Dear Marietta College Campus Community and The Long Blue Line,

It’s officially autumn and our students and faculty are preparing for midterm exams — yet another testament to how committed our campus community is to making this semester happen successfully. We recently completed a successful flu shot clinic for employees and I encourage everyone in the community — faculty, staff, students and their families — who is eligible for receiving a flu shot this year to get one.

We currently have nine students who are in quarantine, two of whom were informed that they were in contact with someone off campus who tested positive. I am heartened to share with you that those two students did not wait for a health contact tracing agency to inform the College — rather, the students themselves came to us directly as soon as they were made aware of the situation. I am proud of our students. In addition to working hard in their studies, they are also following the Marietta College Cocktail — properly wearing their facemasks, washing their hands often, maintaining safe physical distancing, and monitoring their symptoms and temperature. So far this semester, we have had 45 students be referred for testing, with two students testing positive and one student who tested negative twice but exhibited symptoms consistent with COVID-19, so they were cared for as if they had tested positive.

You can monitor Marietta College’s numbers through our site — www.marietta.edu/covid-19-cases-reporting.

I continue to serve on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s task force on testing and connect with fellow college presidents regarding how Marietta College and other colleges and universities approach student testing initiatives. As our campus community works hard to complete our fall semester at Marietta, we are also looking at how to safely reconvene for our spring semester, and how future COVID-19 testing might be approached — whether that is upon entry to campus, surveillance or random testing, and pooled initiatives. Once we determine those details, we will share that information with the campus.

Recently, Washington County moved from yellow to orange on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System portion of the state’s COVID-19 information website. Washington County is reporting 1.5 new cases per day on average. The change from yellow to orange is due primarily to the increase in people visiting the local emergency room who have exhibited symptoms of colds and allergies, which prompts health officials to order COVID-19 tests. The number of tests being ordered — not necessarily the number of cases — is what has initiated the jump from yellow to orange. We hope to move back down to yellow soon.

Other news that needs to be shared within our community is from our IT Department and our Police Department regarding phishing attempts. Please DO NOT OPEN emails that look suspicious or accept friend requests on social media from people you do not know. Forward any emails that seem questionable to our Chief Information Officer, Aaron Cowdery, at cowderya@marietta.edu. Our IT Department has also been working hard to improve the sound quality of larger teaching spaces on campus. If you see a meeting or teaching space on campus that needs improved audio or video technology, please contact Aaron.

Lastly, there are several fun social activities happening for our students and employees that follow safe distancing guidelines. Tonight, the Pioneer Activities Council is hosting a virtual bingo for students starting at 7:30 p.m., and on Friday, September 25th, students can participate in Drag Bingo with Alyssa Edwards via Zoom, organized by the Office of Campus Involvement. On Sunday, September 27th, staff and faculty are invited to compete in a friendly competition of Name That Tune, brought to us by faculty in Music and Music Therapy.

It’s a beautiful day today — take time to go outside to enjoy it. Thank you for all that you do to make Marietta College a success story!

Bring Forth A Pioneer!

Bill Ruud, President and Professor of Management