November 11 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 “Level 3 – High Alert.”
  • Since the November 4 email update, Elon has received reports of 46 positive cases of COVID-19 among students and employees. This is down from 184 during the previous 7-day period.
  • As of yesterday afternoon, there were an estimated 60 active cases, down from 213 last week at this time.
  • Yesterday we reported a total of 289 students in quarantine or isolation, down from 571 last week at this time.
  • In the testing over the past week a cluster of cases within Smith Hall has been identified. Residents of the building have been contacted directly regarding additional testing and other strategies to prevent further spread of the virus.
  • As announced by the Ready & Resilient Committee yesterday, dining halls resumed in-person dining today. Students must maintain physical distancing, eat only in small groups, and remove masks only for eating and drinking. Grab and go options will still be available.

State Executive Order Extending “Phase 3” in North Carolina

Governor Roy Cooper has issued a new executive order, extending phase three restrictions in the state through December 4.

  • As part of that order, the state-wide restrictions on mass gatherings have been reduced back to no more than 10 persons indoors and 25 persons outdoors. Those limitations match the emergency declaration that has remained in place in the Town of Elon throughout the fall semester.
  • While university classes and recognized/approved activities are not covered in this mass gathering limitation, it does apply to parties or other informal gatherings in student residences, both on-and off-campus.
  • Keep in mind that residence halls and university apartments have lower capacity limits this fall semester.
  • Regardless of these campus, local, or state restrictions, the university continues to recommend keeping your circle of close contacts as small as possible, and to avoid being in social settings unmasked with anyone other than a roommate.

The university supports healthy forms of engagement on campus, even as we fulfill our obligation to uphold the Healthy Elon Commitment through the standards for shared responsibility and accountability communicated in August. As of today, violations of restrictions on hosting mass gatherings this semester have resulted in 18 disciplinary suspensions. In addition, 167 students have been placed on disciplinary probation and 259 have received student conduct warnings for attending mass gatherings or other COVID-19 related violations.

End of the semester testing and travel

Yesterday the Ready & Resilient Committee announced on-campus pre-departure testing available next week through the availability of the Abbott BinaxNow antigen test.  The appointment schedule and sign-up process will be released later today for testing that will occur Monday, November 16 through Friday, November 20.

As a reminder, individuals with a positive test result, confirmed by a positive PCR test, will be required by the Health Department to isolate for 10-14 days. Close contacts of those with a positive test will also be required by the Health Department to quarantine for up to 14 days.

Additional information and recommendations for travel at the end of the semester is available on the Elon Ready & Resilient website here.

Maintain vigilance with physical distancing in the two weeks prior to your departure
Avoid the use of public transportation, if possible
Plan ahead for any requirements of your home state or final destination

University residence halls (not apartments) will close on Wednesday, November 25, at 10 a.m. If you need to stay in your residence hall past that date, you must submit a formal request for break housing. Information is available on the Residence Life website here, and all requests are due no later than Friday, November 20.

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, “Nothing is Wasted” 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 18, unless an earlier message is warranted.

Dr. Jon Dooley

Vice President for Student Life