MESSAGE FROM REV. JOHN P. STACK, OSA VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT LIFE
October 3, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
This week, we have seen an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases among our student population. This email provides an update from the physicians, nurse practitioners and medical staff at the Student Health Center and addresses questions regarding possible superspreader events, University resources and positivity rates. This information will be helpful to you in understanding what is currently happening on campus regarding COVID-19.
Trends and Resources:
- Villanova’s health care providers and the VU contact tracing team are actively tracking any potential trends in positive COVID-19 cases. Cases are diffused throughout the community. Currently, there is no evidence of a superspreader event leading to positive cases. There are no residence halls that have a disproportionate number of positive cases. There is no link between positive cases and on-campus programming hosted by the University. Most clusters of positive cases appear to be among small groups of friends.
- While the current numbers of positive COVID-19 cases are higher than they have been since we started the semester in August, these numbers are what we planned for and expected. We are well-resourced and prepared, and we are managing the public health and health care needs of our students.
- The Student Health Center remains open 24 hours a day. There is nursing care available around the clock, as well as extended hours when physicians and nurse practitioners are available to meet the demand for care. Students are asked to call (610) 519-4070 prior to coming to the Student Health Center.
- We currently have sufficient isolation/quarantine spaces available for students who need to remain on campus. Many students return home for isolation (positive cases) or quarantine (close contacts who test negative). This strategy allows us to maximize the spaces we have on campus for students who cannot return home and will help us to remain open for the semester.
- The University Counseling Center (610) 519-4050, the Office of Health Promotion (610) 519-7409 and Campus Ministry (610) 519-4080, along with many other departments, offer options for emotional, mental and spiritual support. Care of the whole person is especially important during these challenging days; support and services are available to all students, whether on-campus, off-campus or at home.
Positive Test Results and Contact Tracing:
- Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are so far reporting relatively mild symptoms; we have not had any hospitalizations.
The VU contact tracing team is functioning well, has increased its staff, and is meeting the demand for investigating and contacting “close contacts” of those who test positive.
- Close contacts are tested for COVID-19 at the Student Health Center, whether or not they have any symptoms.
- Villanova publishes test results and the number of tests performed daily on the COVID-19 Dashboard. Villanova does not report a positivity rate as it is a complex and varying statistic based on testing, type of testing, and results within various categories of testing. Positivity rates posted on various social media sites or calculated without complete information are likely inaccurate.
To continue the semester on campus, it is imperative for everyone to:
- Comply fully with all COVID-19 health care recommendations, including contacting the Student Health Center when you have any symptoms related to the coronavirus.
- Tell the truth when talking with the Student Health Center or a VU contact tracer. All information shared is confidential.
- Recommit to the behaviors that will protect you and others from exposure to the coronavirus. That means, among other things: avoid parties or gatherings where social distancing is not maintained and people are not wearing masks.
We are at the halfway point of the semester. As Father Peter said in his message yesterday, we need to put Community First. If everyone does their part, we will finish the semester together safely on campus.
Please visit the University’s COVID-19 website for additional information and FAQs.
Rev. John P. Stack, OSA
Vice President for Student Life