Vaccine policy, testing and campus updates

The COVID-19 Task Force has reconvened to develop plans for the spring semester. We are mindful of the increase in COVID-19 cases due to the rise of the omicron variant and continue to adjust campus operations accordingly.

Public health guidance surrounding COVID-19 is fluid, especially with contagiousness of the omicron variant. As such, decisions regarding campus operations and policy also remain fluid, with some updates taking place with short notice. We thank you all for your flexibility under these circumstances while we continue to prioritize the health and well-being of our entire community.

Vaccine policy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends COVID-19 booster shots for all who are eligible (see details). To ensure that our campus community has the highest level of protection against COVID-19 and its variants, all faculty, staff and students must receive a COVID-19 booster by January 31, 2022. Those in compliance with the fall 2021 vaccine mandate should now be eligible for a COVID-19 booster.

Update your vaccination status or apply for a medical or religious exemption through the appropriate method below. If you already received a medical or religious exemption, you are exempt from the booster and do not need to resubmit your information. Additionally, if your vaccination status has changed, or you now have your booster, you must also update your status through the appropriate method below.

FOR FACULTY/STAFF: Please update your vaccination status and your completed vaccination card through the module in PayCom if you have not done so already (you should have been prompted to do so from PayCom). If your booster is on a separate card, then include both cards when you upload the photo of your completed vaccination card(s).

Oglethorpe University will offer COVID-19 booster shots as part of a free walk-up vaccination clinic on Friday, January 14, 2022 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Turner Lynch Campus Center Trustee Room. An additional vaccination clinic is scheduled for February 4, 2022.

Returning to work on campus for faculty and staff

Faculty and staff who have complied with the vaccination policy described above, which includes having a booster shot, may return to campus beginning Tuesday, January 18, 2022 without proof of a negative test. Those whose duties do not require them to be on campus should consult with their supervisors about the possibility of continuing flexible work arrangements through January 28, 2022. Everyone is encouraged to conduct meetings remotely through this time.

Faculty and staff who have not yet received their booster shot (or remain unvaccinated) must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to returning to campus. Both PCR and antigen tests, which include at-home tests, are accepted. Employees are responsible for obtaining their own COVID-19 test and should upload their test result through PayCom. Please refer to the instructions below and reach out to HR Director Sandy Butler for further questions regarding this process.

Those who have COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have a household contact testing positive for COVID-19 should not return to campus at this time and consult with their supervisor.

COVID-19 testing required for campus residents

As the start of the spring semester will present a period of higher risk of COVID-19 spread, all campus residents will be required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their scheduled move-in – regardless of vaccination status. Both PCR and antigen tests, which include at-home tests, are accepted.

At this time, students should make arrangements for obtaining their own COVID-19 test. If you have issues accessing a COVID-19 test, please reach out to healthinfo@oglethorpe.edu.

Residents who test positive prior to move-in should avoid coming to campus and follow CDC guidelines for isolating. Additionally, those who test positive should contact bothhealthinfo@oglethorpe.edu and residencelife@oglethorpe.edu for additional instructions, which will include information on alternative move-in arrangements.

NOTE: If you are a resident who has already moved in ahead of the spring semester and have completed and submitted your COVID-19 test, you do not need to submit an additional COVID-19 test.

Additional COVID-19 testing protocols

We continue to monitor recommendations from our public health consultants and other health experts regarding the rapid community spread of the omicron variant. In response, additional testing requirements may be added for the spring semester. Please monitor your emails carefully for further details and updated information.

Dining services

Dining services will operate as a grab-and-go model through January 28, 2022. Normal dining operations will resume as health conditions permit.

Student-hosted events and activities

Student-hosted events and activities should be moved to a remote format, be held outdoors, or postponed through January 28, 2022. This does not apply to scheduled athletic events or university-sponsored non-academic events.

Proper mask-wearing and other best practices

Face-coverings will continue to be required indoors on campus unless you are alone in your office or room, or while actively eating or drinking. Masks must be worn as recommended, fitting snugly against the face and completely covering your nose and mouth. Additionally, you may consider N95 or KN95 masks, which are now more widely available than they were at earlier stages of the pandemic.

In addition to proper mask-wearing and vaccination, there are many other ways to mitigate COVID-19 spread. The CDC continues to recommend that you:

  • Avoid large crowds
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Stay aware of COVID-19 symptoms and monitor your health daily

Reporting COVID-19 violations and concerns

Individuals should report COVID-19 violations, incidents or concerns through this form. For students, reports are addressed through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and may result in removal from campus. Reports pertaining to faculty and staff are addressed through the appropriate human resource guidelines and may result in disciplinary action.

Athletics

Athletes should continue to work with coaches and trainers in compliance with NCAA protocols. For additional information on Oglethorpe’s COVID-19 policies and regulations regarding athletics, please visit gopetrels.com/covid-19.Vaccine policy, testing and other updates