Updated Testing and Vaccine Requirements

The two emails below were sent to students and parents and faculty and staff on August 27, 2021.
Posted on August 27th, 2021 by

TO: Gustavus Students & Parents
FROM: Gustavus COVID-19 Leadership Response Team
SUBJECT: Updated Testing Requirements for Unvaccinated Gusties
DATE: August 27, 2021

As we prepare for the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year, Gustavus faculty and staff are finalizing plans that will allow for in-person classes and campus events while taking steps to help protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. Please read the information below for policy updates and reminders as we start the year.

Vaccine Required for Students, Faculty, and Staff
College leadership announced in May 2021 that Gustavus would require COVID-19 vaccines for students. With increased transmission of the Delta variant, the College decided this week that the vaccine will also be required for staff and faculty.

NEW: Weekly Testing for Unvaccinated Gusties
Gustavus students and employees who are not fully vaccinated or those who have not shared with the College that they are fully vaccinated will be required to test weekly for COVID-19. Please note that weekly testing does not replace the vaccine requirement or need to complete an exemption under the College’s existing vaccine/immunization waiver process.

Required testing will begin the week of September 8, 2021. An email will be sent today with instructions to community members who do not currently meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Vaccine Availability
The COVID-19 vaccine remains readily available in the Health Service and through many local resources. See the vaccine resources page for more information. Health Service has the Pfizer vaccine, which has been fully approved by the FDA.

Why Are These Changes Made Now
In the past few weeks we have seen cases soar across the country spreading primarily among the unvaccinated. The predominant strain being the Delta variant (98.8% of all new cases) which is more contagious and may cause more severe disease. The majority of counties in Minnesota have been in a sustained high level of transmission as shown on the CDC Data Tracker, and hospitalizations continue to rise even among young people. This increase in cases has prompted many organizations and employers to require the vaccine. Also, this week the FDA gave formal approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older.

Look for weekly emails starting next Tuesday that will report COVID-19 cases on campus and provide other COVID-19 information. We remain hopeful that by having the highest vaccination rate possible, testing unvaccinated people weekly, and requiring masks during the start of school that we will keep cases on campus low and that the overall COVID case count in the state will start to decline soon.

Please email g-covidresponse@gustavus.edu with any questions.


TO: Gustavus Faculty and Staff
FROM: Gustavus COVID-19 Response Leadership Team
SUBJECT: New COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Faculty and Staff
DATE: August 27, 2021

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we prepare to welcome students to campus for the 2021-2022 academic year amid a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant, Gustavus will now require the COVID-19 vaccine for all faculty and staff.

The vaccine requirement, which was announced for students in May, has now been extended to faculty and staff following this week’s formal FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older.

Please read the information below for policy updates and reminders as we start the year.

How to check your vaccine record
On August 23, an email was sent to employees who do not have a completed COVID-19 vaccination series on file in the Health Service. If you did not receive an email, either you already submitted proof of your vaccine status to the Health Service or your vaccine record is on file from the Minnesota Immunization Information Center (MIIC).

You can check your vaccine record on file at the Gustavus Health service by going to www.gustavus.edu/healthservice and clicking “Log on to the Gustavus Health Portal.” Your login credentials will be the same as your Gustavus User Account (Gustavus email). You can then download your Immunization History.

Vaccine availability
The COVID-19 vaccine remains readily available in the Health Service and through many local resources: https://gustavus.edu/healthservice/vaccineresources.php. Gustavus Health Service has the Pfizer vaccine which has been fully approved by the FDA.

NEW: Weekly Testing for Unvaccinated Gusties
Gustavus students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated or those who have not shared with the College that they are fully vaccinated will be required to test weekly for COVID-19.

Required testing will begin the week of September 8, 2021. An email will be sent today with instructions to community members who do not currently meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Why Were These Changes Made Now
In the past few weeks we have seen cases soar across the country spreading primarily among the unvaccinated. The predominant strain being the Delta variant (98.8% of all new cases) which is more contagious and may cause more severe disease. The majority of counties in Minnesota have been in a sustained high level of transmission as shown on the CDC Data Tracker, and hospitalizations continue to rise even among young people. This increase in cases has prompted many organizations and employers to require the vaccine. Also, this week the FDA gave formal approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older.

Look for weekly emails starting next Tuesday that will report COVID cases on campus and provide other COVID information. We remain hopeful that by having the highest vaccination rate possible, testing unvaccinated people weekly, and requiring masks for a short period during the start of school that we will keep COVID cases on campus low and that the overall COVID case count in the state will start to decline soon.

Please email g-covidresponse@gustavus.edu with any questions.

 

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