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COVID-19 Spread and Non-Compliance Consequences

Nov. 2, 2020 

Dear Billiken Companions, 

I am sorry to say that, in spite of Dr. Lewis’s and my message on Friday, which addressed rising COVID-19 infections among students, some students opted to host or attend large, off-campus parties over the weekend. Others opted to continue to hold gatherings in their on-campus residences that exceeded occupancy restrictions or violated public health safeguards (like mask-wearing at all times). 

While so many Billikens are abiding by our safeguards, I can tell you others are putting our community members at risk.

With the end of the semester quickly approaching and the election upon us, I am sure the last communication you wanted was another COVID-19 message. Believe me, I wish it wasn't necessary. Every choice we make to wear a mask, limit gatherings (including in-person election watch events), etc. is critical as we close out this semester.

The rise in student COVID-19 cases mentioned on Friday, and sparked by recent travel, off-campus parties, and other high-risk activities (like lingering without masks after meals are completed and riding in cars without masks), have led to our highest numbers yet for isolation and quarantine. Indeed, we are on the cusp of needing to activate our overflow quarantine building for the first time this semester.

Below this email, I am sharing information about what I’m hearing from students, what you can do right now to reduce COVID-19 spread among your peers, and what kinds of consequences groups and individuals are facing if we continue to see increasing cases and decreasing compliance with public health safeguards. 

I believe most Billikens want to do –– and are doing –– the right things. But I also know that a viral pandemic means even a relatively small number of students engaging in risky behaviors absolutely puts others at risk. On a campus where Billikens regularly voice concern for those at greatest risk among our campus community, this is particularly disheartening.

Please, please do your part to keep our community safe. We are so very close to the finish line. 

Debra Rudder Lohe, Ph.D. (sher/her/hers)
Interim Vice President for Student Development

What are we hearing from students?

Believe it or not, we hear from students all the time, about how things are going. Here are just some of the things you or your peers have shared in the last ten days or so:

What can you do to reduce COVID-19 infections in our community?

By now, you know the drill. There are a number of key public health safeguards you’ve committed to in the Campus Commitment. Here are the most important things you can prioritize every single day that will most help to reduce COVID-19 spread:

What are the potential consequences of continued non-compliance with campus safeguards?

So far, non-compliance has resulted in a number of sanctions, including termination of housing contracts and suspension from the University. As we head into the final weeks of the semester, I want be sure you know that the following consequences (including others) are on the table: