October 14, 2020
I write to express my profound gratitude to our students, staff, and faculty for the significant work, diligence, and sacrifice that have allowed us to cross the midpoint of our semester. Kudos to all of you for your resilience. We have all done this together through a strong set of partnerships with our county and city, a robust program of testing, contact tracing, and transmission analysis, ongoing transparency and communication with our campus, and the careful behavior of our community members. I particularly want to thank Dr. Aaron Carroll, of the IU Covid Medical Response Team, for conducting dozens of webinars—open to students, parents, staff, and faculty—and public discussions with individual schools and campuses every single week to answer questions.
We continue to have no evidence of any transmission on our campus, including our classrooms and libraries, outside of communal living settings. At this point, our mitigation testing demonstrates that we have met our goal of making it safer to be part of the IU community than not to be.
However, Covid cases in Indiana are rapidly increasing in almost every county, turning our state into a sea of worsening numbers. While IU Bloomington remains an island of green in an ocean of red, I understand that people are suffering from pandemic fatigue just as we need to double down on our public health vigilance.
How can we do this? In addition to stellar adherence to the holy grail of masks-distancing-handwashing, we need to:
- Avoid campus if we have any symptoms, and contact the health center or IU Health through the app.
- Get those flu shots. Flu and Covid have similar symptoms, and flu infections can rapidly consume medical resources during flu season. Visit an IU Bloomington flu clinic or go to a private provider, and then report your shot here.
- Avoid gatherings. We are seeing transmission at weddings, for instance. Bloomington still has a 15-person limit on gatherings.
- Avoid travel. Remember that most of Indiana has a higher positivity rate than Bloomington.
- Avoid close contacts and understand what a “close contact” is. Whether you are inside or outside, and whether you are masked or unmasked, anyone who is within six feet of you for 15 minutes is a close contact. Have as few of these as possible.
- Access psychological support, if needed. Access Counseling and Psychological Services if you are a student or the Employee Assistance Program if you are a staff or faculty member.
I am beyond proud of all of our community members for their willingness to put Indiana University’s important mission of research, teaching, and service and the safety of our community first.
We remain undaunted.
My very best,
Executive Vice President and Provost
Val Nolan Professor of Law