Today we have 8 new, and 15 active cases of COVID-19 on campus. This rise in cases tracks closely to the sharp increase across Maine. But it also tracks with a rise in hits on SJC’s COVID Tip Line, a rise in observed mask non-compliance across campus, and a rise in over-capacity and un-masked gatherings both on and off campus. The pace of infection is so fast that our Health and Wellness Center staff is concerned that more contagious variants are now on campus.
This increase in cases and the broader “pandemic fatigue” around our policies has seriously alarmed the vast majority of students, faculty, and staff who are continuing to maintain our safety standards. This is especially true for our RAs on the front lines of keeping our residence halls safe. We have heard rising fears from all corners of campus, and we are responding to them.
Our in-person Commencement is now at risk. Campus living for the remainder of the semester is now at risk. Protecting these goals requires that we stop the virus in its tracks now. We will institute the following package of measures, effective immediately. These measures will be evaluated regularly and contracted based on compliance and decreased rates of infection. These measures have been suggested and endorsed by Student Government and our Resident Advisors.
- Inter-residence hall, suite, pod, room visitation is now prohibited.
- Failure to comply will result in a $50 fine.
- Repeat offenders will be required to complete the semester from home. If you are a senior and sent home, you will not be permitted to return for in-person graduation.
- Outside gatherings will be allowed and indoor (non-suite) common spaces will remain open - if proper mask wearing, social distancing, and capacity limits are maintained. There are plenty of spaces on campus where our members of our community can gather safely.
- Wear your mask.
- Failure to wear it properly will continue to result in a $50 fine.
- Repeat offenders - including those who have been ticketed in the past two weeks - will be required to complete the semester from home. If you are a senior and sent home, you will not be permitted to return for in-person graduation.
- Hosts of gatherings beyond the safe capacity of any space on campus are currently subject to a $150 fine.
- We are now expanding this policy to include attendees of this type of gathering. Violators will be subject to a $50 fine and may be required to complete the semester from home. If you are a senior and sent home, you will not be permitted to return for in-person graduation.
- Hosts and attendees of off-campus gatherings that do not comply with SJC rules will be asked to remain off-campus this semester.
One thing is clear as we enter this final stretch: we’re all in this together.
It will take all of us to make these next few weeks a success for our community. It will only take a few to spoil it. Be one of the community members who does the right thing. We know it’s hard, but this is important. We are rooting for you.
Stay healthy and safe,
The Pandemic Response Team