October 28 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,

Current status

  • Elon’s current COVID-19 alert level is at “Level 3 – High Alert.”
  • Since the October 21 email update, Elon has received reports of 214 positive cases of COVID-19 among students and employees.
  • As of yesterday afternoon, there were an estimated 228 active cases and 522 students in quarantine or isolation.
  • Close social groups continue to be the primary source for new positive cases on campus. The most recent cases are concentrated within seven student organizations: Delta Delta Delta sorority, Kappa Alpha fraternity, Phi Mu sorority, Sigma Chi fraternity, Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

Important communication from the Ready & Resilient Committee

Yesterday’s email from the Ready & Resilient Committee contains the most current information about university strategies and guidance and is archived here. Among the highlights:

  • The university has significantly expanded COVID-19 testing, with plans to test nearly 5,000 students this week.  Be on the lookout for an email from jeffstein-covidtest@elon.edu and respond right away to the invitation to schedule your testing time.
  • Limit informal social interactions to no more than five individuals and make a note of the changes to grab-and-go dining, limitations on guests in residence halls, and modifications to in-person activities, club sports and intramurals.
  • Classes remain in-person, based on data regarding virus transmission and with the guidance of county and state health officials. With no evidence of classroom-based transmission, classroom interactions remain important for in-person learning, and a safe environment for social and educational connections.
  • We continue to plan for in-person classes through the end of the semester. State, local, and national health officials have advised against non-essential travel at this time.
  • Information about additional testing before the end of the semester and Thanksgiving Break should be available in the coming week.
  • Students who receive positive test results or have close contact with a positive case will be contacted by the Alamance County Health Department. It is important that students take these calls immediately and cooperate with these health officials.

Final student flu vaccine clinic

The final on-campus flu vaccination clinic for students will be held Friday, November 6, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Phoenix Activities and Recreation Center (PARC) in the Danieley Center Neighborhood. To make an appointment, sign up online here. After next Friday, students will need to get their flu vaccination from an off-campus provider. All students are required to receive the flu vaccine before returning to campus in January. The deadline to file a request for exemption from the requirement is this Friday, October 30.  Details about the flu vaccination requirement can be found online here.

Election 2020 information

  • The last day for in-person early voting in Alamance County is this Saturday, October 31.  Information about early voting is on the ElonVotes! website here.
  • The Elon Votes! website also contains information about Election Day voting locations, what to bring with you to the polls, and what to do if you know you’re registered but experience any challenges. There will be a free shuttle to the polls running all day, Tuesday, November 3, leaving from the Center for the Arts.
  • The university is sponsoring a number of post-election activities so members of the community can discuss the election results. In addition, Campus Recreation, Counseling Services and several other offices are sponsoring activities for those who need renewal after a long and exhausting election cycle and pandemic year.

Halloween weekend events on campus

In the midst of the surge of COVID-19 cases, students are strongly encouraged to identify healthy, safe, physically distant ways to socialize this weekend. Local and state mass gathering guidelines continue to be in effect, and socializing in bars or at parties without practicing social distancing is ill-advised.

University-sponsored events are structured, monitored, and offer a safer option for social engagement. East Haggard Avenue will be closed this weekend from Friday, October 30 at 6 p.m. through Sunday, November 1 at 7 a.m. to create a masked and physically distant hangout space on Young Commons. These events have been structured based on advice from our infectious disease specialist and are designed to support student well-being.

  • Friday, October 30, at 10:30 p.m., the Student Union Board (SUB) will be showing an outdoor movie, Invisible Man, on Young Commons.
  • Saturday, October 31, from 5-9 p.m., SUB will sponsor Halloween activities including bands, pumpkin painting, “to go” treats from Elon Dining and a costume contest.
  • On Saturday, October 31, SUB will also be bringing back the drive-in movie, with showings of the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, at 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. in the Ingold/Rhodes Stadium Parking Lot.

Visit PhoenixCONNECT for a full list of weekend activities. However you spend your weekend, masks (real COVID-19 masks, not just the costume kind) and physical distancing should be part of your plans if you will be around people other than your roommate.

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, “For Times That Are Not Pretty” 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, November 4, unless an earlier message is warranted.

Dr. Jon Dooley

Vice President for Student Life