Dear campus community,
In yesterday’s COVID-19 press briefing, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Portage County, along with the neighboring counties of Summit, Stark, Lake, Medina, and Lorain is now a ‘Level 4 purple’ county on Ohio’s coronavirus advisory system, while Cuyahoga County is on the Level 4 watch list and is in the top 20 Ohio counties for cases per capita incidence rate.
In recent weeks, the state, including Portage County, has continued to see a startling upward trend in positive cases and exposed contacts that is currently exceeding the capacity of our public health workforce. To read more about the county, see the attached press release from the Portage County Health District.
Hiram College continues to stay on top of this urgent challenge, making informed decisions based on the information we have available. In recent weeks, we made the decision to transition the 3-week session to remote instruction, and we cancelled or changed the format of all in-person events scheduled for the remainder of the semester.
In addition, we have made procedural changes and adjustments to our support services in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of those remaining on campus. Currently, we have approximately 40 students on campus, as well as staff identified as essential to campus operations. The dining hall remains open with meals available by take-out only. Moreover, we have implemented a rotating work schedule for those reporting in person to further limit potential exposure.
The orange alert status on Hiram College’s dashboard reflects our campus status as of November 23. As of November 24, all classes transitioned to a remote environment. Therefore, the campus dashboard is not impacted by Portage County‘s elevated COVID status and will be suspended until the general student body returns to campus.
We all have a responsibility to help curb the spread by taking increased precautions necessary to reverse this upward trend. Continue to practice the Hiram Five:
Hand wash often, for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Increase cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.
Remain 6 feet apart.
Always wear masks every time you are near others, whether indoors or outdoors and whether you know the others who are present or not.
Monitor your health daily. Take your temperature. Get tested if symptoms present.
Additional precautions include:
- Stay at home except to get essentials such as food, medication, or go to doctor appointments
- Work from home whenever you are able to do so
- Do not attend or host gatherings with people from outside your household
- Do not participate in holiday gatherings with people from outside your household
We have proven, as the Hiram Community, that we can do this. Together, we can change the current trajectory.
Be safe and be well,
Liz Okuma, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President & Dean of Students