COVID-19 Update: 11/12/20

The latest update from the COVID-19 Task Force:

The Thanksgiving holiday is coming up, and the level of COVID-19 spread continues to increase in Georgia and across the U.S. Family events have been reported to play a significant role in COVID-19 transmission, so it is extremely important to practice the Petrel Pledge during this time. It is also important to take precautions during this season of increased travel. Remember to wear your mask, wash and sanitize your hands regularly, avoid large gatherings, social distance and get your flu shot!

Testing

The latest round of random testing resulted in three positive COVID-19 test results. This brings the current known active cases on campus to a total of four. Since the start of the semester, 327 total tests have been conducted, with a total of eight positive tests. While random testing has revealed an increase in positive cases, the overall positivity rate remains low at 2.4%. 

View the latest updates on the COVID-19 Dashboard.

Flu vaccinations

All members of the Oglethorpe community who plan to be in person this spring will need to get a flu vaccine as part of the Petrel Pledge initiative. All residents will need a flu vaccination by the start of classes on February 8, 2021. Those with religious and/or medical exemptions and those who are studying remotely and will not be accessing campus for the entire spring 2021 academic semester are exempt.

Maintaining routine vaccinations can help prevent illnesses, reduce the stress on the healthcare system, and protect at-risk populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail pharmacies such as Publix, Costco, CVS, Walgreens, Target, Kroger and Walmart offer flu shots at no cost with most insurance types.

For campus residents

If you are currently a campus resident choosing to travel away from campus for the Thanksgiving Break, you will be required to take a COVID-19 test on November 30 upon your return. Campus residents also have the choice of staying on campus through the break or can move out early at the break and receive a $500 credit on their spring housing bill. Dining services will remain open during the break.

Students choosing to move out at Thanksgiving Break must communicate with their RA and schedule a check-out time prior to Wednesday, November 25 at noon.

Academic planning

A few weeks ago, the COVID-19 Task Force released a Campus Protection Guide that introduced three protection phases for campus operations. Oglethorpe is currently operating under the red phase, with campus being closed with limited exceptions and delivering fully remote instruction.

The newly announced J-Term will be delivered remotely and the campus will continue to operate in its current red phase. It is not yet known if campus will operate in the red, orange or yellow phase this spring. While the task force continues to monitor the virus, we do want to offer some insight into what the possible scenarios will look like.

In the event that we begin Spring 2021 in the orange or yellow phase, some in-person classes will be offered, and commuter students will be able to attend classes on campus. Faculty will be asked to separate commuter students from residential students in their classrooms to lower the risk of community spread. If operating in these phases, all students physically attending classes will be required to use the LifeguardRx mobile app to report any potential COVID-19 symptoms. This self-screening tool will help mitigate and minimize exposure to symptomatic individuals. Further, face coverings will continue to be required on campus, and faculty who are on campus will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing just like students and staff.

We know some students may not be able to attend class physically, and we want students to be able to take almost any class regardless of delivery method. So, face-to-face classes will also provide remote options for attending, either synchronously or asynchronously.

If campus is operating in the red phase or has to shift to operating in the red phase, then classes will be taught remotely for the duration of the outbreak.

Registration for J-Term 2021 and Spring 2021 opens next week on November 16. View the academic calendars.