I am writing to inform you that there is a Mitigation and Monitoring Workgroup that is representative of leadership across the university. The following people from the Mandel School are serving on this workgroup: Interim Dean Milligan, Associate Dean Miller, and myself.
The charge of this workgroup is: On an ongoing basis, (1) monitor and if necessary, adjust operational protocols and policies to maintain the health and safety of faculty, staff, students and other community members while also advancing the university’s academic mission; and (2) take steps to mitigate issues that emerge.
We meet every Tuesday at 4 p.m. I will be sending out information as it pertains to our schools to increase communication related to COVID-19. I am also asking you to email Interim Dean Milligan, Dean Miller or myself if you have questions or concerns related to COVID-19 mitigation or monitoring. We will bring these questions/concerns to the workgroup and then I will report back to all.
Megan R. Holmes, PhD, MSW, LISW-S
Director, Center on Trauma and Adversity
November 2, 2021 update
- Last week 2177 screening tests were conducted; 4 positives (all undergraduates)
- 834 booster shots have been delivered
- Upon CDC approval, CWRU will provide the Pfizer vaccine to children 5-11yrs of age; scheduling will take place in the evening (e.g., 5:30-8:30pm) to accommodate parents' schedules; only CWRU family members will be eligible for this vaccine; start date TBD based on the CDC's decision. Could start as early as tomorrow or as late as 8 November 2021. The 3wk delivery period remains the same for children's vaccination schedule.
- Seems that masking protocols will remain in effect for Spring 2022.
September 28, 2021 update
COVID-19 One Stop Website
For all information related to COVID-19 policies and procedures, please go to the CWRU COVID page. The University is continuing to update this website with the most current information. If you are not able to find the answer to the question you have, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions specific to vaccines, you can email email@example.com. For questions specific to testing, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vaccine and Testing Compliance
New staff are given a 2 week grace period to come into compliance.
Vaccine Additional Doses and Booster
Some information is provided below but more information can be found through Dr. Sara Lee's 9/27 email.
- Unvaccinated - The university is still providing vaccines to those community members who are not vaccinated yet.
- Additional Doses - Additional doses for immunocompromised individuals is available for Modera or Pfizer.
- Booster Doses - You can receive a booster dose of Pfizer if you are 65 and older, 18 and older with underlying health conditions, and those who are in a high risk work environment (this includes teachers and health professional students in this category). To get the booster, you need to have received Pfizer and who are at least 6 months past their second dose. You will be able to get the flu shot at the same time starting next week.
September 9, 2021 update
The COVID-19 Dashboard has continued to be updated. Positive cases on campus (.4% positivity rate) is much lower than Cuyahoga County (8.1% positivity rate).
Updated Surveillance Testing
Surveillance testing will continue on campus. It will be mandatory for all undergraduates that are living on campus. Weekly surveillance testing will be available as a voluntary option for anyone on campus. Updated guidelines were sent out earlier today by President Kaler.
What to do when exposed to COVID-19?
The University has put together a decision tree to answer as many questions as possible regarding what to do if you are exposed to COVID-19.
The University planned to evaluate the masking after the first three weeks. A decision has been made that we are going to continue masking because we are in a county that has a high rate and it is best practice to mask.
Managing Risk during the Pandemic
The transition during the pandemic from working from home to back to work has been challenging for many. Faculty and staff are invited to join the Wellness Program team Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 1 to 1:45 p.m. ET to join in discussion and problem solve, and to gain and give support with fellow colleagues. Register here.
August 24, 2021 update
Provost Vinson quoted our discussion at faculty meeting about toxic positivity - that not everyone is feeling excited or positive about the return and that framing everything in a positive way can feel toxic. He reminded the committee that everyone is experiencing a range of emotions right now. Thank you Amy Korsch-Williams for bringing this discussion into faculty meeting and Dean Milligan for writing about it in your welcome message.
There were 31 positive COVID-19 tests, which is a 0.5% for students and 0.4% for faculty and staff. There are currently 181 students in isolation or quarantine. The majority (roughly 130) are in arrival quarantine because they came from another country. Concerns were also brought up about the surveillance testing in PB Lewis Building - small space, only one staff, limited internet connectivity. CWRU is looking at a larger testing site to address these issues and asking everyone to be patient about these issues. They are working to address it.
We currently have 97% of our CWRU community that are vaccinated, 1% need to turn in cards (these are new employees), and 2% have accommodations. Only 8 people out of 16,000 CWRU community members have not engaged in the process but these are likely 8 students who are not coming to CWRU.
If you are having an event with 50 or more in August or September, you need to work with the Dean's office with a written plan that includes (1) that all people attending are vaccinated, (2) all people are masked at all times (except when eating), and (3) you will follow the CWRU guidelines about eating and catering (boxed meals, don't share serving utensils).
