Dear UMass Dartmouth Staff and Faculty,
We hope the new semester is off to a good start. We wanted to provide a Pandemic Emergency Response Team (PERT) update after returning to campus last week.
As you know, students, faculty, and staff were asked to test on-campus or submit off-campus test results for their return to campus in 2022. We want to thank all of you who came to campus to test or submitted your results online. We are especially proud of our students, who demonstrated their commitment to keeping our campus healthy and safe. Thousands of students uploaded their results before coming to campus, and during the week of January 16. The Testing Center at Woodland Commons administered 3,063 tests with 141 positives for a 4.6% positivity rate. This positivity rate is much lower than the surrounding communities, Bristol County, and Massachusetts. Part of this is due to our high vaccination rate against COVID-19.
We will continue to post the results of all COVID testing on our campus dashboard and will also be posting the results of wastewater surveillance testing that began on campus late last year. We are seeing key metrics related to the pandemic shift for our region and across the state. Due to the Omicron wave, cases spiked in Massachusetts on January 10 with a 7-day average of 24,919 new cases. As of this writing, the 7-day average for new cases is 10,047. The highest positivity rate in Massachusetts was 23.5% on January 6. It is now 12.1%. Bristol County has also seen a similar trend.
Though conditions are improving, we have seen throughout the pandemic that we must remain vigilant and continue to follow health and safety protocols like mask-wearing, social distancing when possible, and washing your hands. If trends continue to improve, PERT will reevaluate specific protocols and inform the campus community of any changes.
We know the campus community still has many questions about COVID-19. To provide an overview of the current status of the pandemic, we are happy to announce that our resident experts, Professor Erin Bromage (Biology) and Director of Health Services Marianne Sullivan, will be taking your questions during a COVID-19 Informational Webinar on Wednesday, February 2 from 2-3 p.m. via Zoom. Register for the event and submit your questions about the pandemic today.
As always, please contact email@example.com with questions and visit our Faculty & Staff Frequently Asked Questions website for more information.
Again, we want to thank everyone for their continued dedication to keeping our campus community safe. Have a great semester.
Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Organizational Behavior