March healthy and safety update
To: PLU Community
From: Office of the President
Dear PLU Community,
As the world marks the pandemic’s one-year anniversary with deep sadness, we remember all who have lost their lives to COVID-19, and the inequities that have defined the response over the last year. Today, we have more to be optimistic about, thanks to continued public-health guidance to reduce the spread of the virus, as well as the growing availability of vaccines.
While we recognize this hopeful shift and the general sense of hopefulness that spring also brings, we know how important it will be to continue to remain vigilant in keeping with the health and safety guidance that has been successful. We are still in a pandemic. Public-health experts note that the greatest potential for a fourth surge of infections is coming from increases in infection rates for people ages 20–40. This means that while we can do more in person, we are still asking you to wear your masks, physically distance, wash your hands frequently, and refrain from hosting or attending parties.
We know some students are considering travel plans. We remind you that university-sponsored travel is still prohibited for faculty and staff in most cases, and urge everyone to stay close to home if possible and do their part to keep this disease from spreading. If you must travel, our community expectation is that you maintain healthy behaviors while away. (See more below.)
You are doing amazing, Lutes. According to The New York Times, we have the lowest case count of the universities in Pierce County. This is the result of your efforts. Working for the collective care and well-being of Lutes and our neighbors makes all of us stronger and brings us closer to the conclusion of this pandemic.
Let’s continue to follow health and safety guidance, and continue to do all we can to protect ourselves and everyone in our Lute family and greater communities.
A musical reminder
The talented students of MediaLab—under the guidance of their advisor Kate Drazner Hoyt, Assistant Professor of Communication—and members of PLUtonic (Benjamin Soderling, Owen Brummel, Will Bentley, and Benaiah Axlund) have created a sanitation protocol video parody. A special thank you to the PLU custodial staff for keeping the community safe!
So what can we do?
Thank you again, Lutes, for doing your part to care for yourselves and for our community, allowing us to be at a point in time when the PLU campus and its resources are able to begin to reopen. Some recent examples are:
- Indoor dining in the Commons opening at 25% seating capacity
- Theater, Music, and Athletics returning to some in-person experiences (with full mitigation measures in place)
- Lower-campus outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, and the disc golf course being open for recreational play (with consistent use of masks)
Gathering together safely
With spring offering more opportunities to gather outside, the Health Center underscores these reminders about how to gather and socialize safely:
- Continue to assume that most people with whom you interact have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and engage in mitigation measures as if they have not.
- Gather outdoors whenever possible, especially when in a group larger than five people.
- Organize outdoor activities that enable you to remain six feet apart from others for the majority of the time that you are together.
- Wear face coverings consistently, especially if you may not be able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance.
- Wash your hands frequently, and keep hand sanitizer handy for times when you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Continue to actively participate in proactive rapid testing according to the schedule to which you have been assigned, regardless of your vaccination status.
- If you are fortunate enough to have started the vaccination process, please conscientiously follow the CDC Interim Public Health Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated People.
- Be an active bystander.
- If you are not feeling well, don’t interact with others in person, and be sure to consult with the Health Center or Lute TeleHealth.
Traveling and QTQ
We thought it important to make a special note about spring semester wellness breaks that may allow you to make the choice to travel:
- If you choose to travel, please take that choice seriously, as it is not available to all students and has the real potential to impact the on-going health of our community.
- If returning to campus after traveling, please commit to participating in QTQ (Quarantine, PCR Test, Quarantine), with the first quarantine period being three days and the second period lasting until negative test results are received and submitted to PLU and with diligent attention to symptoms for up to 14-days post travel.
Find your phase
The Phase Finder tool is designed to help people in Washington find out if they’re currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and if they’re not, to sign up to be notified when they become eligible. It asks a series of questions relevant to the four phases of vaccine distribution (regarding living situation, age, health conditions, risk factors, work situation, and ZIP Code) to inform eligibility. The Phase Finder tool is regularly updated.
Update your vaccination record
The Health Center has added COVID-19 vaccine status to student health records. As students become vaccinated, please update your student health record by emailing a screenshot of your COVID vaccination card to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please cover your date of birth while taking the screenshot.)
Continuing with the THRIVE Network // Refresh + Rejuvenate
The THRIVE Network will guide students through Spring 2021 in three parts: You are seeing a lot of this information in Sunday newsletters to all students (no need to sign up), and you’ll also see these themes woven throughout university programming and engagement.
As we begin the middle third of the semester, we have the opportunity to disrupt the burnout cycle for ourselves—which will be essential this semester, when there is no defined Spring Break. THRIVE questions will help you create your own version of renewal.
Refresh + Rejuvenate // Sunday topics:
- What is bringing you joy right now? What grief or fear do you carry?
- How is your pace? If it’s not sustainable, are there ways you want/need to course-correct at this midpoint in the semester? How might you make those changes? How might you get support to help you do so?
- Are there people you can think of who may need support or connection? How might you reach out to them?
- What has been nourishing and sustaining you this semester?
- What are you grateful for right now? What might you need to let go of or forgive?
For more resources, check out the THRIVE webpage.
Please remember that telemedicine and remote-care services are here for students year-round. LuteTelehealth provides 24/7/365 access to medical and mental health support, via both on-demand and scheduled appointments. Please reach out at any point.
Please extend positive thoughts and well wishes to a student in quarantine by writing a care note in person at the Hospitality Services office (AUC 280) or online. Notes do not have to be to anyone specific, but you can write in a name if you wish. The Hospitality Services office will deliver your messages to those currently in quarantine.
We are in the home stretch, Lutes, and your contributions to keeping our community healthy and well will matter more than ever in the remaining weeks of the spring term.