August 8, 2022: Testing and Masking Updates for Ursinus Academic Year
Dear Ursinus Students and Families,
For the past two years, our campus community has been diligent, implementing vaccination and testing policies that always allowed us to have a clear picture of the health of our campus. We may have experienced disruptions, but we always remained focused, offering a residential learning experience with as few interruptions as possible. Rest assured, that vigilance will continue as we enter the 2022-23 academic year.
I write today to update you on several changes we’ve made, the most notable being that students will no longer be required to test on a regular basis here on campus. Currently, the health impact of typical infections is now comparable to those of seasonal flu; while we can’t ignore COVID-19, we will once again adapt our policies and interventions to the changing disease. And while newer COVID variants have proven to increase their infectiousness, the increased immunity due to vaccines and natural immunity has dramatically reduced the severity of average infection. It will be important for us to continue monitoring the health of our region, especially as new variants of the disease surface. Please know we remain just as focused on monkeypox and its possible spread in our region and are working with Montgomery County officials to plan for an effective response, should that ever become necessary.
Rapid antigen testing for COVID-19 will continue to be available at the Wellness Center for students who wish to test Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Symptomatic students should make an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 610-409-3100, or by logging onto the BearCare Portal. Non-symptomatic students who wish to test will be able to do so during a walk-in hour each weekday. The schedule for walk-in testing is forthcoming, so please check the Wellness Center website for updates. Special testing sessions may occur throughout the semester based on the health of campus.
The Ursinus website has been updated with additional information for students about testing and protocols to follow if you test positive. Please spend a few minutes reviewing those protocols at https://ursinus.edu/DefendTheDen.
As long as the COVID-19 Community Level stays below High, the Montgomery County Office of Public Health will not impose an indoor mask mandate. Nevertheless, some members of the campus community may still choose to wear masks for their own protection, and some settings, such as the Wellness Center and the Sports Medicine Clinic, may continue to require masks. The Wellness Center will provide the most recent CDC guidance to students who test positive for COVID-19, as well as those identified as contacts. Please be conscientious in following that guidance and be mindful and respectful of those who continue to mask even though the campus or community may not require it.
Thank you, Bear families, and see you on campus soon!
Robyn Hannigan, President
Mark Schneider, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College