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Rollins Spring 2021 COVID-19 Update

Important Message From President Cornwell

Dear Students and Families:

Happy New Year! 

I hope you share my optimism that 2021 will be much better than 2020 for you, for Rollins, for the nation, and for the world. 

There are certainly many reasons to be optimistic about the coming semester at Rollins. Together, with creativity and care, we learned how to pursue our mission at Rollins last semester with outcomes in which we can all take pride. It was difficult and the semester called upon everyone to practice patience and resiliency, but we did it together and we are fully ready to do it again.

In addition, the rollout of highly effective COVID-19 vaccinations has begun and there is every reason to think that their distribution and administration will accelerate. 

However, and alas, even as the end of this global challenge is in sight, the immediate risks are higher than they have ever been. New, more contagious strains of COVID are spreading and positivity rates are increasing.

In this letter I am calling upon you to redouble your commitment to the Tars Promise, and to return to campus even more vigilant and strict about following our established and proven practices and protocols.

Prior to your return, I ask that you be rigorously scrupulous about avoiding exposure while at home. Please do everything in your power not to bring COVID back to campus with you. Below you will find important information regarding our heightened screening and testing plans, as well as reminders about what your commitment to the Tars Promise entails.

We can do this. We can return to campus and safely launch ourselves into the new semester with confidence and enthusiasm if we all take care of ourselves and each other. Now is the time to rise to the challenges of our mission, to be global citizens and responsible leaders together. Please see the below communication below from Provost Singer for further details.

Welcome back to your college, your community, and our cherished shared purpose. 

Fiat Lux!
President Grant Cornwell

Important Message From Provost Singer

Welcome back, Tars! We hope you had a restful and restorative holiday break. On December 18, 2020, we shared with you our spring semester plan. As of today, that plan remains in place, with a few modifications. Here is how you can help safely reopen our campus:

  • Until February 1, all campus events except for classes and dining will be virtual.
  • All residential students will be tested for COVID within 5 to 7 days of returning to campus.
  • Anyone who traveled internationally must quarantine for 7 days upon their return to the U.S. and test between day 5 and 7.
  • Everyone must complete the #CampusClear app every day before they come to campus.
  • It is essential to assume personal responsibility and wear masks, physically distance, wash hands, and avoid groups.

We wish everyone a successful and healthy start to the promising new year.

Fiat Lux!
Provost Singer

Before arriving on campus

As you will recall, we asked that everyone quarantine (stay at home and avoid gatherings) for 14 days before coming to campus, continue with your daily completion of the #CampusClear app, and schedule testing if you have symptoms before coming to campus. 

We are closely monitoring the new, quickly spreading B.1.1.7 strain of the coronavirus, first reported in the United Kingdom in December, as well as the South African and Brazilian variants. The CDC announced that individuals traveling from the U.K. to the U.S. are required to be tested no more than three days before their flights depart. For more information on this new requirement, please visit the CDC’s site. U.K. travelers and all other international travelers are expected to quarantine for 7 days upon arrival in the U.S., per CDC guidance, and test on day 5 to 7. Students who traveled internationally may quarantine on campus and attend class virtually during that time.  

In-person events limited to class and dining until February 1

Until February 1, only classes and dining will be in person. All athletic facilities will remain closed until February 1. Our classrooms and dining facilities are safe spaces, with no occurrences of transmission of the virus during the fall semester. The Olin Library will be open out of consideration for commuter students with contiguous in-person and virtual classes or a telemedicine appointment.

Student employees with jobs on campus should report to work as planned. For further specifications, please contact your supervisor.

COVID-19 testing for residential students

As previously announced, we will be testing all returning residential students, beginning five days after their return to campus. This is the time when those who may have been exposed before returning to campus but are not showing symptoms are most likely to test positive. Asymptomatic testing will take place in the former Print Services, adjacent to Campus Safety. Those with symptoms should contact the Wellness Center, where symptomatic individuals are tested. 

The Wellness Center will email all residential students a sign-up link to schedule their COVID-19 test. While tests are not required for commuter students, we highly encourage you to voluntarily sign up for testing. Please contact the Wellness Center for an appointment.

To ensure that we can complete testing each of our residential students by the end of January, we ask that faculty and staff avail themselves of external testing sites until February 1. Rollins BCBS insurance covers medically indicated COVID-19 testing.

Risk reduction on campus

In addition to upholding the Tars Promise this semester, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of continued mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand washing as we all return to campus. The new B.1.1.7 strain of the virus has a 50% higher transmissibility and could easily arrive on our campus as our community returns from winter break, as could other highly transmissible variants.

As it was last year, our current plan has been vetted by our epidemiologist at the Florida Department of Public Health, with whom we will continue to work closely this semester. The situation is fluid, and we will continue to adjust our plans based on the College’s COVID-19 dashboard indicators. Please note that the revised dashboard provides more extensive data for Orange County.

We have also developed several contingency plans and are prepared to change direction if indicated by the Central Florida positivity rate or one of the new variants in the coming weeks.

Campus Town Halls

We have scheduled a series of informational town halls as we reopen. Beginning January 20, these town halls will be offered weekly on Wednesdays through February 3 (4 p.m. for faculty and staff, 6:30 p.m. for parents, and 7:45 p.m. for students). Please mark your calendars to attend these meetings and come with any questions you might have. Each town hall will begin with a brief update on our campus dashboard. You will receive invitations to these town halls in the coming week.