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Campus COVID-19 Updates

Dear Rollins Community:

If we have learned anything in the last 18 months, perhaps it is that carrying on with life’s duties and aspirations in the context of a pandemic is hard, very hard, but that, with the right balance of determination and compassion, we can keep moving forward…together. I have tremendous respect and gratitude for what each of you has brought to our shared purpose, day to day, figuring out how to surmount obstacles, how to nurture relationships, and how to seize opportunities for joy and wellbeing.

Thank you, too, for the choices you have made – and make daily, because you are a member of this community and have civic obligations. More than 91 percent of our full-time employees (faculty and staff) are vaccinated, and 88 percent of students in residence have confirmed COVID vaccinations. Your collective responsibility reflected in these numbers, together with everything else you do to keep yourself and each other healthy, has resulted in our maintaining an on-campus positivity rate of under 1 percent.

In recognition of your diligence, I write to share some further changes in our campus practices and protocols:

  • Keeping up with one’s work and life demands is challenging. As a small recognition of this, Wednesday, November 24, will be a campus closure day for faculty and staff, extending the Thanksgiving holiday, and dedicated to your wellbeing.
  • Peg and I intend to restart slowly our cherished tradition of opening our home, Barker House, as a place to promote conversation and conviviality, vital ingredients in sustaining community. For all events at our home, we will ask that our guests be vaccinated.
  • Beginning Wednesday, October 13, following Fall Break, masks will be optional for vaccinated individuals in meetings of five or less in a closed, indoor room, providing all in the meeting agree.
  • Also beginning Wednesday, October 13, we will begin testing all unvaccinated faculty and staff every other week, following the same practice we use for unvaccinated, residential students. Tests will be free and conducted by our own Wellness Center health professionals. These employees will be notified to schedule their every-other-week tests via email. We will decrease the frequency of testing as the Orange County positivity rate declines and CDC guidance changes.
  • Finally, I have been in conversation with The Fox about the possibility of his appearing this fall. He is encouraged by our progress with vaccinations and has chosen to extend the date by which he hopes to see our overall student vaccination rate rise to 90 percent.

It is an honor to be in a community so dedicated to our shared purpose. I hope we will continue to support one another as we have, showing patience, kindness, and compassion, as we continue to find our way forward together.

Fiat Lux!