Local Masking Guidelines Loosen: What That Means for Drexel
A message was sent to the Drexel community regarding how the loosening of local masking guidelines will affect the University's protocols.
- New COVID-19 cases continue to decline in the Philadelphia region.
- The City of Philadelphia has announced relaxed indoor masking guidelines. However, indoor mask-wearing will continue on Drexel’s campus this term, through the end of finals week, Saturday March 19 while Drexel assesses its own community needs and risks.
- Drexel will communicate revised public health guidance during Spring break. Masking requirements continue on public transit including trains, buses and shuttles.
- Booster deadline was Monday, February 28. If you haven’t yet uploaded proof of your booster vaccination to the Drexel Health Checker, please do so now.
- The Drexel Visitor Health Checker Pass has been updated: as an alternative to attesting to full vaccination, visitors will also be able to attest to receiving a negative COVID test result within 24 hours of arrival.
- See updated Drexel public health guidelines here.
Dear Students and Colleagues,
We are happy to report a sharp decline in the number of positive COVID-19 cases identified at Drexel testing sites the past two weeks, in line with local and national trends showing the continued ebbing of the winter Omicron wave. This optimistic news is leading to a loosening of guidelines at local and national levels, leaving institutions as primary decision-makers regarding their own COVID safety measures. Here’s how those decisions are playing out at Drexel right now:
Indoor masking continues on campus
The City of Philadelphia has announced an end to its indoor masking mandate for most businesses, a sign that the number of severe COVID-19 cases has declined to levels that are manageable for the city’s health care system, and the number of new cases remains low. While this is great news, it does not signal an immediate change to Drexel’s own guidelines about masking. The city and federal government are allowing individual institutions flexibility to decide about masks based on the risks posed in their specific environment and the ability to address such risks. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the relationship between individual health needs and collective community health. Our focus at Drexel is to create and maintain an inclusive learning environment where all people, including those who are at higher risk of severe disease, or whose loved ones are at high risk, can feel reasonably safe participating.
Drexel will maintain its own on-campus mask precautions at this time and through the end of finals week, Saturday March 19. Information regarding revised public health guidelines will be communicated prior to the start of the Spring term.
While we’re not making immediate changes, our on-campus vaccination and booster rates and our robust testing and contact tracing infrastructure are cause for optimism. It is likely that Drexel will relax its masking guidelines in the near future; however, this decision will be based not only on CDC and local guidelines but also on our scientific assessment of the specific risk posed to our students and professors in the classroom and our ability to perform appropriate contact tracing in this setting.
When our risk assessment indicates that it is safe enough for us to do so, Drexel will move to a “masks recommended” status in our indoor campus spaces. We can all prepare for this change by doing the following now
- STAY HOME if you are sick.
- If you are concerned you have COVID infection, get tested.
- Wear a mask (and continue to follow all other exposure guidelines) if you have been exposed to an infected person.
- Accept and encourage continued mask wearing among peers who choose to do so.
- Wear a mask whenever you are in doubt about whether a situation is COVID-safe.
Remember that you personally are better protected when you do wear a mask and in so doing, you also protect others. Regardless of current or future relaxed guidelines, we urge you to continue to carry a good-quality mask everywhere you go. This will allow for maximum adaptability and ensure you are able to quickly transition between areas with looser guidelines to environments (such as public transit) where masks are still required.
Booster deadline was February 28
By now, everyone who is eligible for a booster shot should have uploaded proof of such to the Drexel Health Checker. If you haven’t yet done so for any reason (aside from a Drexel-approved vaccine exemption), please upload this information now to reduce the risk of disciplinary action. If you’re not sure how to do this, see directions on our Vaccination and Boosters page. If you are not yet eligible for a booster because you received your initial vaccine recently, please be aware that you are required to get your booster shot as soon as you become eligible. If you recently were infected with COVID-19 and require an extension through April 1, 2022 to upload your booster record, please complete this form to receive further instruction.
Visitor Pass updates
At this time, visitors to Drexel must continue to use the visitor pass system to access indoor spaces. The Drexel Visitor Health Checker Pass has been revised to allow more flexibility in how visitors are admitted to campus. Drexel hosts should now accept the visitors pass instead of asking to see proof of vaccination. Visitors to campus can now: 1) attest that they have been vaccinated or 2) attest that they have received a negative COVID test result within 24 hours before arriving on campus. This allows people with vaccine exemptions, or who are too young to be vaccinated, a way to come to Drexel while still limiting the risk to the campus community.
As we continue to assess the public health situation in our wider context and our on-campus community, be on the lookout for further updates to our public health guidelines. Many in our community welcome the ability to choose to wear masks when indoors while others may feel anxious about the impact on their health and safety. We intend to remain flexible in our policies to allow for the best Drexel experience while still keeping safety in mind. Thank you for your patience and attention.
Marla J. Gold
Chief Wellness Officer
Senior Vice Provost for Community Health
Executive Vice President
Nina Henderson Provost
Senior Vice President for Student Success
Senior Vice President
Chief Human Resources Officer