Presidential COVID-19 Update: December 22, 2020

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

Over the past few weeks, the Marching Forward team has been meeting and evaluating our COVID-19 policies and procedures and we are close to finalizing the spring 2021 Marching Forward Plan. We have learned a great deal from the fall and received feedback on several key areas where we are looking to improve. The full plan will be sent to you the week of January 4 but in the meantime, here are few things you should know as you prepare to return to campus in January.

Return-to-campus procedures
Last fall’s entry process was successful and we will be repeating a number of these procedures, including campus-wide testing of all students as they return to campus. Details will be forthcoming. Additionally, before returning, students are being asked to:

  • Self-quarantine at home for 10 days prior to returning to campus;

  • Obtain a COVID-19 test, if possible, in your local community within five days of returning to campus; and

  • If you are COVID-19 positive and needing to isolate or are required to quarantine in your home prior to coming to campus because you are a close contact, please fill out the form on the Marching Forward website, so that we can contact you, provide online academic support and plan for your safe return to campus at the appropriate time.

Spring testing on campus
Carroll College has reached an agreement with a local provider who will be able to provide COVID-19 tests with a turnaround time of less than twenty four hours. Starting with the initial testing of all students, we will be able to rapidly test large groups of students each week. This includes all student-athletes who are in competitive seasons, who in some cases, will be tested several times each week. The campus has already secured 8,000 tests, with the ability to add capacity and expand testing as needed with both our new local lab and our previous testing vendor. More information will be included in the Marching Forward Plan. 

Masks, social distancing and other mitigation efforts
The Marching Forward team has determined that we will continue to require masks throughout the spring semester, or until such time as we can safely lift this mandate. The campus requirement will continue along the same guidelines implemented in the fall with a particular emphasis on making sure masks are worn in the classroom. While we will follow state and national guidelines, students should be prepared that due to the close living and learning environment on campus and the clear evidence that masks make a difference in the spread of COVID-19, we are likely to continue mask requirements even if local requirements are lifted.

Improving isolation and quarantine
As we began to see cases rise last semester, we realized that we needed to improve upon our isolation and quarantine procedures. In addition to the Marching Forward team, a separate team was created to work specifically to meet the needs of students in isolation and quarantine including improving food delivery, accommodating exercise and helping to meet other needs such as package delivery as well as ensuring we have staff who contact students in isolation or quarantine regularly. This team will continue to work together and looks forward to meeting student needs this spring. 

Please direct questions to covid19@carroll.edu. Please allow for a little more time with responses until we are back in the office full time on January 4. Also, the website has been updated with new information about the spring Marching Forward Plan and will continue to be updated throughout the coming weeks as we get ready for the start of spring semester.

Thank you,
Marching Forward Team