October 30, 2020
Who would have thought a year ago at this time that wearing masks would be our new normal and not just something we did for fun on Halloween? But here we are! In all seriousness, as we head into Halloween weekend, it is important to remind ourselves of the role each of us plays in maintaining a safe and healthy campus environment.
COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise across the country, throughout Illinois, and among our campus community. With less than a month until the end of the semester and as we look forward to returning home for Thanksgiving, it is critical that we make decisions that prioritize our own health, the health of our campus community and of our families and loved ones, and that we strictly adhere to the College’s health and safety protocols.
I understand that “COVID fatigue” is real. However, if you are thinking about letting your guard down this weekend, I implore you to please think again. We started the semester by committing to the College’s health and safety guidelines, and by pledging to protect ourselves and one another. We can finish the semester healthy and strong if we remind ourselves of that obligation and hold each other accountable to the College’s policies and to our #TogetherNC pledge.
Please keep in mind:
- Per the message that went out last week regarding COVID-19 resurgence restrictions, North Central students can casually gather in groups of no more than 10 individuals, whether on or off campus. Face coverings and physical distancing of greater than six feet must be maintained.
- For the purposes of the College’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth face covering.
- Consider avoiding all unnecessary travel as it increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you are planning to travel out of state this weekend, you are expected to comply with all current health and safety guidelines at your destination of travel and upon your return, which may include a requirement to quarantine. Before you travel, review travel guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health here and let the College know of your travel plans by completing the COVID-19 Form.
- It is imperative that you report a positive COVID-19 test result or the onset of symptoms immediately to the College via the COVID-19 Form. Delays in reporting creates significant risk to your fellow community members.
As I have shared previously, students found responsible for egregious violations to the College policies and the #TogetherNC pledge, repeated non-compliance of our health and safety expectations, or who host unsafe on- or off-campus gatherings, will be held responsible per the Student Handbook.
Consequences for willfully endangering the campus community will include all available accountability options, up to and including suspension or dismissal from North Central College.
If you are aware of or observe non-compliance with the #TogetherNC pledge by any member of the campus community, please speak up by notifying a Residence Life staff member, a member of the Student Affairs team, a professor, the Human Resources office, Campus Safety, or other administrators. The College can only address behavior of which it has been made aware.
These expectations also apply to those who are currently in isolation or quarantine. For those individuals, whether on campus or elsewhere, it is imperative that you avoid contact with others and remain in isolation or quarantine until officially cleared by your case manager. Those who do not comply with the College’s isolation and quarantine expectations may be immediately removed from the campus environment.
The fall holidays, including Halloween, are a fun time of year and I wish they could be celebrated in their typical fashion. But as we find ourselves amid rising case numbers and with the end of the semester in sight, it is of the utmost importance that we care for one another by being safe and keeping any social activities small, masked and physically distanced.
I wish you a happy and healthy Halloween!
Kevin McCarthy (Pronouns – he/him/his)
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students