COVID-19 Operating Status Levels

Containment of COVID-19 requires a campus community that is committed to working together to reinforce the plans contained in Our Way Forward. To that end, we have developed a color-coded system to provide a summary view of the state of viral infection in our population and our ability to contain it.

Wake Forest will operate in one of five levels during the 2020-2021 school year. The University, in collaboration with experts in infectious disease and public health, have identified multiple indicators that will be evaluated to monitor current public health conditions in our community. Our operating status will be adjusted in consultation with our medical experts to support the appropriate public health response for containing COVID-19 on campus and engaging the resources needed to mitigate outbreaks.

We will use Wake Alert, the University’s emergency notification system, to inform campus of a change in operating status. Additionally, you can expect messages sharing what changes the new operating status will require and color-coded flags displayed on campus serving as visual reminders.

Key Factors Related to Public Health

The following key data points will be used to evaluate the current public health conditions in our community.

Prevalence and nature of COVID-19 spread at Wake Forest

  • Total positive COVID-19 tests by date of testing
  • Percent of positive tests in our diagnostic population
  • Percent positive of positive tests in our random testing
  • Connection between cases
    (Was there a known exposure that resulted in infection or was there no known epidemiologic link suggesting community transmission of infection?)
  • Hospitalization rate
  • Influenza-like illness rates (number of individuals with fever and cough and/or sore throat) in comparison to last year’s rates

Community compliance with public health measures

  • Percent of individuals completing the daily symptom check-compliance
  • Percent of community attesting they are wearing a mask daily (asked on the SneezSafe tool as a self report)
  • Compliance with requirements for gathering sizes

Capacity of resources to mitigate risk

  • Ability to contact trace cases in an appropriate timeline
  • Ability to support the number of individuals in isolation and quarantine
  • Supplies for testing, turnaround times to testing results, PPE and other supplies such as disinfectants and capacity of SHS to see patients

Situation in our broader community (Metrics in Forsyth County)

  • Trajectory of positive COVID-19 tests, percent of positive COVID-19 tests
  • Medical Center capacity in Forsyth County

Learn More About the Levels

Wake Forest will operate on one of five levels durings the 2020-2021 school year. Our key factors help explain the prevalence and nature of COVID-19 spread at Wake Forest; community compliance with public health measures; capacity of resources to mitigate risk; and the situation in our community. Our level of operating status is dependent on how we are doing in those areas. In consultation with county public health officials and infectious disease specialists, mitigation steps at each level of operating status may include some of the following:

Green: Restrictions Eased

Classes continue in-person, blended or online. Gatherings of more people at indoor and outdoor gatherings may be permitted in accordance with state and local executive orders, including more in-person club and organization activities. Additional employees may be permitted to return to in-person working conditions. Continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Yellow: New Normal Campus Operations

Campus policies and protocols established for the 2020-2021 school year are enforced. Classes may continue in-person, blended or online. Gatherings may be permitted in accordance with University policy, CDC guidelines and state and local executive orders. Many campus offices and functions may operate remotely, and high-risk employees may request accommodations.

Orange: Modified Campus Operations

Some in-person and blended classes may shift to the “online pathway,” with many courses moving to remote learning. Instruction delivery and modality may be altered at the discretion of the academic deans. Gathering sizes indoors and outdoors may be reduced. Campus offices and functions may modify hours, conditions and services to limit contact. Campus activities and events may be limited as a safeguard for spread of the disease. Random testing and contact tracing may be expanded.

Red: Reduced Contact Campus Operations

The majority of classes may be offered remotely, with any exceptions made at the discretion of the academic deans. University-wide suspension of campus activities for two weeks or longer may be required. Students may be required to shelter in place to the greatest extent possible. Dining services may be limited to grab-and-go and other services delivered remotely. Campus may be closed to visitors and access to some campus facilities may be limited.

Purple: Suspend Campus Operations

University-wide full suspension of campus activities may be required. Measures may be taken to reduce campus population density. Staff may be asked to work remotely with exception of essential staff in staggered shifts. Campus and building access may be restricted to only essential personnel and services.