Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
In this National Public Health Week, with the end of the spring semester just over four weeks away, we continue to watch key COVID numbers carefully, both on campus and in our county and state. We also extend thanks to our public health professors and experts at Calvin who have worked tirelessly for a year now to help keep our campus safe.
National attention has been on Michigan lately because of our increasing case rates, and Kent County also is seeing rates that are comparable to last fall. In Michigan, clickonDetroit reported, the coronavirus spread is now the worst in the country and hospitalizations are surging.
At Calvin, we are seeing slight upticks as well. For example, a month ago, we were down to three students in isolation, while the most recent numbers show nine students in isolation. Similarly, our quarantine numbers have gone from nine students in quarantine a month ago to 28 now. Finally, we have 12 employees in isolation or quarantine as compared to two a month ago.
Over the weekend, the CDC sent out a simple yet stark tweet, saying: “We all want to get back to normal but must remain cautious. Stop the spread. #WearAMask. Stay six feet apart. Get vaccinated when it’s available to you.”
This advice continues to apply to all of us at Calvin, and we continue to monitor and look for places where we can finetune our ongoing COVID response and mitigation efforts.
To assist with social distancing, yesterday we re-opened the fifth floor of Hekman Library for daytime hours Monday through Friday to alleviate potential overcrowding on other floors. Library staff will monitor the floor to ensure social distancing and masking. Maintaining this as an open floor will be dependent upon campus COVID rates and compliance with campus expectations by library users.
As Michigan continues to vaccinate anyone 16 years of age or older, there are many opportunities for people on our campus to receive the vaccine, including at Health Services which is starting to get a regular, but limited supply of Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
You can register for Calvin’s supply of vaccine online. Appointments for the vaccine are not being scheduled over the phone or by emailing Health Services.
Because Health Services currently has such a limited supply of vaccine each week, we also strongly encourage you to schedule through other local options. Note that people have had some success getting vaccine appointments by calling 833-755-0696. And this vaccine finder website is terrific too.
Finally, a reminder that students who have been vaccinated can opt out of our weekly random surveillance screening clinics for students who do not have symptoms. Students who have been vaccinated and wish to opt out of weekly screenings should upload proof of vaccination to the COVID reporting form.
Speaking of weekly screenings, the screening clinic will be open this week Monday through Wednesday from 8:30-10:30 am and 2:30-4:30 pm as normal, at the Tennis & Track Facility. If you were randomly selected or if you have any questions about the screening process for asymptomatic folks, be sure to visit us there.
As COVID increases in Michigan, anyone with symptoms—no matter how mild—should report their symptoms through #CampusClear or the Health Services patient portal. Same-day testing appointments are available Monday-Friday for sick students and employees as indicated by CDC guidelines. as indicated by CDC guidelines.
In addition, everyone should be using #CampusClear every day, even if you are fully vaccinated and even if you are not having symptoms. Please don’t fall away from this important practice as we enter the final full month of the semester.
Finally, consider this week several great opportunities as part of National Public Health Week, including sunset yoga on Wednesday, native seed planting on Thursday afternoon, watching Brave Blue World on Thursday night on the Commons Lawn, and a public health happy hour on Friday with drawings, prizes, and more. See the posters around campus or contact Kristen Alford for more information. You can register for any of the events above by clicking the links.
Stay healthy, stay safe and stay #CalvinStrong.
The COVID-Response Team
Phil de Haan
Todd Hubers (co-chair)
Sarah Visser (co-chair)