COVID Alert Level Change and Saturday Testing Reminder

Dear Wheaton Community,

Although we have managed through a semester with our entire community back on campus, we are now faced with a recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases that requires increased vigilance.

We have experienced an uptick of 9 positive cases throughout the last ten days, including test results from the first two days of this week. The campus COVID-19 testing team worked diligently to get the students who tested positive in isolation, and in partnership with the Norton Board of Health, have promptly identified close contacts.

In light of these additional positive cases, college leadership and the Return to Campus task force has decided to shift to a Yellow: Moderate Concern COVID-19 Alert Level. We have not placed additional restrictions or made policy modifications at this time, but increased vigilance and adherence to mask policies are absolutely necessary.

The student cases are primarily residential students and are not concentrated among any one group of students (i.e. class, residence hall, club or team). Early contact tracing indicates that the positive cases have resulted from social activities on and off-campus and large indoor gatherings where masks were not being worn. As we have strongly encouraged in all of our communication, all community members should follow masking policies on and off-campus. Please share this responsibility in keeping the campus community and your loved ones safe.

To protect your family and friends, we encourage you to get a COVID test as close to the time of your departure from campus as possible and wait to receive a negative test before traveling for Thanksgiving break. As shared in our previous policy reminder for Thanksgiving break, we have extended this week’s testing schedule to include Saturday for your convenience, but there is no testing during the week of Thanksgiving. Please schedule an appointment in advance on the CoVerified app. As you know, COVID-19 has a long incubation period so if you choose to go home, even with a negative test result today, you still face some risk of passing the virus to your family, friends, and loved ones.

This recent uptick in cases on campus is a reminder that the pandemic is not over. We must continue to wear masks indoors and in large gatherings, social distance whenever possible, limit off-campus travel, and take all safety precautions. In doing so, we believe we can continue to keep our community safe.

Be well,

Dean Zack