To: Faculty, Staff and Students
From: Provost Matt Cecil
Subject: COVID-19 Campus Update: November 18, 2021
We are nearing the Thanksgiving holiday, so today seems like a good opportunity to take stock of where we are in our response to the Delta variant of COVID-19. As predicted, case counts in northern Kentucky dropped precipitously in October and now we are seeing the case curve leveling off. The drop is the good news. The bad news is the baseline level for cases is higher now than it was over the summer. Our counts appear to be steady but higher than they were in June.
With the weather turning colder and with friends and families gathering for the holidays, I am asking everyone to continue to take precautions. Masks are required indoors on campus. Please be aware of your surroundings and avoid situations in which others are not being safe. This is especially important as we approach Thanksgiving break. Please be mindful of the number of COVID cases in the region. If you do plan to travel over the holiday, please take a moment to review the university’s COVID-19 travel recommendations. Knowing the CDC’s travel guidelines when you’re away from campus will help reduce your exposure.
Experts predict that we will see COVID surges from time to time over the coming months. While experts don’t foresee serious outbreaks like the Delta surge, we all know that can change. In the meantime, we will see a continued baseline of cases that, while far below what we saw in August and September, is still higher than we would like it to be.
Please note that COVID-19 PCR testing is available on campus by calling Health, Counseling, and Student Wellness (859-572-5650) for an appointment. In addition, the Northern Kentucky Health Department runs a drive-through testing center in Covington. You can find more information about that at this link: https://nkyhealth.org/individual-or-family/health-alerts/coronavirus/covid-19-testing/.
Vaccines remain the best protection against COVID-19. The available vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious illness. Vaccines and boosters are available from the NKU Health, Counseling, and Student Wellness Center by appointment. Call the number above.
We have been getting many questions about the spring semester. Right now, I do not foresee any change in our approach to managing the COVID-19 situation after the new year. We will continue to hold in-person classes and events on campus, with required masking indoors. Given the continuing case counts, I do not expect any easing of our mitigation strategies in the spring. There is the chance that any time we see a spike in cases in the region, we may add additional precautions. For now, required masking indoors has shown to be an effective mitigation strategy and we will continue in the current mode so long as case counts remain moderate.
As we approach the holiday season, I want to thank everyone in the NKU community for their work this semester. Under difficult circumstances, students, faculty, and staff have demonstrated enormous resiliency and we can all be proud of how far we have come. Thank you for all you do.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Northern Kentucky University