This message is sent on behalf of President Nathan Hatch, Provost Rogan Kersh and Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue.

Dear Wake Forest students,

Over the past 48 hours, we have seen a surge in positive COVID-19 cases, numbering more than 150 positive tests. As a result, the University is implementing several new measures and strengthening those that have been in existence since last fall under the Orange Operating Status.

Currently, we have the capacity to manage the surge, but the trend lines are unsustainable. Continuing in this direction will give us no choice but to move to Red Operating Status, which means as much as a 14-day campus lockdown, with other necessary measures. This decision could be made at any time if the situation becomes untenable.

Positive cases are coming primarily from social activity — small and large gatherings, on- and off-campus parties, and groups congregating at bars and restaurants. In these cases, masks were not worn, gathering sizes were ignored, and social distancing was not respected.

It is important to note that no known transmission of the virus has occurred in the classroom or at University-sanctioned events where safety measures were implemented. Instructional activity will continue as scheduled.

If we follow the guidelines we as a community set forth last fall and engage in enhanced public health measures, we anticipate the spread of infection can be reduced.

New measures are required to sustain our Orange Operating Status. They are effective starting Friday, February 5.

  • Grab-and-Go Dining – Dining options will be grab-and-go. No more than two people are allowed per table in tents. Students are encouraged to eat with members of their immediate “household” only (i.e., the people you live with: to include roommates, suitemates, housemates or family members). When eating and drinking, lower your mask only to put food and drink in your mouth.
  • North Carolina Curfew — North Carolina remains under a modified stay at home order until at least February 28, 2021. This order requires all individuals in NC to stay at home or the place where they will remain for the night between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless a specific exception in the order applies (such as to receive healthcare services or for travel to and from work). The curfew also impacts access to campus. Uber, Lyft or other for-hire rides will not be permitted to pick students up on campus after 10 p.m.
  • Visitors in Residence Halls — Do not invite visitors who don’t live with you into your residence hall room, suite or home. The only students allowed in a residence are the students who are assigned to that living space.
  • Student Organizations — All student organizations and other University-sponsored extracurricular activities will occur virtually. No in-person events or gatherings are permitted at this time. This includes Super Bowl parties. All men’s fraternity recruitment activities must be virtual.
  • Isolation and Quarantine — Updates have been made to our isolation and quarantine procedures. Off-campus students are no longer required to quarantine at a university-designated hotel. Please take note of these changes made today.
  • Campus Facilities and Services — Access to campus, campus facilities and services will be limited starting on Friday, February 5. A full listing of available facilities will be kept up-to-date here.
    • Wellbeing Center: Closed for activities, but monitored study spaces and offices may be open.
    • ZSR Library: Closed, but remote services remain open. Camino will be open for grab and go.
    • Benson Center: Closed, but available for academic classes in Pugh Auditorium; mail services, food court, and student support offices will remain open, as will the copy center by appointment.
    • Reservable Wake Classroom Study Spaces: Open until 10 p.m.
    • Tents and Fireside on Manchester: Open for casual use.
    • Farrell Hall: Closed Saturdays and Sundays, including Einstein’s on Sunday

Here are important measures that have been in place that we need to strengthen immediately:

  • Masks — Masks must be worn except when actually eating at all times on- and off-campus; in a classroom, lounge, study space, common areas and living environments. Wear a mask, even when socializing with your suitemates or roommates.
  • Symptoms — If you have symptoms, assume you have COVID-19. Begin self-quarantine immediately and report your symptoms on your SneezSafe daily survey immediately. Avoid all contact with others until you have received medical direction. See CDC guidelines for isolation (positive for COVID) or quarantine (exposed to someone with a positive case).
  • Contact Tracing — Use SneezSafe daily. If you have a known exposure, please email to provide that information as well. If you are called by a contact tracer, cooperate fully and follow any directions that are recommended.
  • COVID-19 Testing — If you have been tested off-campus, notify Student Health Service immediately and quarantine while you wait for your results. If you test positive, you must submit those results to the Student Health Service immediately via Wake Forest policies require students to report test results to Student Health Service and to comply with directives of health care providers to isolate or quarantine. We will be testing more students each week through our on-campus testing program to continue to monitor the prevalence and trends of spread of COVID-19 infection. Expect to be notified frequently of the need to be tested.

Returning to campus has been a time to reunite with friends, and the beginning of the semester has seen an increased amount of activity for student organizations. However, given the increased prevalence of COVID-19, we must engage in protective measures that made it possible for us to stay on campus last semester. We know how to conduct a successful experience on campus, and we know you can do it. You’ve done it before.

Thank you for your attention to our current situation. We will keep you informed as we know more.


Nathan O. Hatch

Rogan T. Kersh

Penny Rue
Vice President for Campus Life