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New Heightened Restrictions for Our On-Campus Community Starting Now

Update from 11/24/20: Heightened restrictions to continue through remainder of B-term/fall semester. Learn more.

November 17, 2020

Dear WPI Community,

Over the past week we have seen a concerning increase in the number of positive test results for COVID- 19 within our campus community.  You will see that on our COVID-19 testing dashboard this afternoon.

Accordingly, we are also seeing a troubling increase in the number of community members who have been identified as close contacts of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. These escalations indicate that we must make some changes in order to ensure more stringent adherence to our health and safety procedures and protocols, and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our campus community.

If we are not able to slow the spread, WPI is at risk of moving to an even more restrictive operating status; something none of us wants.  The good news is that we all have the power to make a difference by adhering to the new heightened restrictions and guidance described below.

Effective immediately through at least Nov. 30 the following modifications to campus operations will be in place:

Students should only leave their residence hall or off-campus dwellings to:

  • Attend classes, study in the library or designated study space, or perform work in a lab
  • Pick up food
  • Go outside for physically distanced exercise
  • Seek medical care
  • Participate in COVID testing
  • Go to or from employment


To minimize the risk of spreading illness both on and off campus and at home, we strongly discourage students from leaving home for any reason other than those listed above.

The Sports and Recreation Center will be closed until further notice:

  • All Physical Education classes, varsity sports, and club sports will be remote; students should connect with their instructors or coaches.
  • Card access will be restricted to only those that work in that building
     

Six feet of social distancing to be enforced at all times – even when eating:

  • Grab-and-go dining is encouraged
  • Dining locations will ensure at least six feet of space for those who eat on site
     

In-person activities and events will be limited:

  • In-person attendance to classes and labs will be allowed
  • No in-person meetings – this includes your project teams, clubs, advising/tutoring, etc.
  • Tech suites will be restricted to one person at a time
  • No social events, gatherings, or parties – on or off campus
  • Always maintain at least six feet of distance from others
  • Do not have visitors in your room, including your suitemates. 
     

No visitors will be allowed on campus:

  • Employees, vendors and research activities can continue through approved forms.
     

Now more than ever, it is imperative to follow these guidelines diligently:

  • Use the symptom tracker daily
  • Continue COVID-19 testing on your normal schedule
  • Always follow social distancing and face covering protocols when leaving residences and in all public areas of campus
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently
  • If you feel unwell, stay in your residence hall or home.
  • Students must continue to follow the Code of Conduct and COVID-19 Addendum

We realize that some students may wish to change their plans for the rest of the term/semester based on these new campus restrictions. All students in the on-campus COVID-19 testing program have a new end of term/semester survey that is now available on MyTechFlex. This is an opportunity to log on and update your plans for the remainder of the term/semester if you wish to, including Thanksgiving Break. Original responses to Thanksgiving intentions survey will be honored if no new response is provided. Any student who decides to leave campus for home should receive a negative test result before traveling.

This pandemic has been long and stressful, and fatigue is understandable.  However, increased vigilance will give us our greatest chance to maintain our current campus life. For the past nine months, and continuing today, our primary focus has been to keep our community safe and healthy.  We have followed the science and used data to make changes to our operations to help stop the spread of COVID and to keep our WPI family together.  Our community has supported one another during this unprecedented time, and has adjusted our ways of working, learning, and conducting research.  We have demonstrated a resilience and capacity to manage through adversity that is extraordinary.  And now we must adjust our approach again – based on data and conditions on the ground.

The We Are WPI website continues to be the best place for current information about the university’s response to COVID.  While you are there, I would encourage you to brush up on how the Symptom Tracker helps the university mitigate the spread of COVID-19; I would also encourage you to read more about how contact tracing works at WPI.       

Thank you for your diligence and your support.

Sincerely,

Laurie