Message from Chief Medical Officer: Thanksgiving safety and safe return to campus

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On November 12, 2020

Dr. Dennis Goodman, chief medical officer at Missouri S&T, sent the following message to students, faculty and staff on Nov. 10:

Dear S&T Family,

I want to thank all of you – students, faculty and staff – for your dedication and diligence in keeping our campus community safe. These past months have been difficult, met with personal sacrifice, and required constant vigilance. Thanks to your efforts the health and safety of our campus community has benefited.

This is a time when the number of positive cases nationally, regionally and locally are at their peak. Yet due to your adherence to scientific advice, we remain in a campus community of low incidence. It is clear that these results are primarily because of our conservative, science-based approach to addressing the virus and your efforts. As the graph below shows, the number of cases per 10,000 people has been relatively stable at S&T in recent weeks, but those numbers are on the rise statewide, as well as on campus. As of yesterday, 15 new cases were reported to S&T, which includes 14 students and one employee who were recently on campus. Those in close contact with the individuals are being contacted.

Covid Chart

We now enter a holiday season. A traditional time of family, friends, celebrations, and gatherings. Many of us will be traveling and attending family celebrations and events. Many of you have created and protected your “bubble” and will now be stepping outside of it for the first time since summer.

My message today is hopefully to give you a recipe for continued success in the upcoming holiday season. Guidance is derived from our S&T experience and grounded in developing science.

Gathering sizes

Experience on campus from contact tracing, quarantine, isolation and testing has identified social gatherings as the primary source of COVID spread in the campus community. The consistent guidance has been to keep gathering sizes to fewer than 10. But what we are discovering is that the majority of our most recent positive cases are resulting from even smaller groups. Remember that a gathering starts with a group of two and the risk exponentially increases as the group size increases. Use this Gathering Size Risk Calculator to assist in planning your gathering in your location.

Mask up and maintain social distance

Relaxation of facial covering and social distancing during gathering events increases the risk of viral spread, so please continue to mask up and practice social distancing. These two strategies work best in tandem, and both of these barriers directly contribute to decreasing viral transmission person to person.

To date we have not identified a case of viral transmission in our classrooms as they are designed in accordance with six-foot distance guidelines and our students and faculty are using facial coverings.

Activity risk stratification/ safe events

Don’t concentrate so much on what you can’t do. Concentrate on what you can do. Be creative. Review some suggested activities in this chart.

Low RiskMedium RiskHigh Risk
Grocery shoppingDinner with friendsGathering of 10+
Taking a walkVisiting elderly familyGoing to see a movie
Attending class/labEating outDrinking at bars
Going to the libraryIndoor sportsAttending a wedding
Pumping gasTraveling by planeSharing food/drinks
Outdoor sportsHugs or handshakesAttending concerts
Getting takeoutHair/nail salonsNot wearing a mask
Risk levels of contracting COVID-19 based on activity

Celebrations and holiday travel

Check out the CDC Holiday Planning Guide as well as the CDC’s Holiday Travel Guide for tips on modifying holiday plans to reduce the spread.

Return to campus

Due to the risk of bringing virus back to campus, we ask for everyone to adhere to increased precautions during the week of Nov. 30, the first week back on campus after Thanksgiving. This means: increase facial covering use, keep vigilant to social distancing, keep gatherings as small as possible, delay group meetings as much as possible, and do not allow visitors outside your bubble.

I will be available to meet with groups or organizations of any size (virtually) to discuss individual plans for exiting campus and a safe return.


Dr. Dennis Goodman
Chief Medical Officer

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On November 12, 2020. Posted in Announcements, Coronavirus