UPDATED GUIDANCE Concerning Thanksgiving & Holiday Pre-Departure

November 13, 2020

Yesterday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference at which he is urging families to plan for “virtual Thanksgivings” – holiday celebrations that are restricted only to family members who have self-quarantined successfully for fourteen (14) days in advance. This morning, the Governor has announced a new interstate travel advisory, which is a reminder that everyone needs to be paying attention to CDC’s current travel guidance. In addition, the Governor indicated that new restrictions will likely be introduced next week, in view of the rising numbers of COVID-19 positive cases.

The current number of positive cases in Spokane is rising, and our own Gonzaga COVID-19 dashboard reflects an increase in positive cases, as well. None of us wants to take the chance of bringing the virus home to others, particularly elderly and vulnerable family members, at Thanksgiving – or beyond that, the Christmas holiday. Therefore, I ask that beginning immediately, all Zags please follow this guidance:

  1. Please avoid social gatherings, parties, or other situations that involve close contact with people you do not currently live with.
  2. Most of the cases we have been seeing of late are associated with community exposure to individuals who are members of the larger community. When in campus dining, restaurants or other public venues, please maintain physical distance from other patrons. If you choose to go out, please stick with those individuals you know and live with, as much as possible, and limit your exposure to individuals you do not know or are not part of your living community.
  3. Please continue to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth, whenever possible.
  4. In this time of increased respiratory illness, please continue to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and keep high-contact surfaces clean.

If you are currently planning to travel home for Thanksgiving, in addition to the above, please:

  1. Increase the chances for a COVID-19-free departure by reducing close contacts with people outside your living environment for the next two weeks. If you must be in contact with others, keep the exposure time brief.
  2. If you have possible symptoms, please contact the Health Center or a local care provider by phone to evaluate your situation and get tested.
  3. Consider getting tested for COVID-19 at least three days before your intended departure date. Gonzaga will continue to offer walk-in testing through November 20th, and testing for those who have signs or symptoms, or have been exposed to COVID-19, through November 25th. If you have questions about testing, please contact Health & Counseling Services at (509) 313-4066. You may also contact the COVID-19 Hotline number 509-313-7070, ext. 1.
  4. We will continue to support students in isolation and quarantine through the Thanksgiving break and beyond – even if you were originally planning to head home at Thanksgiving.

Our ultimate objective is to be able to support everyone safely returning to their families without risk of bringing COVID-19 home with them. For this reason, we will be encouraging students who do remain on or near campus past Thanksgiving to continue observing the above guidance in an effort to reduce the potential for community spread. Thank you, Zags!