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La Salle News

September 5, 2021

Important adjustments for this week

To the University community:

The launch of our semester brought an abundance of energy to campus, as students and faculty returned to La Salle. I am happy to report that, as of Friday afternoon, more than 85% of our campus community is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and another 5% is partially vaccinated, as our campus vaccination rate approaches 90%.

As we have seen nationally, colleges and universities remain susceptible to COVID-19, even in spite of a high vaccination rate. We are experiencing a number of positive cases and presumed-positive cases among our campus community—almost entirely from within our student population. These cases are across vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. We have experienced a concentrated increase of positive cases within the last 48 hours and, coupled with the high travel volume of the holiday weekend, immediate action is required in order to maintain the wellness of our students, faculty, and staff.

Out of an abundance of caution, all instruction will be delivered remotely this week (Tuesday, Sept. 7–Friday, Sept. 10). University leadership and the COVID-19 Response Team will continue to closely monitor the situation and evaluate our next and immediate options.

I know you will agree that this is not an ideal start to our semester, and this is a very difficult decision to make. However, we believe this is the appropriate course of action. Your health and safety was the most important factor we considered.

Next steps
It is of paramount importance that we use this moment as a reminder to keep up our guard. Regardless of your vaccination status, we must embrace the tactics that are supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Get vaccinated. Mask up. Avoid large gatherings. Wash and sanitize your hands. Stay home if you are not well. It’s easy to let the change of season sway you to believe your symptoms are mere allergies. It’s important not to brush off even the mildest of symptoms.

Below, you will find more information about our next week:

Testing
The University’s testing center at Treetops Café will operate. Those required to schedule an appointment, because of potential exposure or our surveillance testing program, already have received instruction from our COVID-19 Response Team. Review the testing center’s hours of availability.

Experiential learning
Students with off-site clinical affiliations will continue as scheduled. All students are encouraged to speak with their program directors if they have additional questions about their off-campus experiential learning opportunities.

Campus operations
Faculty are to make necessary arrangements to meet with their classes and hold regularly scheduled office hours remotely and are not to report to campus. Staff who are able to maintain six feet of distancing from others within their work space will return Tuesday for on-campus operations. All meetings should be conducted through virtual means, with no exceptions. Employees whose work prevents them from maintaining these safety measures are asked to speak with their supervisors. Previously scheduled in-person events should be rescheduled to a later date or held virtually.

Residence halls
Until further notice, the University’s residence hall visitation policy has been amended. Students are permitted as guests only among other students within their respective housing areas.

Campus services
Learn more about available campus services and resources through next week.

We appreciate your cooperation as we navigate this temporary interruption, for the benefit of the health and wellness of our community.

Sincerely,

Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85
Interim President