Notification of COVID-19 Positive Cases

TO: The Gonzaga Community
FROM: Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President
SUBJ: Notification of COVID-19 Positive Cases
DATE: July 6, 2021

Earlier today, our office received a report that we have five (5) employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. All impacted employees are part of the same department, and all are currently self-isolating or quarantining.

This is one of the first reports of campus COVID-19 positivity we have received in a number of weeks, but it underscores several important realities. First, COVID-19 is active and continues to infect individuals in our community. The general relaxing of masking and social distancing practices, and decreasing case numbers in Spokane county, may be leaving people with a sense that COVID-19 is no longer a threat – but there is clear evidence that the virus is active and being transmitted worldwide (particularly the Delta variant B.1.617.2).

The state Department of Labor & Industries requires every employee who is not yet fully vaccinated to wear a mask and maintain 6-foot social distancing norms while in the workplace, particularly while working indoors. Only those who are fully vaccinated and have submitted documentation testifying to this are currently authorized to work without masking and social distancing. (For those employees who have not yet submitted attestation/documentation: please visit the Employee Benefits Portal here to get started. Students may submit their documentation through a separate, student portal.)

We continue to work closely with the Spokane Regional Health District on our COVID-19 mitigation strategies; the most effective strategy at this point appears to be the COVID-19 vaccine. However, if a significant increase in COVID-19 cases on campus were to occur, depending upon the specific circumstances, the University reserves the right to re-introduce masking, social distancing, and possibly other requirements for all employees and students. Thank you.