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Updated COVID-19 Policies and Vaccine Survey Results

 

Dear Covenant Community,

In my last communication I mentioned the need to remain flexible as we try to adjust our safety protocols in real time taking into account community vaccination rate, local case counts, CDC recommendations, and regional spread.  As case counts and hospitalizations triple and quadruple across the country, the COVID-19 Committee with the support of the President’s Cabinet is moving forward with the updated policies below to begin the year.  Questions can be directed to covid19@covenant.edu

The new mask requirements will be in effect for the first two weeks of the semester and will be reevaluated every two weeks.  Campus and local community conditions along with guidance from health and governing authorities will inform any decisions we make to loosen or tighten restrictions for the good of the campus and to achieve our goal of in-person education together. 

Updated Mask Policy - reviewed every two weeks

  • Masks will be required for students when in classrooms and other indoor instructional spaces (labs, studios, music rehearsal spaces, etc.).  Faculty members can teach unmasked and can give students permission to remove their mask temporarily when asking or answering a question.

  • Masks will be required in chapel and for fans at indoor intercollegiate athletic events. There will not be six foot distancing in these venues or in classrooms as there were last year.

  • Masks are not required in other indoor spaces including, but not limited to, residence halls, dining facilities, gym spaces, etc. - though unvaccinated students are encouraged to wear masks when indoors and unable to socially distance. 

  • The mask requirement for Health Services that was communicated previously remains in effect for the coming year.

 

Updated Quarantine/Isolation Policy - effective for the year

  • Due to a large freshmen class and the recent discovery of a significant maintenance issue in the building we hoped to use for the majority of our quarantine/isolation rooms, we simply do not have sufficient space to accommodate on campus quarantine/isolation to the extent we did last year. 

  • All students will need to make a plan to quarantine (if named as a close contact) or isolate (positive test) off campus whether at home or in another off campus location arranged by you and your family.  We will make rare exceptions for international students and for those with severely immunocompromised family members at home.  

  • This is a reminder from my last email that being vaccinated keeps you from having to quarantine if you are named as a close contact (as long as you are asymptomatic).  

  • The limited spaces we do have will be utilized to provide temporary (24-48 hours) overnight space while students make off campus arrangements and/or plans to travel home. 

  • Students need to be working with their families now to make plans for where they will go should the need arise for quarantine or isolation.

 

Updated Covenant Commitment - effective for the year

  • For students, you will again need to affirm The Covenant Commitment for the 2021-22 academic year as a part of your registration checklist.  

  • Similar to last year, the commitment highlights your willingness to take steps to protect the community.  It is also attached to this email.

 

Vaccine Survey Results

  • You will find attached to this email the results of the student and employee vaccine surveys that were closed August 6. 

  • Taking into account full and partial vaccinations and positive tests within the last 90 days, 81.2% of employees have some level of immunity while that number sits at 62.8% for students.  

  • As you will see in looking at the data, 113 survey participants responded either yes or maybe to getting the vaccine on campus early in the semester.  

  • As a result of that interest, we have scheduled a vaccine clinic on campus for Thursday, Sept. 9 from 1-4 p.  A sign-up form with more details will be shared the week before the clinic. 

  •  If you have not been vaccinated, you are encouraged to do so.

 

Entry Requirements - effective at beginning of each semester

  • If fully vaccinated, you should send a copy of your vaccination card to healthservices@covenant.edu and have a copy available when moving on to campus. 

  • If unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, you have three options:

    • A copy of your negative PCR test results taken in the three days prior to your arrival on campus;

    • A copy of your antigen test results taken 24 hours prior to your arrival (this cannot be a home test - it must be a test with results including your name);

    • A copy of your positive test results from the prior 90 days not to include the previous 10 days

    • We will not accept antibody test results per the recommendations of the CDC and other medical counsel

  • These results can be sent to studentdevelopment@covenant. edu or a copy brought with you to campus to be given to your RD or the Office of Student Development, Carter 138.

 

While we hoped to begin the year completely mask optional, the rebound of COVID-19 due to the highly contagious delta variant has caused us to reconsider and modify our plans. For some of you these changes may seem excessive while for others they may appear as not enough.   Our priority remains having classes in person and these measures are taken in large part to protect faculty in the classroom and impede transmission so that classes can continue in person.  

We appreciate your attention to these changes and the flexibility needed to proceed into the unknowns of this semester.  You all have shown tremendous resilience these past 18 months, and we are deeply grateful for it and for the Lord’s protection.  It is our sincere hope that we will be able to roll back some restrictions earlier rather than later.  Please join us in praying for the Lord’s kind hand again upon Covenant College in the year ahead.

In Christ,

Brad Voyles on behalf of the COVID-19 Committee

 

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