Booster Vaccine Shots
Because the CDC has already recommended booster shots, CWRU is being proactive in planning out the logistics for how we can administer booster shots to our campus community and surrounding community once boosters have been approved for the general population. Right now, they are only approved for immunocompromised individuals.
August 3, 2021 update
We have 83% of our campus who are fully vaccinated. When we include those who are partially vaccinated, we increase to 92% of our campus either fully or partially vaccinated.
Students who are not fully vaccinated (2 weeks past final dose of vaccine) or students who have received a vaccine from another country that that we don't accept, they are required to quarantine for the first week they are on campus. This means they may miss the first class. Please be accommodating to these students.
Masking and CDC Guidance
As you likely saw the email from President Kaler, the University has reinstated requiring masks for vaccinated or unvaccinated starting tomorrow August 4.
In Person Teaching
The University is planning for in person classes. Right now, virtual delivery or dual delivery is not being considered.
Other Concerns Discussed
During the meetings, concerns were voiced about the difficulty in teaching with everyone wearing masks, concerns about parents with children who cannot currently be vaccinated, concerns about the lack of flexibility being offered by the University, and concerns about the additional stress that people may be experiencing because of returning to full capacity.
July 27, 2021 update
- 227 tests given within the last week; one positive (person had been vaccinated);
- Compliance matters: there are about 1500 faculty, staff, and students who have not communicated in any way with the university regarding their intentions of getting vaccinated or seeking an accommodation. Plans are to continue reaching out to these individuals ahead of the 16 August 2021 deadline;
- Provost has stated that the plexi-glass will remain at the lecterns for the first 3 weeks of class; however, there is an exception process being formulated;
- Overall reported vaccination rates are above the 80% threshold and climbing (faculty are still bringing up the rear...🤔😱); and
- Testing will begin on begin on 23 August at various sites around campus which are still being identified; only one test a week is needed for the first 3 weeks at the start of the year; a calendar link was provided with some locations (note: this will more than likely be updated as more sites are identified/confirmed).
July 20, 2021 update
We have been doing baseline testing as students are returning to campus. So far out of around 800 tests all have been negative!
Number of people who are fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated are at 77% as a campus community (67% of faculty, 78% of staff, 81% of undergrads, and 76% graduate students). We anticipate this number to increase as the deadline to submit the vaccine cards is this Friday.
The University is working with the incoming international students (approximately 400 students). These students are falling into three groups: 1) If they are already vaccinated, they will need to be quarantined when they get to campus. They will be able to quarantine in their room on campus. 2) Some students indicated that they would get a vaccine when they arrive, which we will provide, but they will still need to quarantine. 3) A small group has indicated they do not intend to get the vaccination and will be seeking an accommodation. These individuals will likely not be able to live on campus because of the increased risk of the Delta variant.
For international students who are not able to come to the US, the University is working with them to identify courses that they can take virtually to keep moving forward toward their degree.
Plexiglass in Classrooms
There is not evidence that the plexiglass is effective in preventing the spread of COVID. The University is considering taking down the plexiglass in the classrooms at the lecterns because it obstructs the view of the screen/boards and students have difficulty hearing the professor. If you are opposed to this being taken down, please email me (Megan) to let me know so we can get a sense of whether we should be taking down or keeping up the plexiglass in our Mandel School classrooms. Right now, the plexiglass will remain up in administrative spaces and the library but this will be the next areas to consider. If you are in one of these areas, you can also email me your thoughts on this as it will likely be on the agenda in the near future.
July 13, 2021 update
- Students in the health sciences have started to be tested for COVID-19 as of last week. It was reported that no positive cases were found. Testing for this group will continue throughout the remainder of the summer as they arrive on-campus.
- Currently the vaccination percentage on campus for faculty, staff, and students is hovering just below 70%. The 80% threshold remains as the University's goal.
- Announcements coming soon from administration regarding expectations for faculty, staff, and students regarding COVID-19 protocols.
- Visa issues continue to be problematic for international students; however, good data on the matter remains somewhat piecemeal. University is delaying a decision as to whether remote/virtual courses will be offered to those students, at this time.
July 6, 2021 update
Plexiglass in Classrooms
The plexiglass in the classrooms is currently staying in the classrooms but this will be re-evaluated in August.
We are still required to wear masks while indoors except in an office space by ourselves or while eating.
There have been a few cases of the Delta variant reported in Cleveland. The University is watching the data closely and continuously consulting with experts. Any incoming students at this time are being tested. Faculty and Staff will also be tested upon returning to campus. The University is prepared to make changes to keep our community safe if there is an increase in reported cases. It was noted that the vaccine is effective in protecting you from COVID.
