Sustaining a Healthy Community

Check this page for developments and decisions on how Central College is responding to the health of the campus community.

Information on these pages is subject to change as circumstances warrant. Please check back often.

Jan. 8, 2021 — Return to Campus in January

Graphic with a "Welcome Back" message and various photos from the fall semester.

2020 in Hindsight

  • The discovery of a pandemic.
  • Extensive changes in how classes are taught.
  • A difficult racial reckoning across our country.
  • The return to in-person learning on Central’s campus in August.
  • Wearing masks.
  • Making sure everyone stays safe in class, in isolation or in quarantine as necessary.
  • Surveillance testing on campus for the coronavirus.
  • The highest voter turnout in our nation’s history for a turbulent presidential election.
  • Watching as loved ones deal with the unpredictable symptoms of the coronavirus.
  • Maintaining a 6-foot physical distance at all times.
  • Increased conversations on campus about race, equity and inclusion.
  • Frequently changing athletics schedules.
  • A fall Commencement for the Class of 2020 — a first in the college’s history.
  • Watching semi-trailers filled with vaccinations leave the plant where they were made and celebrating the first vaccinations in the nation.

What a decade last year was!

All of these events, plus many micro-events, consumed our collective and individual lives over the past year. While 2020 certainly challenged us in ways we never could have expected, news of the COVID-19 vaccines and seeing people getting inoculated provides some hope for a more normal life across the country and on our campus in 2021.

We’re looking forward to the semester ahead with new hope — while bringing with us the lessons of 2020. As we prepare for the start of classes on Jan. 18 and a future of vaccinations, we must remain diligent and continue to take the necessary precautions to prevent infections.

Continued Mitigations for Spring Semester

As encouraging as the vaccine news is, most of us won’t get a shot in the arm until later this year. We will continue to focus on enhanced cleaning, handwashing, physical distancing, surveillance testing, masking, isolating, quarantining and contact tracing. We’ll also continue to work closely with the public health experts at Marion County Public Health to manage this important work.

Your continued support of COVID-19 mitigation efforts remains as important as it was last semester. First and foremost, we need you to be extremely careful in these days before you return.

To prevent a viral blizzard on campus this semester, we urge you to:

  • Quarantine to the best of your ability throughout the remaining days of Winter Break before returning to campus.
  • Limit your circle of contacts while on break as much as possible.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if possible before returning.
  • Remain at home if you test positive for COVID-19, have symptoms or have been exposed. Contact Central’s COVID-19 Hotline at 641-628-5530 or covid19@central.edu so remote learning arrangements may be made.
  • Arrive on campus healthy.
  • Be aware that the no-visit policy will be enacted in the residence halls for at least the first two weeks of the semester. Current case counts will determine when that policy can be lifted.
  • Once on campus, we will continue to follow our COVID-19 safety protocols.

Thank you for your continued resilience and anticipated flexibility in the days ahead. With your help, we have faith in our ability to handle cases on our campus even though there are new waves in the country. I am proud and grateful to you for the ways we have been demonstrating having a heart for others.

I also remind you to monitor our COVID-19 dashboard, which allows you to see the data we are monitoring as we make decisions for the college. The data from the past several months indicates safety measures have been effective.

We Did It Before, We Can Do It Again

Once again, thank you for your work last semester to take infection control measures seriously for your health and that of others. It was most certainly not a typical semester, yet you had the opportunity to pursue your education uninterrupted, taking advantage of all that a Central education offers.

Over the semester, you submitted to testing and quarantining as needed. When in isolation or quarantine, you went from remote learning back to in-person learning as your health and tests required. You wore masks and sanitized. You did this to help and protect others so we could be here. You have a heart for others.

We finished the semester with:

  • 160 cases from Aug. 24 to Dec. 2 across faculty, staff and students — with most cases in the asymptomatic or mild range. We have no evidence that any cases can be traced to the 74 classrooms and labs used during the fall. This models national findings, which indicate that with precautions in place, classrooms and other formal campus locations are not a vector for the virus to spread.
  • 617 people in quarantine or isolation at some point over the semester. When this happened, we helped students access remote learning so they could continue their education.
  • When we gave students the option for remote learning the two-weeks after Thanksgiving, about 20 percent of you chose that option, the remaining students preferring to continue in-person coursework.
  • When we had an outbreak in a department or on a team, it was quickly brought under control and managed.

Vaccination Center

Central is working with Marion County Public Health to serve as an inoculation site for the county. Details are just starting to be developed. As soon as we know more, we promise we will share.

With vaccines within arm shot, we must remain patient until we have them. And even then, we will continue to wear masks and follow safety precautions until more is known.

As we begin the new year, signs of relief emerge. We look forward to seeing you in a few days!

Mark

 


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