Benefits of Vaccination Requirements

To the Case Western Reserve Community:

In yesterday’s message we emphasized some of the consequences of failure to comply with the university’s vaccine policy. Today we want to convey some of the most welcome benefits of campus compliance.

First, though, we must emphasize that our ability to maintain those benefits depends heavily on one primary factor: COVID-19 infection rates.

The Delta variant is 226 percent more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain, and now accounts for more than four of every five new U.S. cases

We have been fortunate to see no spikes on campus this summer, but August’s arrival of large numbers of students—along with increased faculty and staff presence —could change that trend.

It is because vaccines are our single best protection against transmission that we have instituted this vaccine verification policy. If you have not already done so, please get yours today: this calendar shows the university’s vaccination schedule, and this website allows you to search for vaccination locations nationwide.

Below are several of the changes going into effect today (Wed., July 21):

Masking: Those who are fully vaccinated (two weeks from completing their vaccine dosage) do not have to wear masks indoors on campus. Exceptions exist for individuals (vaccinated or not) who are:

  • in a patient-care setting;

  • engaging in physical activity within a university athletic or recreational facility; and

  • taking university transportation (e.g., Safe Ride vehicles or university shuttles).

In these three circumstances, masks must be worn at all times.

Baseline Testing – Students: All students starting academic programs next month are required to participate in three weeks of baseline COVID-19 testing and wear masks while in class during those weeks. This requirement applies regardless of vaccination status.

Baseline Testing – Faculty and Staff:  Faculty and staff who have not been tested by the university for COVID-19 since May 29 also must participate in three weeks of COVID-19 testing (from Aug. 23 through Sept. 10). This requirement applies regardless of vaccination status.

Physical Distancing: Those who are fully vaccinated no longer have to maintain six feet of distance from others on campus.

Daily Health Attestation: Starting tomorrow (Thursday, July 22), the daily health attestation will go on hiatus until Monday, Aug. 23—when those who are not vaccinated will be expected to complete it every day. 

COVID-19 Symptoms: Regardless of vaccination status, please stay home (or in your residence hall) if you experience COVID-19 symptoms and contact University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) for guidance about returning to campus. For immediate medical advice, students may call UHCS anytime; faculty and staff should contact their primary medical providers.

Dining: Campus dining has returned to pre-pandemic practices for those who are vaccinated (those who are not vaccinated must physically distance themselves at all times and wear masks when not eating).

Events and Gatherings: Under the criteria described above (e.g., masking and distancing among unvaccinated individuals), events and gatherings may resume under pre-pandemic guidelines.

Visitors: Visitors may come to public areas of campus so long as those who are not vaccinated follow the university’s protocols for masking and social distancing. Policies for non-public areas will return to pre-pandemic standards.

As most of you know, these eased restrictions are only possible because of the university’s nearly non-existent infection rates late in the spring and so far this summer. They will continue only as long as COVID-19’s presence on campus remains exceptionally low. We will update you regarding these health and safety matters as circumstances warrant. 

For now, we thank all of those who have been vaccinated, and urge those who have not to get their shots now.

 

Lou Stark
Vice President for Student Affairs

Carolyn Gregory
Vice President for Human Resources