To the Case Western Reserve Community:
We write today with appreciation—and a plea.
Last week, we passed the halfway point of the spring semester. Our COVID-19 positivity rate has remained below 0.3 percent throughout, with one week even dipping down to 0.08 percent. For context, last semester we never had a week that low, and we had six above 1 percent.
Certainly, public health progress in our region has played a significant role in our results, but so too have your efforts. You have largely worn your masks and maintained distance, complied with weekly testing requirements, and alerted the appropriate offices when observing violations. More, you have looked out for one another, volunteering at our vaccine site, advocating for students and colleagues and, all the while, advancing the university’s work of teaching, learning and research.
Thank you for all that you have done to bring us to this promising moment.
These gains have allowed student athletes to return to competition on a limited basis. It has enabled us to offer small individual campus tours to students admitted to our undergraduate program (with limited numbers of family). And, if COVID-19 trends remain at least stable, it will let our graduating students to attend diploma ceremonies in person.
After more than a year of fear and restrictions, these opportunities lift spirits and raise hopes. But we still cannot allow them to reduce our vigilance. Just under 13 percent of the residents of Cuyahoga County have been fully vaccinated. Hospitals in our county report that COVID-19-related cases account for 77 percent utilization of their medical beds. And overall health data continue to keep Cuyahoga County in the state’s red category, for “very high exposure and spread.” Please help us continue our momentum by continuing to adhere to the university’s protocols—including weekly testing.
Speaking of testing, effective tomorrow, March 29, COVID-19 testing will take place in Horsburgh Gymnasium in the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center. The larger Veale track area now will be used for vaccinations.
If you need a bit of inspiration for those efforts, you are sure to find it at noon tomorrow, when COVID-19 Champions and runners-up are announced. Their dedication and impact are nothing short of extraordinary. To register to attend, please complete this form.
We wish you a healthy and safe week.
Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President