Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I am writing to update the community on COVID-19 and to review some recommendations to keep our campus healthy this fall. May 2023 marked the end of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, and the College made some important policy changes for pandemic preparedness in the spring aligned with the federal declaration. As expected, with the new highly contagious variants circulating in our community, we have seen an increase in cases during the first two weeks of classes.
For the same reasons, I expect to see a rise in the number of infections in the coming weeks. Recently, hospitalization rates for COVID-19 have increased nationwide, although rates remain low in Northampton County. Data on the virulence of newer variants is lacking, but for most people, symptoms are generally mild and include sore throat, cough, congestion, headache, and fatigue.
In an effort to mitigate a rising number of infections on campus, I would like to offer some important guidance for those who become ill or come in contact with others who test positive.
While I encourage you to assess your individual risk factors in making decisions about masking and vaccines, there are five primary preventative measures we ask you to take to keep our infection rate as low as possible:
Thanks for taking care of yourself and looking out for others.
Jeff Goldstein, MD
Director of Health Services