Dear Truman Community,
While Truman loves Spike the Bulldog, we sure don’t like the spike in cases we saw this week, both on campus and in the county. With 10 active cases on campus and over 130 active cases in Adair County, with the fastest spike we’ve seen at the county level and sadly, four county-level deaths in the past week. We still don’t have as many cases as we did last fall, but it’s definitely concerning. As we finish the semester and prepare to travel for the holiday, we worry both about taking COVID out to the community and bringing it back to Kirksville afterwards.
The president announced yesterday that we will start the spring semester with masks. Given the increased cases and the worries about the omicron variant, it was probably the only choice, but we hope Truman and the region is in a better place at the end of January, when the policy is next reconsidered.
We still don’t know as much as we’d like about omicron, but some initial data is hopeful that, while it spreads more than delta or other variants, it causes a less severe version of the disease. This combination would be good news, since it would help us move into the endemic state without having so many hospitalizations and deaths. On the other hand, omicron does seem to re-infect more, especially those who were relying on a previous infection for immunity. So, if you were skipping the vaccine because you had COVID last year, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine now.
Even if you are vaccinated, we encourage you to get tested before you travel, perhaps with a drive-thru test a local pharmacy a few days before you leave. We are hearing that rapid tests will soon be much more available, but currently, they don’t seem very easy to find around town.
We also encourage you to think intentionally about your plans over the holiday. While we imagine that most all of us will travel, please do be careful if you are planning to be around those who are vulnerable or unvaccinated.
We also hope that you can relax over break, and even try to minimize your stress for the upcoming finals week. While pulling an all-nighter to study or finish that paper seems like a good idea, your health, even beyond COVID, is supported by getting enough sleep, exercise, healthy food, and being able to relax and rejuvenate when you can.
Although we aim these updates at our faculty and the campus community, please do share this information or the video with students in your classes, with parents, and elsewhere. This information is shared with all students via their COVID Blackboard page, sent directly to all Truman faculty and staff, and shared on our public web page here:
If you have questions or topics you’d like to know more about, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Faculty Senate COVID-19 Working Group
Nancy Daley-Moore, PhD, Health Science
Christine Harker, PhD, English
Scott Alberts, PhD, Statistics
Faculty Senate COVID-19 Working Group Videos and Emails
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Coronavirus Updates and Resources Website