An Update from Hood College

September 2020

Dear Neighbors,

As we end the fourth week of classes, we have seen some cases of COVID-19. With contact tracing, we were able to quickly quarantine or isolate those who may have been exposed. As you may have seen in the media earlier this week, President Chapdelaine placed campus on a shelter-in-place for three days. We believe the spread has been contained and the shelter-in-place was lifted Thursday morning. Below, in part, is the email sent to the community from President Chapdelaine.

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COVID Emergency Response Team

Dear Hood Community,

On Sunday evening, upon the recommendation of CERT (COVID-19 Emergency Response Team), I issued a shelter-in-place order for the campus. I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our students and their families for your understanding and compliance with our directive, despite the hardship on you, in order to help ensure the safety of the community.

The shelter-in-place was enacted in an over-abundance of caution to ensure that the cluster of cases we were following did not spread and to provide time to gain a better understanding of its potential extent on campus. Since Saturday morning, when we were notified of the first symptomatic community member, we have contact traced 22 individuals who were either exhibiting symptoms or had possible exposure. All were immediately placed in quarantine or isolation and have been tested. As of right now, eight community members have tested positive; all others have tested negative.

Over the next week, we hope to retest all residential students, essential employees and any other members of the campus community who wish to be tested. Given that we have had no reports of additional symptomatic individuals in the past 36 hours, have completed all contact tracing and reviewed our metric dashboard as well as consulted with health officials, as of 7 a.m. Thursday, the shelter-in-place will be lifted and the College will resume normal operations per the New Horizon Plan.

As I said in my email on Sunday, the existence of COVID-19 on our campus indicates a lapse in protocols. I implore you to consider the dire and pervasive consequences of having to extend a shelter-in-place or move fully to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester or academic year.

Remember the protocols you pledged to uphold when you made the decision to be on campus this semester:

  • Mask on, everywhere except your residence room and when eating. Even when outside, if you are unable to socially distance, you must wear a mask. This includes inside a car when with others and when you are off campus.
  • Monitor your symptoms daily and alert health services when you are not feeling well. You are also required to show up for testing when you are notified. Failure to show up may result in losing your privilege to live on campus for the remainder of the semester.
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer, especially after coming in contact with high-touch areas.
  • Social distancing – maintain at least six feet between you and others. Do not move furniture to create larger social groups, whether in the buildings or in the tents.

It depends on each and every one of us to ensure that we can continue on this path. We knew the semester would look different but imagining it and living it are two very different things. I know it is hard and I and all members of our community are here to listen and provide support to each other. This is what it means to be a part of the Hood community, to be a true Blazer.

As I said in my August 7 email: If we are not all fully committed and Hood Strong together, we will not be successful.

My belief in the strength of the Hood community and our willingness to have this different kind of semester has been tested but remains steadfast. Yes, we are forgoing some things, but we are also gaining so much more – fortitude, compromise, flexibility and the opportunity to be together in community.

Stay safe. Stay well. Make smart choices.

Warm regards,

Andrea Chapdelaine, Ph.D.