Dear Truman Community,
An eleven-minute video walks through omicron, upgrading your masks, and the start of the semester.
Highlights from the video:
- We don’t have Truman case numbers due to the holiday, but if you’ve checked any news at all, you know that omicron numbers are shooting up nationally and in Adair County. Cases do seem more mild (at least among those who are vaccinated and boosted), but seem to spread faster. This gives us some hope that the peak will be sharp, but quick, which might actually be good news, if we can stay safe for the next few weeks.
- We should all be encouraging each other to think about how to be safe. Although Truman classrooms remain among the safest public places to be, given our good ventilation and strict mask policies on campus, we know that omicron is more contagious than earlier variants. Avoid large gatherings, parties, and even restaurants, as much as you can. If you aren’t up-to-date on your vaccinations, now is a great time to take that step. For some, that’s getting the booster, but if you haven’t gotten your first vaccine, right now is the perfect time to get a vaccine. We especially recommend the two-dose mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), since it seems to have strong protection.
- Now is also the time to consider your masks and upgrade them as you can. You can boost a simple cloth mask with a filter or disposable mask, or consider getting better masks like N95s, KN95s, or KF94s. Local supplies do seem limited right now, we’re afraid.
- In-person classes are starting next week, with the same policies we’ve been having, including the campus mask mandate. In some circumstances, it might make sense to move a course online for day or a few days — faculty members who are considering a temporary change in modality should consult with their chairs, and students who aren’t able to attend class in person should talk to their faculty members right away, since the semester is close at hand. Good communication among campus members has done pretty well of helping us reasonable and accommodating throughout the various hurdles of the 22 months. If a class does change modality, please be sure to communicate early and often with your students, and remember that all campus policies are still in effect, such as the expectation for substantive interaction. Students, if you need to be online, please do talk to your faculty and advisors as soon as you can, so that accommodations can be worked out.
- The guidelines for isolation and quarantine have changed, based on CDC recommendations. You should have received another e-mail with those specifications.
While there is cause for concern, especially with omicron, we are still hopeful that we can have another successful semester at Truman, especially if we all continue to be diligent in applying the mitigation layers, the “swiss cheese” that helps stop the spread of COVID, as much as we 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