Rules of the Road for Fall Semester 2021

Please find below an overview of the university’s current COVID-19 protocols for the fall 2021 semester—with this familiar caveat: Some may change in response to new developments and public health guidance. 


COVID-19 Vaccination

(August 19, 2021) All members of the university community are expected to participate in the vaccine verification process detailed in our July 15 message. As of this writing, 99 percent of you have complied, a testament to your collective commitment to a safe and health campus.

Daily Health Attestation:

(August 19, 2021) Effective Monday, Aug. 23, all unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students—including those with accommodations—must complete the Daily Health Attestation. 

COVID-19 Symptoms

(August 19, 2021) If you experience COVID-19 symptomsremain home or in your residence hallEven fully vaccinated individuals can contract COVID-19—and also transmit it to others. Students with symptoms should contact University Health and Counseling Services (216.368.2450); faculty and staff with symptoms should contact their primary care providers.

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing 

(August 19, 2021) All members of the campus community must participate in three consecutive weeks of surveillance testing (one test per week) by Friday, Sept. 10. (Those who participated in baseline surveillance testing earlier this summer have already met this requirement.)

Masks: General Guidance

(August 19, 2021) Everyone on campus must wear masks indoors, except when alone in a campus workspace—or, for students living on campus, in their residence hall room (alone or with roommates). Masks may be removed indoors when dining, but we strongly encourage you to (a) put the mask back on whenever not actively eating or drinking; (b) maintain social distance from others during the meal; and (c) eat outdoors whenever possible. Masks are not required outdoors except when individuals are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from one another.

Masks: While Teaching

(August 23, 2021) Fully vaccinated faculty and staff (i.e., those two weeks removed from receiving the final dose of their COVID-19 vaccine) may remove masks to teach if wearing them negatively affects instruction. Faculty members who wish to remove their masks while teaching:

  • must be a minimum of 6 feet away from students—all of whom should be wearing masks;
  • should minimize the amount of time they are not wearing masks, because infection risks grow with increased duration of exposure; and
  • recognize that classrooms with microphones and speakers are settings where they can keep their masks on and use the available equipment to enhance their ability to be heard and understood.

Faculty member Lauren Calandruccio, who specializes in auditory perception, provides additional guidance for those teaching while masked.

Domestic Travel, Testing & Quarantines

(August 19, 2021) As a reminder, members of the campus community no longer must request exceptions for university-sponsored travel within the U.S. Vaccinated individuals do not have to participate in a COVID-19 test or seven-day quarantine upon their return from other states, but unvaccinated individuals must do both.

International Travel, Testing & Quarantines

(October 11, 2021) As of Oct. 11, 2021, Case Western Reserve will no longer require COVID-related approval for university-sponsored OR personal international travel, for vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals. In both cases however, vaccinated individuals must participate in COVID-19 testing upon their return. Those who are unvaccinated also must quarantine for seven days.

Study Abroad

(August 19, 2021) Requests involving such programs should be directed to the Center for International Affairs.

Visitors

(August 19, 2021) Visitors may come to campus but must comply with university policies while here. Visitors may not stay on campus overnight.


COVID-19 Protocols for Events

(August 23, 2021) You’ve already achieved impressive vaccination rates and begun (and in some instances, finished) baseline COVID-19 tests. Most of you have been good about wearing your masks and maintaining physical distance when necessary. We just have a few more rules we want you to keep in mind:

  1. Do not attend events if you have COVID-19 symptoms—even if you’re fully vaccinated.
  2. In fact, you should not go anywhere on campus—and, if you live in a residence hall, you should remain there. In all instances of symptoms, contact University Health Services at 216.368.2450 for guidance.
  3. Hold gatherings outside when possible.
    Cleveland’s weather is (mostly) wonderful in early fall, and transmission risks are significantly lower.
     
  4. If indoors, make sure to wear your mask.
    No amount of protection is perfect, but vaccination and masking are among the most effective dual combinations against COVID-19.
  5. If indoors, also consider reducing the number of invitations—and/or selecting larger venues.
    By now most of you have heard the term “Swiss Cheese Model” in terms of pandemic defense. In simplest terms, the more layers of protection you have, the less likely you are to become infected. (For more on the subject, see this New York Times article that quotes our two-time alumna Julie Gerberding, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.)
  6. And be smart about refreshments.
    The best option is to provide wrapped or boxed items that people can eat later, but if food and/or drink need to be part of the event, please avoid buffets or similar arrangements where people are close together and sharing large utensils like serving spoons. In addition, put your mask back on once you’ve finished eating.
     
