October 21 update from Vice President for Student Life Jon Dooley

Throughout the fall semester, Vice President for Student Life Jon Dooley is providing regular email update messages to keep students and parents informed about the efforts related to COVID-19.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

With just over four weeks to go before the last day of in-person classes for undergraduates, we continue to carefully monitor the recent increase in cases among undergraduate students. The concept of “pandemic fatigue” has gotten recent attention and highlights the challenge of maintaining healthy behaviors over a long period of time. If you’ve tended to relax your guard and spend time with others without a mask, NOW is the time to recommit to stopping the spread of the virus. All signs across the country and even here on campus indicate the start of a fall surge of cases.

Current status

  • Elon’s current COVID-19 alert level is at “Level 2 – Moderate Alert.” Since the October 14 email update, there have been 54 new positive cases of COVID-19 among students and employees.
  • Four clusters of Elon cases have been reported to the state in the past week, connected to East Neighborhood A, Phi Mu sorority, Carolina Hall and Barney Hall.
  • As of yesterday afternoon, there were an estimated 53 active cases and 187 students in quarantine or isolation.

At least 43 of the 54 new cases in the past seven days are connected to the four reported clusters. The largest cluster is also associated with a social gathering at an off-campus bar/restaurant.

What we know from the data about positive cases

  • There continues to be no evidence of transmission of the virus in classroom settings.
  • Contact tracing shows that virus transmission is frequently occurring among roommates/housemates or in social settings.
  • Structured, formal campus activities where mask wearing and physical distancing are monitored and practiced offer safer, lower-risk opportunities for social connection.
  • Social gatherings that do not involve mask-wearing or physical distancing are higher risk activities and are linked to higher rates of virus transmission. This includes social gatherings at bars/restaurants, which are strongly discouraged.

Flu vaccine clinics for students and faculty/staff

The next flu vaccination clinics for students will be held this Thursday and Friday, October 22 and 23, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in Alumni Gym. To make an appointment, sign up online here. Plan now if you want to receive a flu vaccine on-campus this fall – after this week there will be only one more on-campus flu clinic for students. All students are required to receive the flu vaccine before returning to campus in January; details can be found online here.

Information about the faculty and staff flu clinics can be found on the Faculty Staff Wellness Clinic website.

Surveys about the fall experience

Surveys have now been distributed to students, faculty and staff. Thank you for taking the time to share information that will help university leaders understand your experience and to inform efforts for spring semester.

What to do if you feel ill

If you feel ill or experience COVID-19 symptoms, avoid all contact with others. Stay at home and in your room. Do not go to class, work, dining halls, etc. Guidance for students, faculty and staff on what to do if you feel ill is on the Ready and Resilient website.

Sources of information

For more information about COVID-19 and the university response, visit the Elon Ready and Resilient website; the COVID-19 dashboard, which includes links to federal, state, and regional data sources; and the Today at Elon news and information website.

Chaplain’s reflection

University Chaplain Jan Fuller offers a weekly reflection to help us in our search for meaning during this challenging time. This week’s reflection, “Make This Your List” can be found here on the Truitt Center blog.

The next weekly COVID-19 update will be sent to all students, faculty and staff at 10:45 a.m. next Wednesday, October 28, unless an earlier message is warranted.

Dr. Jon Dooley

Vice President for Student Life