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1-5-22: Campus Community Message

COVID-19 Campus Community Message graphic

Dear Students, Colleagues, and Families:

We hope you are well and had a joyful and restorative winter break. As we shared before break, we have been carefully following the emerging science and public health recommendations regarding the Omicron variant of COVID, in order to make plans for spring semester. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, our goals are to provide the fullest possible Wooster experience to our students, while maintaining the safety and well-being of our community. We are delighted at how well this has worked over the course of this year so far, with everyone’s cooperation! We have consulted with our public health experts and are writing today to share the main components of our plans for the start of spring semester so that you have them for planning purposes. We will share more extensive details on our website about day-to-day operations for the spring semester as well as any changes necessary as we continue to monitor campus and local public health and scientific guidance.

SEMESTER START

  • The spring semester will start as previously scheduled with MLK Day events on Monday, January 17, and the first day of classes on Tuesday, January 18.
  • From Tuesday, January 18 – Friday, January 21, all classes will be held remotely. This will allow us time to manage the return of students to campus, to conduct return-to-campus COVID testing (rapid antigen testing), and to facilitate isolation/quarantine of anyone who tests positive for COVID upon arrival. Remote classes will also accommodate any travel disruptions/difficulties while still allowing equitable access to academics for the start of the semester.
  • NOTE: All students must return to campus on Saturday, January 15, or Sunday, January 16. Remote classes does NOT mean that students can delay their return to campus until the following week. In-person classes will begin on Monday, January 24.
  • There is no plan at this time to close academic buildings, the libraries, or other spaces during the remote period of classes (first week of the semester). Seniors who need to access studio or lab space during the first week should contact their I.S. adviser. 

BOOSTERS AND TESTING

  • As shared via email in December, all students must get a booster vaccination before February 1. Booster records (and vaccination information if not previously entered) can be submitted via Scot Web here: https://scotweb.wooster.edu.
  • Prior to returning to campus for the spring semester, all students must take a COVID test and submit the results prior to their return to campus. Tests must be taken within three days before arriving to campus. Tests can be either rapid antigen tests or PCR tests both of which are available at pharmacies, public health departments, some public libraries, and other locations.  We will provide the link to the site to submit test results next week.
  • All students are required to test upon arrival to campus before moving into residential spaces. Drive-through testing behind the Wellness Center will be available from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm on Saturday, January 15; 10:00 am – 8:00 pm on Sunday, January 16; and 8:00 am – Noon on Monday, January 17. Students whose travel does not coordinate with those testing  hours (e.g., before 10:00 am or after 8:00 pm) may test at the next available testing time.
  • Students, staff, and faculty who have not met the College’s vaccination and/or booster requirements will continue to test weekly during the spring semester. In addition, we will continue to monitor waste water and to test some fully vaccinated students to assess campus public health.

MASKING

  • Masks will continue to be required in shared indoor spaces for the spring semester.
  • For at least the first three weeks of the semester, high-quality medical-grade masks (N95 or KN95) will be required in shared indoor spaces. These will be provided by the College and distributed to students upon arrival. These are proven to be much more effective at viral filtration, are betting fitting, and will be much more helpful to our mitigation efforts than cloth masks.

CAMPUS ACTIVITES

  • We expect that our extensive booster, testing, and masking requirements will allow us to safely operate a full range of campus activities throughout the spring semester just as we were able to do for the fall semester. We will provide details about what campus can expect for requirements related to activities closer to the start of the semester. Close monitoring between now and mid-January will allow us to make any adjustments from the fall semester that may be needed due to campus and/or local circumstances.

We will send a link next week through which pre-arrival COVID test results can be submitted as well as information about what to do if your test result is positive. In the meantime, if you do test positive, please notify the College through our contact tracing team at contact-tracing@wooster.edu.

We appreciate everyone’s incredible efforts to support the health, well-being, and vibrancy of the Wooster community through this year, and we look forward to seeing you all back on campus soon. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send an email to wooster-covid-19@wooster.edu.

On behalf of the COVID Task Force,

Angela Johnston
Chief of Staff and Secretary of the College
President’s Office

Posted in Community Message.