Sent on behalf of the Continuity of Operations Task Force

As we approach the holiday season, the Continuity of Operations Task Force has a few points for you to consider.

First, there is now a spike in COVID-19 infections within the region and within the nation. That spike requires diligence in implementing — both on and off campus — our masking, social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing protocols.The effectiveness of adherence to this protocol has been demonstrated both locally and worldwide.

Second, we are entering the holiday season where travel to group gatherings and having friends and family visitors is common and where adherence to our protocols can become challenging. We remind each of you that unprotected close contact is not only a substantial risk to you individually, but also to everyone with whom you come into contact.

Third, if you travel or attend or host group gatherings, we need for you to be vigilant about not returning to work if you feel sick and about following the "What should I do? Protocols" for employees and students that are posted on the EVMS COVID website. Additionally, we encourage you to check the CDC COVID data tracker website to assess the risk of traveling to another site or having visitors from elsewhere.

Fourth, we know everyone is weary of this pandemic and the social restrictions that are being used to manage it. The past eight months have been difficult. That said, we believe the next few months — with a resurgence of COVID, the normal flu season and a potential lapse in commitment to following the proven safety protocols — require our best efforts to protect ourselves and our community. To date, the most frequent violations occur in breakrooms, the student lounge and after completion of tests and large educational sessions. We will therefore be increasingly vigilant in enforcing EVMS policies and sanctions for those who willfully disregard those policies on masking and social distancing.

Thank you for all you do to promote the safety of all of us.