April 27, 2022
Greetings students, faculty, and staff,
Over the last several days, we have identified a high volume of COVID-19 cases among Reed community members, requiring the college's COVID response team to make changes to our operations. Please see below for more information about this latest spike, as well as for additional information on what you should do if you test positive or are potentially exposed.
Why are we seeing such high levels of COVID on campus?
This surge is likely driven by the highly transmissible BA.2 Omicron variant, in combination with loosening restrictions surrounding masks and events both at Reed and in the larger community. We have also seen an increase in surveillance testing participation over the last several weeks, which has contributed to our ability to detect more cases on campus. Fortunately, thanks to our high vaccination rate, we have not identified any individuals with severe illness at this time.
What changes are being made during this time, and why?
To keep up with the influx of new cases and manage limited staff and campus resources, Reed's COVID response team has had to make adjustments to the practices we carry out following a new positive case. We will re-incorporate some or all of these activities back into our processes as resources allow.
- Discontinuation of contact tracing: Due to competing resources and the challenges posed by the rapid-spreading BA.2 variant, we will be temporarily pausing most contact tracing activities. Roommates and faculty who taught an in-person class where a positive student was present will still be notified, and all positive individuals will been instructed to notify their close contacts directly.
- Isolation space management: With this case volume, we are managing our dedicated isolation dorms at full capacity. We are working to prioritize isolation spaces for on campus students who are symptomatic, early in their infectious period, and who are in high-density buildings with roommates. Regardless, some students will still be required to isolate in their normal residence hall rooms. Any students in this situation will be given specific instructions on how to isolate in place safely.
What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
- Report your positive result to the HCC (students) or HR (employees). Someone will contact you with further guidance and instructions.
- Isolate yourself away from others. Do not participate in any in-person activities on campus.
- Contact your healthcare provider. They can provide medical guidance specific to your individual situation.
What should I do if I think I was exposed to someone with COVID-19?
- If you have not received a COVID-19 booster: Quarantine for 5 days following your exposure, then obtain a COVID test. If this test is negative, you are free to leave quarantine, although you should mask diligently while around others and monitor your health for symptoms of COVID.
- If you have received a COVID-19 booster: You do not need to quarantine following an exposure. Mask diligently while around others for the next 1-2 weeks, and monitor your health closely for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Obtain a COVID test ~5 days after your last exposure.
If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
Madison Riethman, MPH, CPH
COVID-19 Response Coordinator
Health Project Manager