June 9, 2021
Good afternoon, colleagues!
Today, the college will be moving down to the “Limited” COVID-19 alert level, signifying a healthier campus environment. This is due, in large part, to the increasing vaccination rate among faculty and staff. Nearly two-thirds of you are fully vaccinated and well protected against the virus. Similarly, the vaccination rate of students living on campus this summer is now about 90 percent.
Our plans at present will continue the work-from-home practices until August, at which time employees can begin returning to campus a bit more regularly; the new flexible work policy is still being drafted and will be introduced later this summer. But given the improving health of our campus and surrounding community, there will be no institutional testing requirements for employees during the summer, though individual offices and departments may implement their own testing strategies if employees are routinely expected to interact with visitors or external audiences. We also encourage any faculty or staff member interested in monitoring their own health and well-being to consider purchasing the at-home, over-the-counter testing kits, including an at-home version of the BinaxNOW tests that we have used on campus, that are now readily available. See the testing section of the Defend the Den pages for more information.
We appear to be on a trajectory that is putting COVID in the rearview mirror, at least domestically, although the potential for sudden reversals remains all too real. In this transition period, when campus occupancy is low, we will continue to follow the state guidelines for masking except for students living in congregate settings. That is, no masks are required when outdoors. If you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to wear a mask indoors. State and CDC guidelines continue to recommend mask wearing indoors for non-vaccinated individuals. We encourage all faculty, staff, and students to follow the changing guidance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regardless of vaccination status, and we will revisit our campus guidelines later this summer. We ask that all employees continue to respect their colleagues, interacting in a responsible manner while in office spaces and other public areas. Our ability to implement more lenient campus guidelines depends on your support!
Thank you. We will continue to monitor both our campus and the infection rate throughout the region, adjusting our guidelines as necessary.
President Brock Blomberg