Fall Term COVID-19 Summary and Winter Term Plans

17 November 2021

Dear Members of the Carleton Community,

As Fall Term comes to a close and we prepare for a well-earned Winter Break, we write to share some data summarizing the management of COVID-19 on our campus this fall, and to provide important updates about testing opportunities for the remainder of the term, booster eligibility, and plans for the upcoming Winter Term. As always, if you have questions about any of this information, please submit a question through the Responding to COVID-19 website.

Fall Term COVID-19 Overview
With credit to Carleton’s vaccination requirement; a campus-wide commitment to symptom monitoring and masking when needed; rapid on-campus testing; and robust contact tracing and case investigation efforts, we saw limited transmission of COVID-19 on campus this fall. The following data has been recorded since Aug. 14:

  • 11,854 tests conducted at Carleton
    • 5,467 baseline tests
    • 1,145 random surveillance tests
    • 2,170 PEAR tests
    • 1,415 SHAC tests
    • 1,657 Rapid Test Site tests
  • 38 total positives (1.3% of our community)
    • 20 students (1.0% of the student population)
    • 18 faculty, staff or contractors (1.9% of the working population)
  • 0 positives detected through random surveillance testing
  • 0 cases of transmission between students and faculty, staff or contractors
  • Peak isolation space usage was the week of Oct. 30-Nov. 5 at 44%

New cases, 14-day positive rates and test numbers were reported weekly throughout Fall Term on the COVID-19 Dashboard. The dashboard will be updated this week and next, but we will not be reporting data during the month of December. Our weekly reporting cadence will begin again on Jan. 7, 2022.

End-of-Term Testing Available to Everyone
Self-administered saliva test kits from Vault Labs will be distributed daily from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, through Wednesday, Nov. 24, in Great Hall. End-of-term testing is not required, but is available to all students, faculty and staff. Completed tests can be dropped off during the same hours in Great Hall for same-day delivery to the lab, with results generally available within 48 hours. You may also bring your completed test to a UPS drop-off location using the envelope provided in the kit.

Rapid Test Site Extended Through Nov. 24
Because COVID-19 testing continues to be scarce in the local community, the Carleton Rapid Test Site will be open through Wednesday Nov. 24, instead of closing on the last day of classes, as previously communicated. Hours of operation are listed online.

Boosters Strongly Encouraged Before Winter Term
We strongly encourage all members of our community to get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before the start of Winter Term. Recent studies show that vaccine efficacy against infection wanes around 6 months after becoming fully vaccinated. All members of our community are currently eligible to receive a booster based on our congregate living and educational setting. You may locate a vaccine near you at vaccines.gov. While Carleton is not planning to host a booster clinic at this time, we do ask that if you receive a booster shot, you report it to the College.

Winter Term Arrival Plans
The start of Winter Term will look much like the start of Fall Term at Carleton. Please plan on the following:

  • All students are expected to get tested for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before returning to campus. Positive results must be reported to the College. Students who test positive will be required to isolate in place before returning to campus.
  • All students, faculty, staff and regular contractors will again be required to undergo two rounds of baseline testing at the start of the term. The first round of tests will be administered Jan. 3-6 and the second round will take place Jan. 17-20. Sign-up information will be sent in December.
  • Beginning Jan. 3 and until the results of the second round of baseline tests are available, masks will be required in all public indoor spaces on campus. We will use the College’s decision-making framework to determine what mitigation efforts are necessary following the results of baseline testing.

In this season of gratitude, we want to close by offering our most heartfelt thanks to each of you for navigating another academic term alongside us with patience, honesty and goodwill. Our ability to carry out Carleton’s mission amidst a global pandemic is possible only through your partnership. Thank you for your commitment to this community.


The COVID-19 Core Team

Carolyn H. Livingston, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Eric Runestad, Vice President and Treasurer
Elise Eslinger, Vice President and Chief of Staff
Eric Egge, Associate Dean of the College
John Bermel, Director of Security and Emergency Management
Helen Clarke, Director of Digital Strategy and Public Affairs