July 27, 2021
Health and safety updates for Fall 2021
To the University community:
It’s my hope you share my level of excitement for the start of our fall semester.
With the semester quickly approaching, now is the time to offer an update on some of La Salle University’s health and safety measures for Fall 2021.
Vaccine requirement and vaccination status
As you know, La Salle University requires the COVID-19 vaccine for its students, faculty, and staff this semester—a decision reached based on multiple criteria and guided heavily by the safety and efficacy of the available COVID-19 vaccines. Please consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, as this remains our best protection against contraction and spread of the virus.
Submit your vaccination status form or request a vaccination exemption, consistent with the exemptions outlined in our earlier communication, no later than Friday, Aug. 6. (Separate forms exist for students and employees.) Those who do not submit documentation to confirm their vaccination status will be considered unvaccinated and, therefore, subject to additional safety measures. These additional safety measures will also apply to those who receive exemptions from the vaccine.
Regardless of your vaccination status, you are required to wear a mask indoors while on La Salle’s campus. (Note: While outdoors on campus, masks are not required for those who are vaccinated.)
We will consider revisiting our masking policy when our campus vaccination rate reaches at least 70 percent and when COVID-19 vaccines are made available for all ages. As such, we also will review local state and federal guidance in order to make the best decision for our community.
Our goal is the promotion and maintenance of a safe, healthy campus environment on which to live, learn, and work. Today, it’s expected that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue guidance recommending everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status. The CDC also is expected to urge persons in areas with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission to resume wearing masks in public settings. And just last week, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) issued new masking guidance, strongly recommending masking for everyone—regardless of vaccination status—while in public indoor places. Additionally, the PDPH is monitoring two concerning trends: breakthrough cases (those in which vaccinated persons test positive) and the small number of children hospitalized with COVID-19.
Currently, Philadelphia public health officials are observing moderate increases in COVID-19 cases, attributed to the highly transmissible and predominant Delta variant. While vaccination dramatically reduces infection severity, breakthrough cases show that vaccination does not completely stop the spread of COVID-19. Some faculty, staff and students will be exempt from vaccination, and are at risk of infection even from their vaccinated peers. What’s more, faculty, staff and students return home to their families and other communities which might not yet have access to vaccines, including children. Masking further reduces the chance of spread to these vulnerable populations.
Masking allows us to more safely resume in-person instruction with reduced distancing requirements. And it follows our mission, showing that we value the well-being of our peers and communities.
What you can do to help
Within our community, please remember:
- Submit your vaccination status form or request vaccination exemption no later than Friday, Aug. 6. (Remember: Separate forms exist for students and employees.)
- Consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine, which is proven safe and widely available at no cost.
- Stay diligent. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Mask up when indoors. Avoid crowded indoor spaces.
Visit our dedicated COVID-19 page for the latest health and safety guidelines and a dashboard of current cases. Updated regularly, the site also includes valuable resources, like how to find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic near you.
Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85