Return to Campus 2020
Biweekly update: Oct. 23, 2020
Dear Bluffton Campus Community,
Congratulations to everyone on successfully reaching the end of Week 10 of the semester! I understand that moving swiftly, without breaks through the semester can be tiring and that we all are feeling the impact of this compressed time.
When we scheduled the semester, not knowing what the future held, we scheduled the minimum allowable time to be in class, and so, unfortunately, we cannot take a “self-care” day or break from formal classes and remain in compliance with our regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). However, Dr. Lamar Nisly is working with faculty to think through some possibilities for individual classes to have some types of “project” days, so please pay close attention to your professors for any changes in the days to come. We also made sure to include breaks in the spring semester calendar, and many thanks to all who reached out and shared their thoughts around scheduling.
We hope that you will take time to enjoy the Homecoming activities that are scheduled to provide fun and stress relief as you cheer on our Volleyball and Football teams tomorrow. Volleyball games are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Sommer Center.
Food trucks will be in the Sommer Center parking lot from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and free tickets are available to students, faculty, and staff (please, no spouses or children on campus as we continue to #ProtectTheDam).
Tailgating inside Salzman Stadium begins at 1 p.m. as well with many activities there, and kick-off for our football game against Adrian takes place at 1:30 p.m. Masks are required at all events, so please #MaskUp as we enjoy the day and Go Beavers!
As a campus, we are grateful to remain in the YELLOW alert at this time. We still have fewer than a handful of positive cases on campus. However, this week we had a very small number of positive test results in two of our athletic teams. Out of an abundance of caution, we have quarantined both the men’s and women’s basketball teams for 14 days. Please remember that behind every positive test result is a much-cared for member of our community. Whether in isolation or quarantine, we all are part of the cherished community at Bluffton University. For all of our students in quarantine/isolation, we are thinking of you and can’t wait to have you all back fully on campus.
As cases of the virus continue to escalate in Ohio and particularly in our county, it is important for all of us to continue:
- Wearing masks: over the nose, over the nose, over the nose is how it goes! (With apologies to Dr. Seuss!)
- Opening windows—we know that outdoors is safer than indoors. Bring the outdoors in as much as possible, even opening a window a little bit with the heat on as it gets colder.
- Submit your daily symptom monitoring in my.bluffton.edu (faculty and staff please continue your daily monitoring at home prior to coming to work). Submit your symptom monitoring on weekends too!
- Stay 6 feet apart as much as possible.
- Wash your hands.
- Please practice kindness to one another.
As you may know, yesterday afternoon Governor DeWine moved Allen County to a red county. Allen County is now in the top five counties in the state for rapidly increasing cases and it exceeds the CDC’s threshold for high incidence. Governor DeWine is asking for all Ohioans to use extreme care when considering moving outside your immediate social circle. Community spread from large gatherings, especially indoors, is proving to be the number one driver for virus spread.
As we remain under the YELLOW alert, I want to remind students that you should be remaining on campus, or in the village, wearing masks and following safety protocol, as much as possible. Residential students, if you must leave campus overnight, you need to check in with your RA. If you are ill in any way, please e-mail Dr. Sherri Winegardner at email@example.com
We need to remain vigilant in our efforts to limit opportunities for exposure and keep each other safe, as the Allen County Department of Health reminds us below:
While Allen County is in the RED, every decision regarding participation in an activity should be filtered through the following questions:
- Will all participants present be able to be 6 feet apart from one another?
- Will participants be wearing face coverings, unless actively eating or drinking?
- Will hand washing and sanitizing opportunities be readily available?
- Will cleaning and disinfecting be conducted regularly?
If these measures will not be in place, individuals should reconsider participating in that activity until the spread of COVID-19 subsides in Allen County.
Take good care, and I look forward to seeing many of you #MaskUp at the games and additional Homecoming festivities tomorrow.
While Ohio’s governor is allowing some performance venues to reopen, Bluffton University will continue to follow our #Protect the Dam plan for reopening campus. At this time, venues will remain closed to the public and performances will be shared in a virtual format.
Protecting the Dam responsibilities
Ensuring a vibrant, safe and healthy campus community will require the effort and diligence of every member — student, faculty and staff. Please help us foster a community of respect as we strive to remain COVID infection free!
Faculty and Staff Responsibilities
- Faculty and staff will be required to complete a self-monitoring process for temperature and symptoms daily before coming to campus.
- If you feel sick, have a fever or other symptoms that could be COVID-19 related – Please Stay Home and see your healthcare provider.
- Faculty and staff are requested to not utilize the fitness/weight room facilities or the dining facilities in Marbeck.
- All students will be required to check their temperatures every morning before class and complete an online temperature and symptom surveillance form. Students who have a fever and/or symptoms suggestive of a potential COVID-19 infection will not come to class until they are screened.
- Students who show presumptive signs of COVID-19 will be directed to a healthcare provider for additional screening and possible testing.
- Students with symptoms and their roommate will be relocated to quarantine quarters until testing is completed. Students testing positive for COVID-19 will be transferred to an isolation location until released by the Allen County Health Department. The positive student’s roommate will remain in quarantine per CDC and Allen County Health Department guidelines. Commuter students should quarantine at home until testing results are known and isolate at home until released by the Allen County Health Department (or home address county health department).
Community Member Shared Responsibilities (Students/Faculty/Staff)
- Wear your mask at all times while in classrooms, hallways, and common spaces. Masks are not required in personal office spaces or residence hall accommodations.
- Practice appropriate social distancing at all times.
- Wash, wash, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently and especially after handling your mask.
- Stay home when you are ill!
- Follow all guidelines for spacing and cleansing of hands and tables when in class.
Remember: ensuring the health of our community is a “we” issue and not a “me” issue.
- Formal COVID-19 policies >
- Gather additional information from your personal health care provider, state health authorities and the CDC's COVID-19 website.
Return to Campus plan
Learn about Bluffton’s Return To Campus plan at https://www.bluffton.edu/alert/return-to-campus2020/index.aspx
General Guidelines for Students and the #ProtectTheDam plan can be found at https://www.bluffton.edu/alert/return-to-campus2020/protect-dam.aspx
Although we cannot predict what the future will hold for our campus, we believe that the safety measures that we are adopting in conjunction with a wide variety of best practices documents provides us with solid preventative measures.