To the Case Western Reserve Community:
As you may have seen already on the COVID-19 dashboard updated yesterday, the university’s positivity rate for last week’s surveillance tests was 0.68 percent.
Given the significant increase of faculty and staff on campus as of Monday, Aug. 23—and Cuyahoga County’s considerably higher rate of 5.9 percent—we want to commend our community for these results. Your exceptional vaccination rates—and adherence to other prevention protocols—have provided a strong start to the semester.
Our challenge now is to maintain and even reduce these promising numbers. We need to continue to adhere to the semester’s prevention protocols, and provide support and understanding to those who contract COVID-19—as well as those directly responsible for keeping the campus safe. Even with such relatively low positivity rates, for example, the number of people who require notification is substantially larger—consider the number of classes and/or meetings individuals typically attend in a single day.
This fall, as we all know, is different. For those who are fully vaccinated, the risks of contracting COVID-19 are substantially lower—and, even if infected, symptoms are not nearly as severe. While receiving notice of a potential exposure cannot help but cause some concern, those who are fully vaccinated generally have far less reason for worry than they did during last winter’s surge. To help address some of the outstanding questions you may have regarding the university’s approach to this semester’s circumstances, we have added new information to our COVID-19 website, including:
- Frequently asked questions regarding exposure notifications when students, staff and/or faculty test positive;
- Updates on quarantine procedures; and
- A list of fall 2021 preventive protocols—detailed previously in emails, but now collected on one page.
We will continue to update the COVID-19 dashboard each Tuesday, and communicate with you as additional developments warrant. For now, please keep up your outstanding efforts to mitigate transmission risk at Case Western Reserve University.
Eric W. Kaler
Ben Vinson III