June 8, 2021 update
As of Monday, 55% of the total campus has uploaded vaccination cards. This includes 61% of staff, 59% of faculty, 61% of undergrad students, and 44% of graduate professional students. Our goal is to get to 80% or more of our campus reporting that they are vaccinated. The University is not planning on reducing restrictions (e.g., mask wearing) until we cross this threshold. If you have not submitted your vaccination card yet, please do so as soon as possible!
Updated University Guidelines
The COVID-19 Safety Guidelines, also called Rules of the Road, are currently being revised for the Summer (starting July 1) and for the Fall. These guidelines are specific to mask wearing, physical distancing, surveillance testing, dining restrictions, events & gathering, and visitors. We expect these to be sent out to the campus in the next few weeks. As soon as more information is available, we will share it with you.
May 25, 2021 update
As of Friday, May 28, the University will be pausing the surveillance testing. We will still be doing diagnostic testing for those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed, and doing baseline testing for students as they enter the campus during the summer and fall semesters. These plans are flexible and can be moved back to weekly surveillance testing if rates begin to increase again.
As of today, 6,300 CWRU people have submitted in their vaccination cards - this is about 48% faculty & staff and 34% of students. If you have not submitted it yet, please do so this week. Please upload your vaccination card and vaccination dates at https://myhealthconnect.case.edu/. To indicate your COVID-19 vaccination, you will need to click on "Medical Clearances" in MyHealth.
Mobile Testing and Vaccine Plan
CWRU will offer vaccines and baseline testing in convenient locations across campus. This includes within Schools for incoming and returning students in the fall. Last day of public vaccinations will be June 20. CWRU will continue to work with the City of Cleveland to offer mobile vaccination sites in Cleveland.
The travel policy is in effect until June 30 (you need to ask for an exception for university travel). Starting July 1, you do not need to ask for a COVID-19 exception to travel for university related travel. There may still be budget restrictions that schools can impose.
Mask Wearing on Campus
We are still requiring masks to be worn at all times (both indoor and outdoor) on campus, except when alone in a room. This policy will likely be revised during the summer given the CDC guidelines.
Frequency of COVID-19 Renew and Reemerge Meetings
This committee will be meeting sporadically during the summer on an as-needed basis. This means you will not be receiving communication from me during the summer each week – only the weeks we meet. Please don't hesitate to email me questions as they come up.
May 11, 2021 update
Vaccines for Children 12-15 years old
FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15 years old yesterday. We are anticipating the CDC to approve the vaccine tomorrow afternoon. Because Governor DeWine has already approved vaccine sites to administer the vaccine upon CDC approval, CWRU will be able to administer once approved by CDC. Pfizer is currently scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday. If there is a demand for Pfizer, CWRU will open up either Thursday or Friday. You can make an appointment at: https://case.edu/vaccine/scheduling-appointment
Vaccine Proof Reminder
Please upload your vaccination card and vaccination dates at https://myhealthconnect.case.edu/. To indicate your COVID-19 vaccination, you will need to click on "Medical Clearances" in MyHealth. Please upload this information as soon as possible. The University will be using this data to make policy decisions.
May 2, 2021 update
The University will continue to conduct weekly surveillance testing through May. They are currently evaluating who should continue getting testing and how often. We expect more information about this as we move through May.
You will be able to upload your vaccination card and vaccination dates at https://myhealthconnect.case.edu/. Please upload this information as soon as possible. The University will be using this data to make policy decisions.
Everyone is welcome to come to our CWRU vaccine site! If you know of a family member, friend, or neighbor that needs to be vaccinated, please send them to the website to get an appointment or have them show up for a walk-in vaccination.
Graduation will be outdoors and is considered a lower risk in person event. Students will not be required to quarantine if they are coming from out of state but there will be testing available. Medical services will be available if someone begins to feel ill, as well as isolation and quarantine accommodations. We anticipate masking for the event. More guidance will be forthcoming.
Events for Incoming & Returning Students
Please email information about any events planned for students, both incoming and returning students, to Gabrielle Lincoff (email@example.com). Gabrielle is coordinating all activities across campus to assist in plugging in university level COVID-19 information that may be helpful to students.
International Students & Vaccines
We will be following the recommendations of CDC. If students have their Visa, they should look at CDC guidelines to determine how much time they may need prior to starting classes (e.g, some countries or specific vaccines require different amounts of quarantine time or re-vaccination). CWRU will work individually with each student to determine what is needed (e.g., potential re-vaccinated).
April 27, 2021 update
COVID test updates
More than 5k tests were administered. Five positives were reported with 0.1% positivity rate
Isolation and Quarantine
Seven students were isolated and 10 quarantined
The overall testing compliance was 8% lower this past week. The explanation was the wellness day closing on Friday, April 23.
3200 responded to the COVID attestation survey about vaccination, 26% partial and 63% fully. For faculty, 95 fully vaccinated and 79% fully.
