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 during the Spring 2021 semester. Our key factors help us understand 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 and is not linked to North Carolina’s color-coded alert system. Policies and protocols may be updated without a change to operating status. In consultation with county public health officials and infectious disease specialists, mitigation steps at each level of operating status may include changes to:

  • Testing frequency
  • Quarantine and isolation protocols
  • Gathering sizes
  • Movement on and off campus
  • Dining practices
  • Class modalities
  • Campus density
  • Other measures in the interest of public health and safety

Green: Restrictions Eased

Positive cases of COVID-19 among our University community are few, but the possibility of infection remains a risk to University operations. Expect to continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing; other measures put in place related to COVID-19 may be altered to enhance living, learning and working conditions.

Yellow: New Normal Campus Operations

Positive cases of COVID-19 among our University community are steady. Expect policies and protocols established before and during the Fall 2020 semester, and updated for the Spring 2021 semester to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to continue.

Orange: Modified Campus Operations

Positive cases of COVID-19 and/or other public health indicators are trending in the wrong direction, requiring a period of heightened vigilance. Expect University policies and protocols to be adjusted to reduce the spread of infection.

Red: Reduced Contact Campus Operations

Positive cases of COVID-19 and/or other public health indicators have reached a level that requires the need for significant reduction in contact between individuals and groups to protect the health of the University and surrounding community. Expect restrictions to most University operations and adjustments to policies and protocols necessary to contain the spread of the virus.

Purple: Suspend Campus Operations

Positive cases of COVID-19 and/or other public health indicators have reached a level that requires the full suspension of campus activities. Expect University policies and protocols to be adjusted to reduce the impact on University and Forsyth County resources.