Oct. 12: COVID and Our Community

Message to the Davidson College community from the Core COVID Response Team: 

You demonstrate your care for each other by taking steps to avoid – and avoid spreading – COVID. You get vaccinations, try to keep distance, wear masks or just avoid people when you have a scratchy throat but still are testing negative. That watchfulness toward our community is why our campus had a highly vaccinated population before we ever mandated the shots. Right now we have no students in isolation.

Thank you. 

Students are situated differently than employees and residents in our surrounding community. Students are in an intensely residential environment on campus, 24/7. That is part of why we originally required the COVID vaccine for students and still do. 

Like the communities around us, we have moved from the pandemic stage of COVID and attempting to impede it on all fronts to an endemic stage of managing it. The public health justification for a community-wide vaccine mandate does not exist as it did earlier in the pandemic. On campus, we have a highly vaccinated population that takes proactive steps, and we have measures in place to manage the virus when it appears. 

Given the many new resources available to help those who get COVID and the high levels of immunity (through vaccination and/or infection) in the general population, the benefit of requiring vaccination of employees is limited. Our colleagues are devoting hours and resources to administering the requirement – efforts that could be devoted to pressing employee needs. We also are limiting our applicant pools in a very tight labor market. Effective immediately, we will no longer require a COVID vaccination of employees. Many other colleges and corporations took this step months ago, and we have learned from their experience. We have preferred a more cautious approach, keeping a variety of measures in place toward the safety of our community, including those mentioned above, which will continue. 

We know this may raise some anxiousness among some. Those with compromised immune systems or loved ones at home in that situation should continue to take extra precautions. We remain committed and continue to work each day to keep our community safe. 

We appreciate the support that our students, faculty and staff provide for each other. We will continue to gather information from public health officials and are prepared to respond if the circumstances around COVID shift. 

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July 6: Fall 2022 COVID Guidelines

Message to the Davidson College community from the Core COVID Response Team: 

The excitement of the fall semester is only a few weeks away, and we are eager to welcome our first-year students and welcome back returning students. We know you are planning for your arrival, even as you immerse yourself in summer projects and experiences. We want you to have some essential information that will help keep you, your friends and the entire campus safe and healthy.

We have made some adjustments to our COVID guidelines. Please read all the way through this message so that you are ready for the new year.

Context

The situation with COVID continues to evolve as more people get vaccinated and/or test positive and recover. Widely circulating variants of the virus seem generally to be more transmissible and result in less serious disease. We anticipate that this virus will continue to circulate in some form for the foreseeable future, and the CDC may recommend additional vaccination or booster shots depending on how the situation develops. We (the COVID team) consult with infectious disease experts, watch state and local trends, use CDC guidelines and consider previous campus experience at Davidson and elsewhere as we make decisions about our campus policy.

Vaccinations and Boosters

Thanks to all of you who have submitted your vaccination and booster shot information. As you know, in accordance with CDC guidelines we require students to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID. These shots help minimize complications and protect those around you who can’t get the shots. We will continue an exemption process. The forms and instructions can be found here. To submit your vaccination information, please use the Student Health Portal and, then, click on “pending forms.” Students who have not met the vaccination/booster requirements or requested and been granted an exemption cannot move in to a campus residence hall or attend classes at the start of the semester.

Testing

We will not offer a self-testing center at the start of the semester.

We will set up a COVID testing tent outside the Center for Student Health & Well-Being. Students with upper respiratory symptoms can make an appointment and will test in the tent before their appointment. A student who tests positive will use a room reserved for those who test positive. We will discontinue required weekly surveillance testing for unvaccinated students and employees. 

We will not require a negative test at student check-in in August.

Isolation and Quarantine

Students who test positive will remain in their rooms, and the medical team will provide guidance on preventive steps to them and their roommates. Roommates with compromising health conditions who do not have access to alternative housing may be offered a temporary housing option. We continue to follow CDC guidance, and our careful monitoring of students in isolation and quarantine last year found that none of them developed unexpected problems.

Masks

We’re grateful to our community for respecting one another and our differing situations. Individual faculty retain the option of requesting the use of masks in their classrooms, and we will revisit this guideline for the spring semester. Staff members may ask visitors to private offices to mask.

Departments that sponsor events open to the public, such as plays and concerts, can determine appropriate COVID protocols.

Communication

We will send COVID-related messages to campus as warranted, based on circumstances and events. The availability of independent self-testing means that we will not have a reliable source for the number of cases on campus, so we will not distribute a routine case count. We will alert everyone if there are indicators of a spike in cases and what you should do.

As in the past, all of these guidelines are subject to revision based on changes in the circumstances in our community and the state. We continue to move toward an environment similar to campus before the pandemic and appreciate your efforts and your support of our shared obligation to each other.

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