Dear FLC community,
We can be proud of how we have worked together to respond to COVID-19. Our values of kinship and commitment to the collective good helped us safely come together and stay together as Skyhawks. Despite our hard work, we have seen alarming increases in COVID-19 cases in La Plata County and a sharp rise of cases at Fort Lewis College within the last few days. Increased case counts mean that we have stressed our ability to contact trace, isolate students, and support those in isolation. To ensure the safety of our community, we are taking immediate preventative actions and have modified our Fall operating procedures.
To protect the health of FLC community members, and to strengthen our ability to safely manage this case increase, we are moving some college operations, including most classes, online for the remainder of the semester. However, our campus and housing remain safe and will remain open.
While current evidence does not point to classroom transmission, this most recent increase in cases suggests that reducing density on campus in all areas is an important path to preventing the spread of the virus. Additionally, for the next two weeks, you should limit your social interactions to just your roommates within your household. As we’ve learned from the beginning of this pandemic, it is these effective preventative measures — masking, distancing, hygiene — that break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. I remain confident that the FLC community will continue its culture of caring and responsibility as we complete this semester.
To decrease campus density, virtual instruction will begin tomorrow, Monday, November 9. While this may seem sudden, keep in mind that faculty and students have already been collaborating virtually in various ways and have been prepared to complete courses remotely. Certain forms of coursework that can accommodate students safely in an in-person format, such as laboratory research, workplace internships, and outdoor classes will be determined on a case-by-case basis. More information will come directly from Academic Affairs and faculty will be reaching out to students with course-specific details.
Campus is still your home and the best place for you to be to finish the semester strong. Your learning and educational pursuits don’t stop with these end-of-semester modifications. We are still #FLCTogether: adaptable, intentional, and resilient. I encourage you to utilize campus as a safe place to physically distance. I know that many of you rely on our technology and internet resources, and these will be fully available to you to ensure your successful completion of coursework. Campus spaces including Reed Library, empty classrooms, and computer labs will remain open. Stay engaged with your academics by communicating with your faculty or taking advantage of virtual tutoring and virtual advising.
Grab-and-go food will remain available and all students will have access to campus facilities and resources in a modified format. It is imperative that when students access campus, they avoid socializing with others from different households.
Transitioning home & testing
We are discouraging any student from immediately returning to your home community in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — be conscientious of your health as you consider transitioning to another community. Before you return home at the end of the semester, please limit your personal contacts to reduce your potential exposure to COVID-19 and take advantage of our free on-campus testing.
Our testing site has expanded hours through the next week, Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Schedule a test at www.fortlewis.edu/covid19testing. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, it is best practice to track your symptoms daily and to schedule a COVID-19 test 5-7 days after the potential exposure (time period of COVID-19 incubation). Results take up to 72 hours so be sure to schedule your test in time to receive your results before arriving home.
I know this situation is stressful. Through it all, our community steps up again and again to help contribute to the health and safety of campus. This has involved a lot of sacrifices and your continued resiliency is deeply appreciated.
Keep taking care of each other. There will be more communications from me and your faculty in the coming days about our fall semester modifications.
Fort Lewis College