Mask-optional beginning March 4, 2022

Based on the low level of community spread and over 90% compliance with the university’s vaccine policy, Oglethorpe University will shift to a mask optional policy beginning Friday, March 4, 2022. This decision follows the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends mask-wearing based on personal preference in areas of low community spread.

The health and well-being of everyone on campus remains a priority. Those who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine or are immunocompromised are still encouraged to wear a mask. N95, KN95 and KF94 masks are recommended, as they offer higher levels of protection for the wearer.  In keeping with our core value of belonging, we encourage everyone to respect each individual’s decision regarding wearing a mask and community members are expected to  continue following the policies in the COVID-19 Handbook. While masks are now optional, avoiding large crowds, when possible, routinely washing your hands, monitoring your health daily, and getting tested for COVID-19 when you experience symptoms are all effective mitigation strategies.

Additionally, ionization technology remains installed in HVAC systems across campus. This air purification system reduces airborne particles and odors and kills viruses and bacteria, while producing no harmful by-products. Merv-13 filters also continue to be installed in all air handling units.

We are fortunate to have very few reports of COVID-19 cases on campus this semester (view the latest activity on the COVID-19 dashboard). However, the evolving nature of COVID-19 and its variants may cause campus operations and policies to change under short notice. Increase in community spread or shifts in CDC guidance could result in reintroducing a mask requirement in the future.

Please monitor your emails for ongoing COVID-19 updates and thank you all for your flexibility!

FAQs

Can faculty require students to wear a mask in their classroom?

Indoor masking is optional in all instances on campus even in classes. People should feel comfortable continuing to wear a mask, and those seeking additional protection may want to consider upgrading their mask while in the classroom. When worn consistently and properly, N95, KN95 and KF94 masks offer the highest level of protection from airborne particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Can faculty or staff require others to wear a mask in their office?

Indoor masking is optional in all instances on campus. In one-on-one meetings, we recommend that both parties ask about comfort with being unmasked. You may consider moving meetings outside or hosting it on Microsoft Teams. Those seeking additional protection may want to consider upgrading to the recommended N95, KN95 or KF94 masks.

Other reminders

I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Do I need to report my case?

Students, faculty, and staff testing positive for COVID-19 must report their case so that the proper case management can take place – regardless of their vaccination status.

The university continues to require COVID-19 tests for 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 are responsible for obtaining their own COVID-19 test. If you have an issue obtaining a COVID-19, please contact healthinfo@oglethorpe.edu.

Free walk-up vaccine and booster clinic March 16

Oglethorpe University is offering COVID-19 vaccines and boosters as part of a free walk-up vaccination clinic on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Turner Lynch Campus Center Trustee Room.If you have questions about the clinic, please contact healthinfo@oglethorpe.edu.

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

  • Thursday, April 14 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – TLCC Trustee Room
  • Friday, May 13 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – TLCC Trustee Room

Note: The CDC has updated its vaccine guidance with the following terms:

  • Up to date means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.
  • Fully vaccinated means a person has received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.

Oglethorpe University requires students, faculty, and staff to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations or have an approved medical or religious exemption.