Dear students,

We are writing with information about the status of our COVID-19 case counts and evidence of mitigation behaviors.

While our positivity rate remained just under 2% last week, and we generally saw steady mitigation behaviors, we have several new data points that are important to share with the community.

  • We had an additional seven positive cases on Saturday. With the exception of one, none of these cases were already quarantined, which is somewhat of a shift from our prior experiences and an indicator that we may be on the verge of more widespread disease.
  • While we have 100 isolation spaces for students who test positive for COVID-19, these are spaces and not distinct rooms. This means the trend of our case count requires us to begin assigning all students in isolation to have roommates. Similarly, we are approaching our on-campus capacity for quarantine housing. More students are opting to isolate or quarantine at home, which is helping, but as mentioned two weeks ago, the number of students identified as close contacts per exposure has steadily risen and is exceeding our housing capacity.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases in Northampton County has been rising at a dramatic level, and our on-campus numbers also continue to trend in a direction that is concerning. 
  • Large numbers of students gathering without wearing masks, especially if indoors, leads to an increase in the number of student cases. If we remain on our trajectory for positive cases, we will be at Level 2 by the end of this week. We all need to take immediate action and recommit to mitigation behaviors to protect the community and to keep from negatively impacting the ability to provide in-person instruction and other activities.

It is critical that we obtain accurate information on the vaccination status of our students. All students, even if you already sent in your vaccine card, must complete the COVID-19 vaccination survey. The number of students vaccinated will impact the way the disease can spread.

While we remain optimistic about the impact of getting a large number of students vaccinated this week, we need to give the vaccines time to be fully effective. Students who are experiencing side effects the day following vaccination and are unable to attend class should follow the Dean’s excuse policies.

Taking these key steps now will help us finish the semester strong. We appreciate your cooperation.

Annette Diorio
Vice President for Campus Life

Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Director of Health Services