COVID Care Report
Twelve care reports submitted, the majority were about students gathering off campus
Vaccine Program/J & J Vaccine
Some 1700 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines administered last week. Over 11k vaccines since the CWRU vaccine site was opened. The University is responding to a city of Cleveland request to develop communication tools for vaccine hesitancy.
See full response from Dr. Sara Lee on April 28th about the J and J vaccine. An important point made was that the University vaccine will provide J and J as one of two options each day the vaccine site is open. That is other vaccines will be available other than the J and J vaccine. The email from Dr. Lee addresses the safety issues and the very low risk for blood clots.
General discussion on innovations in teaching during the last year. The provost is interested in the experiences of faculty teaching and the innovations they have utilized. Is there an innovation we as faculty or as a School want to share?
April 20, 2021 update
5800 people were tested last week for COVID-19. There were eight positive tests for a positivity rate of only 0.1%.
Compliance is up. Compliance, last week with the COVID-19 testing protocol was good. Of the people who accessed a building with their swipe card, 80% of them had a COVID-19 test during the week.
1 isolation, 32 quarantine -- lowest numbers since the start of the school year
The Daily Attestation app now asks people about their vaccination status. Very high numbers of the folks who filled out the form last week reported that they are either fully vaccinated or have started the vaccination regimen. The numbers who fall in this classification for each campus group are faculty 94%, Staff 80%, Resident Student 96%, and Commuters 92%.
8000 vaccinated on campus last week1800 scheduled to be vaccinated this week, including people returning for a second shot. Vaccine hesitation appears to be leading to the lower numbers. University is cooperating with the local community and government leaders to address the hesitancy.
CWRU continues to review the direction for a vaccination policy. Today's revised policy statement discussion included requiring vaccination of all University students whose study requires their presence on campus. For students, there will be the application for exceptions for medical and religious reasons. In today's discussion, the University is evaluating whether to extend this policy to faculty and staff and others who do contractual business and other visitors with regular access and presence on campus. Concern was raised as to whether we intend to have disparity between students and faculty and staff in the vaccine policy. The CWRU vaccination policy has not been finalized. The University will continue to review the vaccination policy. In the next few weeks, we might see the dissemination of the final policy.
April 13, 2021 update
We have discontinued vaccinating Johnson & Johnson vaccination in accordance with FDA recommendations. We are continuing to provide Moderna and Pfizer to anyone 16 and older. Of the people that have been vaccinated at CWRU, between 47-61% are minority races each week.
Vaccinated CWRU Community
Our data from the daily attestation form last week was showing that approximately 89% of our community have been vaccinated or partially vaccinated. Great job CWRU!!!
In line with many other universities, CWRU will have a policy that will require all students, staff, and faculty to be vaccinated in order to be on campus. The plan is to have this policy in effect by July 1, 2021. There will be an application for exceptions for medical and religious reasons. If someone gets an approved exception, there will be additional requirements/accommodation but these will be made on a case by case basis in accordance with the law. The policy is expected to be disseminated.
April 6, 2021 update
Renaming - Renew and Reemerge Committee
As I mentioned in my previous email, the COVID-19 Monitoring and Mitigation Committee has been renamed to Renew and Reemerge Committee with a new charge to develop and adjust operational protocols and policies to allow CWRU to reemerge stronger and better for the Fall 2021 Semester, including allowing for in-person operations while maintaining the health and safety of faculty and other community members. Going forward, my email subject will have this new name.
While our positive COVID rates have been increasing on campus, they are still relatively low compared (under 1% positivity) to our local community. With this increase, we do want to remind everyone to continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay physically distant.
Mental Health Day
As part of the University's efforts to acknowledge how difficult this pandemic has been on all of us and create an opportunity for us to rest and recharge, the University will be closed on Friday, April 23. Classes are canceled, offices closed, and only essential services will be operating. Please take this day to do something that brings you joy and calm.
If you have not received your vaccine, you may sign up using this form to register to receive the vaccine this week. All faculty, staff and students may sign up.
Vaccine Requirement Policy
Right now, the University is recommending that all faculty, staff, and students be vaccinated. As our peer institutions are doing, general council is working on drafting a policy that will likely require vaccination to return to campus. We will share more information as it becomes available and will seek input from you as it is developed.
March 30, 2021 update
Renaming - Renew and Reemerge Committee
The COVID-19 Monitoring and Mitigation Committee has been renamed to Renew and Reemerge Committee with a new charge to develop and adjust operational protocols and policies to allow CWRU to reemerge stronger and better for the Fall 2021 Semester, including allowing for in-person operations while maintaining the health and safety of faculty and other community members. Going forward, my email subject will have this new name.
The University is continuing to do required surveillance testing on campus. Some communities are offering free at home self-tests (e.g., Shaker Heights). If you take a self-test, you do not need to be tested on campus but rather just need to send the result of the test to Rose Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you test positive, you may call 368-2450 ext 5, 1.
