February 1, 2022
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
We want to express our gratitude to the entire campus community for a successful move-in period and start to the spring semester, despite this weekend’s challenging winter weather. Currently, there are 33 positive cases (25 students and 8 employees/affiliates), which were identified through our on-campus testing center and self-reported positive tests. We have 20 students isolating on campus.
As we begin our fifth semester during the pandemic, it is clear that COVID will continue to be part of our everyday lives. Our community has been incredibly resilient during this period, as we have evolved our policies and practices in response to the changing nature of the pandemic. We recognize, however, that we must find a way to have a life on campus that is as normal as possible while still prioritizing everyone’s health and safety. Today, in 2022, our mitigation strategies to effectively sustain community health—vaccines, boosters, widespread and accessible surveillance testing, consistent wearing of high-quality masks, improving indoor air quality—are vastly better than they were in the past year. With a highly vaccinated and boosted population, we are focused on finding a balance between preserving the in-person experiences that a residential college offers with a need to create a safe learning and living environment.
Changes to the Color-Coded Alert Level System
Since the 2020–21 academic year when less was known about the virus, we have used color-coded alert levels to communicate broad sets of changes to activity, operational changes, and health and safety procedures on campus, based on several factors related to the virus. Since then, much has changed including virus strains, what we know from scientific research, and modified public health protocols.
Starting this semester, we will discontinue the color-coded alert system and instead will communicate specific and temporary modifications to campus operations as they’re needed to address changing conditions related to the virus. Such modifications could include: learning modalities; dining protocols; in-person campus gatherings for events and programs; off-campus travel; use of facilities such as the library and Ferris Athletic Center; visitor and COVID testing protocols.
When determining whether to make changes to campus operations, we are monitoring the following factors:
- Number of simultaneous active cases on campus as indicated by on-campus and self-reported testing, which are published on our dashboard. A significant increase in cases does not necessarily result in a more restrictive set of public health modifications. We believe we can continue to have in-person classes and activities even with a higher case count than we experienced in previous semesters.
- The severity of COVID symptoms.
- Isolation capacity. Our capacity has increased significantly with our isolate-and-recover in place policy, and we continue to have separate isolation housing.
- Staffing and operational capacity and its effect on business continuity. Is there a potential for unsustainable strain on operational and academic services?
- Data on where and how the virus is being transmitted on campus
Our chief goal is to protect the health and safety of every member of our community. We must also ensure the continued fulfillment of our academic mission by prioritizing the experiences that support it. To that end, we are committed to doing all that we can to have the campus be as open as possible, with access to the full complement of in-person academic, out-of-classroom, social, and community experiences.
Changes to Spectator Policy for Athletics
Additionally, we would like to announce a change in our policy regarding spectator attendance at athletic events. As of today, NESCAC guidance for spectator policies allows for institutional discretion. Going forward, Trinity home athletic events will be open to masked and vaccinated individuals (including off-campus guests), and attendance will be limited to 50 percent capacity of the venue.
Please continue to wear a mask in all public indoor settings. Along with a highly vaccinated and boosted population, this is the most important public health measure we can all implement. Your commitment to this will allow us to further ease the various public health restrictions and have all of us interacting and engaging with each other in very meaningful ways.
Joe DiChristina, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment ManagementJason Rojas, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Affairs