January 13, 2022 (10:51 a.m. Central Time)
Dear Simpson College students, faculty, and staff:
We are starting to see an uptick in COVID positive cases – as expected given the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant. Thus far, most of our students who have become ill or exposed have been able to isolate or quarantine at home, and our “I/Q” space on campus is meeting our needs.
Please note these vital reminders:
- If you are experiencing COVID symptoms but have not yet been tested/received results, do not go to class or work. Act assuming you may have COVID until you are able to get tested.
- If you have tested positive or been told to quarantine, do not go to class or work until your period of isolation/quarantine has ended.
- If you test off-campus and receive a positive test result, please notify email@example.com (students) or firstname.lastname@example.org (faculty/staff).
Health Services is providing free COVID tests Monday through Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; you can find information about testing at simpson.edu/covid-19/covid-19-testing-options.
At this time, we are not implementing the testing of unvaccinated employees included in the new OSHA temporary standards. Pending a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and determination of applicable state standards, the earliest we would implement such testing is Feb. 10, 2022. We will provide more updates on this issue as they become available.
Being fully vaccinated, including with boosters according to timeline, remains critical to minimizing COVID severity. Simpson’s Health Services reports that unvaccinated students who become COVID positive are experiencing longer and more severe illness. In addition, people vaccinated more than five months ago (Pfizer or Moderna) or two months ago (Johnson & Johnson) and who are not yet boosted are more likely to experience a breakthrough case.
If you have not yet been vaccinated or are eligible for a booster, please take advantage of our on-campus clinic next Wednesday, Jan. 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Black Box. Sign up at signupgenius.com.
Our Covid Management Team (CMT) is meeting multiple times a week to closely monitor how we are doing and to evaluate any corresponding need for temporary changes in protocol. We will post updates to our campus COVID dashboard Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and will be making revisions to the dashboard effective next week, in order to provide information about our campus positivity and on-campus isolation/quarantine occupancy.
I will provide the next CMT update on Tuesday, Jan. 20 — earlier if necessitated by evolving events. In the meantime, I want to thank every member of our #ONESimpson community for everything you do to keep us together and safe.
Heidi Levine, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Development & Planning
Chair, COVID Management Team