Dear Marietta College Campus Community and The Long Blue Line,

As we prepared over the summer for our return to in-person learning, we anticipated encountering challenges along the way. Over the past couple of weeks, we have had an increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and people needing to quarantine due to possible exposure to the virus. We currently have 39 active cases of COVID-19, with 136 in quarantine due to having been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19. You can monitor Marietta College’s daily numbers through our dashboard — www.marietta.edu/covid-19-cases-reporting.

Locally, Washington County is confirming 6.7 new cases per day, Wood County is experiencing 10 new cases per day, and Athens County has 18 news cases daily. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of following the Marietta College Cocktail of properly wearing facemasks, washing your hands at least five times each day and/or using hand sanitizer, monitoring yourself for symptoms and fever, and maintaining safe distances. If you do not feel well, reach out to your professors or supervisors to let them know. If you see someone who is not properly wearing their mask or maintaining a safe distance, kindly ask or invite them to do so.

Today, the Medical Division of the Ohio National Guard provided testing to the Marietta-area community, including the campus community, from the parking lot next to the Physician Assistant Studies Building. They conducted approximately 150 tests. Next Wednesday, November 4th, the Medical Division will return to the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center to offer free campus testing. A second Marietta-area community testing will be provided on November 11th. We have also reached out to the National Guard to offer testing next semester. More information will be provided to you once those plans are set.

During Sunday’s Live Town Hall virtual meeting, there were some who questioned why testing is not mandatory for everyone on campus. We have consulted with health experts and we believe that, in addition to the testing that has taken place for symptomatic members of our campus community, the more than 300 tests given by the Ohio National Guard to a cross-section of our asymptomatic community provides a good look at the overall health of campus. Though we originally had the National Guard testing through November 11th, we have asked the Ohio National Guard to return on November 18th for a campus-only community sampling clinic so participating students could receive results before traveling home for winter break.

For anyone who has medical concerns about what the College is doing, please utilize the proper resources available on campus — students should connect with the Provost’s Office and employees should connect with their supervisors.

The College has enough personal protective equipment (chemicals, paper and plastic) for Fall semester and are working with our vendors to build our stock for Spring. We have successfully accessed additional CARES Act funds and are determining how those funds will be used. Parents: if your student has been notified that they must quarantine or isolate, they have been provided information that they should discuss with you regarding their care. They are encouraged to have those conversations with you, and you may contact our Office of Student Life if you have additional questions or concerns. Our faculty, staff, and students volunteer to deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner to students in quarantine and isolation, and they also volunteer to safely spent time outdoors with students to provide opportunities for light exercise and to enjoy some fresh air.

We have upcoming virtual Town Hall sessions on December 9, 2020, and January 13,  2021, and more may be added. We are committed to continuing to over-communicating our plans to ensure that the most recent information we have to share is delivered to you. Once again, we will request that our campus community remain with their quarantine group in their quarantine area starting on January 2, 2021, in order to be ready to rejoin campus on January 18, 2021. We were able to do this successfully at the start of Fall semester, and I know we will be as successful and ready to do this for Spring semester, as well.

We are going to have to lean on each other over the next few weeks as the daylight hours become shorter and our workload becomes more difficult. In those moments of challenge, that’s when we discover why we chose Marietta College: we belong here and we are, in fact, surrounded by our family.

Bring Forth a Pioneer!

Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management