As I continue to interact with our community on campus and in class, I see students, faculty, and staff looking out for each other, wearing masks, and staying distanced. I’m proud of the commitment our campus has shown to keeping each other safe. I’m also encouraged by the number of tests we’ve administered to students and employees at our on-campus testing site. More than 2,200 individuals have been tested and as of this morning, we have one active positive case and 16 individuals that tested positive have now recovered. We have shown that we are taking COVID-19 serious.
The coronavirus pandemic has been full of unknowns and our community has done incredible work to adjust. However, asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus still pose a significant threat to our ability to remain in person and on campus this fall.
Beginning next week, we will be conducting random COVID-19 testing to ensure we have a broad understanding of the spread of the virus. The random tests are accurate and the same RT-PCR — reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction — tests used to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Why are we making the testing mandatory? In order to protect the health of all, we need to know where the virus is dispersed so we can respond immediately. By isolating asymptomatic carriers quickly, we have a greater chance at reducing spread and continuing with an in-person fall term. Remote students and employees who are not visiting campus are exempt from random testing. However, you may still receive a notification for testing. Employees working virtually this semester who receive notification should contact HR and online-only students who receive notification should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each Friday, we will notify the randomly selected individuals for testing via email, text, or both, depending on what information is on file. Testing will be conducted on campus at our drive-thru site in the Stadium Lot. If selected, you will need to complete your test by noon on Thursday of the following week. As with all testing conducted at our site, results will be emailed and texted to individuals within 48-72 hours. Anyone notified of a positive test result should isolate immediately; students should contact the Health Center at 247-7355 and employees should contact their FLC supervisor and primary care provider.
Should you receive a message for testing, the notification will have this information and more to help you understand next steps and who to contact if you have further questions.
On behalf of your peers and colleagues at FLC, thank you for playing a critical role in everyone’s safety and academic experience. This weekend will be busy with visitors in Durango and as I've said before, please bring the awareness you have for your FLC community into all you do off campus. Wear your mask, avoid the downtown crowds, and enjoy yourself outside on the trails or in the mountains.
See you on Monday.
President of Fort Lewis College