Date: March 3, 2022
On Tuesday, the COVID-19 Response group gathered to discuss the latest CDC guidance. It is clear that increasingly the direction of the CDC and governors around the country is to instruct communities to start finding ways of living with COVID, rather than imagining that there will come a time when it completely goes away. The latest guidance is that in areas where hospitalization is low (and this applies to Alexandria) any indoor mask mandate can be relaxed.
As you know we have aspired to follow the CDC guidance closely throughout this pandemic. However, this advice comes when we are having our own spike in positive cases. We have two faculty members and five students who have recently tested positive. A significant number are monitoring their symptoms with the goal of taking a test on day five. In addition, The Butterfly House has recently had to close two classes because of an outbreak of positive cases.
Given this, The Butterfly House will keep the indoor mask mandate (naturally, outside, everyone is permitted to be mask-free and hopefully, as the weather warms up, the outdoor classroom will increasingly become a space for learning). Furthermore, for the rest of the Seminary, we are keeping the indoor mask mandate in place until Monday, April 4, when we hope we can lift it. This will enable us to enjoy the Spring Break and then have a testing check to ensure that we can safely remove our masks.
I know this will disappoint many. I ask that everyone please understand and abide by this rule. Let us continue to tread appropriately carefully as we come out of this extraordinary season.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President