The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the way Fort Lewis College students are able to live on and off campus.
Important information about restrictions was given to students prior to the start of the semester that would affect their time on campus this semester.
Rene Klotz, the FLC Health Center’s nurse practitioner and clinical director, recommends students follow the guidelines on the Health Center website including wearing a face covering in public, practicing social distancing, and washing hands with soap and water frequently, as well as completing the contact tracing in the FLC app daily.
One of the newest restrictions to be introduced onto the FLC’s campus is a travel restriction, which requires that all students planning to travel further than 100 miles from the Durango area notify the school.
The student body was notified of this new restriction through the FLC Insight: Week of Sept. 7 email, where a small section was portioned off and titled “Planning to travel?”
A link provided in the travel section of the Sept. 7 email on behalf of Skyhawk Station states that, “As of Aug 9, all non-essential travel is discouraged during the academic term. Students who travel outside of the area will quarantine for five days, test for the COVID-19 virus then remain in quarantine until cleared by Health Center staff.”
This restriction, created on Aug. 9, was mentioned in one email from the school prior to the Sept. 7 FLC Insight email.
In the FLC Insight: Week of Aug. 17 email, it stated, “FLC strongly discourages travel out of the area (further than 100 miles away) once you arrive in Durango. If you decide to travel out of the area, you need to notify the college using the student travel information form, quarantine for five days, take a COVID-19 test then remain in quarantine until you are cleared by Health Center staff.”
Currently, FLC tells students that if they have travelled 100 miles away from Durango in the last five days, or if they plan to travel more than 100 miles from Durango in the next seven days, they must report it on the FLC app as well as through the travel form.
This restriction was a needed evolution of the COVID-19 preparedness plan to keep FLC students on campus, Stitikus said.
All staff and faculty at FLC are required to fill out the travel form as well, Tom Stritikus, president of FLC, said.
Changes to the app were a direct reflection of CDC guidelines which informed that people only had to travel 100 miles to pose a risk to campus when the travel restriction was put into place, Klotz said.
Because of these changes in the app, over 70 travel forms have been filed in the last two weeks, according to Klotz.
“Across campus, masks and social distancing have been fantastic, Stritikus said. “Putting trust into students to continue following these guidelines and be willing to evolve with the guidelines has been a vital part of why we are still on campus.”
As of Oct. 14, FLC has administered 4,792 COVID-19 tests with four active and 30 total positive cases since the beginning of the semester, according to the FLC Health Center website.