The following message on COVID-19 testing and required training before returning to campus was sent to the Drexel community on July 31:
Dear members of the Drexel community,
Over the course of the past month, Drexel's Return Oversight Committee has kept a watchful eye on the concerning trends in the coronavirus' trajectory both in our region and across the country. New case counts have grown by 30 percent statewide in Pennsylvania, and the percentage of positive tests has risen over the last seven days. The median age for those contracting the virus is trending younger, notably affecting college-age persons. The disheartening pandemic trends in our region are also accompanied by some changes that impact our faculty and professional staff, such as the decision this week by the Philadelphia School District that all Philadelphia public schools will be conducting their fall semester in a fully virtual setting through at least November 17. This decision, which impacts over 125,000 students in our region, has a direct, significant impact on the members of our community who have children or family members within the district, and who had hoped for some return to normalcy this fall.
As we closely examine the potential impact of the latest data concerning COVID-19 in our region, I would like to reiterate the required protocols for each of us to follow as part of protecting and supporting our community's collective health.
First, a reminder that additional tools and resources, including the Drexel Health Tracker app and the new and improved Response to Coronavirus website, should continue to be used by all Drexel community members to ensure you have access to the latest information as quickly and as easily as possible. Please note that those members of the Drexel community who will be on campus are required to check-in via the Drexel Health Tracker app each time they arrive to campus in order to monitor symptoms confidentially and continuously.
COVID-19 Testing and Self-Quarantine
Key guidance concerning COVID-19 testing has been provided to us by the University's Science Advisory Group comprised of experts in medicine, public health and engineering. As a result, Drexel University is now requiring that every person returning to campus be tested for COVID-19 – including all students, faculty and professional staff. Members of the Drexel community coming from states listed on the Pennsylvania Department of Health travel page will be asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days prior to arriving at campus.
Baseline COVID-19 testing will need to be completed within one week prior to students' arrival to campus. Directions concerning how and when to obtain a COVID-19 test will be sent out in a separate communication. Testing information for faculty and professional staff is also forthcoming. Regardless of a negative test result, it will be imperative that individuals coming to campus continue to monitor their health and adhere to the public health mitigation strategies listed on the Drexel Coronavirus website.
Required Training Prior to Return
Additionally, all community members - faculty, professional staff and students - must complete mandatory COVID-19 health and safety training prior to their return to campus. As part of this training, you will need to have successfully reviewed, signed and submitted the Dragon Pledge to Drexel. More information on training and the Dragon Pledge can be found on Drexel's Response to Coronavirus website.
I fully understand and appreciate how Drexel's plans for the fall, and any decisions to modify those plans, will impact our community. At the same time, the fluidity of this pandemic necessitates flexibility in our planning; therefore, please be assured that our decisions are not being made lightly. I realize that potential changes in conditions could result in substantial adjustments to the plans of our students, faculty and professional staff, and that these adjustments and rapid changes will impact our families and our livelihoods. Should you need support in any way, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of our Employee Assistance Program for additional tools and resources to assist with how best to navigate this challenging time.
At the end of the day, Drexel's decisions regarding the fall will be driven by the health and safety of our community. We simply cannot risk the well-being of our students, faculty, and professional staff if the pandemic conditions, or the city or state, tell us otherwise. That said, I assure you that we will do all that we can to continue to offer support, guidance, and clear communications to you should any immediate changes need to take place.