Returning to In-Person Instruction Next Week
A message about the return to in-person instruction the week of January 17 was sent to the Drexel community.
- As anticipated, Drexel will return to in-person instruction next week, the week of January 17.
- Before in-person classes begin:
- Get a booster shot if you are eligible and record it in the Drexel Health Checker. Booster shots are also available on campus, with special clinics scheduled for January 12, 13, 19 and 21. Sign up here. Adult family members are also welcome.
- Upgrade your mask or double up a cloth and surgical mask.
- Get tested before coming to campus.
- If you’re sick or have been exposed, wait to come to campus until you know you’re well. Connect with your professors to determine how to best stay on track with your courses.
- See the latest guidelines on the Drexel Response to Coronavirus site.
Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues,
We’re pleased to confirm that we’re returning to in-person instruction at Drexel this coming week, the week of January 17. Thank you to everyone for your hard work making our first two weeks of remote instruction successful.
While COVID-19 transmission remains high in the region, we anticipate that the current surge will plateau and begin decreasing over the next week or two, based on national modeling data and our own real-time campus experience. We are a highly vaccinated and boosted community with an ongoing layered approach of indoor masking, testing and contact tracing, resulting in lower viral transmission compared with that of the Greater Philadelphia Region. The vast majority of cases continue to be mild, and most now require a shorter period of isolation, based on the latest public health guidance. Importantly, we have seen no evidence of COVID transmission in classrooms or other learning spaces since returning to in-person instruction last year. The Drexel community has proven our ability to follow public health guidelines to keep ourselves and our community as safe as possible. Selective testing and rapid contact tracing help us contain outbreaks quickly. Appropriate masking provides an additional, critical step to preventing transmission within instructional and administrative spaces.
As we reunite after a longer-than-expected time apart, we must continue to work together to ensure our community can benefit from in-person instruction and the social support of being together without continually risking our physical health. Almost two years into this pandemic, we know that vaccines and boosters work. We know that layered prevention strategies are effective, allowing us to collectively be together, albeit still masked and adhering to guidelines. We will continue to closely monitor health and safety conditions on campus and in the region and we are prepared to respond, if conditions change.
Please ensure that you have met the following requirements before classes begin:
- Get your booster shot. Booster shots are required for everyone who is eligible (if it’s been 5 months since your mRNA vaccine or 2 months since your J&J shot, this means you). If possible, get a booster shot before you return to campus and record it in the Drexel Health Checker. Booster shots are also available on campus, if you can’t get one before you arrive. Call Student Health (215-220-4700) or schedule at one of our Sunray Pharmacy clinics (upcoming dates include January 12, 13, 19 and 21). For more about boosters and uploading to the Health Checker, visit Vaccination and Boosters.
- We strongly encourage you to upgrade your mask (e.g., KF94, KN95) or “double mask” with a cloth and surgical mask. Mask-wearing is still required in all shared Drexel spaces and at events. We strongly recommend you upgrade your mask, making sure it fits well over your nose and mouth. Neck gaiters, masks with valves, and scarves DO NOT count as adequate face coverings indoors at Drexel.
- Test before you come to campus. If you have access to rapid antigen or PCR testing, take a test just before returning to campus. People moving into Drexel housing will also receive testing on arrival. If you’re sick or exposed to COVID-19, wait until you’re well and complete your quarantine or isolation period prior to coming to campus or getting a booster shot. Join us in doing your part to reduce the number of persons with active infection as much as possible during our return to campus by testing and staying home if you test positive.
- Make sure Student Health knows if you have recently had COVID infection (e.g., over winter break or during the past 2 weeks during remote instruction). If you have had a positive COVID test and/or symptomatic COVID infection over break, make sure to provide that information through the Drexel Health Checker. You can even upload your test result. Recent infection may change your testing plan on arrival to University housing if you are an on-campus resident and prevent unnecessary isolation time.
- Philadelphia requires proof of vaccination for indoor dining (not counting dining halls). Be prepared to show your vaccine card or a clear photo of it if you plan to dine off-campus or attend any venue where food/drink is served.
- Facilities has worked to ensure all facilities follow ASHRAE 62.1 guidelines for indoor air quality and ventilation. If you have questions about a specific space, contact your building manager and/or department manager.
- Flu season is in full swing. Obtain a flu shot at your local pharmacy, through Student Health, or during a SunRay vaccination/booster clinic.
- Community members are not required to check in daily with the Drexel Health Checker. However, if you have symptoms that may reflect COVID-19 (for example, fever/chills, coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion), please do record those through the Health Checker and schedule a test.
Even as we prepare to return to campus, know that we are always keeping an eye on COVID-19 in our area, evolving science and public health guidelines, and we’re prepared to make any adjustments needed to keep our community safer. As always, find the latest guidelines on the Drexel Response to Coronavirus site.
We look forward to seeing you all next week!
Marla J. Gold, MD, FACP
Chief Wellness Officer
Senior Vice Provost for Community Health
Janet Cruz, MD
Director, Student Health Service