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COVID-19 September 16 Update

I hope this note finds you well. I wanted to provide another update—this time to faculty, staff, and students at the same time.

We continue to be doing pretty well, from a numbers standpoint. We have been made aware recently of one employee’s positive case with NO exposure to colleagues or students, and they report doing well. There are no diagnosed active cases with students now, and we have just one student remaining in quarantine from an external (non-campus) exposure.

We don’t think this is ‘luck.’ We have seen a vast majority of you observing our “Safe 8” practices to keep our campus healthy and operating well. We are so grateful for your attention to these guidelines – wearing masks, keeping your distance, washing hands, minimizing travel and large gatherings, etc. We know it’s difficult, and we, like you, grieve the loss of many of the community-building events we’re used to. But we’re hopeful of creating NEW traditions and safe events as we think about our long-term individual and community health.

But we can’t relax. We must remain diligent, as the impact of the virus can shift at any given time. Along those lines, we hear reports of some students struggling to maintain a face covering that covers both their nose and mouth. Please know that this is a non-negotiable right now, and consistency is critical. Those who have been identified in multiple settings will need to meet with a Student Development professional for an accountability conversation – and if the issue persists – will need to finish the semester remotely.

On a positive note, we’re hearing from the Chartwells team about some food service updates. We have a great Food Services team who have worked hard to manage meals in such a unique environment. The Student Development staff is distributing some special treats tomorrow (Thursday) at lunch, so you won’t want to miss that. The Cougar Den team will be addressing some portion concerns you’ve told us about. And soon, you will see more dining commons stations opening up to provide even more options for you. Thank you for your feedback and your patience as we navigate COVID cuisine!

Finally, if you’re finding yourself anxious these days or have general questions about how to deal with the pandemic, and you hope to learn about coping strategies, check out our “Conversations with Counselors” series today. It’s open to all students. The first session is TODAY at 10 am – here’s the link to the Webex group conversation: Another session is scheduled for Sept 30th and basically every other Wednesday (check out the SAU mobile app—Campus Services—for details on exact dates and topics). Your total health—including your mental and emotional well-being—are important to us. Please reach out if you need help. If you’d rather have a private conversation about specific needs or concerns, email to schedule an appointment with Carrie or our counseling intern, CC Said.

Blessings to you all, and thank you for caring for yourselves and our community well!

Corey R. Ross | Vice President for Student Development and Success