This update from the Healthy Elon Committee also includes information about close contacts and how faculty can support the continuity of learning for ill students.
Dear Members of the Elon Community,
As we conclude the first month of classes, I write to share an update from the Healthy Elon Committee regarding our community’s response to COVID-19. Thank you for continuing to wear your mask indoors and in social situations, which is making a difference in slowing the spread on campus and protecting those who are unable to be vaccinated.
COVID-19 Case Update
There were 62 active cases among students and employees yesterday, and this morning 15 of those cases ended isolation. These 47 active cases compare to 81 active cases on Sept. 9. All student cases have been traced to unmasked indoor social gatherings.
- Thanks to our community’s high rate of vaccination, the large majority of cases on campus have no symptoms or mild symptoms similar to a cold, flu or allergies.
- The number of new cases on campus this week is lower than last week’s count and mirrors a similar decline seen recently in our region.
- While the health experts we are working with believe the case count in our region may have hit a plateau, with a slow reduction over the next several weeks, it is too early to let down our guard against the highly contagious Delta variant. The level of community transmission across North Carolina and most of the nation remains in the high category.
- The 1,380 on-campus tests in the past 7 days, mostly for symptomatic students, resulted in 32 positives, with a 0.82% positivity rate among 609 tests yesterday and today.
- Student Health Services reports diagnosing many cases of strep throat, mono, and non-COVID respiratory illnesses typical this time of year. We strongly encourage students to continue pursuing medical attention for symptoms.
- Because those with typical seasonal illnesses are concerned about COVID, over the past few weeks, we have increased testing opportunities for students, faculty and staff:
- Symptomatic student testing: Student Health Services walk-up testing 7 days/week
- Symptomatic faculty-staff testing: By appointment at Faculty/Staff Wellness Clinic
- Asymptomatic student, faculty, and staff testing: Walk-up testing available at McCoy Commons in The Oaks residential neighborhood (short lines at some times)
Due to health department reporting guidelines, Elon University is unable to test family members. Local testing resources include:
- ACHD/Optum free testing on Thursdays at Schar Center: Click here to register.
- Off-campus testing sites: Use the NCDHHS Find My Testing Site tool (enter the university zip code – 27244)
- No-cost, at-home PCR test kits for NC residents: Order a kit from this page.
Changed CDC Guidance on Close Contacts & Testing of Vaccinated Individuals
CDC and other health guidance has changed this year regarding close contacts and testing.
- Read updated CDC guidance regarding close contacts. Elon’s similar policies for vaccinated and unvaccinated close contacts can be found here.
- The current CDC guidance for institutions of higher education with high vaccination rates, such as Elon, indicates that “people who are fully vaccinated do not need to undergo routine COVID-19 screening testing.” This change from last year, when we utilized surveillance testing in the fall and weekly testing in the spring, reflects the purpose and effectiveness of the vaccines.
Temporary Expansion of the COVID-19 Dashboard
In response to requests for additional information on the campus COVID dashboard, we are implementing an expanded data set updated each weekday morning until we experience a reduction in cases from the Delta variant. The new dashboard will be live by 3 p.m. today.
Faculty Support of Ill Students’ Continuity of Learning
Elon’s talented and caring faculty are actively determining the best methods (based on their expertise, their discipline and their teaching pedagogy) to support students who have to miss class due to illness. Updated faculty and student best practice guides related to academic progress will be provided next week.
- Faculty should continue to check OnTrack class rosters daily for quarantine updates.
- Students should work directly with faculty to maintain continuity of learning.
- Students who feel ill or are a close contact with a positive case should follow the specific guidelines on the Health and Wellness web page.
- All students, faculty, staff, and visitors must continue to wear masks indoors (except when alone in a private office, in a residence hall/apartment room, or while eating or drinking). This includes Fall Convocation on Sept. 24 in Schar Center. Everyone is encouraged to wear masks outdoors in crowded areas and where social distancing is not possible.
- Faculty may move Saturday morning meetings with families outdoors. We ask that faculty post signage on the doors of assigned indoor meeting locations with directions to their outdoor meeting locations. Families should check assigned meeting room locations for details.
Look for an additional video next week with responses to questions we have received, and feel free to continue sharing questions via Healthy@Elon.edu.
Thank you for continuing to protect yourself and others against this virus,
Jeff Stein, Healthy Elon Committee Chair
- Dan Anderson, Special Assistant to the President
- Ginette Archinal, Medical Director of Student Health and University Physician
- MarQuita Barker, Assistant Dean of Campus Life and 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, Associate Provost for Academic Excellence and Operations and Professor of Exercise Science
- Kelly Reimer, Senior Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies (Staff Council Representative)
- Carrie Ryan, Assistant Vice President for 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)