health crisis, our goal has been twofold: first, to take the steps necessary to keep our community safe and healthy and second, to ensure our students continue to receive educational experiences that will support and sustain their learning.
Like other schools and colleges both locally and nationwide, we are finding that the surge in the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is making both of these tasks challenging. Many colleges already in session are reporting significant COVID positivity rates. For example, Stanford reported 400 cases among students, and another 300 cases among faculty, staff, and postdocs, over the past week. Local high schools also are reporting significant outbreaks, with two announcing they are closing their campuses and moving to online learning. Current modeling in Oregon shows the Omicron surge peaking in late January, and we estimate it will take until the end of the month to get nearly all of our eligible community members fully protected by booster shots (defined as two weeks after receiving a booster dose).
Possible Change in Spring Schedule
Given these rapidly changing circumstances, we need to be nimble in our responses to meet the needs of the Lewis & Clark community. We are considering an additional short term delay in the resumption of in-person classes, but do not want to make a final decision until we have an opportunity to consult with faculty and staff at all three schools. We will announce our decision on Tuesday, January 11, after we have had those conversations.
In the meantime, a few important updates:
- Residential Students: In order to support greater social distancing as students move back into the residence halls, we are now allowing students to move back in as late as January 24. If we announce on Tuesday, January 11, an additional short term delay in the resumption of in-person classes, students would be allowed even greater flexibility in when they can move back to campus. Students still need to submit results of a pre-arrival COVID test within the 72 hours prior to moving back into residence, and load those results in the Health Information Portal. Students will also be COVID-tested soon after they arrive on campus. Students should not return to campus if they are symptomatic or have had a positive COVID test within 10 days of their intended date of return. Instead, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance about re-entry.
- Faculty and Staff: We recognize that any changes in the schedule for resumption of in-person classes may affect when individual faculty and staff return to the campus. We will hold testing clinics for employees on January 12 and 13 as previously planned. However, we will announce on Tuesday which employees should participate in these clinics, based on their campus work schedule, and how to sign up.
- Booster Doses: We will be moving ahead with our on-campus booster dose clinics for those who are eligible and still need boosters. Those clinics are scheduled for January 11, 14, 18, and 20. If you are interested, please visit this link as soon as possible, read the instructions, and sign-up for your time slot. You may come to campus for a booster dose even if you have not yet been tested on-campus.
Thank you in advance for your patience and support as we work through this latest pandemic surge with a focus on keeping all our community members safe and healthy. We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.