August 25, 2020 at 10:18 a.m.
Update on Baseline Testing
To St. Olaf College staff and facultyFrom Campus Reopening Lead Enoch Blazis
As we continue with our reopening plan, I write to provide an update on our initial COVID-19 baseline testing. Barring a few exceptions, we have now received the results for the first round of testing for faculty, staff, and students and the results for the second round of testing for faculty and staff which occurred last week. The second round of testing for students is now underway.
As promised, we are updating our COVID-19 campus data dashboard on a weekly basis. Now that we’ve gotten through the first round and some of the second round of testing, you’ll see a significantly higher number of tests and results included on the dashboard, including more positive test results and numbers of people in isolation and quarantine. We expected to have cases, and we are closely monitoring these results. Our positivity rate is still under 1%, and the nasal swab PCR test that we are using is highly accurate.
Our second round of testing of students will continue this week. We anticipate receiving the results by next week. As we get these results, we expect to see additional cases. By next week, we also are anticipating a significant number of cases to be recovered and people released from individual isolation and quarantine.
As a reminder, we’re still in our campus quarantine; all of the data we’re seeing points to us remaining in a Green Alert Level after September 2, but we will continue to closely monitor how this evolves on campus.
Testing is only one element of our efforts for a safe campus. Please remember that this virus spreads with close contact — which is defined as being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer with or without wearing a mask — and that is why it’s so important that we all work hard to continue following our Community Standards.