Presidential COVID-19 Update: October 7, 2020

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Montana the campus community is responding in a number of ways including; mobilizing to serve communities impacted by the virus, modifying the spring semester schedule and adding testing (details below).  We are also launching a new effort aimed at recognizing those people who are doing the right things to keep our community safe.  This effort is a partnership with the local Helena community and the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce. Wear a mask, keep your distance, or exhibit other healthy COVID19 prevention measures and you may win a prize.  Look for more details in the coming days, and thank you for what you are doing to keep the community safe. 

Asymptomatic Testing On Campus
Carroll College has received a grant from the State of Montana and will start asymptomatic testing of students next week.  Faculty and staff testing is still being planned and more information will come out directly to faculty and staff via email. Testing will be available every Monday and Tuesday on a voluntary basis and will continue throughout the rest of the semester.  Details are still being worked out, but some high contact populations are strongly encouraged to test. Students who are not exhibiting any symptoms can test at the Wellness Center between 9 AM-12 PM or 1 PM-4 PM as well as at the P.E. Center from 12 PM-2 PM. 

Carroll College will be using the same company that was used to do our back to school round of testing.  This company provided  consistent 48-72 hour turnaround time and provided good customer service. 

Our goal is that any asymptomatic student who wants a test will be able to obtain one each week through finals week so that as students prepare to travel we can help mitigate any potential spread of the virus from our campus. Students who are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 should contact the Wellness Center and make a plan to test at a location approved for symptomatic testing.

Some students will be required to test to participate in certain activities.  For instance, the Cascade Athletic Conference which is where our softball, and soccer teams compete has mandated weekly testing for athletes while competing.  It is unclear what actions the Frontier Conference may take, but some required testing is likely.  Other students in high contact positions may also be asked to take tests.  More information about testing will follow next week and individual groups will be contacted with when and where tests are available.

Marching Back for Spring
The Marching Back team has started meeting again on a regular basis to plan for the start of spring semester on Tuesday, January 19.  The group is discussing ongoing testing, travel policies, and determining what went well and where challenges remain as we look ahead to spring 2021.  The group is also looking specifically what challenges are likely to intensify due to the colder weather.  If you have comments or ideas, please contact the group by emailing covid19@carroll.edu

Sincerely,

John E. Cech, Ph.D., President
Carroll College Marching Back Task Force