- If you have not already done so, you must immediately upload proof of vaccination. The Sunday, Aug. 1 deadline is quickly approaching.
- Persons granted exemption from COVID-19 vaccination must participate in weekly COVID-19 testing.
- Masking inside Drexel facilities is currently required for unvaccinated persons and recommended for fully vaccinated persons.
- Remember to stay home when you don't feel well. Do not come to class or work sick.
- Drexel remains committed to opening fully for semester and quarter classes.
Dear Students and Colleagues,
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to keep yourselves healthy and safe and, in so doing, protect friends, family and our entire campus community. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold in ways that create new challenges. The latest variant, Delta, is much more contagious than all previous versions of the virus and is circulating in the Philadelphia region. The CDC describes the rise in COVID-19 cases and illness as a pandemic of the unvaccinated. While some breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated persons have been reported, the risk of infection is dramatically less than to unvaccinated persons, and nearly all patients with severe cases requiring hospitalization are unvaccinated (approximately 97 percent currently).
As always, Drexel is responding to these challenges by applying evidence-based science, expert guidance, and current public health guidelines. Recommendations concerning masking, distancing and other measures are also based on regional disease transmission (case counts and hospitalizations) and data on vaccination rates. This means guidance can intermittently change, based on current conditions.
Drexel requires that students and employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. Those granted exemptions must participate in a weekly testing program run by the University. Thus far this summer, cases remain extremely low on campus. We have already begun to welcome students in semester programs to campus and look forward to the arrival of students in our quarter programs in September. Your participation is key to ensuring we can proceed as planned.
COVID-19 vaccination required for all Drexel students and employees
The most important thing all employees and students must do before arriving on campus is to be fully vaccinated. You must submit proof of vaccination via the Drexel Health Checker. Please do this immediately. The deadline is Sunday, Aug. 1, for faculty, professional staff and students. Students who fail to provide proof of vaccination risk an administrative hold and interruption to their studies. Non-exempted students who fail to comply with the COVID-19 immunization requirement may be restricted from campus facilities, including Drexel University campus housing, and undergo further disciplinary action — up to and including dismissal.
New and returning international students should refer to the Office of International Students and Scholars Services COVID-19 Resources and the Drexel Response to Coronavirus website for more information on vaccine requirements and quarantine.
Employee policies concerning vaccination have been communicated previously. The pandemic is a stark reminder of how individual decisions can affect others. We protect ourselves and each other when we get vaccinated.
On Friday, July 23, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health recommended masking when indoors for all persons, regardless of vaccination status. At Drexel, the number of infections and the percentage of vaccinated persons among our community factors into key recommendations and protocols. Cases of COVID-19 currently remain extremely low at Drexel testing sites. Vaccination is required and we anticipate a vaccinated campus community in the fall, with all exempted persons undergoing weekly COVID-19 screening. At this time, unvaccinated persons are required to always mask indoors, regardless of location, unless they are in an office alone with the door closed. Consistent with recent city Health Department guidance, fully vaccinated persons are recommended to mask when inside Drexel facilities.
We recognize these may be confusing guidelines at a time of changing science. New signs will be placed on building entrances that reflect guidance as dictated by pandemic conditions. In general, always carry a mask with you and follow the guidance provided.
Stay home when sick
Regardless of your vaccination status, if you have symptoms of illness, please stay home. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 such as nasal congestion, sore throat and/or cough, get tested. All Drexel students and employees can easily schedule a COVID test through the Health Checker App. If you are sick and your COVID test is negative, you should still refrain from work or classes until you are better. Wear a mask if you go out when feeling ill. It's the healthy thing to do.
Dealing with uncertainty
This past year posed huge challenges for all of us — illness, isolation, new rules, and loss of certain freedoms we all so dearly want. Now, we are at a critical crossroads. We have access to powerful vaccines and are required to be fully vaccinated at Drexel. The latest viral variant, Delta, is highly contagious, but currently authorized vaccines remain highly effective.
At Drexel, we continue to work to create the healthiest campus conditions, where we can live, study, work and socialize. Given the nature of COVID-19 and new data that emerge from time to time, there may be changes in protocols to address new public health concerns. This can be disconcerting and even confusing, but please understand that these adjustments are being made with the health and wellness of all in mind. To learn more about COVID-19 and Drexel, view the Response to Coronavirus website.
Marla J. Gold, MD
Senior Vice Provost for Community Health and Chief Wellness Officer
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Subir Sahu, PhD
Senior Vice President for Student Success