To the University community,
It’s my hope that, two weeks into this semester, all is well and you have found a new routine that is working through these unusual days. Again, my thanks to each of you as you navigate the task of keeping our campus a safe and positive space in which to live, learn and work.
I would like to share a few updates regarding our testing strategy:
Due to inclement weather in the forecast for Monday, Feb. 1, the final day of entry testing, we have postponed Monday’s entry tests and shifted them to Monday, Feb. 8 at the same times. Those holding appointments will not need to reschedule. If you have a scheduling conflict, additional appointments for Thursday, Feb. 4 (1-4 p.m.) or Friday, Feb. 5 (9 a.m.-12 p.m.) have been added. (Scheduling link provided via email.)
As we close out this important phase of our multi-tiered return plan, I would like to share with you some significant data: Across 14 days, we staffed our TreeTops Café Testing Center for 144 hours with 168 faculty, staff, and third-party health professionals. The testing center’s personnel conducted nearly 2,500 antigen tests and observed a positivity rate of less than 0.5%.
To date, we have experienced a 94% compliance rate with entry testing. Nationally, colleges and universities are experiencing a 90-95% compliance rate with COVID-19 screening tests. I would like to commend our community for its cooperation with this important first step in our testing strategy. It has been a significant undertaking for the testing team, which has managed it with a commitment to meeting the needs of our students, faculty, and staff.
A small portion of our population has not yet completed entry testing. Students might not have completed entry testing for any number of reasons. For example, a student believing themselves to be exempt due to previous contraction of COVID-19 may not have submitted the required and appropriate documentation. Additionally, students registered for face-to-face courses may have left the university or switched their course load to a fully remote roster, despite what our records may indicate. If the testing requirement is not met, swipe access to campus buildings will be revoked, among other subsequent consequences.
The next phase of our testing strategy—surveillance testing—began yesterday and continued today. To further ensure the safety of the La Salle community, the University has reserved multi-hour blocks of time each Thursday and Friday to test a sample of asymptomatic faculty, staff, and students (undergraduate, graduate, and evening)—both residential and non-residential—for surveillance tests at the testing center in TreeTops Café.
If you are selected, a message in your La Salle email account will arrive seven days prior to your test date. (For example, those selected for surveillance tests next Thursday and Friday already will have received messages.) The email, from firstname.lastname@example.org, prompts you to set an appointment. A confirmation reply with more details will follow. Please note that anyone who lives, learns, or works on campus this semester is subject to selection and it is possible that one individual could be chosen for multiple tests.
If you have questions, please refer them to our COVID-19 feedback form. Be sure to consult the University’s FAQ for more details about our return efforts. Lastly, if you or others test positive for COVID-19, come into close contact with someone who has, or experience COVID-19 symptoms, please complete La Salle’s disclosure form.
Thank you for your cooperation. It is through adherence to the all-important public health tenets and a shared responsibility to maintain our personal wellness that we will navigate this semester successfully and in good health.
Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.