The update comes as the committee anticipates a reduction in campus-wide restrictions in the week ahead.
Dear members of the Elon community,
We write to share good news and some thoughts on plans for a Healthy Elon future as we navigate the next phases of the pandemic. Based on public health models and guidance, we anticipate a reduction in campus-wide restrictions in the weeks ahead, balanced with the understanding that every member of our community has different needs.
High booster vaccination levels
As of today, 98 percent of students have submitted proof of their COVID-19 booster vaccination, been approved for medical or religious exemption, or are not yet eligible to receive a booster. Similarly, 86 percent of full-time faculty and staff, are boosted or waiting to become eligible for their booster, and all others are testing weekly. This high rate of booster vaccination means the Elon University community has strong protection against severe illness or hospitalization.
Declines in COVID transmission
The number of daily positive cases at Elon has declined considerably since the sharp surge of cases in mid-January. Alamance and Guilford County remain in high alert with significant case and hospitalization numbers, but health experts in the region, including our consultants at Cone Health, report decreases in case counts and hospitalizations over the past two weeks. Their models predict a continued slow but steady decline ahead, barring the arrival of another virus variant.
Not everyone has experienced the same impact from the pandemic
During this time of transition, we ask that each of us keep in mind that some students, faculty and staff have not only experienced considerable burdens and loss during the pandemic but will also continue to need additional precautions due to their own or their family members’ unique health conditions or other situations.
Campus policies in the months ahead
The positive and caring spirit of the Elon community has helped us to carefully balance the need to take reasonable precautions against COVID, while also continuing our daily work and activities together in-person. Together we have conducted daily classes, labs, and meetings; held in-person meetings, events, performances, and games; and welcomed guests to campus.
In line with many health experts, we now believe we are transitioning to the endemic phase of COVID-19, with a lower level of viral transmission and fewer cases of severe illness. Considering the high rate of booster vaccination at Elon, we look forward to reducing campus restrictions in the coming weeks and months as the number of COVID infections continues to decline on and off campus.
Regarding our campus indoor mask requirement, we will continue to monitor and follow guidance from the CDC and state and local health officials. Current data models suggest that as cases decrease, we may be able to modify indoor mask requirements and possibly our testing and quarantine/isolation routines later this spring. We anticipate updates from the Governor of North Carolina and the CDC coming soon as well.
The coming weeks and months . . . and beyond
We have learned that our community can experience an unexpected increase of cases due to spread within social groups or large gatherings. Please remember to wear a mask when you are in confined spaces with others. Masks not only protect you, they protect others from you—especially those who have compromised immunity or small children who cannot be vaccinated. No matter how tired we are of the pandemic, we all have a responsibility to protect those around us.
Finally, the Healthy Elon Committee has begun the process of envisioning policies and practices for this summer and next Fall Semester and want to hear your thoughts regarding the best ways to keep our community healthy and thriving. We invite you to reach out to Healthy@Elon.edu to share your thoughts and will look to host a campus forum soon to get your ideas about health and well-being on campus in the fall and beyond.
Thank you, and good luck with the rest of the Spring Semester!
Jeff Stein, Healthy Elon Committee Chair
- Dan Anderson, Special Assistant to the President
- Ginette Archinal, Medical Director of Student Health and University Physician
- John Barnhill, Associate Vice President for University Advancement
- Jon Dooley, Vice President for Student Life
- 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)
- Keren Rivas, Interim Vice President for University Communications and Marketing
- 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)
- Mike Ward, Deputy Director of Athletics
- Randy Williams, Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Assistant Professor of Education