Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Salisbury University President Charles Wight announced the university is moving forward with its plan for students to return to campus following Thanksgiving break despite Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent decision to reinstate tighter coronavirus restrictions across the state.
While the university’s coronavirus positivity rate has remained low — most recently showing 0.8% positivity over the last week on SU’s COVID-19 dashboard — the state has seen a recent resurgence with more than 1,000 positive cases reported for seven straight days by the Maryland Department of Health.
All SU students, faculty and staff are required to participate in a mandatory round of coronavirus testing following the campus’ return from Thanksgiving break to maintain access to campus. Those tests may be scheduled here.
Post-Thanksgiving tests will be administered from Dec. 1 through Dec. 4.
All tests that had previously been scheduled on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 have been canceled, and those individuals will need to reschedule to a new testing date.
Wight said the cancellations were made based on guidance from the university’s Campus Health Team, as those tests would be performed too soon to accurately detect all positive cases.
All university members will still have access to campus facilities the week of Nov. 30 immediately following the break even before receiving their COVID-19 tests. Restrictions will then be in place the following week for individuals who still do not have a negative test from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4 on file.
University members may also request to have an optional test before Thanksgiving break on Nov. 23.
Some SU students have opted to stay on campus and not return home to their families, primarily due to coronavirus concerns, Wight said.
Vice President of Student Affairs Dane Foust previously stated these students will be moved into their own individual rooms in Dogwood Village or Sea Gull Square with residence halls locked during holiday breaks.
The new state restrictions announced by the governor, which went into effect Wednesday, include a public health advisory strongly warning against any indoor gatherings of 25 people or more, a decreased indoor capacity for restaurants and bars from 75% back down to 50% and an expanded advisory for out-of-state travel, according to WBAL-TV.
Delaware and Virginia do not currently meet the positivity rate criteria to fall under the travel advisory.
University members were advised to keep the travel warnings in mind when considering leaving campus during Thanksgiving break via a recent Stay Informed email.
Wight quoted the governor's recent blunt call to action during his weekly COVID-19 briefing Thursday to help maintain SU's low virus levels moving forward.
"Just wear the damn mask."
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of Salisbury University Public Relations Office.