Dear Marietta College Campus Community and The Long Blue Line,
Now that the final grades for Fall semester are in the books and most of our students have returned to their homes to enjoy an extended Winter Break, I wanted to provide an update to our campus community on where we are with regard to COVID-19 and our plans for the Spring. I also invite you to watch the virtual Town Hall meeting today at 6:00 p.m. via the College’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channel. Please include your questions in the comments section. We will have another virtual meeting on January 13, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. (EST), which is less than a week before our students are to return to campus for Spring semester.
Marietta College’s COVID-19 numbers are updated daily and are available on our site — www.marietta.edu/covid-19-cases-reporting. It is important for every student and employee who tests positive — including while on break and not currently on campus — to notify either the Office of Student Life, the Human Resources Office, or their supervisor so that information is maintained in the Center for Health and Wellness. This is important because once you have been exposed to the virus and are recovered from it, you will continue to test positive for 90 to 150 days, depending on if you were symptomatic or asymptomatic. If the College has your positive test result on file and you test positive upon your return to Marietta, you should be able to avoid having to go into quarantine.
Also, regardless of if you have recovered from the virus, masks (and the Marietta College Cocktail) will still be required on campus throughout the 2021 Spring semester. Please make sure you have a properly fitted mask, frequently wash your hands, maintain proper physical distance, monitor for symptoms and fever — and seek medical care if you are symptomatic. I also ask that you remain within your close-knit bubble during this break. The numbers in Washington County are very high, with more than 50 new cases being reported per week.
Though a vaccine is on the horizon and we are hopeful, we are not there yet.
With regard to testing, the Ohio National Guard will hopefully be offering free testing on campus on January 5th and will return every Tuesday for the following five weeks. By testing on Tuesday, we will have the results by Friday. Upon their return, every student will receive a kit that includes a facemask, hand sanitizer, a digital thermometer, and a magnet that lists contact information for health and wellness options.
Academic Affairs and our Physical Plant staff are reviewing classrooms to increase physical distances between students to try to reduce the number of quarantines necessary due to exposure. Faculty can visit their classrooms over the break to see these improvements. Physical Plant is also servicing sanitizing stations, restocking the self-help sanitizing kits, and meeting with a local firm to conduct wastewater sampling on campus as a means to predicting COVID-19 outbreaks. For staff and faculty who are still working on campus, please contact the Marietta College Police Department if you notice anything out of place during the break and please make sure doors are properly latched when exiting a building.
The holiday season is here, and I hope you have the time over the coming weeks to relax and rejuvenate after our long semester. We will continue to work hard to make improvements to campus over the break and ask that you please continue to follow the Marietta College Cocktail wherever you are. I hope you can join us this evening for the virtual Town Hall, and I look forward to seeing each of you in good health and in good spirits at the start and finish of the Spring semester!
Bring Forth a Pioneer,
President and Professor of Management