Dear Ursinus Families,
We hope you had an invigorating and healthy holiday season! We write this afternoon with a few important updates about the spring semester and our students’ return to campus beginning Tuesday, January 18.
Before we share those updates, we first want to invite you to join us and members of the college’s leadership team for a virtual town hall session on Wednesday, January 12, from 7 to 8 p.m. You can register for that event and submit a question in advance at https://go.ursinus.edu/Jan12TownHall. Over the course of the hour, it is our goal to offer a snapshot of our plans and clearly relay what our students and their families should expect this semester.
For the better part of two years, several different variants of the virus have impacted our surrounding community and, together, we’ve adjusted to these changes with grace and determination. In that same spirit, faculty and staff have been working diligently over break to prepare campus for our students’ return, and we are eager to welcome them back, as scheduled, for an in-person experience.
That experience relies on a shared commitment to each other’s well-being. Prior to your return to campus, all students must take a pre-arrival COVID test–either at a testing location or through an at-home rapid antigen test or a PCR test such as the LabCorp Pixel test–and undergo an isolation period if the test is positive before returning to campus. We’re hopeful this allows for as safe a return to campus as possible.
Residential students will be required to check-in on January 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Lower Wismer. In addition to your pre-arrival test, mandatory on-site testing will be conducted during the check-in process. Check-in for commuter students will take place on January 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. Further information will be emailed next week, along with an assigned check-in time for every student.
We strongly recommend that all students follow a series of new pre-arrival guidelines that will not only help improve the health of campus, but also reduce the chance that students will test positive upon arrival. In addition to pre-arrival testing, all students should participate in a soft quarantine for a week prior to their arrival through avoiding all large gatherings, especially indoors, and remaining masked in public settings.
We are also putting in place a few temporary measures for students once the semester begins due to the highly infectious nature of the Omicron variant. These details will also be outlined on the Defend the Den page, but know that for the first week, students will be required to test twice and dining services will be offered as take-out only. Further decisions about testing frequency and dining will be based on the measured health of the campus.
As noted before break, we are now mandating boosters for every student who does not have an approved exemption. We ended the fall semester just short of a 97% full vaccination rate and expect to see that same level of compliance with boosters this winter. For those who were unable to get the booster over winter break, the college will host an on-campus booster clinic on January 27.
We are committed to communicating to you as frequently as possible with any updates, but we ask that you check our dashboard every week to get a sense of how we are progressing as a campus community. I hope you plan to join us next Wednesday for our town hall, and we look forward to welcoming students back to campus for a healthy, successful spring semester!
Jill Leauber Marsteller ’78, P’18
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean
Virus Task Force chair
Dear Ursinus Families,