Dear Allegheny College Campus Community,
Thank you, students and employees, for your continued hard work and diligence in keeping our campus safe. As of right now, 17 vaccinated students and one unvaccinated employee are recovering from COVID-19. Most students are isolated at the Quality Inn; some are at home. What makes this year different from last year: last year, multiple students who tested positive were hospitalized, two in the ICU; this year, all vital signs for all who have tested positive are normal. Some students have cold symptoms, but all our recovering community members are safe. Thank you, COVID-19 vaccine.
Testing positive this week: We recommend safe choices to prevent transmission of COVID-19, including staying on campus and avoiding large gatherings. Remember that if you become positive for COVID-19 this week, you will miss Thanksgiving festivities at home. If you become positive for COVID-19 after the Thanksgiving break, you may miss finals, your comp defense, or the winter holidays. Those who test positive will need to isolate either at the Quality Inn or at home. Isolating safely at home is possible, but requires the following: stay in your room; use a separate bathroom or wipe down the bathroom after every use; ask family to drop off prepared meals at your door. ACHA will support isolated students at the Quality Inn over Thanksgiving break and the winter break, but it will be limited to food drop-offs and video visits (unless there is an emergency). Everyone is tired and needs downtime, including our nursing, medical, and student life staff.
Masking on campus: We carefully monitor the spread of COVID-19 to our campus and across our campus. Through extensive contact tracing, we see that our cases are coming from off campus and spread on campus is limited to roommates, the closest of friends spending extensive periods of time in close contact, and sexual partners. No spread has been traced to classrooms or campus meetings. Therefore, we continue to encourage our community members to make their own decisions about masking and mask when they choose, but there is no mask mandate at this time. N95 masks are available at the Wise testing center upon request for anyone who wants one. We are constantly tracking cases and contacts and will alert our community if we begin to see uncontrolled spread in classrooms, which is one of our campus triggers.
Booster clinic for Tuesday, November 16:
- Address and hours of testing site: 984 Water Street, Meadville, PA 16335, 9 am – 4 pm.
- We are running the CATA shuttle regularly, and Hooper Higham will be driving a van down to the site and back up to campus in a continuous loop from 8:45 am – 4 pm. Meet either ride at the Lord Gate at the top of Brooks Walk on Main Street. Our goal is for the entire booster experience to be less than 30 minutes door to door.
- Lost your COVID-19 vaccine card? You don’t need it to get the booster. Go without it.
- Didn’t make an appointment? Doesn’t matter. Go anyway.
- Worried about body aches and a sore arm? COVID-19 is worse. Isolation is terrible. Infecting your loved ones is a nightmare. Go get your booster; Tylenol and Motrin will ease the aches and you will be protected.
Flu shots continue to be available at the Wise Center. Please sign up here.
- Thanksgiving is a time of gathering of families and friends, often indoors. Make safe choices over the holiday so that you do not contract COVID-19.
- The rumors about “going remote” after Thanksgiving are not true. That said, I do expect some students to test positive when we return from the Thanksgiving break. To mitigate spread of COVID-19 after Thanksgiving:
- Please plan to get tested at the Wise Center before you return to your residence hall or rejoin your friends on campus and have your ride wait for you in case you test positive. We have some rooms reserved at the Quality Inn, but if we use all the rooms available to us, students will have to isolate at home.
- Testing will be available on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday after Thanksgiving, hours TBD. All students and employees — even those who did not travel — must test between Friday and Monday before they interact on campus. The entire campus will be tested again 3-5 days later, on Wednesday and Thursday, December 1 and 2.
- You may not attend class on Monday if you have not tested.
Make safe choices!
|High Likelihood of Transmitting COVID-19
|Low Likelihood of Transmitting COVID-19
|Enjoying a big dinner with unvaccinated friends and family
|Ensuring that everyone attending a big meal has been vaccinated and makes safe choices
|Going to a bar
|Attending an outdoor holiday fair or market
|Playing board games with children who are not yet fully vaccinated
|Tossing a ball outside or going to a park with children who are not yet fully vaccinated
A few words about stress: The challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are overwhelming. Stress and anxiety from sickness, lost loved ones, and remote learning have had a devastating cumulative effect. Kelly Clarkson is wrong: what doesn’t kill you doesn’t always make you stronger. But the last 18 months don’t define the future. Allegheny students still have a world of possibilities in front of them, here on campus and on the horizon. And our employees continue to be part of a community that, while fatigued, cares deeply about each other. So hang in there. Things will get better and this will pass.
Let’s finish the semester strong. Gator strong.