It is a joy to have our campus full of activity again, with students in class, participating in athletics and activities, and reconnecting with each other. Our commitment to preserving this opportunity is steadfast, which is why we write today to let you know that the College is temporarily extending the indoor mask requirement.
We noted earlier that the transition to campus is our period of greatest risk. Since it can take several days before the virus is detectable, it is possible that some individuals who tested negative on arrival or even on their second test could be carrying it. Through our monitoring this week, we can gain greater confidence that we have identified any infected members of our community and have a more complete view of the health of our community.
Among our sources of information are the experiences of peer institutions, including those that started the semester earlier than Colby. Some of these peer institutions have been forced to move courses entirely online, close dining halls, and restrict visitors. We do not want Colby to be in that position, which is why we are maintaining a high level of caution for the time being so that we can continue the semester unabated.
The indoor mask requirement will be in place through September 19. We will reassess next week and communicate updates on or before that date.
A few other brief but important notes:
- Surveillance testing for all members of the campus community will continue to be twice weekly. The testing center is now located on the first floor of Roberts. It is imperative that you test on your scheduled days. As a reminder, the student testing compliance policy is here.
- If you have any symptoms at all, please contact Health Services (students) or your primary care physician (faculty/staff) immediately so you can receive an antigen test outside of the surveillance testing schedule. Please contact [email protected] to schedule an appointment. Early detection is critical to containing the spread.
- One of the riskiest activities to engage in right now is spending time unmasked in restaurants and bars, where a smaller percentage of those present are likely to be vaccinated. We urge our students not to participate in those activities, and we ask all members of the community to exercise caution when off campus.
- Please socialize safely by limiting the size of gatherings; aim to be outdoors as much as possible.
- While we are not restricting student or employee travel, roughly half of our cases thus far have been arrival or travel-related. If you need to travel, please be vigilant about masking, distancing, and handwashing. And if you travel out of state, we can offer a rapid antigen test upon return. Please contact [email protected] to schedule an appointment.
- For now, we will also extend the visitor policy that was to be in place through September 12, again with the hope that later this month we will be able to ease some restrictions.
Thank you for your efforts to keep our community safe.