COVID-19 Handbook and spring semester updates

As we welcome back students, faculty and staff, the senior administrative leadership team, in consultation with the COVID-19 Task Force and public health consultants, continues to update plans for returning to campus this spring. Due to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 and its variants, decisions regarding campus operations and policy are fluid, with some updates taking place under short notice. We continue to thank you all for your flexibility while we prioritize the health and well-being of our entire community!

COVID-19 Handbook – Spring 2022

The COVID-19 Handbook has been updated for the spring semester and is now available online. Please review the policies and procedures outlined in the latest version of the handbook before arriving to campus. Some of the policies are outlined in the update below.

Vaccine policy

Last week, Oglethorpe University shared updates to its vaccine policy, which now includes booster shots for all who are eligible this spring. This follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends COVID-19 booster shots for all who are eligible (see details). This updated policy will 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 (or when eligible). 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 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.

Oglethorpe University will offer COVID-19 booster shots as part of a free walk-up vaccination clinic on Friday, February 4, 2022 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Turner Lynch Campus Center Trustee Room. Some campus residents may be unable to arrive for move-in with a COVID-19 booster. In these cases, if you intend to get your booster at the clinic on campus on February 4, please email healthinfo@oglethorpe.edu so that the case management team is aware of your intention to get your COVID-19 booster by the end of Welcome Week.

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).

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 arrange to obtain their own COVID-19 test. If you have issues accessing a COVID-19 test, please reach out to healthinfo@oglethorpe.edu.

Test4Free.org has a COVID-19 testing site near the Oglethorpe campus at Lenox Square Mall (3301 Lenox Square Parkway NE, Atlanta GA 30326). This site will have additional staffing on hand for members of the Oglethorpe community on Saturday, January 29 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and Sunday, January 30 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oglethorpe will provide limited shuttle service from the keyhole loop on campus to the Lenox Square Mall testing site on Saturday, January 29 for those in the Oglethorpe community.Anyone planning to be tested at this site should sign up for an appointment online. Students should submit the PDF of their result to the COVID-19 test submission form for students.

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 both   healthinfo@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 during J-Term or 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.

Returning to work on campus for faculty and staff

Faculty and staff who have complied with the vaccination policy described above may return to campus. Those whose duties do not require them to be on campus should continue to consult with their supervisors about the possibility of continuing flexible work arrangements through February 1, 2022. Everyone is encouraged to conduct meetings remotely through this time.

Faculty and staff with medical or religious exemptions 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.

Additional COVID-19 testing protocols

Following baseline testing for campus residents and those who are not fully vaccinated, the university will continue to test a randomized percentage of the campus population who are not up to date on their vaccines on a weekly basis. Individuals will be notified via email when they are selected and must submit a valid test result as instructed in the email.

Dining services

Dining services will operate as a grab-and-go model through February 11, 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 February 11, 2022. This does not apply to scheduled athletic events or university-sponsored 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 offer higher levels of protection. These masks 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.