Ready & Resilient Update: Information on expanded testing, mitigation measures, travel and Thanksgiving

This update includes information about testing efforts this week on campus, insights into the increase in cases and how the university will support safe travel home by students for Thanksgiving.

Members of the Elon community,

We are working closely with county and state health officials and a team of infectious disease specialists from Cone Health to monitor our current cases and consider additional actions, including testing the majority of undergraduates this week.

Although this focus on increased testing and case identification could potentially move the campus to Very High Alert status, this strategy is crucial to locating cases as quickly as possible. Through expanded testing, case data analysis, and continued consultation with health experts, we will mitigate further spread of the disease.

New and expanded testing for all undergraduates

  • Students, please schedule a testing appointment immediately when you receive instructions from the account.
  • Our pilot of the new testing process began yesterday with students related to known clusters of cases. 425 students tested yesterday, approximately 1,300 more students are testing today, and we are aiming to test 5,000 students by the end of the week.
  • We will use a similar model to test large numbers of students, faculty, and staff at the beginning of future semesters.
  • Click here to read about and see pictures of the new process that includes a non-invasive, anterior nasal swab PCR test and allows students to enter contact information on their phones and receive results via text message, often in 24 hours.

What case data and consultation with health experts tells us about virus spread

The wide majority of current cases are related to clusters of cases among several sororities and fraternities. There continues to be no sign of virus transmission in classrooms, and limited transmission has occurred beyond these clusters.

County and state health officials and our infectious disease team continue to provide guidance on our social hiatus measures, testing, and aggressive use of quarantine/isolation as the best means to protect the campus community. Until further notice, the following social hiatus measures remain in place:

  • All informal social interactions should be limited to FIVE individuals at most. This includes indoor and outdoor groups. Within those gatherings, everyone should wear a mask and maintain physical distance.
  • All sorority and fraternity in-person meetings, events, and activities are suspended.
  • All high-risk, high-contact club sports and intramural practices and games are suspended. Any low-risk, low-contact club sport that experiences a positive case within the group will suspend practices and games immediately.
  • Dining halls are only offering grab-and-go food service.
  • No visitors are allowed in residence halls; students may only enter the halls where they reside.
  • Non-essential travel to and from campus should be limited. State public health officials have stated that students should not travel at this time.

Additional quarantine and isolation spaces

On Friday, we increased our designated quarantine spaces in area hotels, and we are completing contracts this week for additional spaces.

Travel and Thanksgiving

To support students’ healthy travel home for Thanksgiving, please note the following:

  • We will offer optional Thanksgiving pre-departure testing the week of November 16 and will provide details as soon as plans are finalized.
  • Thanksgiving travel tips will be provided in the near future.
  • Both before and after pre-departure testing, students should wear masks, limit travel, and limit social contacts in order to avoid contracting the virus at the end of the semester or risking the health of family and friends.
  • According to public health authorities, students experiencing symptoms, in quarantine, or with a positive test result should not travel.

While we conduct the largest testing effort since we began the semester in August, we continue to stress that personal behavior is the key to reducing the number of cases on campus.

We are experiencing the consequences of small social gatherings without masks or physical distancing. We must all follow the behaviors that allowed us to keep the number of cases down earlier this semester.

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