Last semester, the Pandemic Response Team recommended a shift in the spring academic calendar. We made the decision to begin a week later, phase our return by class, and remove the traditional week of Spring Break – while looking for opportunities to offer periodic days off from classes throughout the term. Central to this planning was the notion of limiting overnight travel to and from residence halls, which is based on the best public health guidelines about limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Now that we are in the thick of this revised calendar, we are more committed than ever to encouraging students to stay on campus whenever possible. Maine’s COVID case counts have begun to fall, but are still much higher than last semester. Other states are still seeing much higher numbers of cases than Maine’s. New variants are rising. Simply put: we know that SJC is a much safer and healthier place than most other places we could go.
This week we have the first of our periodic breaks in the class schedule – on Ash Wednesday. Maintaining our safer “bubble” depends on all of us taking this break here instead of elsewhere. We are thus strongly recommending that you remain on campus this week, and every week through the end of the semester.
If you decide you absolutely must leave campus overnight or longer, going forward the College will now require the same re-entry protocol that we initiated at the start of the semester:
- a negative test result within 72 hours prior to your return to campus
- a test at the Health and Wellness Center upon your return to campus
- another test at the HWC 4 days after your arrival
Additionally, you must return to campus on a weekday to allow the HWC to administer your tests. Required entry tests will not be administered on weekends.
The good news about our enhanced protocols this semester is that they’re working – largely because of you. We have been so proud of the way this community has stepped up safety awareness and adherence. Many Monks have expressed their hopes and their commitment to learning on campus and in classrooms through the end of the semester. That goal has always been our north star.
So let’s maintain our bubble, SJC. If we do, we’ll get to see the lake unfreeze. We’ll get to see green grass after all this white cold stuff. Flowers will bloom and sleeves will shorten. To help us all get there, we’ll be adding numerous safe social events throughout the semester to keep campus fun. We will tap the collective brainpower of our students to plan a certain Fling if we can make it to warmer weather without a significant outbreak.
As always, send your COVID-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay strong, Saint Joe’s. We got this, together.
Thank you all!