category: Advisory

Coronavirus Information: Keep Calm and Stay Safe

It’s All On Us

We’re now five weeks in since move-in day.  Gardner-Webb is still in good shape, while other colleges and schools are not.  To finish out our semester face-to-face, on campus and enjoying college life, we have to remain actively vigilant.  We have to follow all health safety rules.  We have to look out for ourselves and for each other.  Those few who don’t follow safety protocols are putting everyone else in jeopardy.  Folks outside our bubble are betting against us…let’s prove them wrong.  

We can have classes on campus, enjoy meals in the Caf and attend small events and gatherings…if we do it safely and follow the rules. Face coverings, physical distancing, hand washing….they are all essential.

Increased staff presence across campus, especially in Tucker, has begun. These staff members are there to remind students of their responsibilities for face coverings and physical distancing. They’re there to help.

As promised in the previous two Community Updates, GWU health safety rules are being  enforced.  Multiple violators have now been fined $300 each, and placed on one-year probation. The University will take action, without hesitation, to help keep the campus community safe. And to the many students following the rules, you’re a powerful part of the solution and we will do all we can to keep you safe on campus. Thank you!

Current Status

As of Friday, September 18, Gardner-Webb has seven confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in isolation on campus. We have eight residential undergraduate students who have tested positive and are in isolation at home.

We have 80 students in quarantine/isolation on campus. Some are showing mild symptoms. Some are waiting to be tested or have been tested and are waiting on their test results. Some are asymptomatic and waiting for their 14-day quarantine to end. We have 19 residential undergraduate students who are in quarantine off campus.

We have three commuter/graduate students who have tested positive for COVID and are in isolation at home. We have four commuter/graduate students in quarantine at home waiting to be tested or have been tested and are waiting on their results.

We have three staff/faculty who are quarantined at home waiting for quarantine to end, waiting to be tested, or who have been tested and are waiting on their test results.   

We have two faculty/staff who have tested positive for COVID and are in isolation at home.

Notification Expectations

As a reminder to faculty and staff, individuals with actual or potential exposure to COVID-19 should notify their supervisor immediately, and their supervisor will then notify David Wacaster (704.406.3235), Barry Lane (704.406.2266) and Human Resources—Scott White (704.406.4259) or Frances Sizemore (704.406.3502).

As a reminder if you are a residential undergraduate student who has tested positive or who has had exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, contact Interim Vice President of Student Development Brian Arnold.

If you are a commuter or graduate student who has tested positive or who has had exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, contact the Director of Safety, Barry Lane.

Quarantine and Testing

The Cleveland County Health Department notified Gardner-Webb that NextCare Urgent Care on Earl Road in Shelby will administer rapid tests to symptomatic individuals and provide results in as little as 15 minutes to 24 hours.

Please remember that quarantining is a safety measure the University has put into place in consultation with CDC guidelines and our local health department. Students or employees placed in quarantine should not be assumed positive for COVID-19.  Instead, persons are placed in quarantine due to contact tracing. A decision to quarantine is based on whether the individual has been in close proximity to someone who is showing symptoms. 

In the same regard, symptomatic persons should not be automatically assumed positive for COVID-19. When a positive case is identified, appropriate personnel are notified, including all of a student’s instructors.

In short, the quarantine and isolation protocols that the University has implemented are helping to prevent community spread from occurring on our campus. 

Commencement

The University will hold its first-ever virtual Commencement on Saturday, October 24. The ceremony will be shown on the 24th at 10:00 am for May 2020 graduates and at 2:00 pm for August 2020 graduates. It will be available on the Gardner-Webb website, on Facebook, and on YouTube. Every graduating student will have the opportunity to share a photo and personal message. If you are a 2020 May or August graduate, please respond to the e-mail for your commencement information. If you are a 2020 May or August graduate and have not received an e-mail, please contact Stephanie Stearns at [email protected]. The guest speaker for the event will be Gardner-Webb graduate, minister and prolific author Clayton King, who is very excited to return to campus.

Because we recognize how special and important graduation day is for students and families, we are extending an offer to all graduates to physically attend and walk at a subsequent on-campus Commencement once those are again allowed.  We will follow North Carolina rules as they apply and we hope to have Commencement back on campus in 2021. If you have any questions, contact [email protected].

Bottom line, Bulldogs:  Keep calm, wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, and stay safe!

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