COVID Testing Updates and Plans

January 21, 2022
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We thank all members of the campus community for the care with which you have approached the return to campus for second semester.  We write with an update on COVID testing results from the first week of classes, general reminders about ways to contribute to our collective health, and the testing plan for the coming two weeks.

For tests administered on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, our positivity rate is much lower than in the surrounding communities.  Of the 1,206 test results received as of writing, 17 were positive among students and 4 among faculty and staff.

Public health data from counties in the Philadelphia area suggest that the Omicron wave may be leveling off or easing, but the positivity rates and case counts are still high, and it will be some time before the Omicron surge eases significantly. Staff, faculty, and students should continue to adhere to mitigation guidance:

  • Remain home or in your dorm room if you are symptomatic;
  • Wear masks with others when indoors;
  • For ventilation systems or air purifiers that are controlled manually, please keep them running at all times; the College is managing the centrally controlled systems to ensure adequate ventilation;
  • Avoid large gatherings.

As a reminder, students who need assistance obtaining masks should contact their Hall Advisor or the Deans Office; faculty and staff should contact their department.

For the next two weeks, the College will conduct surveillance testing for all undergraduate students and will continue to adjust our testing approach thereafter depending on the results and on guidance from our public health and infectious disease experts.  Next week half of the student body will be tested; the other half of the student body will be tested the following week.  Those students who have been designated to test next week will receive an email from Kari Fazio later today with further details.  It is important to remember that a negative test result is only a snapshot in time.  Continuing to follow our mitigation strategies is the best way to limit the spread of COVID. As a reminder:  those who have tested positive over the past 90 days should not participate in surveillance testing.

Faculty, staff, or graduate students who are close contacts or think they have been exposed to COVID (and are asymptomatic) may participate in this testing which will be in Wyndham on Tuesday and Thursday between noon and 4:00 pm.  Please do not come to campus to participate in testing if you are symptomatic, or are already isolating because of COVID.

Testing for symptomatic students, will be provided by the Health and Wellness Center. Students should reach out to the Health Center for guidance if they are symptomatic.

We are in the process of verifying vaccination and booster status.  Please upload your booster information immediately if you have not done so (students to the Student Patient Portal; faculty and staff using the link provided by Kari Fazio or by sending via intra-campus mail to Taylor 308).

Classes will be fully in-person next week.  Students with health concerns should continue to work with their deans and the Health and Wellness Center.  Health issues may continue to cause pivots for individual classes.  Please be on the lookout for communications from faculty.

We will continually monitor community health, adjust policies as needed, and keep the campus informed.  Thank you for all that each of you are doing to support our collective health.

Sincerely,

Kim Cassidy
Kari Fazio
Beth Kotarski
Tim Harte
Jennifer Walters

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