Important announcements in this message:
· Details of the UIS booster requirement are below; deadline is Jan. 21 for most individuals
· Entry testing requirements have been expanded; see below for details
· UIS’ approach to delivering courses is continuing as planned; however, some courses scheduled to be delivered on-ground may begin remotely for the first week or two
Dear Students —
University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen today announced that all faculty, staff and students are now required to get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible. The Chancellor’s Cabinet and the UIS COVID-19 Rapid Response Team met earlier this week to develop our university-specific guidance to meet this requirement as well as other mitigation measures to support a safe return to campus for the Spring 2022 semester.
Please read the following information carefully. While this is a lot to take in, it is imperative that each of us fully understands what is expected of us as we navigate the coming weeks.
Our university vaccination policies will be updated to include the new booster requirement. Everyone working, learning, living or training on the UIS campus or at a UIS facility is required to receive and upload record of their booster shot to the Medicat patient portal by Friday, Jan. 21, or within two weeks of becoming eligible for the booster if your eligibility date is past Jan. 21. Your eligibility date for a booster is 5 months after the two-dose Pfizer series, 6 months after the two-dose Moderna series and 2 months after the Johnson & Johnson shot. A matrix is posted on the United in Safety website to help you determine when you are eligible for a booster shot.
If you do not have an opportunity to schedule a booster in the next two weeks at a community vaccination site, you can get your booster shot during an upcoming vaccine clinic on the UIS campus on Jan. 18. Watch your email for additional information.
If you have a religious or medical exemption on file with UIS for the COVID-19 vaccination, your exemption covers the booster requirement. Students who are vaccinated but want to seek a medical exemption or extension from the booster should contact UIS Health Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Jan. 21.
ENTRY TESTING REQUIREMENTS IMPORTANT UPDATES
In December, we announced an entry testing period through Feb. 10 for everyone working, learning, living or training on the UIS campus or at a UIS facility. In light of the current surge in community transmission, UIS is expanding its entry testing requirements.
Please start your required testing regimen on the first day you are back on campus. If you are within 90 days of having COVID-19, you should still meet your testing requirement following the conclusion of your isolation period unless otherwise directed by the UIS COVID-19 Rapid Response Team.
Effective the week of Jan. 10:
|If you are fully vaccinated and have received a booster …||· Test once per week through Feb. 10 unless otherwise announced.|
· Your booster record must be uploaded to the Medicat patient portal in order to qualify for once-a-week testing.
|If you are fully vaccinated but have not yet received a booster …||· Test twice per week, at least 48 hours apart, through Feb. 10 unless otherwise announced.|
|If you are not fully vaccinated …||· Test three times per week, at least 48 hours apart, until further notice, unless otherwise directed by the CRRT.|
To the greatest extent possible, students who are moving back to campus are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test 24-48 hours prior to their planned return to UIS. Those who test positive should not return to campus and contact UIS Health Services about next steps. Additionally, all students and faculty must have at least one negative test result within 24-48 hours of returning to in-person class.
To accommodate these expanded testing requirements, the UIS SHIELD Testing Site is adjusting its service hours effective the week of Jan. 10. The updated hours of operation are posted on the United in Safety testing website.
UIS’ approach to delivering courses is continuing as planned. However, some courses scheduled to be delivered on-ground may begin remotely for the first week or two at the request of faculty, and the remote delivery will be converted to on-ground teaching when the risk of infection with the Omicron variant has decreased. Faculty who wish to begin the semester remotely will communicate their plans to students via Canvas prior to the beginning of the semester. For on-campus classes, individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to maintain six feet of distance from others in all spaces, including the classroom, and everyone’s adherence to face-covering requirements is a continued expectation. Compliance with testing requirements also will be pivotal to prioritizing health and safety in the classroom and will be closely monitored.
WHAT WE’RE MONITORING
· UIS is communicating frequently with the Sangamon County Department of Public Health on the likely possibility of updating quarantine and isolation directives to align more closely with the latest CDC guidelines.
· Food Service is transitioning to grab-n-go service beginning today through the end of January.
· The CRRT is considering how to advise groups that are planning in-person events and gatherings over the next several weeks. Consider options for virtual platforms if possible.
Please watch for additional announcements on these important topics.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Every effort we put toward preventing transmission of COVID-19 helps us focus on our priority of operational continuity and advancing our students’ educational success while staying United in Safety. Please do your part by staying home if you feel ill, complying with testing requirements and contact tracing, following quarantine and isolation directives, avoiding big gatherings, wearing a well-fitting face covering (KN95s, N95s and three-layer disposable surgical masks provide the best protection) and practicing good hand hygiene.
These remain challenging times, but I continue to be so proud of the diligence, fortitude and flexibility of our UIS students, faculty and staff. We will continue to get through this, together.
Please send any questions to email@example.com.
United in Safety,
Karen M. Whitney, PhD
University of Illinois Springfield