Deepening Our Commitment to Safety & Community

   Campus Announcements | Posted on November 3, 2020

Nov. 3, 2020

Dear campus community,

Thank you for the many positive responses we have received in relation to the communication on consistent use of masks last week. Your comments helped show your interest and commitment to keeping our community safe, but also in understanding the concerns that this commitment needs to be from everyone, all the time.

To follow up, we want to ask for your continued cooperation on two other critical issues.

We ask you this because of the continued and significant rise in positive cases in our own Berrien County, even since our message to campus late last week. This increase has, in turn, led to a number of additional cases within our campus community as a result of community contacts outside the campus.

We also ask for your direct cooperation and support because we have three more weeks of face-to face classes this semester. We want to end this semester strongly and have everyone healthy and ready to go home on Nov. 25.

As a result, here are our requests and, with that, our expectations for each member of our community:

  1. We would ask that for the next three-week period we limit all unnecessary movement. If you live on campus please only go off campus for work or essential trips. If you live off campus, please only come onto campus for your study, work appointments, or for identified activities (worship, University-organized activities, personal wellness). And supervisors, if more work from your employees can be done remotely, this is the time to make and approve those arrangements.
  2. Whether you are on campus or off campus please intentionally limit your close contacts with others to as few as possible. Remember that any time you are close to another individual for 15 minutes or more (either consecutively or over a 24-hour period) those individuals will be quarantined if you test positive for COVID-19. In the classroom, and within your residence hall spaces or homes, close contacts will be inevitable. But please review your work practices and social engagements—and work to ensure your close contacts are as few as possible. This keeps both friends and colleagues out of quarantine if illness occurs.

We started this semester by agreeing to a shared Community Covenant of Care, which at its core asked each one of us to make consistent choices in the COVID-19 environment that showed our personal consideration for all in our community.

Until our Thanksgiving break, we would ask that you personally recommit to that covenant by your decisions and in your daily actions. This tightening of our personal commitments can only happen with our community being fully willing to keep safe together. We will not be adding additional monitoring or screening to ensure these requests are followed. We are, instead, looking to rely on the good will and consistent behavior that most of this community have shown for these past few months.

Please Note: Neither of these two commitments will change current scheduling for University-organized activities and classes. However, please remember that all state and University restrictions regarding capacity, social distancing and mask wearing guidelines must be carefully followed.

Please join us in making these two commitments: to limit your movement and increase your practice of physical distancing both on- and off-campus over the next three weeks, starting this Wednesday, Nov. 4. This is, of course, in addition to your commitment to consistently use face masks and daily record your symptoms in the CampusClear app.

With thanks,

Andrea Luxton

Christon Arthur