Dear Marietta College Campus Community and The Long Blue Line,

Now that our students, faculty and staff have settled into their fall semester routines, I want to assure you that our hard work to make this academic year a success for everyone continues. We made a commitment to our Pioneer community when this pandemic began that we would do our best to share information in a timely and consistent manner, and keep that information accessible.

This morning, one of our students who was already in self-quarantine at home tested positive for COVID-19. Our student does not live on campus and will not be identified to protect their privacy. Prior to students returning to campus for the fall semester, we created very specific protocols to implement during a variety of COVID-19-related scenarios, and we work very closely with the Marietta/Belpre Health Department to ensure we are following the most up-to-date health guidelines.

We have also created a website that tracks the number of Active Cases, Recovered Cases and Total Cases for both students and employees. The site — www.marietta.edu/covid-19-cases-reporting — will show the previous date (so today’s updated site will have August 25th data). Questions about the site can be emailed to recovery@marietta.edu.

Locally, Washington County continues to see a decline in new cases with an average over the last week being 0.7 new cases per day. Regionally, there have only been 30 new cases since my last update.

We must continue to utilize the Marietta College Cocktail — wearing facemasks, frequently washing our hands, maintaining safe social distancing, monitoring our health for symptoms, and staying home and contacting our health-care provider when we do not feel well. Our hard-and-fast rules are that we wear a mask when outside of our residence halls unless we are eating or engaging in work that makes wearing a mask unsafe, as well as staying at home and contacting a medical professional when not feeling well. Students must also refrain from having large gatherings in their residence hall rooms. All of this will help us complete in-person learning this semester safely and successfully — and it will require every one of us to do our part to make this happen.

In other news, on August 21, 2020, the Department of Education continued the temporary cessation of student loan payments until December 31, 2020. During this time, payments on federally held student loans have been stopped, however, able students may continue to make payments to lower overall debt. Students should contact their loan servicer if they have questions.

Though the Food U app is still experiencing a glitch with online ordering, our partners at Parkhurst Dining have all dining locations open — Gilman Dining Hall, Izzy’s, The Gathering Place, Red Brick BBQ (in Upper Gilman), Chlapaty Café and the Rickey Grab & Go Kiosk. If students are dining with Gilman — and even if they use the outdoor tent to have their meal — they are still able to go back for additional helpings without being charged additional meal swipes. Questions or concerns can be submitted through the “Contact Us” section of the dining site: https://mariettadining.catertrax.com.

With a new semester underway, there are a lot of new faces on campus. Our Campus Police kindly reminds us all that if we see something out of place or something that feels concerning, to contact them for assistance at 740-376-3333.

I know when the pandemic caused us to switch gears during the spring semester that we all had anticipated returning to pre-pandemic normalcy by this time, and the fact that we are still thriving in this fluid situation is a testament to our resiliency as a close-knit community. But that doesn’t mean we are individually at our best all of the time. One of our professors shared a feature that contained helpful information about “surge capacity,” which many of us have experienced during the pandemic. You can read the feature here.

On that same note, Marietta’s Center for Health & Wellness is offering ongoing Student Stress & Mental Health Support Sessions on Tuesdays from 3:00-4:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 12:30-2:00 p.m. These group Zoom meetings can help students identify how the pandemic has impacted their personal and academic lives and their mental health. Students can learn more information and sign up for these free sessions in the Announcements section of the MyMarietta portal.

Every morning, I look forward to seeing our students and faculty walking to and from their classes, and watching our entire campus community work towards a common goal. I cannot state this enough: I am so proud to be a part of this community.

Bring Forth A Pioneer,

Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management