September 11, 2020
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
I write to you with our weekly update on the Indicators for Risk Assessment from the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group. I want to acknowledge that the combination of the pandemic, wildfires, and air quality present both emotional and practical challenges for our community members. The COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group and the Emergency Response Team have been responding to many of you regarding your individual circumstances. We care deeply about each of you. On behalf of the college, we are prioritizing safety and responding to urgent needs, but we encourage the entire community to do what our community does best--care for each other and yourselves.
We hope that this week's report provides reassurance about the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan the college has implemented.
Public Health: The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) dashboard tells us that positive cases continue to be on the wane. Oregon's Epi Curve: COVID-19 cases chart and the regional data on Multnomah County's website are particularly helpful visuals.
Campus Health: As of today at 3 p.m. we have identified one new positive COVID-19 case since our weekly summary last Friday. This positive case is the same case that we reported on Monday as being a preliminary positive, and it is reported as case #8 on our notification webpage.
We completed 584 COVID-19 tests this week and are scheduled to complete an additional 326 surveillance tests today. Except for the case mentioned above, all tests conducted on Tuesday were negative; tests conducted on Thursday and today are pending.
The college continues to track the number of COVID-19 cases on this webpage. There are two students in isolation on campus.
Now that the surveillance testing of students and staff who live on campus is underway, we will begin, next week, as previously reported, to conduct 150–250 surveillance tests per week of the following populations:
- Custodial, maintenance, and residence life staff working in residence halls
- Health & Counseling Center staff
- Bon Appétit staff
- Faculty and staff teaching in-person classes
- Any community members working with large groups
- Students living off campus and taking in-person classes
- Faculty and staff working on campus who self-identify as having an increased risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19
Those selected out of the groups above will receive an email with instructions on how to select a time to be tested. It is important to note that not all of the above populations will be tested weekly and it is possible that a student, faculty member, or staff member living off campus who accesses campus in the fall may not be asked to participate in a surveillance test. The COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group is prioritizing those individuals who we believe have increased risk of exposure.
Community Compliance with Preventative Practices: Overall, community compliance with preventative practices was very good this week, with some exception in the area of physical distancing. Last week 26.7% of respondents reported observing people following physical/social-distancing guidelines only sometimes or half of the time in shared spaces on campus. Unfortunately, that number is similar this week–at 26.4%. In addition to the survey data, we received a number of written complaints expressing concern that people are not practicing physical distancing. We need to do better, and we can. This is a reminder that all community members are being asked to maintain physical distance in shared spaces on campus regardless of whether or not you are from the same household or residence hall. Wearing a cloth face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing; if you are wearing a face covering, you still need to maintain physical distance, outside and inside. Read more here. To reinforce expectations, additional signage will be placed on shared-space tables next week. We have also removed the number of chairs on the patio of Commons to encourage at least six feet of distance between people sitting in that area.
We were surprised to learn that 59.1% of students living off campus who responded to the survey reported being on campus only up to 8 hours total. We expected the number to be higher.
This week, 900 community members on average completed the Daily Health Check, and 97% were issued a green GO message every day. Those who received a STOP message were quickly in contact with HR or the HCC. As a reminder, it is OK to ask anyone on campus to show you their GO message. Here is a way to politely ask to see it: "For your health and safety, I want you to know that I have completed the Daily Health Check. Here is my GO message. For my health and safety, would you mind showing me your GO message?"
This week, 34.4% of survey respondents reported observing unapproved visitors on campus. We are working to change the behavior of thousands of members of the public who have enjoyed the Reed campus for many years. While the efforts have been largely successful, we know that there are outliers. Contact community safety dispatch to report your observations: you may text dispatch at 503-849-8678 or call 503-517-5355. Also, this is a friendly reminder to visibly wear your Reed ID or Reed name tag while on campus so community members can easily recognize you as a Reed community member; free lanyards are available at 28 West, or you can purchase one at the Reed bookstore.
Campus Capacity: In this week's survey, 94.6% of respondents said they had adequate access to cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) on campus. Considering the size of our campus, this response is strong. While Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) and Facility Services continues to address any specific cleaning supply and PPE needs raised in the open-ended responses, we ask all staff and faculty to carefully read this communication again--you have the power to help address areas of concern related to your departments.
Miscellaneous: We communicated in late August that room reservations for in-person events and the opening of common areas would be on hold until September 14, 2020. In order to open these spaces with strong COVID-19 safety precautions in place, we are extending the timeline to October 1, 2020. We will have further updates soon.
If you have questions, please send an email to the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group at email@example.com.
Reporting on behalf of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group
September 11 correction: The following sentence was updated for accuracy from "There are two students in isolation on campus who have tested positive for COVID-19" to "There are two students in isolation on campus".