COVID-19 Update, September 4, 2020

Dear Davis & Elkins College community,

Thanks to a College community that dedicated itself to good choices and a healthy environment, D&E completed the week with no new COVID-19 cases. This reflects a D&E community committed to safety and health, which is highly commendable. We have seen bad behaviors on other college campuses across the nation where students did not follow safety guidelines, and those behaviors have led to disastrous consequences. Way to go, Senator Nation!

D&E issues holiday travel warning
A Message from Diana Burke-Ross, Director of Student Health Services

Students are reminded that, although this is the Labor Day weekend, D&E will be open and classes will be in session on Monday. The College strongly discourages off-campus travel outside the immediate Elkins area this weekend or for the foreseeable future.

Keep in mind that the reasoning behind a condensed semester is to avoid students going home for Thanksgiving and potentially bringing the COVID-19 virus back to campus. Traveling outside the Elkins area during the semester effectively negates the value of our plan and puts the entire campus in jeopardy.

“So far this semester, we are statistically stellar,” said Diana Burke-Ross, RN, D&E Campus Nurse. “We have no positive cases on campus and the only students in quarantine are three late arrivals with test results pending. While other campuses are closing due to COVID outbreaks, we are thriving. It’s because of our plan.”

The D&E community is advised that if you choose to travel and your travel is deemed non-essential, your return to campus will be processed like a late-arriving student. The exceptions are that you will be assessed fees for specific services during your quarantine period.

  1. You must check in with the D&E Office of Public Safety. From there, you will be escorted to a private quarantine room in the Byrd Center.
  2. Quarantine begins the day you arrive back to campus – Day 0. You will be tested for COVID-19 on Day 4 by the Campus Nurse. You may not leave quarantine until your test results are received and they are negative. COVID testing is self-pay (you provide your health insurance information to the nurse).
  3. Quarantine means you may not leave the room and you may not have visitors.
  4. Your classes will be delivered in an online format. It is your responsibility to communicate with your faculty.
  5. Food will be delivered to you. You must fill out the meals form before meals will be delivered.
  6. Unlike a late-arriving student, you will be assessed a meal delivery charge, a cleaning fee, and a COVID testing fee.
  7. If you test positive for COVID, quarantine continues for 10 more days, provided symptoms do not manifest.
  8. Failure to report to the Office of Public Safety after a travel excursion is in violation of the college’s code of conduct, which will result in sanctions (ranging from/including fines, residence hall suspension, and expulsion).

You can help keep our campus safe. Stay out of large crowds and practice safety protocols that include wearing a face mask, social distancing, and washing your hands.

The D&E Office of Student Life has a schedule of events for the weekend (see below). Social distancing standards and masks will be required. By following safety guidelines, the campus stays open.

Office of Student Life offers full schedule of weekend events

The D&E Office of Student Life has a lineup of FREE events for the weekend! Events include two opportunities to partake in an old American pastime: outdoor movies. It’s the perfect chance to get out of the residence hall, enjoy some snacks and maintain social distancing. Bring a blanket or lawn chair!

The full events schedule is as follows:

Friday, September 4

5:00-7:00 p.m., Madden Student Center

Free Friday: Ultimate Blowout!

Make your own mug, tumbler, mason jar, or street sign. Sponsored by Senator Entertainment.

8:30 p.m., Outdoor Amphitheatre

A Movie on the Lawn: “Forrest Gump”

Starring Tom Hanks, this new classic earned 6 Academy Awards, 3 Golden Globe Awards, 1 Screen Actors Guild Award, and 13 other awards. Sponsored by Senator Entertainment.

Special Note: Please bring a blanket and/or lawn chair for social distancing. Inclement weather will unfortunately cancel this event.

Saturday, September 5

8:30 p.m., McDonnell Center Parking Lot

Big Surf Drive-In Movie: “Jumanji: The Next Level”

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Awkwafina. Released in December 2019, this movie took in nearly $800 million in theatres. Sponsored by Senator Entertainment.

Special Note: Please bring a blanket and/or lawn chair for social distancing.  Inclement weather will unfortunately cancel this event.

D&E course delivery update: Adaptability, creativity, and patience

As we come to the close of the third week of classes, we continue to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by coming up with creative solutions to the problems we face. Currently, approximately 13% of the courses offered at Davis & Elkins College are being taught wholly online and approximately 3% of the student body has been approved to take wholly online classes. The remainder of the courses employ either an in-person or hybrid (combination of online and in-person) model. All courses, regardless of how they are delivered, are designed to meet the College’s academic standards, fulfill all Division and Department learning objectives, and provide the education students need in a safe and healthy setting.

