COVID-19 Update: Fall 2021 plans

As we welcome students, faculty and staff back to campus, the leadership team has adapted some of the plans for starting the semester. These decisions are based on our student/faculty/staff vaccination rate, which is over 91%; direction from the university’s health consultants; input from the COVID-19 Task Force; CDC guidelines; and guidance from the local and state departments of health.

  • Vaccine Mandate: Students, faculty and staff are expected to be fully immunized against COVID-19 for the Fall 2021 semester. Individuals may apply for a medical or religious accommodation. Students and employees were asked to confirm their vaccination status or apply for an accommodation through the appropriate acknowledgment form. Details about the vaccine mandate and the acknowledgment forms can be found on the COVID-19 Communications site. To date, 97% of our students, faculty and staff have completed their acknowledgment form. Note: Pfizer/BioNTech received full FDA approval for ages 16 and older as of Aug. 23, 2021.
  • Students and employees, regardless of vaccination status must wear face masks in all indoor spaces, unless you are actively eating or drinking, in a personal residence hall room, or in a single office.
  • In-person classes will continue as planned. Appropriate masking is required in all classrooms, and faculty lecturing in the classroom must wear a mask. Please note that due to their limited effectiveness, face shields are not an acceptable type of face covering and anyone who chooses to wear a face shield must also wear a mask.
    • Each course should have alternative methods of participation for students in quarantine or isolation, or some other way for students to make up assignments. Individual instructors may set their own policies, which should be included on their syllabi.
    • Faculty who are unable to teach their classes should contact their Division Chair and the Provost immediately, per the Faculty Handbook (Section IV.P). If possible, the instructor should arrange for another faculty member to substitute.
    • Faculty needing special teaching accommodations should contact Sandy Butler, Director of Human Resources.
  • Working on Campus: Staff were required to be back on campus in early August. We are currently working on policies to address flexible work arrangements for certain areas that will go into effect in September. Staff should talk to their supervisors about the possibility of working from a remote location. Staff needing special accommodations should contact Sandy Butler.
  • COVID-19 testing will be required for all faculty, staff and students who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated.
    • Arriving on campus: To reduce the possibility of students or employees arriving on campus for the fall semester COVID-19 positive, we are requiring all who are unvaccinated or those not fully vaccinated to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours in advance of arrival (arrival includes move-in, first day of class, first day back on campus or whichever date is earliest). If you do not have a test on file prior to your arrival you will be instructed to get one. Do not come to campus, including moving in, if you have a positive test and instead follow all CDC guidelines for isolating. Residents with a positive test should contact residencelife@oglethorpe.edu to arrange an alternative move-in schedule. PCR tests are preferred, although antigen tests will also be accepted.
    • Unvaccinated students and employees will be tested at random throughout the fall semester. Students, faculty, and staff will be notified via email when they will need to get a COVID-19 test and must submit a valid test via the link to the form included in the email no later than 4 days after being notified. Students and employees will be responsible for obtaining their own COVID-19 test. Both PCR and antigen tests will be accepted.
      • COVID-19 testing is available through many sources, including private physician offices and pharmacies (where there may be a charge) and county departments of public health (where they are generally free).
        • Faculty and staff can use this link to schedule a free PCR test through Covid Care Georgia (this site is located 3 miles from campus).
        • Georgia residents may use this link to schedule a test through county health departments.
        • Non-Georgia residents may use this link to find the nearest testing site.  
      • Please contact Sandy Butler for questions on COVID-19 testing for faculty and staff. Please contact healthinfo@oglethorpe.edu for questions on COVID-19 testing for students.
      • All student-athletes should follow testing frequency established by the NCAA/SAA. Please contact Todd Brooks, Director of Athletics, with questions.
  • Isolation and Quarantine
    • Any student or employee, regardless of vaccinated status, exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms or feeling ill should stay home and contact their primary care provider for guidance or take a COVID-19 test before returning to campus.
    • Residents, regardless of vaccination status, who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will relocate to a temporary housing assignment. While in isolation, residents will have access to support services (dining, educational, etc.). Please contact your Resident Advisor (RA) or Campus Life staff for more details.
  • Vaccine Clinics on Campus: To assist community members and their families with receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, Oglethorpe will host vaccination clinics on campus. These free, walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be offered in partnership with the DeKalb County Board of Health. No appointment, identification, proof of citizenship or health insurance are needed, and the clinics are open to the entire community.

    These clinics will administer the Pfizer vaccine in the Traer Hall parking lot facing the Turner Lynch Campus Center on the following dates: Wednesday, August 25, 2021 – 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and Wednesday, September 22, 2021 – 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

    The Pfizer vaccine is available for individuals 12 years of age and older. A parent or guardian must accompany anyone ages 12-17. For more information or questions please email healthinfo@oglethorpe.edu or dekalb.covid19@dph.ga.gov.
  • Visitor Policy. Visitors and guests must wear a face mask while indoors and follow other COVID-19-related guidelines. Guests at athletic events may also be required to follow SAA/NCAA guidelines. Residents will work with your Resident Advisor (RA) to determine guest guidelines for individual residence hall rooms.
  • Orientation and Welcome Weekend will continue as planned. Please reach out to Campus Life with questions about these events.
  • University Events: Masking is required at all indoor university and athletic events, and efforts should be made to allow for social distancing. Face coverings are not required outdoors for vaccinated individuals, but they are encouraged, especially at larger gatherings. We also strongly recommend that anyone who is unvaccinated continue wearing a face covering outside. Capacity in the Conant Performance Arts Center is limited to 50%. Remote or virtual meetings and events are still strongly encouraged.
  • Student Events: It is strongly recommended that all student-sponsored events be virtual. All social gatherings in Greek Row must be approved first. Students should contact the Assistant Director of Greek Life or the Dean of Students with questions.

We will continue to monitor campus and community transmission rates and work with the university’s health consultants and the COVID-19 Task Force to make ongoing assessments about university operations. We will adjust policies accordingly throughout the semester. Additionally, we will continue to have cleaning and disinfection stations available in classrooms and most common spaces. For ongoing updates and FAQs visit: https://covid19.oglethorpe.edu/