DePauw Remains Red: COVID-19 Update

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DePauw’s COVID-19 status remains Red as spring term commences this week, according to DePauw’s COVID-19 Dashboard, updated on Feb. 1 at 8:30 a.m.

“During the return to fall term and return to Winter Term we experienced an uptick in cases; this was somewhat expected, particularly with the start of Winter Term given the holidays right before students returned and the way viral spread has been with the Omicron variant,” said Julia Proctor, associate dean of student wellness. 

Despite the campus’s current Red Status, the COVID-19 Mitigation Team is prepared for a similar trend with the start of the Spring Term as students are returning from various places around the country and world and attending events in-person such as classes and the final round Greek recruitment and chapter bid nights. 

Red Status, ‘indicates that there are significant numbers of COVID-19 positive cases on our campus and they are not confined to well-defined clusters,’ states an email sent by the COVID-19 Mitigation Team on Jan. 18.

Students were required to receive and report a COVID-19 booster shot, monitor their symptoms for two weeks prior to their return, and take an over-the-counter rapid COVID-19 test two days prior to their return to campus. According to DePauw’s COVID-19 dashboard, 97 percent of DePauw students have completed a vaccination series. Information on the campus booster shot status is not indicated on the site. 

The COVID-19 Mitigation Team plans to limit the spread of the Omicron variant by requiring stricter masking requirements in all public indoor spaces, limiting social gatherings to 25 or fewer people, and using virtual meeting options when most necessary.

Surgical masks, KN95, KF94, or an equivalent are now required and individuals are expected to provide their own, however offices on campus do have some according to the email sent on Jan 31, 2022 by the Mitigation Team. Cloth masks have been deemed unacceptable, effective Jan. 17, 2022. These offer greater protection due to their fit and filtration, according to an update by the Center for Disease Control.

Purple Status is the only level higher than Red, but it is unclear what specifically would cause University officials to make the change in status. 

According to the COVID-19 dashboard, “the Purple Campus Status indicates that there are significant increases of COVID-19 positive cases on our campus. Purple Status is indicated when cases of COVID-19 widespread on our campus. Our campus community will be required to use additional health precautions (Personal hygiene strategies, masking in indoor groups of any size, additional physical distancing required, eliminations of events and gatherings, remote instruction, and hybrid or virtual meetings required) as necessary to minimize potential transmission.”