Campus Life and COVID-19: Guidelines and Reminders
The following message with reminders about COVID-19 and public health guidelines was sent to the Drexel University community.
- Continue to follow all public health guidelines.
- Do not come to campus if you feel sick. Remember that you can always schedule a COVID-19 test through the Drexel Health Checker.
- Masks are required in most indoor spaces. Make sure to wear an approved mask, and wear it correctly — including covering both your nose and mouth.
- Take advantage of social opportunities this Halloween, but remember to be safe: Wear a mask, meet up in smaller groups, and always prioritize outdoor activities over indoor social events.
- Eating and drinking indoors are allowed only in designated eating zones, although you can always briefly remove your mask to sip your water, coffee, etc.
- Vaccine booster doses are now available for many adults. View the CDC's latest guidelines to see if you qualify for a booster shot and schedule through our vaccine clinic or Student Health Center. You can also schedule a flu shot through the Student Health Center.
- Visit the Response to Coronavirus site for the most up-to-date guidelines.
Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues,
We are halfway through the academic quarter! Overall, we are pleased at how well everyone has settled back into campus life while continuing to follow public health guidelines. Currently, 97 percent of students and 98 percent of employees are fully vaccinated. Approximately 1.4 percent of our campus population have received medical or religious exemptions and are enrolled in a regular testing program. A small number of individuals are in the process of vaccination. There remains no evidence of viral transmission in campus buildings where masks are consistently worn, including all instructional spaces.
The COVID-19 Dashboard illustrates the results of individuals tested at our campus testing sites: vaccine-exempted individuals participating in routine screening, as well as those who are symptomatic, exposed or desire a test for any reason. Over the past five weeks, 64 individuals (9 employees, 55 students) have tested positive at our sites. Given that we are a highly vaccinated campus, the vast majority of infections have been among vaccinated persons and, thankfully, have been relatively mild. That said, no one wants to experience this illness, chance infecting others, or be in isolation for 10 days.
Living and learning in a highly vaccinated community that routinely masks indoors allows us to hold in-person classes and activities. It’s not optimal, but we are still in a pandemic and yet able to experience being back on campus! Note, however, that traveling outside our community may not afford the same level of protection. Some Drexel community members acquire COVID-19 when traveling and/or visiting friends or family outside campus. Large social events also remain places of disease transmission, especially when people aren’t masked. With Halloween and other holidays approaching, please be responsible when weighing your social options. Here are some ways to help you reduce your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19:
Get Tested (and Keep Getting Tested)
New protocols this term include regular testing for those who are exempted from vaccination or who are still completing vaccination. Exempted student athletes, including students participating in club sports, must test more frequently (three times weekly). To everyone taking part in weekly testing: Thank you, and please keep it up! Testing is vital to prevent and contain outbreaks. On-demand testing is also available to everyone in the Drexel community, whether exposed to the virus, not feeling well or just wanting to get tested. Vaccination reduces your risk, but it doesn’t eliminate it — it’s always better to get a COVID-19 test if you have any concerns at all or if you don’t feel well.
Don’t Show Up
Dragons are go-getters but there are some times when it’s best not to show up. If you have any symptoms that might reflect COVID-19 (e.g., cough, congestion, headache, fever, sore throat), do NOT attend classes or other communal activities. It’s easy to dismiss your concerns as allergies or flu, but don’t take the risk of exposing others. Stay home, get better, and get a COVID test as soon as possible. Communicate with us via the Health Tracker App so we can provide guidance. If you’re an employee, take a sick day or work remotely; if you’re a student, email your professors to determine alternate ways to meet class requirements and access course material. Your professors would prefer you stay home and feel better and are here to support you.
Avoid a COVID-19 Scare: Get a Flu Shot
Flu shots are now available to the whole Drexel community and required for students in health care settings. Having the flu is no fun, and it can be dangerous for some. Flu symptoms can also mimic COVID-19. Reduce unnecessary quarantines, tests, and worry: get vaccinated against the flu. Visit the Student Health Center, or call them at 215.220.4700 for more information. Flu vaccine is also readily available at all retail pharmacies.
Wear a Mask, Wear it Right
Regardless of vaccination status, mask wearing is required of everyone in most shared campus spaces (see full guidelines on our Drexel Public Health Guidelines page). Wearing a mask is a remarkably effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 — but only if it’s done right. Remember, a mask MUST cover your nose AND your mouth, and should fit without gaps at the sides or top/bottom. Masks with valves are not permitted. If you’re wearing a reusable mask, it needs to be washed regularly to keep working. When in our buildings, mask. When you are socially with others you don’t know, mask.
Explore New Social Options
While you may need to get creative, COVID-19 doesn’t have to put a damper on your social life. As the weather turns cooler, consider keeping a warm layer of clothing on hand for impromptu meet-ups or meals as you enjoy the late fall days with friends.
Eat and Drink Outdoors or in Designated Areas
Eating indoors on campus is restricted to designated eating areas only — such as dining halls and eateries, approved events, and a select number of marked, indoor eating areas. Eating while alone in an office with the door closed, or below the level of the walls in a cubicle, is permitted. While in other indoor settings, you are of course allowed to take a drink of water or another beverage; just make sure to do so quickly and replace your mask immediately afterward. Find a list of dining options at https://drexel.campusdish.com.
To allow for maximum socialization and maximum safety, make plans to eat outdoors as much as possible. You can view a map of special outdoor seating areas on the University City Campus on the Drexel Business Services website.
Safe dining tips:
- When eating indoors, remove your mask only when seated with your meal, and if possible, try to dine with no more than four other people.
- Those who are not fully vaccinated should take extra precautions including physical distancing while eating.
Questions about larger events and activities with food should be coordinated through your College’s/School’s Implementation Team designee.
Get a Booster
The CDC and FDA have now made millions of adults in the United States eligible for COVID vaccine booster shots. ALL individuals over the age of 18 who were vaccinated with the J&J vaccine at least 2 months ago are eligible for a booster dose with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. People over 18 who received Pfizer or Moderna originally are eligible to receive a booster dose of ANY of the three FDA authorized COVID vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) if:
- They received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least 6 months ago
- At least one of the following applies:
- They have certain underlying medical conditions
- They are working in a high-risk setting (includes the classroom setting)
- They are living in a long-term-care facility
While your original COVID-19 vaccination continues to provide some protection, a booster shot significantly increases your protection from infection. Drexel is not currently requiring booster shots, but we recommend them for those who are eligible and are we making them available during our regular vaccine clinic hours (sign up for a booster shot through a Drexel/Sunray Pharmacy vaccine clinic). Effective the week of November 1st, vaccines will also be provided through Student Health Services. All three vaccine types are available at Drexel and at area retail pharmacies at no cost to you. We will soon be updating the functionality of the Drexel Health Checker to allow you to record a booster shot.
Don’t Panic — Just Take Care
You can view the latest public health guidelines on Drexel’s Response to Coronavirus website. If you are an instructor concerned about public health issues in class, read the Provost’s Return to Campus FAQ for additional information. If you’re concerned about your workspace — for example, airflow issues or cleaning — contact your Building Manager and/or Department Manager.
Know that we are doing our best to help you reduce your own risk of infection, and keep in mind all the people that you are helping protect by staying safer. We have been caring for ourselves and each other for more than a year. We are holding strong as a community in the face of this pandemic — a remarkable feat, indeed.
Thank you, and be well,
Marla J. Gold, MD, FACP
Senior Vice Provost for Community Health and Chief Wellness Officer
Janet Cruz, MD
Director, Student Health Services