COVID-19, Monkeypox and the Fall Semester

To the Case Western Reserve Community:

With the start of the fall semester rapidly approaching, we write with updates and reminders regarding the university’s approach to two health issues relevant to our campus.

COVID-19

Vaccines

As shared earlier this month, all members of the campus community must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (including booster if eligible)—or have received a medical or religious accommodation. We recognize that some of you may not have had access to approved vaccines during the summer; our COVID-19 vaccine website provides information about how to schedule on-campus appointments.

Masks

Case Western Reserve continues to require masking on university shuttles and Safe Ride vehicles, as well as in clinical patient-care settings. Masks are not required elsewhere on campus, including classrooms.

Meanwhile, the university strongly encourages the use of high-quality, well-fitting face masks (such as N95s, KN95s, KF94s, and FFP2s) to reduce transmission risk in crowded settings, or for individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Proper use of a N95 respirator/mask greatly reduces infection risks, adding to the protections afforded by up-to-date vaccinations.

Members of the campus community can secure such masks by contacting the Office of Procurement at customecareteam-pds@case.edu.

If you have other questions about aspects of the university’s approach to COVID-19 this semester, please visit this page on the COVID-19 website.

Symptoms and Testing

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home (or in your residence hall) and take a rapid antigen test as soon as possible; if the result is negative, please take a PCR or rapid antigen test within 24 to 48 hours.

Members of the campus community can get free rapid antigen and PCR tests from vending machines located around campus. The volume of PCR testing is particularly high as the semester begins, so we ask for your patience as staff work to process the results.

If you test positive, please report your test result to University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) by logging into myhealthconnect.case.edu and sending a secure message. If your test is negative, you do not need to report it.

Students should isolate in place while awaiting a reply with specific isolation instructions. You may leave your residence hall room wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask—such as an N95, KN95, KF94, or FFP2—to use the restroom or to pick up meals. Students who need immediate medical advice should contact UHCS at 216.368.2450. For on-campus students with questions about isolation logistics, please call 216.513.6602; students isolating off-campus should contact 216.368.2450 during UHCS clinic hours.

Faculty and staff also should isolate while awaiting isolation instructions from UHCS. For medical advice, they should contact their primary care provider.

For additional guidance regarding next steps, please visit this page on the COVID-19 website.

Monkeypox

Earlier this month University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) posted information and FAQs about monkeypox, a virus that so far has accounted for 36 cases in Cleveland and 123 in Ohio. It is transmitted primarily through close, intimate contact, but also can be transferred through linens or skin contact with open sores.

Federal officials announced last week that they would be distributing an additional 1.8 million vaccine doses for monkeypox, as well as 50,000 doses of a treatment commonly known as TPOXX. Case Western Reserve is working closely with city and county health officials to coordinate planning and secure resources.

Students who experience symptoms of monkeypox should contact UHCS at 216.368.2450 or schedule an appointment through myhealthconnect.case.edu. Faculty and staff with symptoms should reach out to their primary health care providers; if they have a confirmed case, they should notify UHCS promptly.

With best wishes for a safe and healthy fall semester.

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President

Carolyn Gregory
Vice President for Human Resources

Sara Lee, MD
Assistant Vice President, University Health and Counseling Services
Chief Health Officer
Case Western Reserve University