February 5, 2021
Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,
As we’ve written to you over the last few days, we are concerned about the number of positive cases of COVID among students. In consultation with the Ontario County Health Department, we know that if we can halt the spread on campus through prudent, interim measures, we can quickly resolve this situation. We are therefore pausing all non-academic activities starting today at 4 p.m. until Feb. 15. This is not a campus-wide quarantine, nor are we taking this action as a result of a mandate by the county or state, as our cases continue to be below the state threshold. Instead, we take this action because it is the right thing to do to ensure the health of our community.
What does this mean for students? All students are asked to stay in their rooms unless engaging in activities related to their academics or the other areas listed below:
- Students can and should attend classes, laboratories and research activities as usual. Note that as reported by Ontario County health officials, there continue to be no cases of community spread from classroom or other normal business activities at Finger Lakes region colleges and universities, including HWS.
- All other activities such as athletics, club gatherings and social activities are canceled until Feb. 15.
- The first floor of the library will remain open to support student research but the second and third floors will be closed. The Center for Teaching and Learning will remain open.
- Saga and the Café will remain open for in-person dining. Au Bon Pain will be closed to reduce traffic in the library building.
- Students can leave their residence halls to obtain medical care and COVID testing, as well as for other essential supplies that cannot be obtained through delivery.
- Bristol Field House and other gyms across campus will be closed. Students may exercise outside as long as social distancing protocols are followed.
- In consultation with their supervisors, students can work at their on-campus jobs and continue research activities.
- All students should wear masks and practice social distancing in their residence halls at all times with one exception – when they are in their rooms. Note that in all other places in the residence hall including common areas, laundry facilities and bathrooms, students should be wearing masks. Masks are always available from Campus Safety.
- Students in quarantine or isolation should continue to follow the instructions previously given to them and then follow these instructions upon their exit from quarantine or isolation.
Over the next two weeks and possibly beyond, we will double the amount of surveillance testing of students to ensure that we are identifying positive cases, isolating those who are positive and providing them with proper care. If you have symptoms of COVID or if you believe you have been exposed, please contact Hubbs Health Center immediately for testing and treatment.
Faculty should continue to teach as they see fit in the next week, again with the caveat that we are not seeing any spread of COVID through class or academic activities. Staff should continue to work on campus and continue, in consultation with their supervisor, rotating being in the office so as to continue to reduce the number of people in any building at any one time.
With the prevalence of cases decreasing nationwide and locally, we believe that if we can control the spread here on campus, we can quickly resume our semester as scheduled. We have so much to look forward to this semester – senior week activities and Commencement with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden as our speaker, the Pitch, the Senior Symposium, lectures, artistic endeavors, coursework, research opportunities and spring athletics among them – and we want to make sure we are all healthy and ready to experience it all.
Joyce P. Jacobsen
Provost and Dean of Faculty
Vice President for Campus Life