Fall 2022 Health Update: COVID-19, Monkeypox

Dear Oglethorpe Community,

The start of the fall semester is just weeks away and we’re excited to welcome everyone to campus soon! As we prepare to come back together, COVID-19 continues to be a global challenge and Monkeypox is a growing concern. However, there are ways we can work toward maintaining a healthy campus and promote another successful semester.

Vaccinations and Masking

During the pandemic, Oglethorpe has prioritized a campus community that is vaccinated against COVID-19 and focused on a shared responsibility for the health and well-being of our fellow Petrels. To that end, we require students, faculty, and staff to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters as defined by the CDC, or to have an approved medical or religious exemption. By coming to campus, you attest that you remain up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines.

Based on the 90+% compliance with the university’s vaccine policy and the low rate of COVID-19 related hospitalizations in our area, masks will remain optional at Oglethorpe for now. While optional, masks are welcomed and everyone is encouraged to follow the practices that are comfortable for you, while remaining respectful of others’ choices.

We are continuing to monitor the latest CDC updates and guidelines and while we hope it will not be the case, the evolving nature of COVID-19 and its variants may cause policies and campus operations to shift with short notice.

Reporting Cases

Anyone who is symptomatic is encouraged to test for COVID-19. Tests are available for free online at covid.gov/tests. You may also consult the Georgia Department of Public Health for testing site locations. 

Positive cases should continue to follow quarantine and isolation protocols in accordance with CDC guidelines. This infographic offers an overview of quarantine and isolation protocols.  Students should report positive COVID-19 test results to [email protected] and inform their professors. There will be academic flexibility to allow for adherence to quarantine and isolation guidelines. Oglethorpe employees should continue to report cases to HR ([email protected]) and to their respective supervisors. 

Other Health Concerns – Monkeypox

The recent outbreak of Monkeypox adds yet another challenge this fall. We are monitoring these newer developments and the latest related CDC advisories.

Based on CDC guidelines and other public health data, we remain confident that with appropriate precautions normal campus operations are possible. During the fall semester, Oglethorpe will offer a range of health education opportunities for the campus community to learn how to prevent contracting Monkeypox. Notably, current information suggests that Monkeypox is more difficult to transmit than COVID, so different strategies will feature in our prevention efforts. Please be especially aware of the risks of sustained skin-to-skin contact and prolonged contact with unwashed bedding or clothing.

Learn more about Monkeypox, including signs and symptoms, prevention practices, and current infection rates, on the CDC website. Like COVID-19, Monkeypox cases on campus should be reported to the same email addresses identified above for COVID reporting.

Thank you for your continued vigilance and cooperation in helping to mitigate the effects of these public health challenges on our campus.

We wish all of you a healthy, productive, and fun semester!