COVID-19 vaccine/booster clinic Feb. 4 and additional updates

Welcome back, Petrels! As the spring semester begins, we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Please take time to review the policies and procedures outlined in the Spring 2022 COVID-19 Handbook, which was shared last week.

The evolving nature of COVID-19 and its variants continues to impact campus operations and policies, with some updates taking place under short notice. It is important for students, faculty and staff to monitor your emails for ongoing COVID-19 updates. As always, thank you all for your flexibility as we prioritize the health and well-being of our entire community this semester!

Vaccine policy and upcoming vaccine/booster clinic Feb. 4

Several weeks ago, Oglethorpe University shared updates to its vaccine policy, which now requires booster shots. 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. Those in compliance with the fall 2021 vaccine mandate should now be eligible for a COVID-19 booster.

Faculty, staff and students were expected to receive a COVID-19 booster prior to the start of the semester, or when eligible. For those unable to receive the booster by this time, Oglethorpe University is offering COVID-19 vaccines and boosters 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. Anyone planning to get their COVID-19 booster at the clinic on campus on February 4 must email healthinfo@oglethorpe.edu so that the case management team is aware of your intention to get the COVID-19 booster by the end of Welcome Week.

About the clinic:

  • This clinic is open to the entire community for those 12 and older.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines/boosters will be available.
  • Vaccines are free, regardless of insurance or immigration status.
  • Please bring your COVID-19 vaccination card, identification and insurance card if you have them.

Additional COVID-19 vaccine/booster clinic dates on campus:

  • Monday, February 21 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – TLCC Trustee Room
  • Wednesday, March 16 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – TLCC Trustee Room
  • Thursday, April 14 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – TLCC Trustee Room
  • Friday, May 13 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – TBD

Please 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.

Follow-up with those who have not met the requirement, confirmed their ineligibility for the booster, or applied for a medical or religious accommodation will begin next week, and may result in temporary removal from the campus community until the requirement is completed.

COVID-19 testing

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.

Individuals can order free at-home COVID-19 tests through covidtests.gov. Up to four tests can be distributed to each home address for U.S. residents. Students should include their campus P.O. Box when ordering. It takes 7-12 days for kits to be shipped.

Insurance companies are required to cover or reimburse for at-home COVID-19 tests purchased on or after January 15, 2022 (some insurance companies may have reimbursed tests purchased prior to that date). More information about this program can be found here.

COVID-19 testing is also 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). Find a COVID-19 testing site near you.

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. Everyone is required to provide their own mask on campus. However, a limited supply of masks are available through Campus Life and the Office of the Provost when needed.

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

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.

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.

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.