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Move to Online Courses During March 1-5, 2021

Updated February 26, 2021

Dear Faculty Colleagues, 

I am writing to inform you that surveillance testing conducted earlier this week resulted in six resident students from Windham Hall testing positive for Covid-19 with another two identified as close contacts out of the 67 students living in this residence hall. In accordance with our mitigation protocol, all Windham residents were notified Thursday evening and are under dormitory quarantine. All Windham residents are being tested today, February 26, with lab results expected by Sunday, February 28. 

Course instructors are being notified today by the Division of Student Affairs as to their students who will not be in class today (Friday).  Windham residents are being monitored closely by Health Services and arrangements have been made for students’ meals to be delivered to their rooms. In addition, Residence Life staff are looking after these students’ physical and emotional needs.  In the meantime Windham Hall will undergo continuous deep cleaning and the entire campus community population will be subject to heightened testing in the coming week.

Please be assured that every precaution is being taken to contain the outbreak of Covid-19 on campus, which at the moment is confined to the six confirmed cases in Windham Hall. In an abundance of caution given this small cluster in concert with the University’s off- and on-campus Covid-19 indicators, however, the Administration decided that all courses will convert to 100% online March 1-5. While the University’s Covid-19 Alert Level is currently at yellow and would not ordinarily trigger a conversion to all-online learning, this action is being taken to err on the side of safety for the health and wellbeing of our campus community. In preparation for next week’s classes being fully online, please ensure that you have access to all necessary teaching materials and resources, including technological capacity, going into the weekend. 

While this news is unsettling as it is unwelcome, it should not give rise to undue alarm. To date there are zero known cases of in-class transmissions, and the University is well-positioned with seasoned leadership and a professional Health Services staff that is second to none. As information is received on the scope of the outbreak, the campus community will be notified of the University’s plan going forward, ranging from staying the course (status quo) to an extension of the all-online course delivery.  These actions validate that the system is working, and affirmation that the Administration’s number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of WNE’s students, faculty, and staff.

Stay safe and keep healthy! 

Kind regards,

Curt Hamakawa
Interim Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs