DATE: October 7, 2020 at 4:30 pm
TO: Faculty and Staff

FROM: Dr. Richard Nelson, President

Here we are in the middle of a gorgeous fall week, the perfect time to applaud the remarkable effort you’re making to keep each other safe and continue delivering the life-changing education that is the cornerstone of our mission. Because of your commitment, the partial reopening of our campus on September 2 went exceptionally well. Since then, our teams have overcome countless COVID-related obstacles and inconveniences in order to assure students uninterrupted access to high-value post-secondary learning and the opportunities it brings.

In recent weeks we have seen our first positive cases of COVID-19 among Nicolet College students and employees. Given the virus’ omnipresence in Wisconsin, it was bound to find its way here eventually. Thankfully, however, our numbers to date are relatively low, none of the cases have been life-threatening, and we have not yet seen evidence of on-campus transmission. Now, as winter approaches, a shared resolve to keep our rates low will be more important than ever. If you have not already done so, you can check out our new College dashboard with information on confirmed positive cases here: . It is updated every Friday.

Compared to Nicolet’s situation, much of the rest of the region and State isn’t faring as well. The 7-day average of new cases in WI is up 250% from 9/3 (674) to 10/6 (2,346) and hospitalizations are at record levels. The Oneida County Health Department (OCHD) urgently warns all to comply with public health measures as local case numbers are surging. October 1st saw more new cases in Oneida County than ever, and people are advised to assume they will come in contact with COVID-19 whenever they interact with people outside of their households because community activity is so high.

Even if the current surge slows in the near term, the peak season for respiratory infections is just around the corner (Dec. – Mar.), so now isn’t the time to relax. Linda Conlon, OCHD Director, offered these sensible reminders in a recent River News (10/6) article:

  • “People want to get back to their routine, but there is nothing routine about this pandemic.” 
  • “This virus may cause long term debilitating effects that are not well understood.”
  • “Assuming you can get the virus and just get over it a dangerous gamble.”
  • “It is up to each of us to keep our communities safe and healthy.”
  • “All of us need to take action and set good examples.”
  • “Think about your neighbors, friends, family, and not just yourself.”

Of course, we all look forward to the day when safe and effective treatments and therapeutics are readily available. I’m 100% confident that science will deliver what we need in record time, but the pace of discovery isn’t set by anyone’s calendar, and slick advertising is no substitute for good R & D. So, as our medical researchers forge ahead, let’s keep up our good work too. Let’s continue doing what we know prevents community transmission: maintain physical distancing, wear a mask, wash hands frequently, avoid large gatherings, stay home when feeling sick, and get your information from credible sources.  That way, when this is all behind us, our collective conscience will be clear, our principles will be intact, and we’ll able to say “We did our best, we did what was right, and we prevailed.”

Enjoy this bright and beautiful evening.