The University will continue to offer the vaccine on Thursdays. If you would like to get on the waitlist, you may request this by email to Carolyn Gregory (email@example.com). You can get vaccinated if you volunteer to help during the vaccination day.
Planning for Summer and Fall
Right now, we are planning to maintain all physical distancing, mask wearing, and sanitizing protocols up until July 1. We are discussing potential protocols modifications but at this point no decision has been made. This discussion includes a potential of requiring to be vaccinated for being on campus (with some exception process) and relaxing the mask wearing and physical distance requirements.
Staff Return to Campus
Each department will need to submit a return plan for how we will ramp up to in person working. If remote working is requested, it needs to enhance the functioning of their work and excellence on campus.
Faculty Return to Campus
Faculty senate is working on a return to campus protocol for faculty. It is currently with the personnel committee and will be disseminated once it is approved. The protocol follows the faculty handbook policies. In short, faculty will be expected to teach in-person. Service and research may be able to be done remotely or in combination of in-person and remote pending the Dean's approval of this activity.
March 9, 2021 update
COVID Positivity Rate
We are seeing decreased transmission rates on campus; our rates are lower than county rates. This is likely because of people wearing masks, physically distancing, washing hands, and people becoming vaccinated. Thank you all for keeping our community safe!
CDC Guidelines for Vaccinated People
CDC recently released guidelines for vaccinated people. The University travel guidelines are still in place as they are in line with the CDC guidelines. The University is evaluating surveillance testing guidelines for those vaccinated but right now the surveillance testing remains in effect.
The University's plan is to return to full operations on July 1 (i.e., all staff and faculty back on campus, students in the classroom). Classrooms and office spaces will be restored to pre-pandemic capacity by July 1. We, however, want to identify ways that we have been innovative and that should be considered for long-term changes. If you have ideas, please email them to Provost Vincent.
March 2, 2021 update
CWRU will be administering the vaccine to people in category 1B and 1C starting Thursday. More information can be found at case.edu/vaccine
Fall Semester - Return to In Person
As Interim President Cowen emailed earlier today, we are planning to be fully back in person at full capacity. We will continue to plan for safety among staff, faculty, and students.
February 9, 2021
Mandatory COVID-19 Surveillance Testing
Just a reminder that you need to be tested for COVID if you are going to be on campus––No exceptions. Overall, as a School we are doing a great job adhering to this policy. Thank you to everyone who went onto campus and were tested–– last week our school had 100% compliance with this policy! Keep it going as this is one way we can keep our community safe.
Silver Lining of Pandemic - Alumni Connection
Because of the pandemic, we have been able to expand our connection between CWRU alumni and current students. Those that are not living in Cleveland have been connected to local chapters in their own communities. This is creating connections that may not have occurred otherwise.
Vaccine Sick Leave Policy
It is common to have side effects from the second dose of the vaccine. Because of this, the University has established a new policy regarding vaccine sick leave. If you have side-effects from the vaccine, you may use 2 days from the COVID-19 sick leave bank. These sick days are additional days to your regular sick leave. HR will be sending out a notice about this soon. If you are teaching, please be aware that some of our students will be receiving the second dose of the vaccine this week and may also experience these side effects. Please exercise grace and flexibility with your students.
January 26, 2021
If you come to campus, you are required to be tested for COVID-19. This includes even if you are just stopping by the office to pick up something. Testing typically takes less than 10 minutes. There is free parking in the Veale parking lot. If you did go on to campus but did not get tested, you likely received an email stating that you are not in compliance with this policy. The University is tracking compliance by key card usage. Please uphold this policy - we want to keep everyone safe on campus.
Well-Being & Burnout
We are anticipating a challenging semester as the pandemic continues on. There is elevated concern about faculty, staff, and student burnout. Please take time to connect with your colleagues and utilize the well-being resources. University leadership is encouraging faculty and staff to engage with each other and our students, but to do it safely if in person (physical distancing, mask wearing).
Faculty Survey on the Impact of COVID 19 on Research
Faculty will be receiving a survey about how the pandemic has impacted research productivity. The data will be analyzed by groups (women, parents, race, school/departments, etc) to see if there are certain groups that are being impacted more than others.
January 19, 2021
Surveillance testing is continuing this week. If you plan to be on campus, you must stop by Veale and take a COVID test. If you have received 2 doses of the vaccine, at this point, the university is following CDC guidelines and is requiring you to continue surveillance testing each week.
Students living on campus will be moving in between January 23 - 27 and will not have access to their building until they are tested. Students will be quarantined in their housing for 7 days.
