This message is sent on behalf of Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life.

Dear Wake Forest Undergraduate Students,

After a long winter break, we are turning our sights to the start of the semester. We are very much looking forward to your arrival and to providing an engaging semester while protecting the health of our community. I wanted to share a high-level overview of what will look new for undergraduates this spring and what will remain the same.

What’s New for Spring

More Gathering Spaces:

  • We are creating outdoor living rooms with fire pits and safely distanced Adirondack chairs on Manchester Plaza. Some of these spaces will be reservable for student organizations. We are also adding small stages for outdoor performances. Be sure to pack your winter-weather gear so you can enjoy these outdoor spaces.
  • The second-floor cardio area of the Wellbeing Center has been converted to a temporary game room with recreation games that promote proper social distancing (e.g., air hockey and ping pong). One of the fourth-floor Reynolds gyms has returned to a recreation space (e.g., students will be able to reserve a basketball goal to shoot hoops — one student per hoop).
  • We have added more reservable study spaces. Learn more or reserve rooms on the Wake Study Space website.

North Carolina 10 p.m. — 5 a.m. Curfew

  • Governor Cooper extended the 10 p.m. — 5 a.m. curfew until Friday, Jan. 29. While this order will require that social activity — on and off campus — end by 10 p.m., students in need of a quiet place to study will still have access to on-campus libraries, academic buildings and Wake Study Spaces, as well as to-go dining, after 10 p.m.

Increased Asymptomatic Testing

  • We will increase the number of students going through our asymptomatic testing program each week, including about 3,000 in the first two weeks of the semester. Students may be tested multiple times over a short period of time.
  • This increase is due to lessons learned during the fall about the importance of early identification to mitigate the spread of the virus among students.

Changes to Quarantine Length and Quarantine/Isolation Location:

Quarantine length: Following new CDC guidance, quarantine time can be reduced from 14 to 10 days as long as the student does the following:

  • remains asymptomatic;
  • is tested no sooner than 5 to 8 days after the date of last exposure and receives a negative result (this should allow for release on day 10 or later);
  • attests that they will maintain six feet of distance and wear a mask (even with household members/roommates) for the remainder of the 14-day period;
  • continue to monitor for symptoms through day 14 and report any (even minor) symptoms to the Student Health Service.

Quarantine/isolation location: Because of the high likelihood of transmission of COVID infection among roommates or house/apartment-mates, we are making changes to our quarantine and isolation protocols for off-campus students. These changes also should reduce the potential quarantine length and impact on academics for students (see the example below).

Fall 2020 off-campus Q&ISpring 2021 off-campus Q&I
Undergraduate students in four-person homeUndergraduate students in four-person home
Jan. 28: Student A tests positive for COVID
  • Student A -- 10 days of isolation at hotel
  • Students B, C, & D -- quarantine in off-campus residence Jan. 28-Feb. 10
Jan. 28: Student A tests positive for COVID
  • Student A -- 10 days of isolation at off-campus residence
  • Students B, C, & D -- quarantine at hotel Jan. 28-Feb. 6 or 10 (depending on meeting of requirements)
Feb. 1: Student B tests positive for COVID
  • Quarantine in off-campus residence for students C & D "resets" for a new 14-day period (Feb. 1-15)
Feb. 10: Student C tests positive for COVID
  • Quarantine for Student D resets to Feb. 10-24, meaning Student D will have been in quarantine for nearly a month

  • If an off-campus undergraduate student tests positive:
    • Their roommates/housemates will be required to quarantine at the University’s hotels.
    • The infected student may isolate at their off-campus residence.
  • If an off-campus undergraduate student is exposed by someone outside of their off-campus residence:
    • They may quarantine in their off-campus residence if they meet specific criteria as outlined by University staff (e.g., has a private room and bath, there are no high-risk household members, etc.).
  • On-campus students who test positive or are exposed to COVID will continue to be required to quarantine/isolate at the University’s hotels.

NOTE: Students may also quarantine or isolate at their permanent residence or another approved location as long as they are under the direct supervision of an adult family member or guardian and they agree to meet the University’s expectations.

What’s the Same

As with the fall semester, we will continue to require masks and social distancing, as well as the daily use of SneezSafe. We will continue weekly asymptomatic testing and will increase the number of undergraduates tested to control the spread of the virus. All University housing policies still apply. Because of the rate of the virus in our surrounding community, we will reopen in Orange Operating Status, which will inform our limitations for in-person gatherings. We have also updated the COVID-19 Notice that guides the University’s work.

By following public health guidance, we kept the rates of COVID-19 infection relatively low and were able to remain on campus last semester. Our student body rose to the challenge then, and I have confidence that we can do so again this spring. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to keeping our community safe.

Penny Rue
Vice President for Campus Life