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A Message From President Standifird - Recent COVID Cases at Bradley (sent to the Bradley Family on 07/27/2020)

Dear Colleagues,

I want to update you about the COVID-19 cases recently identified on Bradley’s campus. I understand and appreciate this issue has raised a number of questions and concerns. Here’s what we now know about this situation and the implications for our plans moving forward:

As previously mentioned, our process of contact tracing from an initial positive test leads us to believe the spread of the virus, in this case, occurred as a result of a small off-campus social gathering where the use of masks and physical distancing did not occur. We were able to identify those who attended and required them to self quarantine, which some had already started to do. We then began the process of identifying and arranging for testing of those individuals who were not involved in the social gathering but had been in close contact with the participants. In total, 12 students have tested positive.

It’s difficult to make any conclusive statements about the current situation given the evolving nature of the pandemic. However, in this case, our process for testing, contact tracing and self quarantining appears to have helped limit the spread of the virus.

This event highlights the importance of remaining vigilant about engaging in behaviors proven to slow the spread of the virus. Face masks, physical distancing and frequent hand washing matter. This case also highlights the importance of an aggressive testing and contact tracing routine.

In an unrelated situation, we are aware of one staff member who tested positive. Contact tracing done by the Peoria County Health Department in this situation shows there were no close contacts within the Bradley community.

I will share more information with you about our testing and contact tracing routines in the coming days. In this updated information, we will reaffirm what we already shared concerning our communication plan. Bradley will contact those considered at risk by having been in close contact with someone who tested positive. If you are considered at risk based on contact tracing, we will use the following notification process:

  • Close contact - If you were identified as someone who was within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you will receive a phone call and/or text message from Bradley Health Services. Health Services will provide information regarding what actions you will need to take.
  • Contact - If you are not at risk, but you have some connection with a person who tested positive (for example: a student in one of your classes who tested positive, but with whom you were not in close contact), you will receive an email message from the university. According to the CDC, action in this case is NOT required because the risk of transmission to you is low.

We, like the rest of the world, are learning more about COVID-19 and are adjusting our plans accordingly. Based on what we know today, we still plan to resume face-to-face classes in the fall. There are options for remote learning for students who are interested and this deadline will be extended. There are options for employees who have disabilities under the ADA, are at high risk or live with someone who is at high risk. Where possible, staff have been encouraged to work remotely in an effort to limit the number of people on campus. We will continue to assess the situation very carefully and re-evaluate our plans regularly. The well being of the people who make up the Bradley community is guiding all of our decisions in this unprecedented time.

I understand one of the most frustrating aspects of the current pandemic is the level of continued uncertainty in which we are forced to operate. We cannot eliminate the uncertainty but we can lessen its impact by engaging in more frequent communication. Starting today and throughout the fall semester, my plan is to provide, at a minimum, a bi-weekly update on our ongoing plans, although I expect you will receive much more frequent messaging from official university sources leading up to the start of fall. In the next few days, we plan to share with you a document outlining decision points that would cause us to revise our plans for the fall, as well as our testing and contact tracing plans.

I understand and appreciate the emotional impact this has on our campus community. All of us at Bradley are thinking of those who have tested positive and we are committed to doing what we can to support them in their recovery. I also recognize the many challenges all of you are facing during this pandemic. While we cannot control the environment in which we operate, in many ways we can control how we respond to it. Thank you for your patience and ongoing dedication to the success of Bradley University as we collectively navigate the months and weeks ahead. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at covid19concerns@fsmail.bradley.edu.

Sincerely,

Stephen Standifird
President
Bradley University


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