Since academic disciplines vary considerably, we have provided wide latitude to our faculty to determine the best way to deliver course material to our students. Factors impacting course delivery include course enrollment and the “COVID capacity” of our classrooms and labs. Therefore, students may continue to see various approaches to course delivery as we make our way through the semester. Some courses, especially those with fewer students enrolled, may see little change in delivery from previous semesters. Other courses are presenting online lectures while devoting classroom time to small group discussions, hands-on activities, presentations, or assessment. Still others are providing tests and quizzes online while reserving in-person class time for the presentation and review of course material.

While course delivery methods vary and will continue to evolve, we remain committed to providing each Davis & Elkins College student with an education that “prepare[s] and inspires[s] students for success and thoughtful engagement in the world.”

Required D&E online, student training includes Coronavirus Awareness

D&E students will receive an email from Safe Colleges containing links to required training courses. Topics in required online training include “Coronavirus Awareness,” as well as “Title IX Rights and Protections” and “Sexual Violence Awareness.” Included with the Title IX course is the Policy Prohibiting Title IX Sexual Harassment. These training sessions are required and federal law mandates that the Title IX course be offered to students. It should take about an hour to complete. You may stop and start the training sessions as your schedule allows. Any student who does not complete the required training prior to the deadline on October 2 at 5:00 p.m. will receive a hold on their D&E account.

Reminder: D&E continues to follow stringent CDC guidelines

We would like to remind students and all members of the Davis & Elkins College community that we continue to follow current CDC Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education. The recommendation from the CDC is to wear a face covering while on campus unless you are alone in your residence hall room. Remember this is something we do to protect each other.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another; usually within 6 feet. Maintaining social distancing continues to be very important, and students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines to ensure they are doing all they can to limit the spread of the virus. Davis & Elkins College has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have questions about the health issues connected with COVID-19, contact Diana Burke-Ross, Campus Nurse, at rossd@dewv.edu or 304.637.1234.

Some of the training content addresses sexual and relationship violence. In the event this information is upsetting to you, and you wish to speak with a confidential person about the training or a past experience, please contact Centers Against Violence (304) 636-8433 or D&E’s counselor, Margaret Falletta, at fallettam@dewv.edu or 304.637.1363. Students who wish to report Title IX Sexual Harassment may contact Kate Garlick, Assistant Dean of Students, Title IX & Section 504 Coordinator at garlickk@dewv.edu or 304.637.1241.

Continued enforcement of COVID-19 safety protocols

As college campuses across the nation fall prey to careless and reckless behavior related to COVID-19, D&E students are reminded of continued enforcement of COVID-19 safety protocols. Simply put, these are special protocols put in place on our campus regarding behaviors related to the COVID-19 global pandemic and steps we can take on the D&E campus to help prevent the spread of the virus.

You can help our College continue to have on-campus instruction by making good choices and adhering to safety protocols. House/suite parties, going to bars, and gathering in large groups will likely increase the community spread of COVID-19 and decrease the likelihood that we are back to normal anytime soon. Negative behaviors that could harm our community cannot be tolerated. Violations of the Davis & Elkins College Code of Conduct will be processed in accordance with the discipline policy (sanctions range from/include fines, residence hall suspension, and expulsion).

Double-check your student health checklist

Even though students are back on campus, you should continue to monitor your student health checklist of items to make sure you are healthy and safe. As we enforce special measures on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, part of our responsibility is to instill responsibilities in you. All students are asked to make sure they have adequate supplies of their own Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and over the counter (OTC) medication supplies. Those items include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • thermometer (digital)
  • masks (medical grade if of high risk to infection due to comorbidity)
  • disinfectant wipes
  • hand sanitizer – large bottle for residence hall room and pocket size for carrying around campus
  • cold and allergy medications of choice
  • pain/fever reliever (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.)

By maintaining this checklist, you can decrease or even eliminate routine visits to Student Health. For a comprehensive list of these supplies, please visit this link.

Check this weekly student update, the D&E Mobile App, and your email regularly for updates. The Emergency Notification System (nixle) will also be used as appropriate.

Please practice social distancing and stay well.

Dr. Rosemary Thomas

Vice President for Enrollment Management
Institutional Advancement