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Coronavirus

The Tars Promise, Fall 2020 Health & Wellbeing

President Cornwell shares The Tars Promise and other expectations as students prepare to return to campus in September.

August 24, 2020

Dear Students and Families: 

I hope this letter finds you, your family, and your friends all well. We are eagerly anticipating the opening of the fall semester. After months of research, planning, and preparation, Rollins faculty, staff, and our beloved campus are ready to re-engage our purpose: the liberal education of our students. In this letter I will convey important updates to our plans.

We realize not all of you have chosen to return to Rollins in person at this time. Regardless of whether you are attending classes on campus or remotely, you are part of the Rollins community and our plans include you. If you have opted to learn virtually this semester, you will find your faculty have made significant and creative strides in online pedagogies. We also believe it is important that you are aware of what is happening on campus and how we are encouraging behaviors that will help us all have a safe and effective fall.

THE CURRENT CONTEXT IN FLORIDA 

Florida has been much in the news as a hotspot for the pandemic. A closer look at our context offers reason for optimism. Positivity rates in Florida have been steadily declining. In addition, there is less incidence of COVID-19 in Central Florida than in the state as a whole. As of yesterday, August 23, the reported positivity rate for Orange County, where Rollins is located, was down to 5.9 percent the lowest since early July. In our local area, the incidence of COVID-19 is at a level where, according to the CDC, it is safe to open.  

PREPARING TO COME TO CAMPUS

The most important thing you can do now to prepare to come to campus and begin the semester is to keep yourself safe and healthy. Your judgment and behavior in the coming weeks can ensure that you do not bring COVID-19 to campus with you, potentially jeopardizing our ability to sustain in-person courses and an on-campus semester. I am making a personal appeal to you not to attend large parties or gatherings of any more than 10 people for a full 10 days prior to your arrival to campus, to wear masks and practice social distancing, and to engage in all of the measures we will ask of you when you arrive on campus. This is critical to ensuring a successful in-person semester. 

TESTING BEFORE RETURNING TO ROLLINS

While we are not requiring a negative COVID test from students prior to arrival, getting tested before coming to campus is one more measure of securing the health and safety of you and your campus community. If it is within your ability to do so, I urge you to get tested before coming to campus. More information on testing at Rollins is described below my signature.

If you are tested prior to your arrival, email the test results to wellness@rollins.edu.

ETHICS AND EXPECTATIONS: TARS PROMISE 

A Rollins education is designed to prepare you for global citizenship and responsible leadership. You are being called upon to manifest those qualities, that judgment, right now. Perhaps never again will you see demonstrated such a direct correlation between your individual choices and what happens in your community. You—each of you—every day in every one of your choices, are determining the possibilities not simply for yourself, but for all of your peers, faculty, and staff at Rollins. We all want the same thing: a deeply engaging, enriching semester, living and learning here together on campus. Whether or not we will have that is directly in your hands. I implore you to hold yourself and each other accountable. Have the courage and character to do the right thing. Demonstrate global citizenship and responsible leadership here and now. 

I have confidence in this community and that everyone is taking this pandemic seriously. With that said, our plan will only work if everyone follows all protocols at all times. If you are unable or unwilling to follow the protocols, we will send you home and you will complete the rest of the semester virtually.  

Working in conjunction with the Student Government Association, we have articulated the College’s COVID-19 protocols and policies in a set of strict guidelines we are calling the Tars Promise. All students will be expected to adhere to the Tars Promise and will be held accountable to its terms. Note that the Tars Promise pertains to all members of our community, whether you live on campus or off campus. In addition, the College’s Code of Community Standards & Responsibility has been updated to include information about COVID-19.

AUGUST 26 TOWN HALL 

To discuss all these topics and more, I invite you to attend our next Town Hall, hosted by our Student Affairs team and featuring a panel of student leaders, including Student Government Association leadership, this Wednesday, August 26, at 6 p.m. ET. Please follow this link to attend:

https://rollins.webex.com/rollins/onstage/g.php?MTID=e353104d23f505fe261f99a9b17c8ba9d

ONWARD

We are all aware of the collective challenges we are facing for a successful move-in and start of the semester. No doubt, you have followed news of other colleges and universities that have opened with sound plans and high hopes, only to be forced to resort to all virtual learning because members of their campus communities violated their COVID protocols. I believe Rollins can be an exemplar; we are smaller, more cohesive, and collectively inspired by and committed to our mission of global citizenship and responsible leadership. This will be a test of our values, and I have strong confidence we will pass this test with distinction. 

