Ripon announces updated COVID-19 policies for spring semester

Dear Ripon College Community,

Happy New Year! I hope that you had the opportunity to relax and unwind over the winter break. I am truly excited to welcome you back to campus for the spring semester, albeit in the midst of yet another COVID-19 surge.

Thanks to the increase in vaccination rates among our campus community and the tireless efforts of our staff, faculty and students to work through the challenges of the virus, Ripon College has demonstrated the ability to continue to adapt and respond to the dynamic spread of COVID-19 in the area. However, in recent weeks, the Omicron variant has swept through the nation at an alarming rate, and we must respond with increased protective measures as we start the spring semester. These measures are outlined below.

At this point, classes will begin as scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 18. All students in residence, as well as faculty and staff who plan to work on campus, will be required to have a PCR COVID test, administered on campus, before being allowed to begin the spring semester. Individuals who have tested positive within the past 90 days will be exempt from the initial testing event if they submit proof of results to [email protected] The College will provide ample opportunities in the days leading up to the semester for students and employees to get tested free of charge. As an additional mitigation strategy, we ask you to seek a test before traveling to campus and if you test positive, to stay home until the end of your isolation period.

As we await the results of the campuswide testing events, we will begin the semester in a “limited mixing phase,” which we anticipate will last from Jan. 16 to Jan. 20. During this time, the only in-person events will be classes and in-season athletic practices or contests. All other events and meetings will be postponed or held virtually during this time period. Dining will be exclusively grab-and-go at all food service locations.

Masking will continue to be required indoors, and we strongly encourage N-95 or KN-95 masks as being the most effective.

The following timeline summarizes these updates to the repopulation of campus:

  • Jan. 11: Mandatory COVID testing for all students already on campus and for all faculty and staff. Tests will be administered in Keipe Gymnasium in Willmore Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 16-20: Limited mixing phase begins. In-person classes and athletic practices/competitions will be held, but all other in-person gatherings are suspended until move-in testing results are evaluated. The Commons will provide grab-and-go dining only.
  • Jan. 17-18: Mandatory COVID testing for all other returning students and faculty and staff who were unable to attend the Jan. 11 event will take place in Keipe Gymnasium in Willmore Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As we look to the rest of the semester, we will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC, SSM Health and the Fond du Lac County Health Department. Several changes will be made to our vaccination, quarantine and isolation protocols. The most pertinent is the addition of a booster requirement.

If eligible, all vaccinated students, faculty and staff are required to receive their booster by Feb. 1, 2022. If members of the community are not eligible for a booster by Feb. 1, they must receive their booster within two weeks of becoming eligible. Students, faculty and staff who are vaccinated and have not received their booster by Feb. 1/date of eligibility, will be subject to the quarantine and testing protocols for unvaccinated individuals.

While we are hopeful that the majority of the spring semester will operate under the same precautionary yet flexible guidelines that were in place during the fall, the results of the initial phase of testing will determine our protocols in the following weeks. We will continue to adhere to our masking, quarantine and isolation protocols in consultation with the Fond du Lac County Health Department. We also will again be posting regular updates to our COVID dashboard during the semester.

I know you still may have additional questions. For further information, please feel free to contact: 920-748-8118 or [email protected].

The heart of the Ripon College experience is living and learning together. We hope that by taking these precautionary steps at the start of the semester, we can have as normal a semester as possible. Thank you for your continued dedication to keeping the campus community safe and healthy.

Best,

Andrea Young
Interim President


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