PLU moves to a tentative Stage 3 on Campus Status Dial
Dear PLU Community,
As you know, PLU will begin the 2020–21 school year with a staged approach to reopening. We’ve created a status dial to ensure that our community members can quickly and easily see which stage we’re currently in, from fully remote learning and working to full capacity with in-person operations. As public-health conditions continue to evolve over the next several months, the PLU dial will be a regular part of our guidance for learning, living, and working on campus.
PLU is moving tentatively to Stage 3
Please note that we are specifically identifying this dial move as “tentative.” We anticipate having more complete PLU campus metrics to consider as additional community members return and are tested in the days ahead. The “tentative” qualifier acknowledges that these incoming test results and related capacities for response could shift the dial back to Stage 2, either with a future weekly update or, if called for, in an immediate change.
The decision to move the dial forward is based on continuing significant improvements in local metrics, particularly the fourteen-day rate of new cases per 100,000 people in Pierce County, which improved by an additional 20% in just the past seven days. Trends in this key metric, as indicated by the fourteen-day rate without a reporting lag, also show that Pierce County is currently below the stated target for K–12 schools to begin a phased return to in-person learning. Just as significantly, each of the other metrics in our model (including the current R factor [a key measure of how fast the virus is growing], healthcare system capacity, and test positivity rate) meets or exceeds our Stage 3 requirements.
Following our second week of testing, we have had no positive cases among more than 250 returning students.
What is Stage 3?
The dial move to Stage 3 makes it possible for students, staff, and faculty to begin planning for limited opportunities for blended learning, in-person co-curricular activities, and student-facing support services no sooner than September 14th. More about Stage 3.
Important note: This is Stage 3 for PLU, not Phase 3 of Governor Inslee’s “Safe Start Washington” plan.
What’s it going to take for us to remain in Stage 3?
While the progress we are seeing comes as welcome news, it is critical that we all do our part to ensure that we aren’t required to revert to Stage 2. Results from expanded testing on campus will certainly inform the movement of our status dial in the coming days. Perhaps more importantly, actions that demonstrate care for community and for one another will determine our ability to maintain this momentum—as their lack will cause us to move backward.
Lutes, we all need to:
- Wear a face mask
- Stay at least six feet apart from others (even when outside)
- Wash your hands frequently
- Socialize in groups of no more than five
- Complete the daily Wellness Check-In
- Be kind and hold each other accountable
For those students who arrived early and successfully QTQ’ed—thank you! You’ve demonstrated your care for others with this important first step. The next steps require a longer commitment: to wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, keeping your social groups to fewer than five people, and prioritizing the health and well-being of our campus community.
These next steps are equally vital, because your negative test reflects your health status only for the time in which the test was taken: the moment you left the testing facility (and exposed yourself to other people, other surfaces, etc.), your status may have changed. In other words: just because your test came back negative does not mean that you can stop protecting yourself and others, nor does it mean that expectations for face coverings and physical distancing no longer apply to you. We continue to hold those expectations for all campus community members, and we will continue to enforce these standards because they matter to the health and well being of all Lutes.
Protect yourself. Protect others.
Shields up, Lutes!
Reminder: The dial will be updated weekly on Wednesdays by 12 p.m. with any new information (including indications that the status remains unchanged). Should public-health circumstances warrant an immediate shift, we will utilize the campus text alert system to notify PLU community members of the change.