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  • Home / News / COVID protocols: what you need to know for the start of fall semester | Ursuline College - Liberal Arts Education in Ohio

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    COVID protocols: what you need to know for the start of fall semester

    July 30, 2021

    A Message from Sister Christine De Vinne, OSU, President

    Dear All:

    We look forward to having students, faculty and staff back on campus very soon for the start of what will be the College’s 150th year – a true milestone! In anticipation of resumption of face-to-face instruction, we continue to do our part to keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible, and every one of you also bears a share of this responsibility.

    As I write, COVID hospitalization rates are on the rise and the delta variant, twice as contagious as the original coronavirus, has become the dominant strain of the disease in Northeast Ohio. Here are the steps we are taking to limit the spread of COVID on campus.

    For the start of the regular Fall 2021 semester:

    All students on campus, both undergraduate and graduate: before you arrive, you must email one of the following to vaxcard@ursuline.edu

    • Picture of your vaccination card (both sides)
    • Proof of a negative COVID test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival on campus
    • Proof of a positive COVID test, no more than 90 days prior

    Faculty and staff, if you have not already done so, you may email an image of your vaccination card to kknaus@ursuline.edu. To date, 89% of faculty and staff have submitted proof of vaccination.

    Can’t find your vaccination card? Contact your local health department for directions regarding obtaining a replacement.

    All athletes (residents and commuters) and non-athlete resident students, including those who have already had COVID, must submit one of the above before your arrival to campus in order to move into a residence hall or practice with a team. If you have not submitted one of these documents, you will not be allowed to move into a residence hall or attend a sports practice.

    For the first three weeks of class:

    For the first three weeks of class, all students, vaccinated and unvaccinated, must wear a mask in campus buildings. Residence hall students should follow special directives from the Director of Residence Life. With the start of the regular semester, our student population tops 1,000, and with this increase in numbers we need to gauge campus health and safety. The 3-week period will give the administration time to sort through vaccination cards and determine the threat level on campus. Faculty and staff are encouraged to mask during these three weeks also.

    Beyond the first three weeks of class:

    Beyond those first three weeks, our mask policy will be determined by the percentage of campus community members vaccinated, the number of new cases on campus, and the level of spread here in Cuyahoga County. Watch for updates as the semester continues. Even after the 3-week period, all students will be required to wear masks in rooms where distancing is more difficult, including science labs and prep rooms, computer labs, art studios, and the fitness center. Special policies for the Nursing Resource Center are posted in the Nursing Portal of D2L.

    The CDC recently revised its guidance on masks, recommending that in regions of “substantial and high” spread everyone, including fully vaccinated people, wear masks indoors. While Cuyahoga County is not currently in the high-spread category, we will be monitoring the statistics closely. As the CDC states, “For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated: You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.”

    Ongoing surveillance testing:

    With the start of the regular semester, we will resume weekly surveillance testing for unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff. As before, anyone who submits a copy of a vaccination card is exempt from testing. We will test 3-5% of our unvaccinated population, chosen at random, every week.

    Athletes will continue to be tested during practice and competition seasons. Watch for information from the Athletics Department for details.

    Self-Health Checks:

    Finally, we expect all students, faculty and staff to continue assessing their health daily before coming to campus and to monitor for any symptoms of COVID. If you are experiencing COVID symptoms, stay at home, rest, and contact your health care provider.

    Together, in our Ursuline culture of shared responsibility, we can limit the spread of this disease and begin a healthy and productive academic year.