We’re All In This Together Graphic

COVID-19 Task Force Meetings

Please follow along here for AU’s ongoing meeting minutes for the COVID-19 Taskforce.

  1. The numbers of testing, positive cases, and deaths are trending up. We will keep commencement ceremonies the same.
  2. Considering some new policies and procedures for self-reporting, self-diagnosing, and self-isolation next year as part of the beginning of the endemic. 
  3. Dr. Neal will be with us on our summer operations.
  4. We are removing all COVID signage starting this week. 
  5. Dr. Neal will be reviewing the “Health History Form” for incoming students to ensure the form meets our current needs.
  1. Discussed what COVID-19 protocols might be helpful for upcoming camps. Camps are beginning in May and summer camps begin in June. For now, we will move forward with testing as optional and not a requirement. 
  2. Dr. Neal was able to distribute two tests per person to nursing students traveling for their nursing program trip. This will allow for testing prior to return and also if anyone becomes symptomatic. 
  3. Assessed communications needed to campus from the task force. We need to update the coronavirus web area and we discussed whether we need to send any upcoming email communications.
  4. Dr. Neal is planning a booster and vaccine clinic for campus before the semester ends and is trying to get volunteers for April 5. The task force will begin announcing the event as soon as she can confirm the date.
  1. Discussed COVID-19 protocols for commencement ceremony event communications that need to start going out.
  2. Our COVID testing provider notified AU about the upcoming potential government policy changes that might impact our ability to provide regular surveillance.
  3. We will decide on Wednesday, March 23, what next week’s surveillance will look like. Options we are considering include: 1) we may cancel the next two weeks of testing if our positivity rate remains low, or 2) we may reduce the number of students selected for randomized surveillance testing.
  4. The Center for Student Life has opened the housing application for next year and needs to determine on-campus needs for quarantine space for the 2022-2023 academic year. Discussing opening up three of South Campus Apartment buildings instead of two for student housing, which would leave only one apartment for on-campus quarantine space next year.
  5. ITS is removing the DAON tablet technology stations across the campus.
  1. The free COVID testing on campus went well today. We reduced the amount of required surveillance testing this week. There will be no testing the week of spring break. We will move the campus testing opportunity that would normally fall on Monday, April 18 for the Easter Holiday to Tuesday, April 19.
  2. Reviewed a request for a waiver for a required booster shot for upcoming international travel trip with the university. The Task Force came to a decision and it will be communicated to the requestor.
  3. Indiana has now dropped to a 4% positivity rate. So far this week, we only have 2 positive student cases and 1 positive employee case. Madison County is very close to moving into the blue category. 
  4. Due to a short agenda this week, we are canceling the 3/9 Wednesday COVID Task Force meeting. We will not be meeting over spring break either.
  5. Starting today, you can now order a second set of free COVID test kits from the government to be delivered to your home address. Contact USPS if you have any questions.
    1. In Madison County, we’ve dropped to a 7.8% positivity rate. There are only 3 positive cases on campus, and there are no positives among employees. We’re continuing this downward trend, which creates an optimistic overall health picture for campus. We’re approximately 10 days past our mask optional policy decision and it has been very effective. 
    2. We had testing on campus today and it went well, as we have maintained our downward trend of positive cases.
    3. Revisited the topic of fully opening overnight visits for guests. We don’t currently allow for unlimited visitation, but with dropping cases we can tentatively move this direction. We are planning to fully open visitation without restrictions beginning Saturday, March 5. Prospective athletes will have to continue to provide a negative test result for overnight visits.
    4. We do not have the make up date set for the vaccine clinic at this time but hope to in the near future. 
    5. Planning to move forward with summer conferences, concerts, events, and camps with no restrictions. 
    6. Spring break travel plans for athletics and Tri-S are still all going with no changes. 
    7. Discussed a few other questions that came in: A) California just announced their endemic plan. What will an endemic plan look like for AU campus and when might that begin? B) What is the likelihood of another variant formulating?
  1. How have students received the mask optional shift? Discussed anecdotal communications such as conversations, emails, and student app comments.
