Need to Know: Back to School Edition
August 16, 2021
Greetings, Andrews University friends,
Amidst the rhythm and rituals of a university campus, few moments match the excitement and anticipation that mark the beginning of a new school year, with new students joining us and continuing students returning to continue on a journey to be World Changers for God.
We also begin this school year facing the reality that the global COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have an impact on the University community here on our main campus, especially with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
A shared commitment to keeping ourselves and our community safe remains essential.
There are a variety of things that all of us can personally do to help keep our campus safer in the weeks ahead, including a return to indoor masking for all, regardless of vaccination status, beginning Aug. 16 and currently through Sept. 30.
Another way for us to keep our community safer is our goal of COVID-19 vaccinations for a majority of the individuals on our campus. This will be a crucial step that will help us better protect individuals and our whole community from the ongoing spread and/or impact of COVID-19.
Right now, more than 75 percent of our employees are protected through COVID-19 vaccinations or have met Andrews University’s standards for “acquired immunity” status—a previous COVID-19 infection and completed isolation (among our faculty, more than 80 percent of our teachers are protected through vaccinations or acquired immunity).
You can track these updates on our employee COVID-19 vaccinations/acquired immunity levels on the Andrews University COVID-19 vaccination page. As the school year begins, student levels of COVID-19 vaccinations and acquired immunity will also be reported on that page.
Please note that while receiving a COVID-19 vaccination remains a protected and personal choice for each member of our community, Andrews University will continue to strongly encourage each individual to consider receiving a COVID-19 vaccination as one of the best ways to keep ourselves, each other and our entire community safer in the face of continued threats from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta variant.
Additionally, as each one of us makes a commitment to understand and follow guidelines for those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated (you can find the new guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated here) this will be another crucial way to keep our community safer as this new year begins.
Our continued thanks go out to each one of you as you share in an ongoing commitment to keep our community as safe as possible in these challenging times. Our Community Covenant of Care will continue to be at the heart of the Andrews University family in this new school year.
New Masking and #CampusClear Guidelines, Regardless of Vaccination Status
As we noted earlier, we’ve been following the spread and impact of the highly infectious Delta variant, which is now responsible for more than 90 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the United States. A significant percent of individuals with serious COVID-19 infections leading to hospitalizations, regardless of the strain or variant of COVID-19 causing the infections, are unvaccinated.
To track the impact and risks emerging from the increases in COVID-19 infections, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has established a system that monitors the level of COVID-19 spread in each county in the United States. Berrien County, where Andrews University is located, remained at a “moderate” level of transmission until Aug. 10—since that date, Berrien County has been assessed at either “substantial” or “high” levels of transmission.
With these “substantial” or “high” levels of transmission within our county, the CDC and our local Berrien County Health Department have recommended the use of masks indoors for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
As a result, effective Monday, Aug. 16 and currently through Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, all students, employees and visitors to campus will be required to wear masks in the public spaces inside Andrews University campus buildings regardless of vaccination status.
Additional information on the specifics of these new masking guidelines is available here.
Also, while daily use of #CampusClear is no longer required, all individuals at Andrews University should use it to report any symptoms or if they have come into close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, regardless of whether or not you previously have been vaccinated.
Please note that symptoms do not need to be reported when they are vaccine-related symptoms occuring within 72 hours of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
Students: COVID-19 Self-Screen Required for Fall Semester
In light of rising cases related to the COVID-19 Delta variant, all main campus students are required to complete and submit a mandatory COVID-19 Self-Screen form online prior to moving into on-campus housing or attending their first face-to-face class or campus activity and no later than Monday, Aug. 23.
The self-screening process will require you to submit the following documentation:
- Proof of being fully vaccinated (i.e. copy of your COVID-19 vaccination card); OR
- Proof of acquired immunity by previously testing positive for COVID-19 (i.e. copy of your prior positive test result or a positive antibody test); OR
- For those who are unvaccinated and do not have acquired immunity from a previous COVID-19 infection ONLY: You must complete a COVID-19 test (both rapid and PCR tests are acceptable) within five days before your arrival on campus and have negative results. If your test results are positive, do not come to campus until you have completed the required isolation period.
Please note that the information on your vaccination status submitted through this form will remain confidential. However, your teachers will have information on who has, or has not, completed this online screening step, which is required before students can attend classes.
Andrews University expects those who are fully vaccinated, or who meet Andrews University’s guidelines for “acquired immunity” status from a previous COVID-19 infection and completed isolation, to begin submitting their documentation online now.
You can review additional details on this required screening process for our students here.
Employees: Reporting/Tracking COVID-19 Vaccinations
As we are nearing the start of this new school year, we also want to encourage our employees, our faculty and staff, who have received partial or full COVID-19 vaccinations to take a moment to upload your information here if you haven’t done so yet.
Additionally, if you have had a previous COVID-19 infection and completed isolation, you can report that detail here. Current research shows that a previous COVID-19 infection will provide a level of acquired immunity against the strain of the virus that caused your infection. However, since that acquired immunity may not protect you against new and different variants of COVID-19 (such as Delta), many of our employees who had previous COVID-19 infections are also making the choice to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Finally, if you are uncertain about or are planning not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, you can share those details here.
The University will continue to strongly encourage receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. However, the choice to get vaccinated remains with the individual. It is inappropriate for any individual to challenge or harass another student or employee about her or his vaccination status.
Please note that there are now different guidelines in place for those who are vaccinated, have acquired immunity, or have not been vaccinated. You can review those new guidelines for fall semester at this link. Thanks for your support of those guidelines based on your vaccination or acquired immunity status.
Complete information on reporting vaccination status for our employees is available here.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about our COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, we encourage you to contact our COVID-19 team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, welcome to our new school year, and thank you for your commitment to a safer Andrews University community through our shared Community Covenant of Care.
May God bless each one of you, and our entire University family and community, as this new school year begins.