Much of what has been described above is captured in the Tars Promise and Fall 2020 Health & Wellbeing video. We encourage you to watch this video, thoughtfully read the Tars Promise, and review other important information below. We look forward to seeing you soon! 

Fiat Lux!

Grant H. Cornwell 

President 

 

 

TESTING

We know you may have read about other colleges’ and universities’ approaches to testing, or you may have siblings or friends at other institutions using various testing strategies. Each institution is different. The size of the school’s student body, the residential options, and the physical region (whether in a COVID hotspot or not) are just a few factors taken into consideration when selecting the best testing plans.

We have developed a sophisticated, tripartite testing strategy, tuned for Rollins—our size, location, and mission—to monitor the presence of COVID on campus throughout the semester. In partnership with Protean Biodiagnostics, we plan to test all of our students, faculty, and staff before classes begin and again approximately two weeks later. This cutting-edge testing approach includes sequencing the entire viral genome, if present, to understand variation in viral strains present on our campus. We will be back in touch with you on the logistics of testing when you arrive.

In addition, we currently have 3,200 Quidel rapid tests and four Sofia machines on site that will allow us to test anyone with symptoms or possible exposure, providing results within 30 minutes. The Quidel test is an antigen test and has been shown to be 95 percent accurate. We are prepared to administer 50 rapid tests a day, six days per week, plus a daily surge capacity in the event of clusters or concerns of potential outbreaks based on effluent testing and #CampusClear app review, described below. We have partnered with AdventHealth Centra Care to assist with testing on campus.

We will also be able to identify emerging cases through our partnership with BioBot, a biotech firm, by testing wastewater effluent from our residence halls on a weekly basis. BioBot can detect a rise in infection in a residence hall as early as 11 days in advance of symptoms. If we see a spike in effluent test results, we will use our Quidel rapid tests to test everyone in the residence hall.

COVID DASHBOARD 

Our new COVID-19 testing data dashboard identifying positive cases on campus will be maintained by the Rollins Wellness Center. It will be updated every Wednesday at close of business, and new numbers will be posted on Thursday mornings. 

A second, accompanying dashboard, is a risk and mitigation assessment using the OpenSmartEDU (https://www.opensmartedu.org/planning-tools/) that we will update weekly.

#CAMPUSCLEAR APP 

As part of our comprehensive strategy for controlling the spread of COVID-19 on campus, we are deploying #CampusClear, a daily self-screening app and campus “wellness pass,” and we ask that you begin using it September 1, 2020, prior to your arrival on campus. Students studying remotely this fall are not expected to use #CampusClear. 

It takes only a few seconds to self-screen, and your participation helps to keep our campus safe for everyone. Please be sure to self-screen daily, even if you have no symptoms. If you develop symptoms after having completed the daily screening, we ask that you alert the Wellness Center. 

Everyone in our learning community is required to use #CampusClear to gain access to buildings on campus. More information about #CampusClear will be shared this week. 

Download the #CampusClear app here:

Contact the Rollins Help Desk at 407-628-6363 or helpdesk@rollins.eduwith any questions downloading & accessing the app.

RAPID-TRACE CONTACT TRACING

To help limit the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and help ensure the safety of our community, Rollins has partnered with Rapid-Trace, a local firm aiding businesses and institutions like ours with contact tracing services. With Rapid-Trace, we will be able to identify and inform people who have been in contact with confirmed cases so they can take the necessary steps to prevent further spread of this disease.  

Rapid-Trace contact tracers will work for the College as contracted employees of the Wellness Center and will notify you in the event you have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. You will be asked to quarantine until your test results have been confirmed. If your test is positive, you will be asked to isolate for the duration of your infection.