From the President, re: COVID-19 Cases on Campus

August 21, 2020

Dear Southern Community,

As you know, to prepare for the reopening of campus next week, we have put in place detailed plans to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

As part of this planning, residential students were required to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken within the two weeks prior to moving on campus.  During the first full week of classes, in partnership with Griffin Health, we will begin weekly testing of 5 to 10 percent of residential students and hall directors - this will continue until the on-ground portion of the semester concludes at Thanksgiving break. 

It is inevitable that positive occurrences of COVID-19 will occur on campus – and in recent days, we have had two positive cases, one student and one student-employee.

When these cases were identified, we immediately engaged our contact tracing and cleaning protocols and have quarantined necessary students and staff.  Both of the students are in isolation.

 To protect individual privacy rights, I do not anticipate sending out a communitywide message every time that a positive case occurs on campus. But because these are the first cases to be identified as we prepare to launch the new academic year,  I believe it is important to inform you and reiterate the protocols we have in place to handle these occurrences.

Transparency is critical, however, so once the weekly residential testing of residential students begins the week of August 31,  we will be releasing data about positive COVID-19 cases through an online dashboard that will be available on our Reopening 2020 website and regularly updated.

Next week, we will also release the first in a series of Campus COVID-19 Updates, online bulletins that will contain the latest information about COVID-related policies and issues on campus. These bulletins will include a link to a JotForm where you will be able to submit any questions or concerns.

As I have stated earlier, following the health and safety protocols that we have put in place are a shared responsibility. As we begin the new semester, please ensure that you observe social distancing and wear a mask at all times outdoors and indoors (excluding your own office or cubicle).

We will continue to work closely with the state Department of Public Health and the New Haven Health Department to monitor spread beyond our campus and take all necessary mitigation steps.

I thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation as we follow these procedures, for the good of our community.

Stay well, and stay Southern Strong.

Sincerely,

Joe Bertolino
President