COVID-19 Announcement to Asbury Community
August 6, 2021
For questions relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Asbury’s Procedures, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Asbury Community,
Over the next ten days, we look forward to welcoming new and returning students and are proactively preparing for Fall 2021 to begin. We remain vigilant in our continual review of plans to “Return to Regular” in light of rising COVID-19 positivity rates, many of which are identified as the highly transmissible Delta variant.
As of Monday, August 9, all employees, students, guests, and vendors are required to wear a face covering while inside campus buildings. For groups of 10 or less in a space that allows for 6-foot physical distancing, masks may be removed as long as all are in agreement, remain stationary, and maintain physical distance; otherwise, the mask mandate remains.1 Students and employees who have medical issues or disabilities that hinder wearing a face covering may request an exemption through Academic Accessibility Resources (students) or Human Resources (employees).
While the requirement to wear face masks is consistent with other public and private Kentucky colleges and universities at this time, we want to be clear on the following:
- Our commitment to “Return to Regular” has not changed, and it is our intention and hope to make that determination based upon three primary criteria:
- Jessamine County COVID-19 Rates: We are monitoring the Jessamine County COVID-19 positivity rates. Currently, Jessamine County is considered a “red zone.” We will monitor this from week to week as the metric is based upon a 7-day average.
- Student/Staff/Faculty Contraction Rates & Sickness: We will continue to monitor COVID-19 rates and transmission on our campus.
- Proportion of Vaccinated Community Members: Recent data tells us hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are primarily concentrated among non-vaccinated individuals. Moreover, while there are “breakthrough cases” (vaccinated individuals who contract COVID-19), hospitalization rates are strikingly low (.0004 as of July 26) and sickness is generally experienced as less severe. Therefore, the proportion of vaccinated individuals in our community will matter.
- There are many variables to consider when we assess campus safety, but we will always put students first to both maximize their safety AND their experience as effectively as we can.
- Whenever possible, our desire is to avoid “segregating” members of our community based upon COVID-19 related elements (e.g., vaccination status, masks).
Although not required, students are strongly encouraged to vaccinate against COVID-19 to protect themselves and all members of our residential learning community. To determine whether or not a student must quarantine if exposed to COVID-19, students are asked to upload a picture of their vaccination card at their earliest convenience.
A free vaccination clinic will take place on Asbury’s campus on Thursday, August 19.
Our COVID-19 FAQs will reflect these new adjustments by early next week and will continue to be updated as we monitor COVID-19 developments. Please refer to this page frequently so you can know what to expect as you prepare for the upcoming semester. You may also direct questions to email@example.com.
As you may imagine, I am disappointed to move to a mask requirement for our campus community. I want students to have the full Asbury experience in every possible way. Our PREP team and I will continue to monitor the Jessamine County rates, Asbury’s transmission rates, and campus vaccination rates so we can be released from masks as soon as possible. I long for the day when we speak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its threat in the past tense—and my eager hope is for that to be sooner than later.
For now, I am reminded of the “godly wisdom” described in the third book of James: “17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.”
At this time, I humbly ask for our responses to be moderated by care for our students, our love for each other in the community, and our desire to embody “godly wisdom.”
I look forward to a healthy, safe, and successful academic year.
Kevin J. Brown, Ph.D.
President, Asbury University
1. This does not apply to public gathering spaces such as the Student Center, Kinlaw Library common areas, and residence hall lobbies where masks are still required at all times.