This message is sent on behalf of President Nathan Hatch, Provost Rogan Kersh and Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue.
Bottom Line Up Front:
- The governor of North Carolina has issued a new executive order easing some statewide COVID-19 restrictions, including lifting the statewide curfew.
- On-campus residential students may host one other residential student in their living space.
- More intramural and club sports will begin play pending approval of safety plans completed by student organizers.
- Outdoor athletic venues can now host fans at 30 percent capacity, meaning more Wake Forest students can attend baseball games (ticket details).
- More information about Commencement 2020 and 2021 will be shared on March 16.
Dear Wake Forest students,
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 on campus and within our community. In the last few days, our nation has marked the deaths of more than 500,000 people due to the virus, and that stark reality makes our vigilance all the more important as we fight COVID-19 together.
Across North Carolina, we are now seeing a decline in positive cases. Because of that, Governor Roy Cooper has issued Executive Order 195, which will start cautiously to ease some of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.
While some of the new state guidelines will apply to our campus, we are still in Orange Operating Status as we evaluate and monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community. Thanks to your efforts, we have experienced a significant reduction in cases of COVID-19 in our student population and are optimistic about returning to Yellow Operating Status in mid-March.
As a residential campus, the virus has the ability to spread quickly. To prevent a resurgence of cases, we need to continue to embrace established community standards, respect the student code of conduct, and protect one another and our surrounding community.
We encourage you all to continue to engage in the measures proven to prevent transmission of COVID-19; your commitment to these measures has led to our current success.
North Carolina Curfew
Effective today, the statewide 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is lifted. However, in our Orange Operating Status, both on- and off-campus students should continue to avoid bars, restaurants and social gatherings regardless of the time of day. Please do not travel unless it is essential. Minimizing these activities reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and its spread in our community.
Across the state, gathering limits have increased. However, in our Orange Operating Status, our gathering sizes — for all on- and off-campus activities — remain at 10 people in non-residential indoor spaces (where it is possible to keep six feet of distance between people) and 25 people outdoors. Additionally, outdoor athletic venues can now host fans at 30 percent capacity, meaning more Wake Forest students can attend baseball games (ticket details).
Residential Guest Policy and Common Spaces
Beginning today, students living in University-sponsored housing will be allowed to have another student who is also living in University-sponsored housing as a guest in their living spaces. Students may also begin using public spaces in their residences. Students still must respect occupancy limits, practice social distancing and continue to wear masks. More information can be found in this Feb. 25 message.
At this time, no change has been made to the family visitation policy, and only students, faculty, and staff have card access to drive on to campus. We ask that families not visit their students as we need to be mindful of reducing the spread of new strains of the virus, especially from locations where the strains have been more prevalent.
Intramural and Club Sports
More intramural and club sports will begin play pending approval of safety plans completed by student organizers. Teams and sports will be reviewed by our infectious disease consultant and public health experts for risk of transmission of COVID-19 and adequate safety plans. Campus Recreation has been in contact with the eligible club sports teams to assist them with updating their teams’ safety plans.
This week, North Carolina began vaccinations for Group 3, including those who work in child care and PreK-12. Other Group 3 essential workers — including those in higher education — are expected to be eligible beginning March 10.
Vaccination gives recipients a higher probability of surviving COVID-19 with less significant symptoms, but it remains unknown if vaccination prevents individuals from contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. Students who have received a vaccine must still participate in weekly testing and must continue to comply with the University’s public health requirements. To learn more about the vaccinations, please visit Our Way Forward.
We are evaluating various scenarios with public health experts, and we plan to share more information about the Commencement ceremonies for the classes of 2020 and 2021 with you on March 16.
You have our shared appreciation for all you are doing to make Wake Forest a healthy and vibrant community. We know the pandemic continues to present challenges, and we continue to be grateful for your perseverance and flexibility. If we consistently and continually abide by the public health guidelines, we will be in a good position to return to Yellow Operating Status soon.
Please continue to wear a mask when in the presence of others, stay six feet from other people, seek care immediately for any symptoms, report possible exposures and positive test results, and comply with weekly testing and isolation and quarantine requirements. And please stay healthy and safe.
Nathan O. Hatch
Vice President for Campus Life