Message from the COVID-19 Task Force
As we prepare for an upcoming break, COVID-19 cases are increasing in Georgia and across the country. Oglethorpe continues to take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread on campus, and we ask everyone, both on and off-campus, to be vigilant in practicing the Petrel Pledge and abiding by the latest public health guidelines this Thanksgiving. Additionally, please consider these guidelines from the CDC for travel and celebrating the holidays this year.
The end of the semester is also approaching, and campus continues to operate in the red phase of the Campus Protection Guide. On-campus residents and any authorized personnel on campus are still required to follow the protocols outlined in the COVID-19 Handbook. This includes wearing a face-covering indoors on campus, and even outdoors when unable to social distance. In many cases, authorized groups, contractors and/or personnel are also subject to additional safety measures and COVID-19 testing. Campus Safety is closely monitoring activity of those entering campus, and entry for pedestrians and unauthorized vehicles continues to be strictly prohibited. If you observe any violations of safety protocols on campus or have concerns, please report them via the Campus Incident Reporting Form. Submissions can be made anonymously.
Random COVID-19 testing of on-campus residents, a measure recommended by the university’s public health consultants, also continues. The goal of this testing has been to test 10% of the resident population on a weekly basis and has resulted in greater than 10% of the population being tested each week over the last several weeks. Heading into Thanksgiving Break, there are no known active cases of COVID-19 on campus.
Some students have opted to remain on campus during the break. Those returning to campus at the end of the break will be required to observe a period of enhanced social distancing and isolation before taking a COVID-19 test on Friday, December 4. The hope is that this timeframe will account for an incubation period for the virus in individuals as they return from traveling, which should result in a greater likelihood of identifying any positive cases. Details on these plans can be found in last week’s communication to residents.
For the latest on COVID-19 testing and activity on campus, visit the COVID-19 dashboard.
Facilities will be coming through each residence hall on Wednesday, November 25 to disinfect all residence hall bathrooms and common rooms. This is the same cleaning that occurred in October.
Flu vaccination reminder
The break is a great time to get your flu vaccine if you haven’t already! As mentioned in previous updates, 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 who need religious and/or medical exemptions or 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.