Dear Wolf Pack Family,
I hope this message finds you safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. I am thankful to be a part of the Wolf Pack family. Despite the University’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we have seen increases in the number of positive cases on campus, especially among students, but not many faculty and staff. Although we have done an extraordinary job of fighting the spread of the virus on campus by wearing face coverings, social distancing and using good hygiene, off-campus activities have contributed to the spike in positive cases on campus. Being part of the Wolf Pack means that we must all make sacrifices for the greater good of our community and University, not just when we are here, but everywhere we go. These shared sacrifices to defeat COVID-19 are not always pleasant or convenient, but they are necessary.
Because of the increase in positive cases of COVID-19 on campus that have affected students, faculty and staff, and to “Protect the Pack,” we have made the following difficult decisions and measures, based on our most recent public health trends:
- The E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center will be closed for the remainder of the semester as of 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. Fitness classes will continue to be offered online, the Lombardi Pool will remain open and equipment check-out, as was the case last March during the facility’s closure, will remain available.
- In accordance with the Washoe County Health Department’s maximum gathering size of 250 people, the Nevada Wolf Pack football season opener on Oct. 24 against Wyoming will be played without fans at Mackay Stadium. Attendance will be limited to family members of student-athletes and coaches.
- The University has created a new “Protect the Pack – COVID-19” dashboard that will help our University community review and contextualize important information such as testing data, active cases and positivity rates.
In order to help “trace” your own activity relative to the health of others, we strongly encourage everyone to download the State of Nevada’s helpful app, “COVID Trace.” This mobile app exchanges information via Bluetooth and is completely anonymous and protects your privacy. Once installed, the app will alert you if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and will explain your next steps to deal with this information. Download the free app to get started.
We considered many factors in making these decisions, noting especially how so many members of our Wolf Pack Family continue to make shared sacrifices in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. I know that this announcement will be a source of disappointment for many, but our decisions must be based on what is in the best interest of the collective health and safety of the Wolf Pack Family. Our number one priority is to always protect the health, safety and welfare of our campus and the community we serve. It is always our mission to “Protect the Pack.”
In addition to the campus-wide message, in a press briefing as well as posts to the president’s and the University’s social media, Sandoval explained that the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center closure was based primarily on the following public health data points:
- Over 60 of our positive cases have been at the fitness center.
- Six student employees from the fitness center have tested positive.
- About half of those cases have unknowingly gone to the fitness center during their period of infectivity.
- We know that despite the great efforts of the fitness center staff, this location is a hotspot for case numbers.
- We’ve been watching the numbers closely the past few months and the trend has shown an increase number of cases.