Orange Alert Update

January 27, 2021

What You Need to Know

  • We are staying at orange alert level for the start of the semester
  • Most classes, with exceptions only for some studio art classes and science labs, will be remote for at least the first week
  • Another update will come on Feb. 3

Dear Campus Community,

As you know, on Jan. 18 we entered an Orange Alert Level, which meant added restrictions on gatherings on campus. We said reducing the level to yellow would depend on a number of factors, including the number of positive cases on campus and students in quarantine and isolation space. At the moment, those numbers do not look positive. Just yesterday, eight students tested positive and an additional 27 students had to be sent home or to quarantine.

Our plan is to remain at Orange for the start of the semester. Here’s what that means for next week.


This semester, we have three kinds of classes:

  • In-person classes that require the use of specific facilities on campus (e.g., labs and studios)
  • Lecture/discussion classes that are scheduled to be in-person
  • Lecture/discussion classes that are scheduled to be hybrid or fully remote

When we start the semester on Feb. 1, we will maintain an Orange Alert Level. That means almost all classes will be remote. The only exceptions will be for a few studio art and lab courses which would be difficult to do virtually. You should expect to hear from your professor only if your class will be in person. Otherwise, expect that you will be meeting virtually for at least the first week of the semester.


St. Joseph Chapel will remain open. Sunday and daily worship services are permitted, under normal social distancing and mask requirements. The chapel allows for a maximum number of 72 people, who will be admitted on a first come first serve basis.

Changes Starting Feb. 1

Other restrictions previously announced, and listed on the COVID website, continue to apply, with two changes listed below:

  • Off-Campus Access: Off-campus students will be able to access campus for limited purposes, including testing, the libraries, picking up food to go, and any lab or studio arts classes in session.
  • Libraries: Effective February 1, Dinand and the Science Library will be open to all students, on or off-campus, who are HC Clear.

Moving Forward

We will update you on plans for the second week next Wednesday, Feb. 3. We are hopeful that with an increased focus on social distancing on campus, we can limit the number of close contacts and the need for quarantine, and get back down to a yellow alert level soon. But it will depend on the cooperation of everyone in the community working together.