[PORT] URGENT: Ware College House COVID Precautions

Donna Pflum dpflum@fandm.edu

Oct 10, 2020, 2:44 PM

Dear Colleagues and Students,

The following message was sent very recently to all residents of Ware College House. Please be aware that we are communicating individually with the few students moving into and out of Ware College house during this transition period between Modules 1 and 2.

Please stay safe and well this weekend!

Barbara Altmann

Dear Residents of Ware College House,

 As you know, the College is conducting periodic COVID-19 wastewater testing at campus residence halls.

 We have just learned that a wastewater sample from Ware House collected earlier this week has tested positive for the presence of the COVID-19 virus. As you will recall, a previous wastewater sample from Ware House also tested positive. That positive test resulted in testing 108 student residents of Ware, as well as 23 employees, on Sept. 30, all of whom tested negative for COVID-19.

 An Oct. 8 communication to campus from the Pandemic Operations Response Team (PORT) outlined the changes we are making to COVID-19 testing based on our experience during Module 1. In that communication, we noted that the link between wastewater testing results and individual positive cases continues to be unclear. In part due to this lack of clarity, as of this Monday, Oct. 12, our revised approach now includes testing one-third of students in residence on campus every week (on Mondays and Tuesdays). We are also holding tests available for on-campus professional staff and faculty who choose to be tested on those days. Our HR office will coordinate testing for employees. While we will continue to sample and test wastewater from all on-campus residence halls, we will avoid putting residents into quarantine when a wastewater test comes back positive unless the test results indicate a high presence of the virus. 

 Following our newly-adapted procedures, we are not asking Ware residents to quarantine immediately. However, out of an abundance of caution, we ask that all Ware residents take extra care this weekend and until their test results come back to observe scrupulously all health and safety measures. You must observe physical distancing, wear your masks at all times when you are out of your room, wash your hands frequently, and monitor your health daily to see if you exhibit any symptoms. Please remember your commitment to the F&M Pledge, and our shared responsibility for the health and safety of our community.

 Resolute adherence to health protocols and frequent testing are part of how we keep our community safe and functioning, and wastewater results help us identify trends and specific circumstances. Answers to frequently asked questions are available on our pandemic operations website.

 If you are currently off campus, please contact Dean Todd DeKay before returning to campus.

 You will receive more information about sign-up times for testing when details are confirmed. Shortly after you receive this message, we will also notify the campus community of Ware’s positive wastewater test and the steps described above.

 Thank you for your conscientious observance of these challenging but important precautionary measures. Again, we ask for your extra care and vigilance until your test results come back.  It is our combined efforts that will help keep each individual and the whole community healthy. 

 Deb Moriarty

Interim Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs

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