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September 16, 2021

Dear Students,

Earlier this week, we wrote because the number of positive COVID-19 cases identified through our surveillance testing program has increased. As you know, the goal of surveillance testing is to quickly identify any individual who is positive so that they isolate and not spread infection. The good news is that our surveillance testing program is doing what it was designed to do—identifying positive cases.

Given the increase in our test positivity rate, we are taking the opportunity to reiterate our current mask guidelines and underscore the importance of using good judgement to minimize your risks of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19. The guidelines include:

  • Wear a face mask while indoors at all times, unless you are in your bedroom or suite and only with your roommates.
  • Wear a face mask outdoors when attending any event involving 100 or more participants.
  • Only remove your mask when you are actively eating or drinking. Take advantage of the weather whenever possible and eat outside. If you eat indoors, keep as much distance between you and others as possible and make sure you put your mask back on as soon as you are done eating.
  • Avoid or significantly limit your attendance at indoor gatherings off campus, such as attending parties or going to nightclubs or bars. There has been evidence of viral transmission occurring in such venues. If you must attend, please stay masked indoors at all times.
  • If you are contacted to retest:
    1. understand that while most retests are negative, some do come back positive;
    2. come to the testing center for an individual test as soon as possible during their hours of operation (link to those hours);
    3. avoid any unmasked activities (especially eating or drinking) or contact with others;
    4. if you are symptomatic, contact Health Service right away.

Additional information about surveillance testing

Testing frequency will remain 2 times per week for undergraduates and once per week for graduate students for the foreseeable future. Testing will continue to be pooled unless you are asked to take an individual PCR test by contact tracing or Health Service staff. Do not ask for an individual test unless you have been requested by us to take one.

All in-person activities will continue

We are pleased that in-person student organizations, athletics, club sports, theater, dance, and musical group activities also can continue while observing current COVID protocols. At present, there is no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in classrooms, labs, or studios, and all academic activities remain in-person. Student organizations and athletics, including club sports, may continue as scheduled unless you are notified otherwise.

Please review our current COVID-19 policies and procedures on the university’s coronavirus website.

We are doing everything we can to provide you with the best academic and community experience this year. Please support one another in making good choices and remember that your individual decisions ultimately affect all of us.

With appreciation,

Marie Caggiano, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Health Service

Michael R. Jordan, MD, MPH
University Infection Control Health Director

Camille Lizarríbar, JD, PhD
Dean of Student Affairs and Chief Student Affairs Officer for AS&E