Dear Colleagues,

As we continue with our phased return and kick off the first week of in-person classes for the winter quarter, we wanted to share some updates and reminders to ensure a safe and productive academic term.

In this email: 

  • COVID-19 Positivity Rates

  • Reducing Risk Through Frequent Testing

  • Health & Safety in the Classroom

  • In Case of Student Illness or Possible Exposure

  • Supporting Student Well-Being

  • Supporting Faculty and Professional Staff 

COVID-19 Positivity Rates

As more students, faculty and professional staff return to campus, we have seen an expected initial increase in COVID-19 positivity in the last couple weeks. However, it's important to note that the increase is not purely reflective of on-campus activity, as these numbers also include students or employees at home who have received a positive test. For the most up-to-date data, please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard

Reducing Risk Through Frequent Testing

Rigorous health and safety protocols, including those set forth in the Dragon Pledge [PDF], are in place to maximally reduce risk and support a safe learning and working environment.

Screening testing is an important step in reducing the risk to our campus community. All students registered for face-to-face courses are required to participate in weekly testing, and Drexel employees who return to campus in Phases I-IV have the opportunity to be tested every other week throughout the academic term. Signage is clearly visible throughout campus to remind all to wear a face covering, maintain appropriate social distance, wash hands frequently and monitor their health via the Drexel Health Checker App. Additionally, face coverings must be worn in all buildings unless an individual is in a room alone with the door closed.

In the event of a positive case, the University's contact tracing team will reach out to all individuals reported to be in contact with the infected individual. Students who cannot self-isolate or quarantine safely are being offered a room in our designated isolation and quarantine halls and will receive support services throughout their isolation or quarantine (e.g. meal delivery, mental health checks, etc.). 

Health & Safety in the Classroom

Signage is located at the front of each classroom to remind students and faculty of important safety guidelines. In the unlikely event that a student will not comply with the required health and safety behaviors in the classroom, the instructor will follow the process described below.

  • Ask the student to correct their behavior. This may involve asking if there is a reason why the student is unable to comply (e.g. they may not have a mask). If a solution to the problem can be easily identified, and you as the instructor are able to assist the student in complying, such as directing them to where they can find a mask, please do so.

  • If the student will not correct their behavior, inform the student that they will need to leave and will be referred to Student Conduct because they are not complying with the University's safety requirements.

  • If the student still will not correct their behavior or leave, the instructor will call Public Safety to have the student escorted from the classroom.

In Case of Student Illness or Possible Exposure

If a student in your class is placed in isolation or quarantine due to illness or exposure, please remember to follow the Absence from Class policy and work with the student and their advisor to help them complete missed work and attend class remotely, if possible. As noted in the policy, it is important that faculty do not ask for evidence of a medical excuse (doctor's note) and do not accept any such note from a student.

If you believe a situation has occurred or will occur in which the Drexel community may have been or will be exposed to COVID-19 due to a health and safety violation, please visit the Drexel Compliance Hotline site to submit a report, which will then be investigated by the Drexel Compliance Program team. Reporters remain anonymous. 

Supporting Student Well-Being

Working together, we can provide a positive experience for students during this unusual time. Some students, especially those living away from home for the first time or in quarantine, may be especially vulnerable to mental health challenges. 

Because faculty are often the most frequent and familiar point of contact for students, the Counseling Center has developed a number of resources, including a one-hour training, to help you best support your students during this time.

View tips on how to identify student distress and how to refer students to counseling on the Office of Counseling and Health Services website

Complete this Qualtrics form to register for the next training session, "Supporting and Empowering Students During COVID-19," which will take place Thursday, February 11, from 4-5 p.m

Supporting Faculty and Professional Staff

We recognize that this continues to be a challenging time for all members of our community. Numerous resources exist to help support our faculty and professional staff, including Drexel's Employee Assistance Program, which provides access to confidential, 24/7 counseling via a toll-free phone call (1.888.628.4824). This benefit is offered at no cost to benefits-eligible faculty and professional staff, their family members, and Drexel graduate students.  

Drexel Human Resources has also developed the Junior Dragons Learning Program in response to Drexel employees' concerns about addressing the educational needs of their children while working a full-time job. This online, K-12 academic support and enrichment program is available to the children of benefits-eligible Drexel faculty and professional staff.  

Find these and other helpful guides and services on the Drexel Human Resources website

Many of our students, faculty and professional staff are ready and excited to be back on campus, engaging with each other in safe and socially distant ways. We are currently finalizing plans for the spring quarter and will share more details as they become available. 

We thank you all for your role in maintaining a safe campus and for continuing to provide a rewarding academic experience for our students. If you have concerns or issues regarding teaching or the classroom, please work with your department head and college leadership. As always, Drexel's Response to Coronavirus site remains the best source for the latest COVID-19 updates.


Paul E. Jensen
Executive Vice President
Nina Henderson Provost
University Professor

Erin McNamara Horvat
Senior Vice Provost
Faculty Advancement & Undergraduate Affairs