As Wake Forest prepares to start undergraduate classes on Wednesday, Aug. 26, the University has implemented a color-coded system to designate the status of university operations on the Reynolda Campus to keep the community informed about the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus and changes to campus operations resulting from any spread of the virus.
Wake Forest will operate in one of five levels during the fall semester. Additionally, a public dashboard will show a daily count of known, confirmed positive cases on campus. The number of cases will be updated each weekday and will be available on the Our Way Forward website.
“The University, in collaboration with experts in infectious disease and public health, have identified multiple indicators that will be evaluated daily to monitor current public health conditions in our community,” said Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch in an email today announcing plans to the University community. “Our operating status will be adjusted in consultation with our medical experts to support the appropriate public health response for containing COVID-19 on campus and engaging the resources needed to mitigate outbreaks.”
Wake Forest will use Wake Alert, its emergency notification system, to inform the campus community of a change in operating status, along with messages sharing what changes the new operating status will require. For example, a “Green” operating status will coincide with “Restrictions Eased,” while escalating to “Orange” would begin to significantly modify campus operations. Our current campus operating status is Yellow — New Normal Campus Operations — cases are manageable and transmission is controlled.
“Our testing capability, our effectiveness in contact tracing, our access to vital supplies to keep the campus healthy are all essential factors that we will be monitoring daily,” said Dr. Joanne Clinch, clinical director of Student Health Service at Wake Forest. “While the number of positive cases is a very important piece of information, public health decisions will be based on the University’s ability to respond to and contain the spread of virus, which is determined by several factors which we will be tracking closely.”
Wake Forest plans to increase its monitoring of the virus in the community through a surveillance testing program in which several hundred students will be randomly selected for COVID-19 testing each week. Random sampling has proven effective in determining the prevalence of the virus in both the broad population and in smaller groups that may require special attention.
“These measures will aid Wake Forest’s efforts to be prepared, stay informed and remain healthy,” Hatch said.
Miles Middleton (’21), student government president, understands that in addition to these measures, the most important way to keep campus healthy is for everyone to remain diligent in wearing face coverings and social distancing. “As students, we are all very aware of the need to monitor the prevalence of the virus on campus,” he said. “However, in my many conversations, I have learned that we can get too comfortable with the numbers when they appear low. We must stay vigilant regardless of the number on the dashboard. I know we as students are committed to doing what we need to do to stay here until the end of the fall semester.”
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