COVID-19 Update from the President
Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I hope you are enjoying a little down time and are making the most of this Advent season as we celebrate the Savior’s birth. Our campus is eerily quiet without you, and we eagerly await your return.
To prepare for what we hope is our last semester in COVID World, the University Pandemic Task Force continues to meet with me regularly. At this time, we intend to reopen the campus on January 9 and 10 for residential student move-ins so we can resume in-person classes on January 11 as planned. This schedule—and any unexpected changes to it—will be driven by a variety of factors, the most important of which are (1) your health and safety, and (2) our ability to provide the most effective educational experience possible. Any modifications to the current plan will be announced no later than next Wednesday, December 30. For now, I am writing to provide a few important updates below.
Mandatory Testing for Residential Students
Mandatory COVID-19 testing will be required for all residential students prior to moving back onto campus for the spring semester. The university has partnered with Fetter Health Care Network to provide this testing at no cost to students upon arrival to campus on January 9 and 10. Students can receive a rapid test upon arrival to campus during their scheduled check-in time. The rapid test takes 15-30 minutes from its administration to receiving a result. Once a student receives a NEGATIVE result, they will be permitted to proceed with the campus housing check-in process. If a student receives a POSITIVE result, they will check in to a room designated for ISOLATION, where they will be monitored for 10 days by the University COVID-19 Coordinator (per the same policies and procedures as the fall semester). This process will allow us to minimize the risk of asymptomatic students who have the virus from infecting others in campus housing. Here are a few things you need to know about this process:
- While Fetter Health Care Network will be providing this service to you at no cost, they will bill your health insurance provider. COVID-19 testing is currently being covered by the majority of insurance plans nationwide with no copay.
- In order to facilitate the check-in process, all residential students being tested at check-in will need to complete the attached registration paperwork, which includes a release to allow their test results to be sent to CSU. Students must complete and bring these forms to check-in, along with their photo ID and insurance card.
- If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days prior to the start of the spring semester (October 13, 2020 or later), you do not need to be retested, but you will need to provide documentation of your positive test upon arrival to campus.
- If you wish to obtain COVID-19 testing on your own, you must receive and obtain a negative test result within 72 hours of your scheduled check-in time and provide documentation of your test result to the University Pandemic Task Force prior to arriving on campus (details on that process are forthcoming). These students are asked to be extra cautious at home to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus prior to returning to campus.
- It is important to note that while rapid testing provides an immediate test result, it has not proven as accurate as PCR testing at this time. With a slightly higher rate of false negatives, there is a chance a student could be tested, receive a negative result, and still have COVID-19. If a student who moves into their dorm room then becomes symptomatic, they will be moved to ISOLATION, and their roommate and suitemates will be required to QUARANTINE according to the same policies and procedures as the fall semester.
- More information will be sent to residents prior to move in.
Tree of Life Book Orders
Out of an abundance of caution and to equip those who might be unable to return for in-person classes on January 11, we have decided to ship textbooks to all students residing in our residence halls. Beginning this week, textbooks will be shipped to the home addresses on file for those residential students at no cost to students. Commuter, CSU Online, and Graduate School students will receive their books as previously arranged. More information about this process is forthcoming, but students residing in our residence halls should expect to receive their textbooks at home in the next couple of weeks.
BUCSAFE Campus Guide
The fall semester Return to Campus Guide has been modified to reflect plans for the spring semester and will be released before move-in weekend. We will continue to practice the health and safety protocols that helped keep us healthy last semester, including mask wearing, social distancing, smaller gatherings, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. All students, faculty, and staff should reacquaint themselves with these policies and procedures as we prepare for next semester.
As you know, the pandemic is not over. In fact, it is predicted that the next few months will likely be more challenging, despite the recent approval of vaccines. It is of utmost importance that members of our community stay vigilant in practicing the same health and safety measures while at home as we did on campus this fall, especially during the two weeks prior to our return to campus in early January. Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, and avoid gatherings where you may be exposed to the virus. While we anticipate the spring semester will look very similar to the fall, we hope to reach our new normal in a few months. Thank you for your perseverance and resilience as we tackle the final half of this academic year together. With the Lord’s help, we did it once. With His help, we’ll do it again!
Remember, you can always reach out to the University Pandemic Task Force with questions or concerns. You can contact them directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address is being monitored over the break, but responses may be delayed due to the holidays.
Stay safe, stay focused, stay healthy, and stay faithful to the Lord and His provision as we work together to continue enjoying a healthy CSU! As always, let’s spread the Word, not the virus.