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

Dear Wake Forest faculty and staff,

In the last few days, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in our community has increased at a significant rate. We have the capacity to manage the current surge, but University operations will become unsustainable if trends are not reversed quickly.

Contact tracing indicates that 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.

No known transmission of the virus has occurred in the classroom or at University-sanctioned events where safety measures were implemented. Given these circumstances, and under the review of our public health experts, all masked, socially distanced classroom activities have been affirmed to continue as planned.

Given these circumstances, we have reached out to Reynolda Campus students — in a variety of ways — asking for their cooperation and increased vigilance in working toward curbing the spread of the virus. They have been notified that we are strengthening and enforcing our Orange Operating Status measures.

Additional measures may be added as the situation evolves. Moving to Red Operating Status and associated shelter-in-place conditions will be imminent if we do not flatten the curve. More information about operating status changes can be found on

We are holding a faculty/staff forum on Friday, Feb. 5, at 4 p.m. to discuss this situation. Please plan on joining us if you are able via the connection instructions at the end of this message. The session will be recorded and made available on


Nathan O. Hatch

Rogan T. Kersh

Penny Rue
Vice President for Campus Life

NOTE: Zoom information provided in email.