What this means for Drexel








Summary

  • New cases of COVID-19 continue to decline in the Philadelphia area.
  • The City of Philadelphia has announced relaxed guidelines on indoor masking. However, indoor mask-wearing will continue on the Drexel campus this quarter, until the end of finals week on Saturday, March 19, while Drexel assesses its own community needs and risks.
  • Drexel will communicate revised public health guidelines during Spring Break. Masking requirements continue on public transport, including trains, buses and shuttles.
  • The callback deadline was Monday, February 28. If you have not yet uploaded proof of your booster vaccination to the Drexel Health Checker, please do so now.
  • the Drexel Visitor Health Checker Pass has been updated: Instead of attesting to full vaccination, visitors will also be able to attest to having received a negative COVID test result within 24 hours of arrival.
  • See Drexel’s updated public health guidelines here.

Dear students and colleagues,

We are pleased to report a sharp drop in the number of positive COVID-19 cases identified at Drexel testing sites over the past two weeks, consistent with local and national trends showing the continued ebb of the Omicron winter surge. This optimistic news leads to a relaxation of guidelines at local and national levels, leaving institutions as the main decision-makers regarding their own COVID safety measures. Here’s how those decisions are currently playing out at Drexel:

Indoor masking continues on campus

The City of Philadelphia announced the end of its indoor masking mandate for most businesses, a sign that the number of severe COVID-19 cases has declined to manageable levels for the city’s health care system, and the number of new cases remains low. Although this is great news, this does not signal an immediate change to Drexel’s own masking guidelines. The city and federal government allow individual institutions to decide on masks based on the risks posed in their specific environment and the ability to deal with those risks. The pandemic has highlighted the relationship between individual health needs and the collective health of the community. Our goal at Drexel is to create and maintain an inclusive learning environment where all people, including those at higher risk of serious illness or whose loved ones are at high risk, can feel reasonably safe.

Drexel will maintain its own mask precautions on campus for now and until the end of finals week, Saturday March 19. Information regarding revised public health guidelines will be communicated prior to the start of the spring term.

While we are not making immediate changes, our on-campus immunization and recall rates and robust testing and contact tracing infrastructure give cause for optimism. It is likely that Drexel will relax its masking guidelines in the near future; however, that decision will be based not only on CDC and local guidelines, but also on our scientific assessment of the specific risk posed to our students and faculty in the classroom and our ability to conduct appropriate contact tracing in this setting.

When our risk assessment indicates it is safe enough for us to do so, Drexel will upgrade to “mask recommended” status in our indoor campus spaces. We can all prepare for this shift by doing the following now

  • STAY HOME if you are sick.
  • If you’re worried about being infected with COVID, get tested.
  • Wear a mask (and continue to follow all other exposure guidelines) if you have been exposed to an infected person.
  • Accept and encourage continued mask-wearing among peers who choose to do so.
  • Wear a mask whenever you are in doubt about whether a situation is safe for COVID.

remember that you are personally better protected when you wear a mask and by doing so you also protect others. Regardless of any current or future relaxed guidelines, we urge you to continue wearing a good quality mask wherever you go. This will allow for maximum adaptability and ensure that you are able to move quickly from an area with looser guidelines to environments (such as public transport) where masks are still required.

The callback deadline was February 28

By now, everyone who is eligible for a booster shot should have uploaded proof to the Drexel Health Checker. If you have not done so for any reason (other than a Drexel-approved vaccine exemption), please upload this information now to reduce the risk of disciplinary action. If you are unsure how to do this, see the instructions on our Vaccinations and Reminders page. If you are not yet eligible for a booster because you received your first vaccine recently, you should receive your booster as soon as you become eligible. If you have recently been infected with COVID-19 and require an extension until April 1, 2022 to upload your recall package, please complete this form for further instructions.

Visitor Pass Updates

At this time, visitors to Drexel must continue to use the pass system to access indoor spaces. The Drexel Visitor Health Checker Pass has been revised to allow more flexibility in how visitors are admitted to campus. Drexel hosts should now accept the guest pass instead of asking to see proof of vaccination. Campus visitors can now: 1) certify that they have been vaccinated or 2) certify that they have received a negative COVID test result within 24 hours of arriving on campus. This allows people who are exempt from vaccines, or who are too young to be vaccinated, to come to Drexel while limiting risk to the campus community.

As we continue to assess the public health situation in our broader context and our campus community, be on the lookout for further updates to our public health guidelines. Many in our community welcome the ability Choose to wear masks when indoors when others may worry about the impact on their health and safety. We intend to remain flexible in our policies to enable the best Drexel experience while keeping safety in mind. Thank you for your patience and attention.

Take care,

Marla J. Gold
Chief Wellness Officer
Senior Vice-Provost for Community Health

Paul Jensen
Executive Vice President
Nina HendersonProvost
university teacher

Subir Sahou
Senior Vice President of Student Success

Megan Weiler
Senior Vice President
Human Resources Director

About Kevin Strickland

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