January 3, 2022, Task Force Update

January 3, 2022 | by the Elmhurst University COVID-19 Task Force

Dear Elmhurst University Community:

Welcome to the first day of January Term. We hope this message finds you well in the new year. On December 23, 2021, we wrote with our current plans to keep our campus community safe and healthy amid the surge of the Omicron variant. Based on what we’ve learned about this variant over the last two weeks, along with updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are writing with another update about our COVID-19 campus protocols, which are effective immediately. Please read the following information carefully. If you have any questions about this information, please email covid19questions@elmhurst.edu.

On December 27, 2021, the CDC announced updated guidelines regarding COVID-19 quarantine and self-isolation periods. In addition to these guidelines, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the effectiveness of mask-wearing in reducing the spread of COVID-19. As a reminder, well-fitting masks that cover your nose and mouth are required on campus for indoor public places, including Founders Lounge, the A.C. Buehler Library, and Faganel Hall.

Effective immediately, we will be adopting the updated CDC guidelines for the Elmhurst University community:

  • People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days from the date of their positive test. Following the initial 5-day isolation, and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), they should wear a mask at all times for an additional 5 days when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter.
    • If you test positive for COVID-19, you must complete the Self-Reporting Form on the COVID-19 Updates website.
    • A contact tracer will contact you to determine the specifics of your situation, which could result in an adjustment to the isolation period.
    • It’s possible that the CDC may add a required negative test after the five days of isolation. We’ll be monitoring and adjusting accordingly.
  • People exposed to COVID-19 who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted should quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.
    • Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.
    • For all those exposed, best practice includes having a COVID-19 test at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, you should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

The guidance from health and government agencies indicates that we should continue to use the tools available to us to mitigate the virus: masking, testing, vaccinations, and boosters.

  • The indoor mask mandate remains in effect and is a crucial tool in the reduction of the spread of COVID-19.
  • Unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff with approved exemptions who are on campus must continue to be tested weekly.
  • Beginning this week (Tuesday, January 4) and until further notice, an expanded on-campus testing schedule is as follows:
    • Tuesdays, 12:00–3:00 p.m., Faganel Hall Lobby, Rapid Tests (no appointment required)
    • Wednesdays, 12:00–3:00 p.m., Faganel Hall Lobby, Diagnostic PCR Tests (requires scheduled appointment)
    • Thursdays, 12:00–3:00 p.m., Faganel Hall Lobby, Rapid Tests (no appointment required)
    • Testing during this time is also available to vaccinated members of our campus community.

Moving forward, if you are not vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated; and, if you are already vaccinated, schedule your booster. We learn more about COVID-19 and the variants each week. Accordingly, we will continue to monitor the situation and update the campus regularly, including with information regarding any adjustments to COVID-19 protocols for the Spring 2022 term.

Join us in our collective and shared responsibility to protect the health and safety of our Bluejay community in the new year.

Dr. Dean A. Pribbenow 
Dr. Phil Riordan
Co-Chairs, COVID-19 Task Force

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