Dear Wake Forest community,

On October 22, we moved our campus operations to Orange Status and implemented several mitigation strategies to help further contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Daily symptom monitoring and contact tracing have assisted in quickly identifying positive cases and those at risk of exposure. Being able to notify and quarantine those at risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to others resulted in a steady decline in positive cases among our student population.

The effort to contain the recent surge was significant, as about 10 percent of undergraduate students were in either quarantine or isolation at one point. However, thanks to the efforts of many, we have good reason to believe that we are returning to stable ground. I am grateful for the contributions of our faculty and staff who helped prepare for and respond to this spike in positive cases, and I am grateful for the cooperation of our students who, by following public health guidelines, helped prevent the virus from spreading further.

We must remain diligent in following the guidance of public health experts to help us move back to Yellow Status. We learned that small gatherings of friends can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 if we fail to wear masks and maintain appropriate distance from others. In particular, I urge you to avoid crowded restaurants and bars, avoid sitting with more than one person during meals, wear a mask when not actively eating and drinking, and refrain from leaving the local area if it is not essential to do so.

In an effort to sustain the downward trend in cases of COVID-19, we are going to continue with the announced Orange Status measures still in effect for at least 10 more days with the hopes of returning to Yellow Status on November 12. Our public health experts have advised that a cautious approach will give us the best chance of staying on campus until Thanksgiving and the best chance for students to return home for the holiday in good health.

Thank you for your continued partnership in helping to keep our community healthy and safe.

With gratitude,

Nathan O. Hatch