COVID-19 Campus Update

From: President Padilla
To: Students
Posted: March 8, 2021 at 8:39 p.m.

As last week’s necessary decision to move classes to remote delivery until March 14 made abundantly clear, we are all still living through a worldwide pandemic.

While residence halls and dining services remain open, the University has paused programs and activities in an attempt to prevent further spread of COVID-19 on campus. We understand the sudden shift from in-person to virtual is very challenging for all. But it must be done to protect the health of our community and preserve the possibility of having the traditional Valpo experience later in the semester. Having the traditional experience depends on you not letting your guard down on COVID.

The surveillance testing program during the week of Feb. 22 resulted in a 6% positivity rate. Further, the results of the contact tracing interviews raised significant concerns and demonstrated a failure by too many to follow the University’s well-established COVID-19 guidelines and precautions. The increase in contacts caused the University to restrict the numbers for gathering and the move to a remote academic format.

It is vitally important that you continue to participate in the surveillance testing. You must show up for your testing time as requested, in order to help us create a safe environment for all students, faculty, and staff. If you don’t help by supporting effective testing, it puts at risk members of our campus community, and our ability to be in-person. This is so important to our collective well-being, I have instructed our Student Life Division to impose sanctions and consequences against students who do not show up and take this short and simple test as instructed.

We are now 12 months into the global pandemic, and everyone is aware of the proper practices to maximize health and safety. Returning to an in-person experience requires everyone within the campus community actively following and holding each other accountable to our COVID-19 guidelines and precautions.

Individuals who intentionally compromise the health and safety of the campus community through violating COVID-19 guidelines and precautions may no longer be able to stay in our community, and the rest of your classmates will miss out on year-end activities and gatherings again this spring. Please do your part for your fellow students and help us all finish the semester in-person, with the best possible outcomes.

We have just about two months to go in this academic year. Follow the Valpo Vow. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Physically distance. Enter your data into the Campus Clear app every day.

By the end of the week, the Incident Command team, University leaders, and the Porter County Health Department will reevaluate where we stand, and I will make a decision if we’re able to return to in-person classes and activities next week. An important factor to my decision will be whether I believe all our students will care for their fellow students  and comply with our COVID-19 guidelines.

Let’s complete this difficult year working together so everyone can enjoy classes, activities, and traditions in a safe manner. Let’s make this our finest moment by showing character, discipline, and, above all, love for each other.