Message to Students about the Covenant, Testing, Symptom Tracking, Dashboard and Alert Levels, and Social Hubs

3 September 2020

Dear Carls,

Tomorrow, New Student Week leaders and Residential Assistants will arrive in Northfield. By the end of next week, close to 1,500 students will have returned to campus. It’s hard to imagine that the summer is coming to an end, even in what continues to be an unprecedented time on our campus, in this country, and around the world. 

Individually, you have received a significant amount of email in the last couple of weeks, including a note from Residential Life about where to go upon your return to campus.  I write to share information on a few other topics that are important as we near the start of the term.   

Covenant Deadline and Sanctions

The deadline for responding to the Carleton Community Covenant has passed. If you still need to sign, please go back to the email you received from Carleton College Human Resources <echosign@echosign.ecom> and complete the step to agree to the Covenant. If you have declined and wish to change your answer, please email Amy Sillanpa, Assistant Dean of Students & Director of Community Standards, at asillanp@carleton.edu. Amy will be following up with all students who plan to return and have not yet signed or who have declined.

If you are planning to live on campus, in Northfield Option, and/or access campus for classes/work/other activities, you must agree to the Covenant. Students who do not sign the Covenant or who decline the Covenant will not have access to campus.

Sanction guidelines for violations of the Covenant are listed on the Dean of Students website. Please review them closely, as they will be strictly enforced.  If you feel you cannot adhere to the covenant, you should study remotely.

Initial Testing

You must receive the results of your first COVID-19 test before attending on-campus classes. Test results have generally been processed in less than 48 hours. If you are a Northfield Option student, you should enroll in testing to take place on Friday, September 4. If you do not have a test date, please email Janet Lewis Muth

Ongoing Testing

Carleton has ordered an Abbott ID Now rapid testing instrument and supplies, which Student Health and Counseling will use in our on-campus clinic to quickly identify cases of COVID-19. We have been told to expect to receive these rapid testing materials later this month. Per Abbott’s recommendations, negative results may result in further PCR testing to rule out false negatives. As a result, this testing mechanism will not be used for surveillance testing.

Our ongoing surveillance testing plan involves testing 300 randomly selected Carleton community members each week of the term. Until a more viable rapid testing option is readily available, we will continue with PCR testing for this effort. PCR tests will be administered by Homeland Health and analyzed by the Mayo Clinic, with results available within 48-72 hours.

Daily Symptom Tracking

All members of our Carleton Community who plan to live, attend classes, and/or work on campus are expected to complete a daily tracker of exposure to and symptoms of COVID-19. The tracker can be accessed through the MySHAC student portal. Instructions for completing the tracker are available on the Resources and Training page of the COVID-19 website. It is expected that students will complete the tracker each morning before attending class, athletic practice, on-campus employment, or any other activity in which they may come in close contact with other community members.  

Students who indicate exposure to someone with COVID-19 will discuss their exposure and the need for possible quarantine with a member of the Carleton Contact Tracing Team. Students who indicate current COVID-like symptoms will discuss those symptoms with medical staff at Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) to determine next steps, including potential care, testing, and/or isolation.

Daily self-monitoring will need to become part of your daily routine, as it is one important way that we can help keep ourselves and our community safe.

COVID Dashboard and Action Levels

Carleton’s COVID-19 Dashboard reports data related to tests, cases, and isolation and quarantine numbers for students, faculty, staff, and contractors who are living, learning, or working on campus this fall. Data is posted to the dashboard weekly on Thursdays.

The College’s senior leadership team is continuously monitoring the public health metrics of the campus in the context of county, state, and national data. We have identified COVID-19 Action Levels to help describe potential transmission scenarios and how the College would plan to operate at various stages.

Your Social Hub

I previously shared with you our expectation that you limit your interactions to those in your specified “social hub” from the time you arrive on campus to the time we receive the results of the first round of testing. Following this time period, we know and expect that your interactions will grow to include additional friends and classmates. With adherence to new rules regarding wearing a mask, physical distancing, washing your hands, monitoring yourself for symptoms, and limiting gatherings, we hope you will be able to find a balance between these important health practices and the residential college experience.

More Information

When you have a question about your individual circumstances—whether related to student employment, financial aid, housing, or another topic—I encourage you to reach out directly to campus offices, staff, and faculty for assistance. Even though many members of our community are working remotely, we are available to answer your questions and help set you up for a successful term.

I look forward to seeing many of you next week.

Dean Livingston