CWRU is continuing to work with the city to help administer the vaccine. Over 1000 CWRU people have received the vaccine including medical, nursing, dentistry, and social work students who are providing clinical services and qualified under the 1A criteria for the vaccine. Additionally, public safety and individuals who are providing services to high risk groups defined under 1A criteria. This week, the city is moving into 1B (80 and older, then moving down by 5 years each week). The University does not have vaccines yet but are working with the city and the state to continue to advocate for being a distribution site. The University is encouraging everyone to sign up for a vaccine at https://vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov/.
Students, faculty and staff will receive another kit of face masks and sanitizer supplies. If individuals need additional PPE, there is a procurement form that can be filled out to receive them. Buildings have also been restocked with sanitizer supplies.
iPads on Loan
If you are teaching in the spring, there are iPads available for loan for instructors and TAs. Contact UTech to request one.
Operations Committee - Inauguration
Risk assessment indicated that we are at very low risk during the inauguration. There are a number of virtual programs offered throughout the day that Interim President Cowen recently emailed about.
January 5, 2021
Spring Semester COVID-19 Plans
You may have seen news about other universities changing their plans for the Spring Semester for a February start. There is no plan to modify the start of our Spring semester. We are still planning to start the first week of February. All students will be tested when they arrive on campus and there will be a mandatory quarantine. The University will continue weekly surveillance testing - all individuals coming to campus will be required to be tested weekly.
We will be having a Spring Update session that will cover COVID-19 policies and procedures. This meeting will be mandatory to attend. More information about date/time will be coming soon.
CWRU has been approved to be a distribution center but there are currently not enough vaccines available for us to distribute. The University is working with the City of Cleveland and hospital affiliates to get access to the COVID-19 vaccine for our CWRU community members who are working directly with people. Thanks to a number of people working relentlessly, we have positive news! Yesterday 1/3 of medical students received the vaccine. Please keep in mind that information is changing daily so the plan I provide to you below may change. Right now the plan is to offer the vaccine to staff in University Health and Counseling Services (some have already received it), CWRU public safety, dental practice students, medical students, and Mandel School students who are in field placements. Individuals will be notified by email asking if they have received the vaccine and if not, if they are interested in receiving it. If they do want to receive it, they will be told where and when to receive the vaccine.
The vaccine when it is available will be offered to only those Mandel students in Ohio field placements that meet the Category 1A qualification (see below) as stipulated by Ohio health authorities. Basically, this means that students who are in placements where they have direct contact with patients/clients in these settings will be eligible. Only a subset of students in field placements will qualify for the Category 1A group.
- Health care workers routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients.
- Staff at nursing homes.
- Staff at assisted living facilities.
- Staff at state psychiatric hospitals.
- Staff at locations with people with developmental disabilities or mental health disorders, including substance abuse, who live in group homes, residential facilities, or centers.
- Staff at Ohio veterans homes.
December 15, 2020
COVID-19 Positive Tests and Surveillance
This past week, we had 1.4% positive cases from surveillance testing. Tomorrow, 12/16/2020 is the last day of surveillance testing until 1/4/2020 when surveillance testing will resume. If you plan to be on campus between 12/17/2020 – 1/3/2020, you do not need to have a COVID-19 test if you are asymptomatic. COVID-19 tests will still be available during the winter break for anyone that is symptomatic or has had a known COVID-19 exposure.
Review of What We Have Done Well During the Pandemic
The University compiled feedback from individuals across campus regarding what we have done well and what needs to change. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Below are four highlights from this feedback.
- Testing on campus has gone well. We continue to meet the demand of testing needs, are able to conduct contact tracing in a timely manner, and provided supportive resources to those who test positive. Thank you to Dr. Sara Lee and her team at University Health and Counseling Services!
- Our University safety inspection team did a fantastic job inspecting each space on campus and setting up protocols to keep our community safe. The inspection team will be doing reinspections of spaces over the break and will make any updates based on new guidelines. We are expecting that there will be updated guidelines for occupancy in shared spaces such as hallways as well as spaces with workstations.
- During the pandemic, we have had great community buy in that we are in this together and we all need to contribute to keeping each other safe. There are important factors that contributed to this including the student-led community commitment and the fall re-orientation. We will have another round of re-orientation with any updated guidelines for the Spring semester. There will also be additional individualized re-orientations for graduate students.
- This pandemic has brought people together (virtually) from all sectors of our community working together towards keeping our community safe. This community effort emphasizes that collectively we are greater than our individual units. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to keeping each other safe.
November 24, 2020
Over 2,500 tests were conducted last week, with about 2,400 tests being exit tests for students. Positivity rate was about 1% positive. The University is continuing to conduct exit tests with students this week.
From Monday Nov 30 through Dec 17, to the extent you can work from home, please work from home. As a reminder, if you plan to come to campus next week, you need to have a COVID-19 test. Please see the email from Dr. Sara Lee sent this morning.
