COVID-19 Update: 12/16/20

As we conclude the fall semester, we wish our students luck on their final exams, papers and projects before the well-deserved winter break. For those planning to travel in the coming days, please be mindful of the latest public health guidelines and continue practicing the Petrel Pledge. We hope everyone stays healthy and safe while enjoying the holidays and some time off.

Campus continues to operate in the red phase of the Campus Protection Guide. If you observe any violations of safety protocols on campus or have concerns, please report them via the Campus Incident Reporting Form. Submissions can be made anonymously. 

This will be the final COVID-19 weekly update of 2020. Updates will resume after winter break.

Access to campus

Campus will be closed during winter break through the end of the J-Term, with limited exceptions for essential personnel and student-athletes preparing for SAA-sanctioned competition. 

In an effort to continue reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread among the campus community, student access to campus during the spring semester will be limited to campus residents and commuter students who are taking classes on campus or are on an athletic team in season. Campus will remain closed to students taking fully remote classes and living off campus in Spring 2021.

Residence halls

Residence halls close this Saturday, December 19 at 10 a.m., and will remain closed until move-in for Spring 2021 on February 7. For those living on campus this spring, please continue to check your email over the coming weeks for details on move-in procedures from Residence Life.

COVID-19 testing

Another round of random COVID-19 testing was conducted last Friday, resulting in 25 tests being administered. We are, again, fortunate to report that this round of testing resulted in no positive tests. There continue to be no known active cases of COVID-19 among campus residents. 

We commend our campus residents on their adherence to the COVID-19 protocols in place over the course of the semester. A total of 573 tests were conducted, with only 8 positive cases identified throughout the semester. Thank you, Petrels, for your commitment to the health and well-being of everyone on campus this fall!

View the COVID-19 Dashboard.

Athletics

As shared in last week’s update, the Southern Athletic Association presidents voted to return to play for athletics in January 2021, beginning with men’s and women’s basketball returning to competition the weekend of January 15-17. 

The SAA COVID-19 Task Force continues to create procedures and policies for returning to athletic competition based on public health guidelines, including COVID-19 testing and contact tracing procedures. Read more in the announcement from the SAA.

Academics

There are still open seats in J-Term courses this January. Students interested in earning credits toward their degree this January still have an opportunity to register. Students can register for J-Term through the end of add/drop, which is Friday, January 5, 2021. The J-Term will be conducted remotely. View academic calendars for J-Term and Spring 2021.

LifeguardRx mobile app

During the fall semester, Oglethorpe University established a COVID-19 screening program using the LifeguardRx mobile app. Campus residents were required to complete daily self-health screenings to track COVID-19 symptoms via the app. This requirement will expand to commuter students taking classes on campus this spring. Faculty and staff conducting business on campus will also be required to participate.

The information collected is maintained in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects records from disclosure. The app will notify individuals of further actions they need to take based on symptoms reported. Additionally, users can add a Circle of Care in the app so that parents, spouses, relatives and/or other close acquaintances can be updated on how they are feeling. 

Details on registering and enrolling in the LifeguardRx screening program will be shared ahead of the spring semester.

Flu vaccination reminder

As mentioned in previous updates, all members of the Oglethorpe community who plan to be in person this spring will need to get a flu vaccine as part of the Petrel Pledge initiative. All residents will need a flu vaccination by the start of classes on February 8, 2021. Those who need religious and/or medical exemptions or those who are studying remotely and will not be accessing campus for the entire spring 2021 academic semester are exempt.

Maintaining routine vaccinations can help prevent illnesses, reduce the stress on the healthcare system, and protect at-risk populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail pharmacies such as Publix, Costco, CVS, Walgreens, Target, Kroger, and Walmart offer flu shots at no cost with most insurance types.