On campus, three new student cases and one employee case have been reported in the past two weeks. So although case numbers remain low, this does represent a slight uptick. Similarly, Knox County saw a small increase in new cases, and there is currently one patient hospitalized with COVID-19 in Knox Community Hospital. Like 92% of counties across the U.S., Knox County remains at the Low COVID-19 Community Level, according to the CDC.
While these local increases in cases have been quite modest, they do demonstrate that COVID-19 is still with us, and that we should all keep making responsible choices to protect ourselves and others in the community. The last few weeks of the semester entail both times of individual stress and opportunities for emotional release and social connection. In this context, it is important for everyone to remain COVID-aware. Check yourself for symptoms daily, and wear a mask or pick up a test when necessary. If you are feeling sick, stay away from others and make sure to put your own recovery first. Surgical masks continue to be available in Peirce Hall, and high-quality KN95 masks are available for students at the Campus Safety office. For students that need to test, both rapid antigen and PCR tests remain available at the Campus Mail Center in Gund Commons. Any student who tests positive is required to report their result to Health Services at email@example.com.
We will continue to monitor local conditions and provide up-to-date information on the COVID-19 Dashboard. Should cases rise locally, the campus community may be encouraged to return to masking, even if the College remains at Campus Activity Level 0. With less than four weeks until Commencement, we hope that case levels will remain low as we welcome families and alumni back to campus to celebrate both 2022 and 2020 graduates. But we know that the campus community is prepared to respond appropriately if case levels rise again.
Chair, COVID-19 Steering Committee
Associate Provost and Professor of Biology