Dear Salve Regina community,
Today we want to provide you with information regarding positive cases of COVID-19 on our campus, share what we have learned from conversations at the state level, and be frank about what we must do to maintain the health and well-being of our University community.
As of this morning, the University has confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 impacting campus. One case relates to Miley Hall from last week. A second case was discovered through our asymptomatic surveillance testing program yesterday, and the third case involves a staff member. This brings the total number of active, known cases to three. Previous cases have been cleared, and the COVID-19 dashboard will be updated as any new cases are confirmed.
Risk to the Campus Community
The potential to spread COVID-19 on campus or within the community makes everyone uneasy. Understandably, we have received numerous inquiries from community members regarding their potential to be at risk with alleged positive cases. The University will always notify anyone we identify as a close contact of a positive case. If you hear of a case in the building where you live or work, or know someone who knows someone, please remain as calm as possible. Notification of potential exposure to a positive case typically happens within 24-48 hours of that case being identified. As a reminder, community members should continue to fill out the daily health screening and keep a daily log of activities to aid in the tracking process should the need arise.
Salve Regina temporarily closed a wing of Miley Hall on Saturday, Oct. 17 out of an abundance of caution given notification of a positive test of COVID-19. The individual testing positive had left campus 24 hours prior to being notified. Given the potential of shared bathroom space, the decision was made to test all residents living in the wing. Students were asked to temporarily quarantine until contact identification was completed and negative test results were received. Those identified as having direct exposure to the positive individual left campus on Saturday to participate in the mandatory 14-day quarantine. All students not known to have direct contact with the positive individual were tested and received negative results. As a precaution, students were instructed to monitor their health and additional tests are scheduled as part of a monitoring system. At this time the University is continuing to test and monitor all students potentially impacted from this case.
What We Are Doing
We are following our Back to Salve and pandemic operation plans that include safety protocols outlined by the Rhode Island Department of Health. As indicated previously, it is important to remain vigilant regarding mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing and cleaning surface areas around you. Do not travel in cars with others without wearing a face mask, do not eat in larger groups, and do not congregate without following proper safety protocols on campus – or at home.
Several students and parents have contacted the University when they see ambulances and fire trucks on campus. We understand that these sights can be disturbing, particularly after the message over the weekend. Please keep in mind that ambulances are being used for a number of calls for service on our campus, including treatment of sick students, physical injuries and alcohol-related incidences. Also recognize that as college life goes on, burnt popcorn, hair dryers or steam from showers can sometimes trigger fire alarms at inconvenient times. We promise to keep you in the loop on the most important information tied to the pandemic (but not popcorn).
News From the State
Gov. Gina Raimondo has shared that Rhode Island's recent growth in positive cases is largely due to small groups gathering without masks or social distancing protocols being followed. She has asked that colleges and universities remain diligent in following their plans, be open to adjusting as needed based on available data, and remain steadfast in their discipline regarding non-compliance with COVID-19 polices and procedures.
The governor has also asked all organizations to close break rooms and communal spaces where employees would gather potentially without masks and has indicated that Halloween parties or similar gatherings should be cancelled this year. Students living off campus should be aware that Halloween gatherings are subject to fines and the limit for any gathering off campus remains at 15 with face masks and social distancing still required.
Truthfully, we are all tired of dealing with anything related to COVID-19. But we cannot afford to be complacent. It is prime time for colds, flu, strep throat and other infectious diseases in addition to COVID-19, and the weather will start to bring us indoors. We have done well so far, but the data trends are not moving in the direction we prefer. On Thursday, we hope to provide you with an update about Thanksgiving. We thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation as we continue to navigate how to manage this pandemic in a way that is best for the vitality of the entire University community.
We are in this together. #Salvesgotthis