  7. Finally, any event involving 50 or more participants and including people not affiliated with the university requires submission of a plan be submitted for review and approval by the university’s COVID-19 operations group.
    As a first step, share your proposal with your organization's advisor, coach or other staff member involved. This individual will submit the final document to the group. Requests for events involving people not affiliated with the university must be submitted to the group at least two weeks before the date of the event.

(August 23, 2021) Thanks to our high vaccination rates and strong participation in baseline COVID-19 testing, we start the year with significant pandemic protections already in place. Add in consistent mask wearing and, when necessary, physical distancing, and the layers of defense grow even greater. Given that context, we support hosting lectures and other meetings—with a few caveats:

  1. Do not attend events if you have COVID-19 symptoms—even if you’re fully vaccinated.
    In fact, you should not go anywhere on campus, and instead contact your primary health care provider for guidance.
  2. If indoors, make sure to wear your mask.
    No amount of protection is perfect, but vaccination and masking are among the most effective dual combinations against COVID-19.
  3. If indoors, also consider reducing the number of invitations—and/or selecting larger venues.
    By now most of you have heard the term “Swiss Cheese Model” in terms of pandemic defense. In simplest terms, the more layers of protection you have, the less likely you are to become infected.
  4. Be smart about refreshments.
    The best option is to provide wrapped or boxed items that people can eat later, but if food and/or drink need to be part of the event, please avoid buffets or similar arrangements where people are close together and sharing large utensils like serving spoons. In addition, put your mask back on once you’ve finished eating.
     
  5. Finally, any event involving 50 or more participants and including people not affiliated with the university requires submission of a plan be submitted for review and approval by the university’s COVID-19 operations group.

    As a first step, share your proposal with your department chair or other supervisor. This individual will submit the final document to the operations group. Requests for events involving people not affiliated with the university must be submitted to the group at least two weeks before the date of the event.

    In addition, all communications regarding the event (including invitations) should include this paragraph:

    Increasing COVID-19 cases within Northeast Ohio have prompted Case Western Reserve to resume its requirement that masks be worn indoors. In addition, only those who are fully vaccinated (two weeks past their final dose) should attend any campus event. Leaders continue to monitor pandemic developments and may need to adjust health protocols further as circumstances warrant. In-person is subject to change based on COVID-19 guidelines.

(August 23, 2021) For gatherings other than classes such as invited lectures, symposia, and the similar events, the following protocols apply:

  1. Do not attend events if you have COVID-19 symptoms—even if you’re fully vaccinated.
    In fact, you should not go anywhere on campus, and instead contact your primary health care provider for guidance.

  2. If indoors, make sure to wear your mask.
    No amount of protection is perfect, but vaccination and masking are among the most effective dual combinations against COVID-19.

  3. If indoors, also consider reducing the number of invitations—and/or selecting larger venues.
    By now most of you have heard the term “Swiss Cheese Model” in terms of pandemic defense. In simplest terms, the more layers of protection you have, the less likely you are to become infected.

  4. Be smart about refreshments.
    The best option is to provide wrapped or boxed items that people can eat later, but if food and/or drink need to be part of the event, please avoid buffets or similar arrangements where people are close together and sharing large utensils like serving spoons. In addition, put your mask back on once you’ve finished eating.
     
  5. Finally, any event involving 50 or more participants and including people not affiliated with the university requires submission of a plan be submitted for review and approval by the university’s COVID-19 operations group.

    As a first step, share your proposal with your department chair or other supervisor. This individual will submit the final document to the operations group. Requests for events involving people not affiliated with the university must be submitted to the group at least two weeks before the date of the event.

    In addition, all communications regarding the event (including invitations) should include this paragraph:

    Increasing COVID-19 cases within Northeast Ohio have prompted Case Western Reserve to resume its requirement that masks be worn indoors. In addition, only those who are fully vaccinated (two weeks past their final dose) should attend any campus event. Leaders continue to monitor pandemic developments and may need to adjust health protocols further as circumstances warrant. In-person is subject to change based on COVID-19 guidelines.