Sixth Week Message for Students

11 February 2021

Dear Carls,

Happy sixth week! Although I suspect many of you—like myself—are not particularly happy about the sudden cold snap we’re experiencing, I hope the sunshine and blue sky that sometimes reveal themselves bring joy. Below, you will find a few updates focusing on our most recent test data, spring break and spring term housing, as well as expectations for social activities both on and off campus.

COVID-19 Data

Last week, Carleton administered 659 tests for COVID-19 and recorded one new case of the virus within our on-campus community. As a result, among the College’s threshold measures, our 14-day infection rate decreased to 0.18%, our surveillance testing positivity rate dropped to 0.0%, and the average number of close contacts per case moved to 1. Detailed data for the week of Sunday, Jan 31, through Saturday, Feb. 6, is available on the dashboard. While our on-campus infection rate is very low, the campus action level remains at Level 2: Medium because the surrounding area continues to be of concern, especially as variants spread.

Close Interactions with Non-Carls

Leaving campus and interacting with others from outside our campus community is the greatest threat to the low infection rate we have been able to maintain on campus thus far. Consistent with our experience in the fall, the instances of infection on our campus have come through social interactions taking place off campus with people who are not members of our community. Please be mindful of the time you spend with others and the risks your interactions pose to yourself, your roommates/housemates, and others on campus.

Social Gatherings

Responding to recent requests for clarity surrounding the rules for social gatherings on campus, we have updated the guidelines listed on the Student FAQs section of the COVID-19 website. All social gatherings must be small, distanced, and masked.

  • Indoor events are limited to 10 people and must adhere to the modified occupancy of the space. You must wear a mask and maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others when indoors and around those with whom you do not share a living space.
  • Outdoor events are limited to 15 people. Masks must be worn outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Residential Life has communicated additional guidelines (e.g. having fewer than 10 people in your room) for those living in campus housing.

Academic Spaces (Science Complex)

We have received several reports about the inappropriate use of shared spaces on campus. Some examples include: 

  • Eating or drinking inside enclosed study spaces or classrooms in the Science Complex. Eating and drinking is only permitted in the marked areas near the Schulze Cafe or the Weitz Cafe.
  • Sitting closer than six feet from others while studying or eating together. Even students who are in the same pod must sit at least six feet apart while eating or studying together in shared spaces.
  • Moving computers closer together in the computer labs in Olin Hall. No one is permitted to move computers or furniture closer together in shared spaces.

We acknowledge that you may be weary of the continued restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Unfortunately, the disease can spread rapidly in our community if we don’t take the precautions that are described in the signage around campus and encouraged by the furniture layout. We want to allow you the freedom to use these spaces, but we will restrict access to them if we deem it is necessary for the safety of the community.

Spring Break 2021 Housing

While the majority of college services are not available over Spring Break, we recognize some students may have situations that require housing continue to be provided. International students will be approved to stay due to potential travel complications.  If you are not an international student and have a reason to remain on campus over Spring Break, please complete this form to request an approval to remain on campus.

All of the residence halls and townhouses will be available for Spring Break housing. Students requesting to stay on campus for Spring Break will need to remain on campus during the entire break period. Break housing is not available if a student wishes to leave campus and return later in the break period. Break housing is only available for students who will be living on campus for Spring Term.

Spring Term 2021 Housing

Many thanks for submitting your housing interest forms. At this time, we have the space to accommodate all students who requested housing for Spring Term.  Residential Life will send additional communication regarding how assignments will occur in the upcoming days. 

Any student who has not agreed to the Covenant or uploaded their flu immunization verification will need to complete those requirements before participating in the assignment process, unless they have been pre-approved by the Dean of Students Office.


In response to financial challenges some students may be experiencing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Carleton is distributing emergency grants from federal funds made available to the college through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act.

This grant is intended to be used for expenses related to the cost of attendance or for expenses related to COVID-19 (i.e., tuition, course materials, food, housing, or health care). This emergency grant is not a loan. You will not repay this grant, nor will it be considered part of your taxable gross income. More information about the nature of this funding can be found on Carleton’s CARES Act Funding page. If you qualify for this grant, you will receive an email at the end of February. 

Be well Carls, stay warm, and stay safe.

Dean Livingston

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