April 9, 2021
Dear Holy Cross Community,
Over the past week we have seen more than 40 positive COVID cases among students. This has led to more than 130 people being placed into isolation or quarantine, leaving our capacity at the hotel below 50 percent. These numbers are worse than any we have seen all semester, and they require some action.
Beginning at 6 p.m. today (April 9), all in-person activities are prohibited until at least Wednesday, April 14. This means:
- Students should not gather inside or outside with others besides their roommates
- No in-person classes.
- The Jo will be closed except for COVID testing.
- Libraries will be closed, with drive-up pickup available for faculty members.
- No athletics games, competitions or practices. The Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex will be closed.
- All study and social spaces will be closed.
- All dining will be grab-and-go only. The Science Cafe will be closed.
- Sunday Mass will be livestreamed only, with no in-person attendance. Daily masses and opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation will not be offered on Monday or Tuesday.
- Senior portraits scheduled for next week will be delayed until May.
- Any scheduled in person meetings should be switched to remote.
During this time, off-campus students will be prohibited from campus, except for COVID testing, health services visits or to pick up food from Kimball.
All students must be tested Monday or Tuesday. Students who are COVID recovered and in their 90 day window are exempt from this mandatory testing.
We will re-evaluate conditions on Wednesday, April 14 and communicate with the campus community then.
Staff should continue to report to work as scheduled. Employees who can work remotely should not come to campus.
Contact tracing tells us that the vast majority of spread of these cases is coming from outdoor gatherings, with a smaller amount from Easter Break travel. To be clear, any student gatherings — inside or out, on-campus or off — will lead to serious consequences. We cannot allow the actions of a few to ruin things for the many.
We understand the impulse to be outside as the weather gets warmer and this is a good idea! But just being outdoors does not guarantee immunity and no transmission. You must still wear a mask and keep appropriate distance from others. Across campus, we’ve seen people in general letting their guards down; gathering in larger numbers, not wearing masks, staying too close together. This must change if we want to remain together through Commencement. Staff members will be on campus this weekend to monitor compliance with the masking and distancing requirements.
We believe we are seeing the effects of the more-contagious COVID variants. We’ve noticed more close contacts converting to positive cases than earlier in the year. More students who test positive are also reporting more serious symptoms than in the past. In short, we do not want more members of the community to become infected, and these trends make clear that this is not the time to relax.
We cannot emphasize this enough: these last few weeks are going to be crucial to the success of the entire semester. We hope that, with this pause, we can limit the spread of the virus. Our ability to lift some of these restrictions, move back towards more normal operations, and continue with the activities planned for April and May will depend on how well we do that.
We understand that this is challenging and that we have all been working at this for a long time. We appreciate and are grateful for all that everyone is doing to enable us to be together and stay together. Please get outside, enjoy the spring, but do it physically distanced and masked.
Holy Cross COVID Core Team
Jane Corr, Chief of Staff
Margaret Freije, Provost and Dean of the College
Dottie Hauver, Vice President of Administration and Finance
Michele Murray, Vice President of Student Affairs
David Shettler, Director of COVID Response Operations
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
I am an admitted student, and I want to visit campus but my tour has been cancelled, can I come visit now?
We’d love to have you visit, but at this time you should not. We hope this status doesn’t last much longer so that you can come visit with us!
Can I leave campus to get groceries or other essentials?
Yes, but doing so in a car with another student is putting you both at risk. If you must do that, wear a mask and open the windows. You will still be close contacts if one of you gets COVID, but at least you might avoid converting the other to becoming positive.
Why are you punishing those who are following the rules?
These measures are designed as infection control, not as punishment. We are trying to preserve the term for everyone. This requires us to limit any spread opportunities that exist.
I am supposed to be moving back to campus after being away, can I still do so?
Yes. Please bring a negative PCR test result obtained within 72 hours of your arrival or prepare to quarantine in Loyola until you obtain a negative result from the on-campus testing center.
Can I go home for a night or the weekend?
Yes, but be careful -- you don’t want to bring COVID-19 home with you, and you don’t want to then bring COVID-19 back with you from an infection obtained at home or in travel.
If I am vaccinated or COVID recovered, do all these restrictions still apply to me?
Yes. We cannot implement the recommended steps selectively.