11/12/2020

[PORT] F&M COVID-19 HIGH ALERT: For your Immediate Attention

Dear Students and Colleagues,

When we announced our intention to return to on-campus instruction this fall, we did so with the health and safety of the community as our top priority. To advance this effort, we have adopted new protocols throughout the term, including more frequent COVID-19 testing. 

Thanks to careful planning over the course of the last several months, we also have a COVID-19 alert system with a tiered structure of health and safety protocols designed to contain, isolate, and remediate cases to mitigate further spread of the virus. 

As of Thursday, November 12, we are moving the F&M COVID-19 Alert Level from Moderate to High and ask for your immediate attention to the following update and changes to our pandemic operations on campus.

F&M COVID-19 Alert Level as of November 12, 2020 

PORT High Alert, Alert Level Descriptions
F&M COVID-19 Update as of November 12, 2020

The College’s most recent modified universal COVID-19 testing yielded the following results:

  • 7 students tested positive for COVID-19 out of the 478 students who were tested.

  • No employees tested positive for COVID-19 out of the 78 employees who were tested.

There are currently 26 active cases of COVID-19 among F&M students who have been on campus. Of the 26 students who have tested positive, seven are in isolation in Schnader and the remainder have gone home. As of last evening, we had a total of 19 students in Schnader Hall, either in quarantine (meaning that they have not tested positive) or in isolation (meaning that they have had a positive test result). 

Pennsylvania and Lancaster County are also currently experiencing rising positivity rates (7.9% and 9.3%, respectively), which health experts say could indicate growing community spread of the virus.

Pandemic Operations Updates

Out of an abundance of caution, given the number of COVID-19 cases on campus and in Lancaster, and the increasing potential for exposure to the virus through community spread, we are elevating F&M's COVID-19 Dashboard alert level status from Moderate to High. High Alert means that the campus is still open with the following risk-mitigation strategies in place, effective immediately: 

  • All in-person social activities and events, including athletic practices, are suspended until further notice. All activities / events should be moved online or postponed / canceled. We recognize that this is the last in-person weekend of the term, and urge students in the strongest possible terms not to compromise their health by gathering.

  • We strongly discourage students from traveling off campus, except for travel to and from their off-campus residences.

  • Masks must absolutely be worn in public spaces at all times.

  • Visitors from outside the campus community continue to be strictly limited in accordance with our visitor policy.

  • Students who present symptoms must immediately notify the Student Wellness Center. 

  • Students who do not comply with these policies will be subject to disciplinary action.

Students who adhere to the aforementioned risk-mitigation strategies may continue to:

  • attend in-person classes

  • go to the Dining Hall and other campus dining services

  • visit the Student Wellness Center

Students may also choose to implement their own risk-mitigation strategies for their personal health and the well-being of their families, such as:

  • Participate in opt-in exit testing on Nov. 16, 17, or 18.

  • Adhere to a self-imposed modified quarantine until move-out.

  • Move out early and finish the term as a remote learner. (Students who wish to move out early should contact their House Dean and remove all items from their room per the move-out protocol.)

  • Consult their family physician and be tested again upon their return home.

We are implementing these restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus and safeguard the health and safety of our community. However, if conditions do not improve rapidly, the College may need to take further measures, such as impose a campus-wide, modified quarantine until circumstances improve or until campus closes on Nov. 22.

The final rounds of COVID-19 testing will take place next week; we are prepared to accommodate any students in quarantine / isolation in Schnader who cannot return home after campus has closed on Nov. 22 until they are released from their quarantine / isolation. We expect full compliance with the rules from all students in isolation or quarantine in Schnader and elsewhere. It is your responsibility to avoid spreading the virus.

Many of you have helped prepare for such a turning point as a precaution, and that advance planning will benefit us all in these final days of the in-person portion of the fall term. Updated information is always available for your convenience on the College’s pandemic operations information website.

We will continue to rise to this challenge and demonstrate our adaptability and commitment to one another. Remember, we are all individually accountable for adhering to the Franklin & Marshall Pledge and these new risk-mitigation strategies.

Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.

The Pandemic Operations Response Team