  2. Exploring opening up overnight visits for guests and altering entry testing expectations for those guests. We will monitor the impact of Lil Sibs’ weekend on campus positivity rate this upcoming week, and discuss this option further last week. 
  3. Making sure masks required signage is removed across campus building entrances. Asking building managers to remove them for their assigned building.
  4. Dance guests visiting campus for performance discussed what COVID protocols to require of guests.
  5. Canceling the scheduled Wednesday meeting for this week due to a low number of agenda items.
  1. State positivity rate is falling significantly. We dropped 82% in three weeks. 
  2. Exploring options for moving in a stepped approach of mask optional. Discussed the earliest opportunity to lift the masks requirement, NCAA requirements, Indiana State Department of Health expectations, and how and where we might lift the requirement on campus. Dr. Neal has a webinar with the State Health Department tomorrow and we’re watching for CDC to provide their updated guidance as well.
  3. Explored offering overnight guest visits and what COVID resources we might need to put in place to support that.
  4. Booster clinic is next week, Dr. Neal needs QR codes to make it easy for the campus to update their vaccine status at the clinic.
  5. Based on the student survey, we discussed the best ways to share COVID information with students. It was determined to do videos again from Dr. Neal.
  6. With any upcoming mask changes, how do we want to handle all faculty or staff meetings? Do we offer zoom options going forward? We’ve determined to prioritize in-person meetings moving forward but offer a Zoom option.
  1. Our campus partner providing testing hasn’t arrived on time the last three Mondays. This is complicating our ability to provide reliable testing on Mondays and it is inconveniencing students. Moving forward, we will begin testing at 10 a.m.
  2. For Fall 2022 Welcome Weekend, we will need to have secure plans in place for international students arriving who may not be fully vaccinated. We will update plans closer to August.  
  3. We are closely monitoring infection rates this week. In our upcoming meetings, we’ll be discussing masking on campus as we get closer to the policy expiration date of March 25. 
  4. Over 130 students have responded to the survey sent out from the Center for Student Life. 
  5. We will begin to put test kits in the quarantine/isolation rooms when restocking for toiletries, etc. 
  6. Dr. Neal is consistently testing students participating in SMTD’s Seussical The Musical. 
  1. Group previewed alternative data view for the COVID Dashboard using our new definitions and our current data. We are going to move forward with the alternative view starting this Friday, Feb.11.
  2. We need a more efficient way to collect surveillance testing. Discussed alternative solutions for creating a fast track for the reporting process.
  3. The positivity rate in the state of Indiana is going down, it has dropped 2% since Monday this week.
  4. Tri-S Trip questions are beginning to come in. Discussed how best to prepare leaders and students for spring break trips, nursing program trips in April, social work trips in April, and a variety of other summer trips. Dr. Neal is planning to provide a council on testing, masks, vaccines, and boosters. Discussed if we should send test kits with them on trips. We will contact Global Educational Services to see if they are already providing tests for trips before we decide.
  5. Athletes will begin traveling: baseball, softball, and women’s lacrosse are going to Florida. Discussed sending test kits with them. 
  6. Discussed potential protocols for what should happen if someone tests positive while traveling this semester, including housing arrangements, food arrangements, isolation planning, and quarantine planning.
  7. For now, we will continue with the current masking protocols plan until Friday, Feb. 25. The positivity rate is decreasing, but it is still at 21% for the region. Will continue to monitor for the earliest opportunity to safely lift restrictions as it would have a positive impact on campus morale.
  1. There will be a free vaccination/booster event for all students on Thursday, Feb. 24. The COVID Taskforce will be sending out a campus-wide survey to determine how many students are interested in receiving a vaccination or booster and what reservations students may have surrounding vaccines and boosters.
  2. Due to prospective students needing to make final decisions about college attendance, institutionally-approved overnight visits will be allowed. Approved visitors will need to provide a negative test within three days, as well as show no symptoms. 
  3. N95 masks will be available to interested faculty/staff. These can be picked up at Work Life Engagement.
  4. The QR Code used for surveillance testing will be updated to automatically create a ticket for positive cases that will be sent to Dr. Sarah Neal. 
  5. Indiana positivity rate is currently at 23%. 
  6. The Center for Student Life is preparing a survey inviting students to envision what they would like to see happen on campus in terms of activities, events, traditions, etc.