The university shared important information with you on Jan. 11 regarding our updated COVID-19 testing, isolation, and quarantine protocols. Today, we are writing to share additional information specific to the first week of the semester. Here are answers to frequently asked questions that we hope will help guide you this week and throughout the semester.
Why are classes remote this week – and will this last longer than one week?
Classes are remote this week due to the number of people returning to campus and the rapidity with which Omicron can spread. Students also are required to test when they return to campus and will need to limit contact with others until their test results are returned negative. For the first week of the semester, in addition to classes, other instructional sites such as labs, on-campus clinics, studios, and lessons also should be conducted remotely so that the university can complete its return-to-campus testing protocol. In addition, the dining hall will be mobile order only for the first week of classes. Please avoid close contact with others while you wait for your saliva test results and as we complete the campus testing protocol. Omicron is not as easily detected in nasal passages as previous variants were because it tends to grow in the throat versus the sinuses. Our PCR saliva test is an important mitigation measure at this time. We expect to return to fully in-person activities during the second week of the semester, depending on the number of COVID-19 cases on campus at that time.
I just recovered from COVID-19. Do I still need to participate in campus testing?
No, you do not need to participate in asymptomatic PCR saliva testing for 90 days following your diagnosis. Please inform CHWS of your recent diagnoses by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are within this 90-day period and develop COVID-19 symptoms, or are in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, rapid antigen testing is recommended. Please contact CHWS or your primary care provider in this circumstance.
What is the definition of “fully vaccinated”?
You are considered “fully vaccinated” if you have completed your vaccine series and have received a booster (if eligible). You are eligible for a booster five months following the two-dose mRNA vaccine, or two months following single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
If you are not yet eligible for a booster shot because you were recently vaccinated with a primary series, you are still considered “fully vaccinated” until eligible.
If you have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19, completed your initial vaccine series, and your doctor has recommended you wait for your booster, you are considered “fully vaccinated” until your doctor determines you are eligible for a booster.
Can I return to/remain on campus if I haven’t received my booster yet??
It depends. Boosters are required for all members of the campus community as soon as you are eligible to receive one. If you are eligible and have not gotten your booster shot yet, you may return to campus but you must follow the unvaccinated community member protocol until you get your booster and upload your booster documentation.
If you have been approved for a medical or religious exemption previously, you must follow the unvaccinated community protocol.
If you are a student applying for a medical or religious exemption, please contact CHWS at email@example.com. Faculty and staff seeking medical or religious exemptions should contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What protocols do unvaccinated community members need to follow?
In addition to testing and a daily attestation, unvaccinated community members are required to wear a KN95 or N95 mask, and will need to quarantine if they come in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. See the attached flow chart for timing.
Masking is required on campus. What kind of mask do I have to wear?
If you are unvaccinated, you are required to wear a KN95 or N95 mask while on campus.
If you are fully vaccinated, we recommend you wear a KN95, N95 or 3-ply surgical/medical grade mask. Data suggests that improved mask quality decreases the transmission of the Omicron variant. Cloth masks do not provide adequate protection against the Omicron variant. If that is your only available option, we recommend you insert a filter (if pocket available) or double mask.
Masks with instructions for use are available from Facilities Services by calling 253.879.3713, and can be picked up Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–3 p.m.
What if I feel sick?
Please see attached the flow chart for instructions. Instructions vary if you are feeling sick and you have not come in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive versus if you have symptoms and you have come in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive.
You will know if you are a close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive if you receive an email from email@example.com [or your local public health authority] informing you of your close contact.
Please note students can use the PCR saliva tests located in Wheelock Student Center across from room 208. Faculty and staff should go to a community testing site or contact their primary care doctor for COVID-19 testing.
For more information, please visit pugetsound.edu/coronavirus, or if you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you on campus soon, and thank you for your ongoing support in following these guidelines intended to protect the health and well-being of our campus community.
We got this, Loggers!
Kelly Brown, Ph.D.
Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services