COVID-19 RESPONSE

Open with Classes On-Campus

You've done well

Posted: September 11, 2020

Dear Students,

As we close out our fifth week of classes, it is clear you’ve done well.

We are still open and that has happened as a direct result of your attention to doing the what’s best for the whole community.

As a way of saying thank you, beginning next week, teams of students and staff members will be rewarding those of you we catch exemplifying our recommended healthy habits – wearing your face masks, washing your hands, and keeping your distance. These spot rewards are meant to recognize your commitment to keeping our campus as COVID-free as possible.

We continue to have cases, as noted on our dashboard. As of this afternoon, we have three in isolation in Erie and zero in Ruskin. We have several others in quarantine. So far, the situation continues to be manageable.

Seven weeks have passed since our first students returned to campus and we’ve learned a lot about how COVID-19 is arriving here. The first cases arrived when our students arrived and the virus was identified in the testing we did at onboarding. Now, we’re finding our Gannon population is primarily being exposed to the virus through interactions with family and friends at home, or – more frequently – as a result of students visiting other universities and bringing it back to their friends at Gannon. We understand that there are reasons that on occasion a person might need to travel home or to other destinations during the semester. I ask that you consider what the risk factors are in those places you intend to visit before you make that decision and that you take every precaution should that trip be necessary. As for traveling to other universities, I am asking you to refrain from traveling to other universities. The news is full of stories about other universities struggling to contain outbreaks and I don’t want a moment of short sightedness to cause an outbreak on our campus where we are working so hard to stay together.

Our ongoing screening via the LiveSafe app and our ongoing testing have limited the number of exposures on campus by shortening the time between the onset of symptoms and the beginning of quarantine. This is a key reason why we expanded our testing – and why, next week, we are expanding it again to include pre-selected academic classes and labs that involve close contact. Some of you will be receiving invitations to be tested for COVID-19 as part of that essential process and we thank you in advance for your willing participation.

Another change you will see is a pop-up temperature screening station. We will be moving this around the academic buildings in the weeks ahead as a way to cast a larger net for fevers, a key symptom of COVID-19. Its first stop will be in Palumbo next week.  

Some more fun and welcome changes that reflects your healthy habits are that we have opened the pool at the Recreation and Wellness Center, we are about to begin outdoor fitness classes, and we have expanded virtual and in-person programs to give you more things to do.

The more successful we are together, the more we can try to find ways to be together. And, along the way, someone might hand you some free stuff.

See you around campus,

Brian Nichols
Vice President, Student Development and Engagement