Important Updates to Carleton’s COVID-19 Response

9 January 2022

Dear Members of the Carleton Community,

Complete results from last week’s baseline testing are now available and have been posted to the COVID-19 Dashboard alongside other testing and case data for the week of Jan. 1-7. In total, 109 new cases of the virus were identified within our campus community, representing 3.7% of our population.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are isolating according to College protocols. Students are isolating in designated spaces or in place in their residence, when circumstances allow—such as when two roommates test positive and a dedicated bathroom is available. Some students have requested to isolate at their family home and have been permitted to do so. We have not reached capacity in our isolation spaces and are ready to respond to additional positives. As a reminder, fully vaccinated close contacts are not required to isolate but are required to test in the rapid testing center for a period up to a week.

As we prepare to test our full campus community in the second round of baseline testing this week, we expect that case numbers will grow. In anticipation of a higher 14-day positive rate—the basis for Carleton’s COVID-19 decision-making framework—we have made adjustments to some of our mitigation strategies, effective Monday, Jan. 10:

RESIDENTIAL LIFE & DINING

  • Students should remain on campus and may only leave for essential activities such as medical appointments, grocery shopping, academic activities, and work and volunteer responsibilities.
  • Students will no longer have access to residence halls beyond their own. Overnight visitors are not allowed in any campus residential space, and social gatherings continue to be restricted.
  • Grab-and-go dining is strongly encouraged. Campus dining spaces remain open to maximize space available for diners to spread out at meal times.
  • Visitors are not allowed in residence halls or dining areas. Stringent expectations are already in place for visitors and will continue to be followed, including for job candidates and external reviewers.
  • Admissions visitors must follow stated protocols and may not visit classes or stay overnight in residence halls.

CLASSES, MEETINGS & ACTIVITIES

  • Faculty continue to have the ability to shift to online instruction at their discretion and by notification of the Dean of the College.
  • In-person meetings and events for groups larger than 30 require permission from the Dean of Students Office, Dean of the College Office, or a divisional vice president. Where possible, we encourage virtual meetings or to provide an online option for meetings, recognizing that circumstances may make it impossible for some people to attend in person. Academic classes and labs may continue at their current capacities.
  • Varsity athletics will continue with existing health and safety protocols, including testing on competition days and masking during both training and competition.

MASKING & TESTING

  • Masking remains required in all indoor public spaces on campus. More protective masks (N95, KN95, KF94, or double-masking with two cloth masks or cloth and surgical masks) are strongly encouraged for all members of our community. Students who need a mask may pick one up from the Dean of Students Office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Faculty may pick up individual masks from the Dean of the College Office, and faculty and staff may request masks directly by emailing covid@carleton.edu. Masks are not required to be worn when you are alone in your private, enclosed workspace or while in your residential room with your roommate(s).
  • The second round of Winter Term baseline testing will be held Monday through Thursday this week as planned. Random surveillance testing begins the week of Jan. 17 with an expanded sample. The testing strategy for the remainder of January will be determined based on the results of the baseline and surveillance testing.
  • The Carleton Rapid Test Site remains open daily to test symptomatic individuals, as well as those who have been identified as close contacts and given a testing schedule by the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing team. With the current variant, we are finding that many individuals don’t test positive immediately upon becoming symptomatic; waiting 24 hours after symptom onset is preferred.

We know these adjustments will bring about some changes to your campus life, and we are thankful for your flexibility at this time. While we all respond to an unpredictable pandemic situation, we continue to be reassured that infections within our fully vaccinated and boosted community are mild or asymptomatic, and we look with some optimism to models that indicate the Omicron surge will peak this month and subside shortly after.

Sincerely,

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
Gretchen Hofmeister, Associate Dean of the College
John Bermel, Director of Security and Emergency Management
Helen Clarke, Director of Digital Strategy and Public Affairs