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Luther College issues a statement in response to student requests to continue virtual classes

Posted: Wed, Jan 6, 2021 8:06 AM

(Luther College has issued the following statement in response to the student petition drive asking the college not to resume in-person classes on January 11th):

"Luther College has pursued twin goals since we announced our plan for the 2020-21 academic year: Supporting individual and community health; and maximizing in-person instruction and residential living, which are central to the college's mission. We are proud of how consistently our students, faculty, and staff have followed rigorous COVID safety protocols, including social distancing and wearing masks, throughout the year.

Luther is returning to in-person learning on January 11th after a period of virtual learning over the holidays, which started at Thanksgiving. Local COVID indicators have been on a downward trend; and, when in-person classes resume, 10 days (the CDC's recommended quarantine time period) will have passed since the holidays. Throughout the virtual learning period and the winter break, Luther has tracked cases of COVID among students and employees, both on campus and at their homes, and case numbers have declined during the winter break. Luther has also hired new staff to assist Winneshiek County Public Health with contact tracing on campus, and we have a new agreement with an additional testing partner to expand our existing testing protocols.

Local and on-campus conditions are now comparable to the middle of October, when all students were attending classes in person. We believe the data indicate that a return to in-person learning is the best option for the college community, recognizing that some of our community members feel stress and concern. Students, faculty, or staff with a medical condition that would place them at higher risk may request additional accommodations to avoid in-person activities.

Luther's COVID Response Team will continue to monitor Winneshiek County and the campus indicators daily, and will notify campus immediately if the data point to needed changes to our approach."