Elon implements social hiatus and increased testing

In this October 22 update, the committee announced the new steps as a response to the increase in active cases and students in quarantine and isolation.

Members of the Elon community,

Effective first thing tomorrow morning, Friday, October 23, we will return to the social hiatus measures that we know keep us healthy and prevent virus spread:

  • No visitors are allowed in residence halls; students may only enter the halls where they reside
  • Dining halls are offering only grab-and-go food service
  • High risk club sports and intramural activities are suspended and activities and events are being evaluated to assess risk
  • Non-essential travel to and from campus should be limited.

Immediate action is required from each of us. Contact tracing and case data show that social gatherings without masks continue to fuel the spread of the virus. All students, faculty, and staff should limit social contacts to masked, physically distanced, and structured spaces like classrooms, outdoor dining, approved outdoor events, etc.

We currently have 69 active cases and 219 students in quarantine/isolation. Alamance County Health Department is reporting a new cluster to the state associated with Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and increased targeted testing is occurring on campus. We expect to identify additional cases and increase to Level 3 – High Alert in the coming days.

New testing strategies and requirements

Students, watch your email for testing notices and respond promptly to protect yourself and others and avoid student conduct charges. In addition to targeted testing yesterday, we are currently scheduling required COVID-19 testing (paid for by Elon) of all students in specific residences and student groups with positive cases. Students in these groups will be notified about testing requirements. We will provide more widespread testing during the next few weeks, should we be unable to moderate this increase in cases.

Safe, healthy, and university-approved interactions

Healthy in-person interactions remain important to well-being. In-person classes, where no virus spread has been found, remain extremely important. In order to avoid clustering indoors in groups, students should take advantage of the outdoor chairs and fire pits this weekend in front of Young Commons and attend only safe and structured university-approved events.

What you should do now

Vigilance must be your mantra beginning immediately.

  • Do a daily health check and reach out to Student Health Services or your doctor if you notice symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.
  • Wear your mask whenever you are away from your room/apartment/house – indoors or outdoors.
  • Limit your personal group size to 1-3 people – those you can safely be around without masks. This should include your roommate or perhaps suitemates in small living situations.
  • Do not attend parties or social gatherings with more than a handful of people. If you are somewhere that others begin to gather, it’s time to excuse yourself.
  • Do not gather unmasked in groups in any social setting — houses, apartments, residence halls, restaurants or bars — even if it is legally permissible to do so.

What’s at stake if we ignore these precautions

None of us will be happy if we cannot stem the spread of this virus. The next steps could include quarantining certain apartment or residence hall buildings or the extreme measure of sheltering-in-place the entire campus. This could even impact students’ plans for Thanksgiving and the end of the semester. In the coming days, look for emails regarding how to safely navigate Halloween, Election Day, and preparation for Thanksgiving travel.

To successfully finish this semester with in-person classes and good health, we must all work together and protect one another.

Thank you for doing your part,

Jeff Stein, Ready & Resilient Committee Chair

    • 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