Faculty and Staff,
Thank you for an incredibly successful restart of our campuses this week. I’m proud of the way in which you continue to respond to the challenges we face.
Like other universities across the nation, WKU anticipated an increase in COVID-19 positive case numbers as students returned for the fall semester. Today, we reported 86 new student cases and zero faculty/staff/contractor cases as part of our weekly dashboard update. This number may be lower than the total number of positive cases due to a reporting issue caused by the contact tracing software transition at Barren River Health. Complete positive case counts will resume next week. WKU conducted 572 on-campus tests this week, which do not reflect testing at other off-campus locations.
I am pleased with the collaboration between our university and public health officials to execute aggressively our plans to contact trace and isolate positive cases and those exposed. We each must continue to do our part to adhere to the Healthy on the Hill guidelines which will benefit the health and safety of our entire community.
During the contact tracing and testing processes this week, we have seen evidence of a pattern developing due to the number of positive cases in some fraternity and sorority housing. To be clear, these cases were not a result of social gatherings, but are a byproduct of living arrangements in those facilities. As a result and beginning today, WKU will require fraternity and sorority members living in chapter houses undergo COVID-19 testing at the Graves Gilbert Clinic on campus. If a positive case is found in a house, all household members will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. We remain committed to acting quickly and aggressively to identify and isolate any potential community spread. We will continue to analyze testing results for patterns and pursue swift action when needed.
Core to the success of our ongoing Healthy on the Hill strategies this fall is adherence by every member of our Hilltopper Family to the critical safety measures outlined in our restart plans. Students, faculty and staff members and visitors to our campus should, at a minimum, practice social distancing, proper hygiene and the wearing of masks. I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen this week, and as our WKU Family continues to practice these new protocols, we expect them to become even more routine. I appreciate your leadership and continued positive reinforcement of our students as we create new behavioral norms for our campus.
I understand that operational changes have added to or altered each of our roles in some way, some more than others. As we finish out the first week back on the Hill, again, thank you for your hard work to make it a success.
Please remember, if you have COVID-19 related questions or concerns, call the hotline at 270-745-2019, available 24 hours a day, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations again on a successful start of the fall term.
Timothy C. Caboni