COVID-19 Operational Feedback Requested
The committee is looking for feedback regarding COVID-19 operational procedures and compliance using the three questions below. We will use this information as we plan and adjust for the Spring semester. If you have any feedback, please respond to this email.
- What are the operational aspects that worked well during the Fall 2020 Semester and should be continued for the Spring 2021 Semester?
- What are the operational aspects that worked okay during the Fall 2020 Semester and should be adjusted in some manner for the Spring 2021 Semester?
- What are the operational aspects that did not work well for the Fall 2020 Semester and should be discontinued for the Spring 2021 Semester?
November 17, 2020
Shelter in Place - On Campus Students
We are in our final week of on campus classes for CWRU students. Students are observing a shelter in place order due to the higher rates of positive cases in the county as well as on campus.
Thanksgiving Break Return to Campus
The university is planning to reduce capacity on campus the week after Thanksgiving and will have a COVID-19 testing protocol for staff and faculty upon re-entry to campus. Staff and faculty are encouraged to work from home during this period if possible but will need to be tested before coming back to campus. More information about the testing protocol will be forthcoming.
Building Operation Changes
There are several changes to building operations:
- KSL open except regular CWRU holidays
- Thinkbox closing down after 11/20 and moving to virtual
- Maltz Performing will closed
- Tinkham Veale will be open but no food service
- Twing open for students
Supporting Families with Children
We are looking for suggestions for how to support faculty and staff with young children. The offerings of drop in child care and child care subsidies were underutilized. Please email me any feedback on why these services/policies were not used or suggestions for better services to offer.
November 10, 2020
Surge in Positive COVID-19 tests
As emailed out by Interim President Cowen and Provost Vinson earlier today, we have had a surge in COVID-19 positive tests on campus. While we do have a surge, our total positivity rate is under 2% which is much lower than the county positive rates. Source of exposure seems to not be coming from the classroom but rather small student gatherings off campus. All students are being encouraged to be tested before they go home. With students heading home at the end of the semester and staff and faculty potentially traveling for Thanksgiving, there is information on this website about how to safely travel and remain safe during your travel time. Please continue to wear masks, wash hands, and stay physically distant.
All study abroad courses will be canceled for the spring semester because of the rising rates of COVID worldwide. There will be no appeal process for study abroad courses as there was in the Fall.
Activities are being planned for undergraduate and graduate students during the winter break who will be on campus. This information about activities will be distributed to the students.
November 3, 2020
Positive COVID rates
This week, the University increased the number of surveillance testing. We had less than .5% positive rate from these tests.
Reducing Density on Campus
Right now, the campus is running about 40% capacity on campus. Because of the high rates in the County, the University is asking departments to reduce capacity on campus by about 10%. Mandel School is already running at a lower density so we do not need to reduce our density in our building.
The university is planning to issue new student health kits and replenish staff and faculty supplies. If you have PPE needs, please let us know. We will be compiling our changing/additional needs to request additional PPE from procurement.
October 27, 2020
Testing Program Update
The positivity among students last week was .55%. Three students and three staff/faculty members tested positive for the coronavirus. As announced in the Daily, the university has contracted with a company to conduct larger-scale surveillance virus testing, This week it is expected that 1350 people will have the saliva test. Next week it will ramp up to 2500+ tests per week. The plan is to be able to do exit testing of students before they return home for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The university will continue to employ the PCR test for individuals who are symptomatic.
The Veale Convocation Center is serving as the site for all testing. Adelbert Gym has received HVAC modifications to permit it to be used for athletic classes and other gatherings.
Plans are in place to provide a range of services to students who must stay on campus after Nov. 20 and until the start of Spring semester classes. In addition, planning is underway for more student activities and services in the Spring.
Reports of heightened stress among students are coming in from all sectors. Faculty members are encouraged to be sensitive to the unusual stressors affecting students. One approach is to choose a few days on which assignments are reduced.
October 20, 2020
Concerns about Student Stress
Faculty across campus are reported heightened levels of stress of students. Students are reporting that they are experiencing high levels of zoom fatigue, extra work expected outside of class due to instructors incorrectly using the flipped classroom format, and wanting in person connection. We brainstormed ideas for safe, physically distant activities that could be planned (outdoor hikes, tent events with heaters, outdoor theater performance). If you have other ideas, please share them with me and I will pass them along.
Re-Assessing Safety Measures for the Spring
The University will be re-assessing the safety measures put into place before the fall semester to make sure everything is in good working shape (e.g, sanitizing stations, plexiglass barriers). They will also be assessing their PPE supplies to ensure there are adequate levels for when students return in the Spring semester.
Safely Celebrating the Holidays
Provost Vinson and VP for HR Carolyn Gegory sent out an email earlier today about how to safely celebrate the upcoming holidays. Please make sure you review this email. There are helpful guidelines about how to stay safe during this surge of increase in COVID cases locally and if you are planning to travel.
