October 9, 2020
Congrats Skyhawks – we have an A going into midterms! However, we have just been handed some difficult assignments and final grades have not yet been determined.
Recently, La Plata County and Fort Lewis College have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases. La Plata County has had 14 additional positive cases in the last week and six of those cases are within the Fort Lewis College community. All of us should closely track our community’s testing data as we make decisions for ourselves and FLC. Positive cases in La Plata County can be tracked at sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/; FLC cases can be followed at fortlewis.edu/coronavirus. The FLC COVID Response Team leads contact tracing efforts with our on-campus students and San Juan Basin Public Health leads contact tracing for all employees and off-campus students. Ample testing has helped us understand the prevalence of the disease in our community, and we will continue to test significant portions of our campus population every week (525 tests so far this week). Testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine measures will help us slow the spread of the virus.
If you feel like you’ve been potentially exposed to someone with COVID-related symptoms or had symptoms of your own, don’t hesitate to utilize FLC’s testing resource. Our drive-thru testing site in the FLC Stadium Lot is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. To register for a test, please go to www.fortlewis.edu/covid19testing.
In addition to increasing your awareness about case counts in our community and taking advantage of our free, on-campus testing, I wanted to remind you about the importance of symptom tracking and precautions when traveling.
- Daily symptom tracking in the FLC App has been a proactive step that has kept our campus healthy. We should not only track our personal symptoms daily, but we should ask others to show their Health Pass when meeting in person and emphasize to others the importance of not coming to campus when sick.
- We know that travel can open our campus up to additional exposure. The FLC Student Travel policy is designed to discourage student travel and ensure precautions are considered when travel is inevitable. Students that travel more than 100 miles from Durango are required to submit a travel form, quarantine for five days upon return and test for COVID-19 on the fifth day. When travel forms are submitted, students will be prompted to identify safety measures, mitigation strategies, etc. Exemptions to the standard quarantine may be granted if students can demonstrate appropriate precautions that reduce the college’s risk for exposure (e.g. camping in separate tents in the desert). Exemptions will only be granted if the travel form is completed at least 72 hours ahead of time.
Our campus anticipated an additional wave of positive cases and we currently have adequate resources for those that need help (academic, food, and technology support, isolation space, etc.). We have made it to the midway point in the semester and we have delivered in-person instruction throughout. As we all know, this outcome is not serendipitous, it is a result of relentless dedication to the collective health of our community. I am really proud to be a Skyhawk and proud of the students and employees that have committed to Protecting the Nest.
While we can sense the semester’s end is somewhat near, this is not the time to let our guard down. This is the time to double down on the safety measures that have gotten us this far (masking, distancing, handwashing, and symptom tracking). As was said during the first week of classes, we are prepared and we will continue to work tirelessly in support of a safe in-person experience this semester. #FLCTogether
Jeff Dupont | (He/His/Him)
Associate Vice President
Student Affairs Division
Fort Lewis College