January 6 update from Vice President for Student Life Jon Dooley

This update comes as the university prepares to begin Winter Term and includes information about arrival testing and preparing for the new term. Vice President Dooley will provide weekly updates throughout the remainder of the academic year.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we prepare for the start of Winter Term, we are resuming our weekly COVID-19 email updates, which will be sent at 12:15 p.m. each Wednesday. The format will be similar to fall semester, starting with an update on the current status and including highlights of other timely information with links to additional information on university websites.

Please make it a priority to read these weekly updates and to visit the Elon Ready and Resilient website often for official university information about COVID-19 response.

Current status

  • The enhanced Elon COVID-19 dashboard is now live. An important source of information for the university community, the dashboard combines information from multiple sources to track the impact of the pandemic and is updated daily at 4:00 p.m. The dashboard includes information about new and active cases, quarantine and isolation, results of on-campus testing, and data from Alamance County and the State of North Carolina.
  • Elon’s current COVID-19 alert level is “Level 1 – Moderate Alert.” The alert matrix has also been updated for Spring 2021. More information is available online here about the revised matrix and how it is used to guide university decision-making.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our region and across the state and nation continues to rise following the holidays. Many healthcare providers are at or near capacity. This requires us to use the highest level of vigilance in wearing masks and maintaining physical distance as we travel to campus and reassemble with our friends and colleagues.

Arrival testing

Rapid antigen testing is being used to conduct mandatory COVID-19 arrival testing. This non-invasive nasal swab test, which Elon used for Thanksgiving pre-departure testing, will significantly reduce the 24- to 48-hour wait for results that is common with PCR testing. Any positive test result from the antigen test must be followed up immediately with a confirmatory PCR test. Antigen results will be posted to your My Readiness page within 3 hours.

Please schedule your testing appointment now, if you have not already done so. Instructions to sign up for a testing appointment were sent directly to your Elon email – the most recent message from Dr. Jeff Stein was sent Wednesday, December 30. Click here to view the schedule and sign-up links.

Students, please note that upon arrival you must quarantine in your room, either in campus housing or off-campus, until you receive a negative test result. While awaiting results, students may go to dining halls, wearing masks, to pick up meals. No other access to campus facilities will be allowed.

Click here and scroll below the test schedules for instructions if you are arriving early or late, believe you are unable to complete arrival testing, or have a prior positive test within the past 90 days.

Information about the arrival testing process is available online here.

Preparing for a new semester

As we return to campus, please take a few minutes to watch two important videos:

Flu vaccination requirement for students

Students who did not receive their flu shot on campus this fall or who have not submitted a waiver request will be required to upload proof of their flu vaccination before they will be allowed to return to campus or attend classes for Winter Term. Instructions to upload the information to your PhoenixHealth portal can be found online here.

Campus involvement plans for spring

Belonging and connection are an important part of Elon’s residential campus experience. An important lesson learned from fall semester was that the classroom environment and on-campus sponsored activities were lower-risk opportunities for social interaction. As first-year students arrive next week, a series of dinners, events and activities are planned to invite students back to campus and to re-energize community and connections.

The staff in Student Involvement will be working with student organization leaders during Winter Term on how to host in-person events safely on-campus this spring; a series of smaller, in-person organization fairs are planned for January to promote involvement; and the return of athletic contests in the spring will also provide opportunities for safe, in-person gatherings to cheer on the Phoenix. Of course, all events will prioritize safe practices, including wearing masks.

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.

Student Health Services will resume regular operations on Monday, January 11. Information for students on what to do if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, including resources for off-campus providers when Student Health is closed, is available on the Student Health Services website.

Additional guidance for faculty and staff on what to do if you feel ill is on the Ready and Resilient website.

Wellness moment and Chaplain’s reflection

Each week University Chaplain Jan Fuller helps us in our search for meaning during this challenging time – this week’s reflection, “Stars to Guide Us,” can be found here on the Truitt Center blog.

In addition to the chaplain’s reflection, at the end of each weekly update this spring we will also be including a reminder, suggestion, or strategy to maintain a focus on wellness and well-being throughout the semester. For this week, as a shift from setting lofty new year’s resolutions, consider identifying a word or short phrase as an intention to anchor and guide your choices, behaviors, and efforts for the coming year. (For example, Fun, Connect, Confidence, Breathe, Do Less, Stretch, Perspective, etc.) Reflect on what you value and would like to develop within yourself; let it be a word or phrase that you repeat to motivate and inspire yourself throughout the year.

Information is updated regularly on the Elon Ready & Resilient website. The next weekly COVID-19 update will be sent to all students, faculty and staff at 12:15 p.m. next Wednesday, January 13, unless an earlier message is warranted.

Dr. Jon Dooley

Vice President for Student Life