Sustaining a Healthy Community

Check this page for developments and decisions on how Central College is responding to the health of the campus community.

Information on these pages is subject to change as circumstances warrant. Please check back often.

SEPT. 16, 2020 — Campus Arrangements

Dear Central family,

In this update you’ll find details about our COVID-19 numbers, how we are handling quarantine and isolation, information about Central’s air handling systems and how we are preparing for Homecoming.

Thank You

At a time when so many college and university campuses in the country — and in Iowa — are experiencing large outbreaks of COVID-19, I want to thank you for your concentrated efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus and for helping Central avoid large outbreaks thus far.

Since Aug. 24, the Central family has had a total of 16 people who have tested positive for the virus. Those numbers include faculty, staff and students. Our numbers thus far (found updated weekly on our “Weekly Report” dashboard) are aided by the support and care each and every one of you has given. I cannot thank you enough for your diligence to preventing the spread of the virus, for wearing masks and for paying attention to physical distancing guidelines. Your efforts allow us to continue to offer the in-person classes and programming we all so want.

One of the reasons for our success to date is the number of responsible individuals in our community who have come forward about possible symptoms and exposure and commenced isolation and quarantine until time and testing confirm results. All of us at Central are grateful that students, faculty and staff are following these protocols. Please keep doing this! It is imperative to the successful continuation of our semester. We cannot rest on our laurels.

Reporting and Services

As I indicated in my most recent memo, Charlie Strey, dean of students, is the point person for all students, faculty and staff to reach out to if they have a positive test, have symptoms or believe they have been exposed and are in need of isolation or quarantine. He will help coordinate care and services and provide recommendations. He can be reached at 641-628-5621.

I want to assure each and every one of you that there is no reason to not step forward. There is no shame in being sick or being concerned about exposure. Rather, coming forward demonstrates your heart for others. It also allows the college to show our heart for you.

Once Charlie is notified of a need, he and other members of the college community will jump to support you. With a team of individuals across campus supporting this work, Charlie will make sure faculty members are alerted to a student’s need for remote learning. He’ll inform dining services about the need for remote dining. He’ll also make sure students are placed in appropriate housing. For student-athletes, he’ll make the coaching staff aware. Best of all, he will ensure that someone reaches out to students in isolation and quarantine daily, helping to make sure they are cared for.

Whether it is a bottle of Gatorade, a charger for a computer or just someone to talk to, Charlie and the Central family will go to extraordinary lengths to make sure students are covered, supported and cared for while in isolation or quarantine. That’s the Central way.

Definitions of Isolation and Quarantine

A few of you have asked: “What is the difference?”

Individuals in isolation have either a positive test or symptoms of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends individuals in these cases seclude themselves from others for a period of 10 days from a positive test result date. At Central, students in isolation are housed away from other students in a few townhouses currently used only for this purpose.

Individuals in quarantine have a known or possible exposure to someone with COVID-19 but are not showing symptoms of the illness. Exposure by definition means that someone has had close contact (6 feet) for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask OR has physically touched or kissed someone who has tested positive. In these circumstances, quarantine is required for 14 days. Central students in quarantine are housed away from other students in townhouses and a residence hall designated for this purpose.

Be assured, when students are in either isolation or quarantine, Central will make sure they have everything they need. Don’t take my word for it.

Our team recently spoke with Sydney Glazier ’22, who was released from isolation last week. She was experiencing symptoms similar to COVID-19 after a visit home. She ultimately tested negative for the illness but still spent several days in isolation. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

“They did amazing with meals, snacks and Gatorade. It was a bit boring to be stuck in the room, but the staff brought me toys to play with (coloring pages, puzzles and a squishy toy). I took my classes on Zoom. I even took a test while in isolation at the same time I would have done in class,” Sydney says. “I’ve always had high expectations of Central and they did an amazing job for me.” A member of CAB, she also helped plan Homecoming activities while in isolation.

Her advice to others: “Stay calm. It is a confusing time. There is someone on Central’s staff who will fix concerns and get you what you need. Don’t stress about how it will go for those two weeks. Knowing that I could have prevented new cases while in isolation definitely made me feel better. This is a bummer situation but it was so much better than potentially exposing someone else. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when deciding about reporting.”

At the end of last week, we moved almost 20 people out of quarantine and isolation and back into daily activities at Central.

As the Air Flows

In addition to wearing masks, and taking steps like hand washing and physical distancing, researchers say that building ventilation systems can also help to lower the spread of COVID-19. You will be interested to know that Central’s building controls and air handling systems are designed to exchange the inside air between five and six times per hour during the working day. This level of ventilation and air exchange rates meets the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in helping to dilute COVID-19 particles that might accumulate. During busy times of the day when buildings are more fully occupied the air exchange rates may be even higher. As part of the air exchange process the system will bring in fresh outside air to blend with recirculated air.

When the weather is nice, opening windows also helps to introduce and circulate air in Central’s facilities. Low-tech (masks and hand washing) along with high-tech (building systems/air exchanges) can help to make a difference.

Adapting Events

The student development team also has worked diligently with students from all across campus to make sure events, club meetings and more continue to happen while following safety guidelines. Homecoming Week begins Sept. 21 and many events have been reinvented so we can gather in-person while others have been moved online.

Look for details on Dutch Connect and in The Crier about spirit banners, free Central gear, a new Pinterest event, Homecoming Court and the Forever Dutch celebration. Homecoming may look different this year, but everyone is committed to finding fun and creative ways to celebrate! You deserve it!

Thank you again for the incredible work you are all doing every day in and out of the classroom to learn and come together as safely as possible.

Mark

 


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