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Campus briefing April 7, 2021

Augustana President Steve Bahls and Dean of Students Dr. Wes Brooks updated campus on April 7, 2021, on the importance of getting vaccinations and remaining vigilant. (A recording is available.)

Key points:

• Everyone who is eligible is encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

• Vaccination clinics are available off-campus.

• It’s too soon to gather in large groups, go unmasked or neglect social distancing.

• Those who have been fully vaccinated for more than 14 days will not automatically be quarantined on campus after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Do the right thing

President Bahls encouraged the campus community to seriously consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19. He and his family have done so.

"Doug Cropper, the president of Genesis Health, the Quad Cities regional health system, recently observed that we are in a potentially deadly race against variants of the virus," President Bahls said. "Will the variants win or will the vaccines win? It is up to us."

Although there are special considerations for people who cannot or should not get vaccinated, he said that "for almost all of us, getting the vaccine is the right thing to do — for ourselves, for our classmates and friends, and for the community."

He asked students to look at vaccination through the lens of the Augustana College Student Learning Outcomes, in particular, Ethical Citizenship.

Clinics and precautions

Dr. Brooks updated campus on the number of appointments remaining for the on-campus clinic on Saturday. Once the 500 appointments are filled, there will be a waiting list. Instructions for getting on the list will be sent as soon as possible.

There are a a number of good options for getting a vaccination off-campus:

• The Rock Island County Health Department administers vaccinations six days a week in Milan, Ill. This community vaccination clinic is a 15-minute drive from campus.  

• Local Walgreens and Hy-Vee stores are offering vaccinations, and those stores are within walking distance of campus.

Community Health Care in Rock Island also has an ongoing clinic.

Dr. Brooks cautioned that it is too soon to gather in large groups, too soon to go unmasked and too soon to not practice social distancing.

Currently, the positivity rate in Illinois’ Region 2 (our area) is 6.5%, and this rate has gone up 10 days in a row. In addition, there was a slight increase on campus during the last week.

Vaccinations and quarantine

Public health guidance indicates that 14 days after you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to quarantine after an exposure.

"If you are exposed and you have been fully vaccinated for more than 14 days, you simply need to monitor yourself for symptoms," Dr. Brooks said. "You will not be automatically quarantined on campus.

"I realize that it’s easy to get tired of quarantining, so consider the vaccine your way to avoid another 10 days or two weeks in quarantine.

"Our slight uptick here at Augustana continues to remind me, and hopefully everyone, that our ongoing commitment to mitigation efforts, such as masking and physical distancing, continues to be very important.

"Please remember that the best thing we can do now is to continue to mask up, stay as physically distanced as much as possible, and for those willing, get vaccinated as quickly as possible."