Dear Members of the Campus Community,
The fall semester is almost upon us! Thanks to your diligence and vigilance, we are ready to resume in-person classes and look forward to being together in community in the coming weeks. I will continue our periodic “Friday Updates” to help keep you up to date on important news related to the university’s COVID-19 response.
Vaccination is our most important tool to keep our campus community healthy. I am thrilled to report that as of Aug. 12, more than 99% of faculty and staff and 93% of students have submitted proof of vaccination (or, in relatively few instances, obtained a medical or religious exemption). Many thanks to our colleagues in Human Resources and Counseling, Health and Wellness Services (CHWS) for assisting our campus community in reaching these important milestones.
The vaccination deadlines have now passed. If you have not yet submitted proof of vaccination or applied for an exemption, please do so immediately. This is required in order to attend classes, live in campus residences, work on campus, or participate in campus life this fall.
New Procedures for the Beginning of the Fall Semester
The pandemic continues to change over time, and our strategies to combat it must change as well. The Delta variant is on the rise in Pierce County, so in addition to vaccination we are taking the following steps during the first few weeks of the semester as Loggers converge on campus from around the country and we gather for traditional back-to-school events.
- Indoor Masks Required for All through Oct. 1. Although we had hoped that vaccinated individuals could be mask-free indoors, the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant requires us to adopt another layer of protection. Effective immediately, masks must be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status. This includes meeting rooms, classrooms, and public areas. Those who are teaching or delivering presentations may remove their masks for the duration of their commentary only, and must be appropriately distanced from others. In addition, plexiglass shields are in most classrooms and are available upon request from Facilities Services. We hope this requirement will be short-term, and will keep you updated as conditions change.
- Testing for Faculty and Staff Members. Students are already required to have two negative COVID-19 test results following arrival on campus. As we prepare for the fall semester, all faculty and staff members will participate in asymptomatic surveillance testing for two consecutive weeks, beginning the week of Monday, Aug. 16 or the week that you return to campus. Test kits and the drop box for completed tests are available for pick up/drop off at your convenience near the front door of CHWS on the second floor of Wheelock Student Center. Your second test sample should be dropped off seven to 10 days following your first test. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
Reminder About Test Results
- Those who receive negative test results are free to remain on campus.
- Faculty and staff receiving a positive result are required to notify CHWS and isolate off campus for 10 days or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
- Students who test positive before they arrive on campus should notify CHWS and isolate at home for 10 days.
- Students who test positive upon arrival can isolate in our campus isolation spaces or may isolate at home if it is safe to do so.
Please consult with CHWS for more information, or review guidance in our regularly updated COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions. Remember that vaccination substantially reduces the risk of serious illness, but may not prevent you from contracting or spreading the virus, regardless of whether you are experiencing symptoms.
Stay Home if You Are Ill
In any given year—with or without a pandemic—students, faculty and staff members may become ill and need time away from classes, work, and other campus activities. Our sick leave benefits, leave policy, and other policies are designed to support faculty and staff who cannot report to work. Students should be in communication with their faculty, coaches, and campus work supervisors if they must be absent due to illness. Please remain home if you are ill.
While there are no changes to our visitor policy, I just want to remind you that we have one and that it applies to everyone visiting campus who is not a Puget Sound student, faculty member, or staff member. Please review it if you are planning to invite or host guests on campus.
Update Regarding Library Access
Collins Memorial Library will remain open without card access during regular business hours, but will require card access Monday–Friday after 5 p.m. and on the weekends. The library will be open without card access for special events, including the beginning of orientation week on Aug. 21 and 22, and Homecoming and Family Weekend. Visitors will be asked to sign a log-in sheet and wear a visitor badge to assist library staff in meeting the needs of all patrons.
Keep Up to Date
Guidance related to health and safety protocols are subject to change. Please take advantage of resources designed to keep you informed.
- Website. The COVID-19 webpage contains health-related guidance and links to the COVID-19 dashboard, campus announcements, and frequently asked questions. Note that the layout of the page has changed with the introduction of the new pugetsound.edu website. Colleagues in Technology Services and the Office of Communications are working diligently to resolve some recurring technical issues with the site’s performance; it may take up to 48 hours for information to be updated. Thank you for your patience and please continue to look for email updates.
- Town Hall Meetings. We know you have questions and will continue to host open forums in the fall semester. Please look for invitations via email soon.
The bottom line: we are doing and will continue to do everything we can to support our students, faculty and staff members as we navigate what we hope are the final stages of the pandemic. We are moving forward as a community to do the work that we do best—discovering new knowledge and preparing our students to use what they learn to do work that matters.
Thank you for your commitment to this community of learners, and for the continued pursuit of excellence in all that you do.
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President