This message was sent to the Shenandoah University community on Tuesday, Jan. 18:
Dear students, faculty and staff,
We hope the break was one of relaxation and afforded everyone the opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones while preparing to meet the exciting challenges ahead in 2022. We had a successful reopening of campus after the holiday break with J Term in-person classes and graduate health professions and pharmacy students starting last week. We are excited to welcome back the rest of our graduate students, plus all our undergraduate and residential students later this week!
Though public health information continues to change, the Shenandoah community has proven that it is one of care and compassion and the spring semester will be successful if we all take personal responsibility for our actions and look out for each other. The rise of omicron suggests that the number of COVID-19 cases within the community could continue to increase, but we’re encouraged by the high vaccination rate of Shenandoah University students, faculty and staff and are enacting additional preventative measures. Furthermore, our health professions and pharmacy programs have proven over the past week that safe, in-person learning can indeed happen during this omicron surge.
We know questions will continue to arise, and many of them can be answered by visiting su.edu/covid and reading our FAQs. We would also like to invite you to our upcoming Student/Parent Community Forum to be held Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. (Staff and faculty received information about an employee-specific forum to be held earlier that day as well.)
The university’s Personal Conduct and COVID-19 Preventative Measures Policy has been recently updated to include new masking restrictions and Isolation and Quarantine protocols, which incorporate the CDC’s most recent recommendations. In the meantime, we have summarized below the most important provisions in the policy, which we believe will answer some of the more common questions on campus about COVID-19.
The following is effective now until Friday, Feb. 4. We will require everyone — regardless of vaccination status — to wear a mask in all indoor spaces across SU locations:
- Except when eating or drinking in designated dining areas
- Except in residence hall buildings unless a resident is COVID-19 positive or in quarantine
- Except when student-athletes are competing/practicing
- Except when Shenandoah Conservatory students, faculty, and guest artists are rehearsing or performing in accordance with the testing protocols outlined on the Conservatory page
- Except when an individual is alone in an enclosed space (i.e. office, study room, etc.)
Properly wearing a new, well-fitted mask is essential to best protect yourself and other members of our community. See CDC mask guidance for additional information.
- SU is not requiring reentry testing for faculty, staff and students.
- Unvaccinated students and employees will still undergo weekly asymptomatic testing until further notice.
- The Wellness Center will provide COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students.
- Saliva testing will be made available on various dates for university employees and their immediate family (household members).
- You can order a set of four free home test kits per residential address at https://special.usps.com/testkits for shipment in late January through the USPS.
Quarantine and Isolation
- Employees who have symptoms should stay home, contact their primary care provider, report their symptoms using the Shenandoah Go app and notify their supervisor that they will not be on campus due to illness.
- Employees should work directly with their supervisors to determine whether they will work remotely or take medical leave.
- Employees who test positive, are symptomatic or have a known exposure must follow current CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine.
Students Returning to Campus for Spring Semester
- Students should make a COVID-19 plan prior to arriving on campus. Many students may be more comfortable isolating or quarantining at home.
- Students who have not yet returned to campus for the spring semester, but have symptoms or have been exposed, should report the information using the Shenandoah Go app, isolate or quarantine at home, and contact the wellness center for further instructions.
- Students who test positive, are symptomatic or have a known exposure must follow current CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine.
- Students living on campus who test positive, are symptomatic or have a known exposure will isolate or quarantine in their own rooms or a private room designated by the university and follow these guidelines. The university will continue to maintain a limited number of quarantine and isolation rooms.
- Students should work directly with their instructors to make arrangements for missed classes.
Vaccines and Boosters
- Faculty and staff who were/are required to be fully vaccinated were also required to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 14, or when booster-eligible.
- All eligible faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get the booster.
- Faculty and staff should share a record of completed boosters through the Shenandoah Go app. Quarantine guidelines are based on vaccination status and having booster records on file will help determine someone’s quarantine requirements, should they be exposed.
- Certain student groups were required to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 14, or when booster-eligible:
- Resident Assistants/Residential Life staff;
- Graduate students in the schools of health professions, nursing and pharmacy, as well as undergraduate nursing students in clinical rotations; and
- Students who had a Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.
- All eligible students are strongly encouraged to get the booster.
- Students should share a record of completed boosters through the Shenandoah Go app. Quarantine guidelines are based on vaccination status and having booster records on file will help determine someone’s quarantine requirements, should they be exposed.
As the public health situation continues to evolve rapidly and guidance changes, the university may revise its policy and protocols as needed. The SU community has proven to be flexible and resilient, and if we continue to stay the course, we expect another successful semester. You all have shown such grace in recent challenging times and we believe in all of you going forward. We’re in this together. And together we can thrive despite the challenges.
Remember that most of your questions can be answered by visiting the Personal Conduct And COVID-19 Preventative Measures Policy and reading the FAQs.
Senior Vice President, Chair of the Executive Committee to Reopen Shenandoah
Cameron McCoy, Ph.D.
Yolanda Barbier Gibson, D.A.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Interim Vice President for Administration & General Counsel