Elon campus moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – High Alert

Following a recent increase in identified positive COVID-19 cases on campus, the university has moved to the next level in its Alert System

Members of the Elon community,

After a thorough analysis of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases on campus and data in Elon’s Alert System, the Ready & Resilient Committee and the Data Analysis Working Group have agreed that the university should move main campus to Level 3 – High Alert status.

As called for in the Alert System, all members of the campus community are asked to adjust their daily activities to increase safety. Mitigation strategies will be targeted to where cases are active, but actions each of us take immediately may help avoid a full shelter-in-place and lockdown of the campus.

Contact tracing tells us that the spread has been mainly through close social interactions among individuals and small groups without wearing masks or proper distancing. There is no evidence that the surge in cases is due to large parties or to interactions in classrooms, campus facilities or dining halls.

As per the alert matrix, extensive testing and contract tracing have been utilized over the past few days to identify students and close contacts, who were immediately moved to isolation, resulting in a large increase in the number of students currently in quarantine. Thankfully the university’s random weekly surveillance testing has not indicated a similar-sized increase.

Elon’s High-Alert action plan

We have collected and analyzed data about students’ contacts, residences, course sections, classroom assignments, and participation in student organizations. Based on this data, guidance from the Alert Matrix, and a meeting with Dr. Cynthia Snider, an infectious disease specialist at the Regional Center for Infectious Diseases and member of the Cone Health Medical Group, multiple steps are being taken on campus to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

  • Testing
    • The Cone Health mobile testing lab will be on campus today for testing of 300 people who have had indirect social, academic, residential, and team-based contact with the positive cases. In addition, this week’s random surveillance testing will include more than 400 mail-in and onsite tests.
    • Four teams with the highest incidence of positive cases will be re-tested this week and some have been moved to quarantine pending results of tests that have already been conducted. All athletics workouts, training and operations remain suspended until further notice.
  • Academics
    • Out of an abundance of caution, we will temporarily transition a few academic course sections with a significant proportion of positive cases to full remote instruction; faculty and students in those classes have been notified of the change.
    • Other courses should continue their current instructional model. All classes should continue to wear masks over their mouth and nose, discourage touching of masks, and wipe down all surfaces before and after classes.
    • We urge faculty to discuss all of these changes with students to ensure full understanding and deep consideration of the actions we all need to take going forward.
  • Residential Life & Student Life
    • Effective immediately, while we remain in High Alert, all residence halls will be closed to visitors, including Elon students who live in other on- or off-campus housing. Students must wear masks in all kitchens and common areas outside their own rooms.
    • Students in residence halls with shared floor bathrooms have been assigned to specific bathrooms and fixtures until further notice.
    • The Office of Student Involvement will be reviewing all university sponsored and student events to verify that the events should proceed and that all safety precautions and policies will be followed.
  • Dining
    • All members of campus should ensure social distancing during eating and may need to consider alternate eating locations as the weather gets colder.
    • Elon Dining is prepared, if needed, for shifts in their plans, including if we decided to shift to all grab-and-go food service in the future.
  • Operations & Policies
    • Campus operations will continue as is, as will current in-person and remote services and operations. No additional shifts to remote services are deemed necessary at this time.
    • We urge staff to discuss all of these changes with students to ensure full understanding and deep consideration of the actions we all need to take going forward.
    • The university will continue monitor and strictly enforce policies related to gathering sizes, both on- and off-campus.
  • Personal Actions
    • All members of the campus community are asked to redouble efforts around the following:
      • Wearing masks at all times
      • Avoiding social gatherings that involve removing masks
      • Physically distancing
      • Washing hands regularly
      • Performing their personal health checks at least twice daily using the Ready & Resilient Health Screening app.

These steps and other measures are intended to limit the current spread of the virus and turn the campus trend back toward a lower alert level. This will require the cooperation and vigilance of every member of the Elon community. Please participate in this vital community effort.


The Ready & Resilient Oversight Committee and the COVID-19 Data Analysis Team

Data Analysis Team

  • Haya Ajjan, Associate Professor MIS, Gordon Professor in Entrepreneurship, Director of the Center for Organizational Analytics and Faculty Administrative Fellow
  • Dan Anderson, Vice President for University Communications
  • Steve Bailey, Professor of Physical Therapy and member of Academic Council
  • Steven House, Executive Vice President and Professor of Biology
  • Becky Neiduski, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Professor of Health Sciences
  • Jana Lynn Patterson, Associate Vice President for Student Life, Dean of Students, Assistant Professor
  • Jeff Stein, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships, Assistant Professor of English
  • Julie White, ERP Application Developer, Staff Advisory Council representative

Ready & Resilient Oversight Committee

  • Dan Anderson, Vice President of University Communications
  • Ginette Archinal, Medical Director of Student Health and University Physician
  • MarQuita Barker, Director of Residence Life
  • John Barnhill, Associate Vice President for University Advancement
  • Tom Flood, Assistant Vice President of Physical Plant
  • Jason Husser, Associate Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies, and Director of the Elon Poll (Academic Council Representative)
  • Deandra Little, Assistant Provost, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and Professor of English
  • Paul Miller, Assistant Provost for Academic Operations and Communications and Professor of Exercise Science
  • Kelly Reimer, Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies (Staff Council Representative)
  • Carrie Ryan, Director of Auxiliary Services
  • Kelli Shuman, Associate Vice President for Human Resources & Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Gabie Smith, Dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychology
  • Mary Southern, Project Manager for Provost and Academic Affairs Operations (Project Manager)
  • Mike Ward, Deputy Director of Athletics
  • Randy Williams, Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Assistant Professor of Education
  • Jeff Stein, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships, Assistant Professor of English (Chair)