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Campus & Community

Reducing Risk and Staying Safe On Campus This Fall

September 7, 2021

 The following message on reducing risk and staying safe on campus this fall was sent to the Drexel community.

Summary

  • As the fall term approaches, Drexel continues to prioritize safety. Please pay close attention to Drexel’s health and safety procedures and note that they may change as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
  • Vaccination remains the most effective tool against COVID-19. If you have not yet scheduled a vaccination appointment, please do so now. If you have yet to upload proof of vaccination, do so using the Drexel Health Checker.
  • All students and employees must wear a mask in all public and shared indoor spaces, including instructional and research settings, regardless of vaccination status.
  • If you received a vaccine exemption, you will receive regular COVID-19 testing during the fall term and must follow expanded safety guidelines. Additional individuals may be asked to participate in testing depending on regional data and campus infection trends.
  • Drexel has rigorous COVID-19 safety measures in place, including contact tracing and enhanced sanitation.
  • Vaccination reduces COVID-19 transmission and markedly reduces disease severity but doesn’t completely eliminate risk. Know your risk, make informed choices and adopt sensible behaviors to reduce your exposure on and off campus.

Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues,

We can’t wait to kick off a great academic year as an in-person community once more. The fact that we can do so this fall is thanks in no small part to all of you—our faculty and professional staff who have worked to reduce COVID-19 risk in our on-campus environment and all our students and employees who have followed our public health guidelines. Those guidelines are even more important now that the majority of us will be on campus once more, and they may continue to change as the situation evolves. Please come to campus prepared to reduce your risk of infection and protect yourself and the rest of our Drexel community by following the most up-to-date health and safety procedures.

Here’s what you need to know at the start of term:

A Vaccinated Campus

Having a community that is almost entirely vaccinated helps us protect each other—especially those among us who are unable to be vaccinated or are immunocompromised. If you are on campus this fall, you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The only exceptions are people who have been granted a religious or medical exemption to vaccination, or those who (due to special circumstances such as arrival from places abroad where vaccine was unavailable) must complete their vaccine course upon arrival to campus. Remember, it takes 14 days after you finish your final COVID vaccine dose to be considered fully vaccinated. 

If you have yet to provide us with your proof of vaccination, please do so immediately using the Drexel Health Checker. And please get vaccinated if you’re still holding off: Vaccination is our best protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Click here to schedule an appointment.

Drexel will be able to provide qualified students and employees booster shots should this be officially advised. We are watching the situation carefully.

If you have any questions about vaccination, visit our COVID-19 Vaccination page or call our vaccination hotline: 215.703.2335.

Masks

Drexel currently requires all students, faculty and professional staff to wear a face mask in all public and shared spaces, including classrooms and research spaces, regardless of your vaccination status.Vaccinated people may remove their mask when alone in an office or residential space, or with roommates if they live in shared housing. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people must always wear a mask when sharing indoor Drexel spaces with any other person. Please bring masks with you to campus. Extra masks will be available in key campus locations.

Testing

All students moving into Drexel University housing will be tested upon arrival. Some students and staff members will participate in regular COVID-19 testing so that we can prevent outbreaks from occurring. Currently, that includes anyone (student or employee) who has received an exemption from vaccination, partially vaccinated persons, and students taking part in intercollegiate athletics. You will be notified if you are required to take part in regular testing and the frequency of that testing before the start of classes. Even if you are not part of a regular testing program, you can still get a COVID test through Drexel. Learn more about COVID testing here.

An Infrastructure for Safety

Drexel will continue to implement the highly effective, evidence-based strategies developed over the past year and a half to limit the spread of COVID-19 among members of our community. We employ a layered approach to maximally reducing risk of infection, including vaccination, masking, testing, rigorous cleaning and sanitation, enhanced ventilation in buildings, a robust contact tracing system to quell outbreaks at the start, and use of the Drexel Health Checker to keep track of student/employee health, testing and vaccination status.

We care deeply about your health! We ask that if you feel sick, you stay home and report your symptoms through the Drexel Health Checker. Student Health Services is ready to provide guidance and care as needed.

Taking Care, On and Off Campus

  • At this time, the national experience of significant disease outbreaks at other universities that result in shifts to isolation and remote learning have consistently been traced to social events outside of the class or campus settings. In addition, while vaccination greatly reduces risk of infection as well as the likelihood of severe disease, it can never prevent all cases. You can still get sick, pass the virus to others, and must be isolated for at least 10 days. In addition, the more people who become infected, the more opportunity the virus has to produce variants. Our success as a campus depends on everyone making responsible, informed decisions in all settings, even if they are vaccinated.Refrain from attending large indoor events in which masks are not worn consistently and attendees are from outside Drexel. This can be a challenge, we know, but the No. 1 risk of infection is attending large gatherings. The Delta variant is highly contagious. Masking at indoor events can be the key that keeps you well and out of isolation.
  • Keep an eye out for symptoms such as coughing or fever and report them through the Drexel Health Checker. Consider scheduling a COVID-19 test if you’re not sure of your health status.
  • If you test positive outside the University testing sites, please be sure to inform the University, physically isolate yourself from others, and cooperate with Drexel’s contact tracing team to contain any outbreaks.
  • If you’ve been granted an exemption, are between vaccine doses when you arrive on campus, or are waiting for the full 14 days to pass after your last vaccine dose, you have additional safety procedures to follow, as noted above. In addition to wearing your mask and participating in regular testing, remember to monitor your health and report symptoms through the Drexel Health Checker, and keep your physical distance from other people to reduce the risk of transmission. You will also need to quarantine if you have a known exposure to COVID-19.

You are an important part of our Drexel community—and you have a crucial part to play in your own health and in helping ensure all of us have a healthy and rewarding on-campus experience this fall.

In order to provide the latest information and a forum for questions, the University has scheduled two virtual town hall meetings in the weeks ahead – one for students and one for faculty/professional staff.

  • Student Information Town Hall – Wednesday, September 8, at 6 p.m.
  • Faculty/Professional Staff Town Hall – Friday, September 17, at 11 a.m.

More information on these town hall meetings will be sent in a separate message to the respective groups. In the meantime, please save the dates and attend if you are able, as we want to ensure our entire Drexel community is informed and aligned to ensure a healthy and successful return to campus this fall. 

Should you have questions about COVID-19 safety in the meantime, please visit drexel.edu/coronavirus, and view our Health & Safety page for the most up-to-date guidelines.

We can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!

Sincerely,
Marla J. Gold, MD
Senior Vice Provost for Community Health and Chief Wellness Officer

Topical Tags:

coronavirus