October 13, 2020
COVID-19 Testing and Infection Rates
As a campus and community, our COVID-19 infection rates are low relative to other university communities. Each week we have increased the number of random tests and continue to remain under 1% positive tests. Thank you to our entire community for wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and maintaining physical distancing.
Because our international students were not able to move to the US due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Provost is grateful for accommodations that faculty and staff had made for them to allow them to still participate in classes. He continues to urge us to be accommodating to them in acknowledging that they are in a different timezone.
Snow Days/Emergency Situation
If we had a snow day or an emergency situation where classes would have been canceled in the past, these classes will not be canceled but rather be moved to a virtual format going forward.
Classes will not be cancelled but the Provest is asking for leniency and flexibility to allow students, staff and faculty to vote. A formal statement is expected to come out later this week or next week regarding work time used to vote or work polls.
October 6, 2020
Spring Mental Health Days
During the Spring term, there will be no spring break for on campus students. This is to prevent students from leaving campus and potentially bringing back COVID to campus. Instead there will be two mental health days set for March 16 and March 24. There will be no courses on these two days. During those two days, the University will be providing mental health and well-being programming for students, staff and faculty to attend. There will still be a spring break for our MSSA virtual program students and IW students.
There has been concern about the positive cases that have been reported by the President and others who may have attended the debate at HEC. No CWRU students or staff were exposed to the people who have reported positive cases.
September 22, 2020
Student's in Quarantine/Isolation
The university is providing a number of services to students who are in quarantine or isolation. This includes daily calls from University Health, connection to mental health services, food delivered if living on campus, and connection to academic units within their school/department. If you or a student thinks they may have been exposed to COVID or are exhibiting symptoms, please contact University Health. They are taking each case on an individual basis and will be able to provide guidance on next steps (e.g., testing, quarantine, or isolation).
The personal protective equipment (PPE; e.g., face shields, N95 masks) supply base is strong and PPE is available to faculty and staff who need it. Special PPE options can be ordered as well. Additional CWRU branded masks can be bought through Bon Appetit on campus for only $5.
Cleaning/Sanitizing Work Space
If you are on working campus, you need to be cleaning and sanitizing your own workspace before and after you use it. This includes if you use common use equipment (e.g., copy machines) or surfaces (e.g. countertop in kitchen).
September 15, 2020
Do online students need to report positive COVID-19 tests even if they are not in Cleveland?
Yes, all students should report the positive test to the university as well as to Mandel Student Services so that they may be able to receive additional services and resources to support their emotional wellbeing, physical health, and academics.
The Daily Health Assessment question changed and now asks me if I plan to be on campus today. If I answer no, I am not able to answer the daily symptom questions.
This question was added to easily be able to identify who should be filling out the assessment and who may have not completed it. Please do continue to fill out the questionnaire, even if it is answering the question that you plan to not be on campus today. You only need to complete the symptom questionnaire if you plan to be on campus.
If you answer the question 'no' that you are not coming to campus but then decide you are coming to campus, you can complete the assessment again. Note for Supervisors: Right now, if your staff answers no, it shows as though they did not complete the assessment. They are working to fix this and it will be updated to show that your staff does not plan to come to campus. If your staff completes the assessment twice, you will see 2 lines of data for the one individual.
Personal Travel outside of Cleveland
You do not have to quarantine when you come back from personal travel. The University is only asking people to quarantine if they have been exposed to a known case of COVID. If later you find out that you were exposed because you were in close contact with someone who tested positive, you need to call University Health as they are taking each case individually to determine what is recommended. If you do have to quarantine, you are able to continue to work from home as long as you receive approval from your supervisor. Because this is personal travel, you are not prohibited from going. The University issued a work-related travel policy but this does not apply to personal travel.
September 8, 2020
Daily Symptom Assessment
Please remember that if you are coming to campus, you need to complete your daily symptom assessment. This applies to both weekdays and weekends.
At this point, there is not a plan to test all graduate students. There will be some asymptomatic graduate students that will be randomly sampled within the 300 students tested weekly for surveillance.
The university has PPE available if you need it (surgical masks, M95, and face shields). To request, please fill out the PPE request form.
September 2, 2020
The university is tracking COVID-19 testing and positive cases. This information is updated every Tuesday.
As a reminder masks are required at all times on campus inside buildings or outside. The only exception is if you are alone in an enclosed space. For those of you who are teaching on campus, you have the right to cancel class if a student refuses to comply with wearing a mask or wearing it appropriately covering their nose and mouth.
The University recently issued a travel policy. CWRU is prohibiting all international travel and domestic travel outside of Northeast Ohio for university-related activities for Fall Semester 2020.
Daily Health Assessment
As a reminder, you are required to take your daily health assessment survey prior to coming to campus.