Dear Union College Community:
We wanted to take a few moments to provide an update to everyone regarding COVID-19 testing as promised in our most recent previous message.
Today was our first voluntary testing day. The long lines throughout the day were a clear reminder that our community is committed to doing what it takes to keep one another, and those with whom we come into contact, safe. We will be examining the results closely in the coming days.
We continue to be encouraged, however, by the low level of reported COVID-19 cases in the community. As of yesterday, we had 16 total cases since Aug. 1 and currently have two students and no employees in isolation.
As a reminder our indoor mask rules were extended last week until further notice. The senior leadership team also has been seriously discussing testing options for the remainder of the fall term, and possibly beyond.
We are writing today to share the news that the College will move to mandatory weekly testing for students and employees starting the week of Oct. 11, most likely on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution and is consistent with the College’s commitment to balancing public health needs, and our desire to remain true to our core mission and to offer a robust residential experience to our students.
In the meantime, we will offer voluntary testing again next Wednesday, Oct. 6, as planned at Memorial Field House. The hours, as always, will be from 9 a.m. - noon and 1-4 p.m.
We strongly encourage people to get tested and those who aren’t fully vaccinated must get tested next Wednesday. We also need a few employee volunteers to help staff the testing center on this day. Thanks in advance to all those who have signed up to help, or who will sign up.
If you are symptomatic for COVID-19 it is important that you take steps to protect yourself and the community.
Students who feel ill should remain in their room and contact Health Services to schedule an appointment immediately or go to urgent care on the weekend. They should not go to class or other meetings, even if they begin to feel better after treating their symptoms with a fever reducer or decongestant. Faculty and staff should remain at home and contact their physician, and inform their supervisor and Human Resources. It is especially important to take any symptoms seriously if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
There are many details yet to be worked out between now and the start of the mandatory testing, but we wanted to share what we know now in the interest of being transparent. We will share more details next week.
The feedback we have received from our COVID-19 advisory group, as well as anecdotally from others across campus, suggests that mandatory testing, at least in the short term, will provide a welcome measure of reassurance to many members of the community.
At the same time, as we learned last year, maintaining a weekly testing presence requires a significant commitment of financial and human resources. For some, it also can cause a level of anxiety. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we finalize the details and urge members of the community to support one another as we move to mandatory testing.
As always, thanks for doing your part to keep Union safe.
Interim Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Chief Human Resources Officer
Vice President for Administration and Finance