Update on Return to Campus for 2022 Spring Semester
The following message was shared with students and parents on Thursday, January 6, 2022. Additionally, Xavier students and parents were invited to a Zoom panel on Friday, January 7, about the start of the spring semester including plans and preparations for the Xavier student experience.
Dear Xavier students,
We hope your extended winter break has been happy and healthy, and we are looking forward to our community coming together for the spring semester on Monday, January 10.
As you are well aware, locally and nationally we are experiencing a dramatic increase in COVID-19 infections, driven largely by the omicron variant. Given the highly infectious nature of the variant, we anticipate a spike in COVID cases in our community at the beginning of the semester. Realistically, there will be some challenges and disruptions for the first few weeks of the semester, and we feel prepared to meet those challenges.
Xavier is returning to campus on our regular schedule to support our students’ educational, social, and emotional needs. We are better in person, even with a challenging few weeks ahead. We ask the Xavier community to extend grace to one another and to be flexible when navigating uncertain and uncomfortable circumstances. The Xavier community will act as we always do – together.
Updated Campus Health Measures and Community Protocols
Xavier continues to review public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and adjust campus health measures and community protocols. These measures and protocols balance the needs of our community with public health guidance and University resources.
Given the dramatic increase in COVID-19 infections driven by the omicron variant, Xavier anticipates a spike in COVID-positive students in our community. This spike could quickly exceed Xavier’s limited, reserved quarantine and isolation spaces on campus. Xavier’s overall student population, particularly the residential student population, is highly vaccinated, and the omicron variant has generally resulted in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infections in young adults.
Balancing these factors, residential students who can safely go home for quarantine or isolation will be required to do so. Xavier will also shift to a largely “in-place” model where residential students requiring quarantine or isolation on campus would do so in their assigned residence hall space. High-risk members of our residential community will receive priority for the use of reserved quarantine and isolation spaces. Isolation will follow new CDC and ODH guidelines; students will be required to remain in their assigned location for a minimum of 5 days and will be released upon resolution of COVID symptoms. Given that on-campus quarantine and isolation space is not guaranteed, students are encouraged to have appropriate conversations now with roommates and family to make plans for possible isolation off-campus. COVID Support Services will continue to offer individualized care and support to all students engaged in quarantine or isolation, regardless of their location. Detailed quarantine and isolation protocols will be updated on the COVID-19 Resource Center.
In addition to a shift in quarantine and isolation protocols, Xavier is developing protocols to maintain continuity of service in campus dining, cleaning, and IT, to name a few specific areas. TriHealth has been a tremendous partner in expanding support for Student Health Services, bringing their expertise and resources to the Xavier community during a challenging time. We are grateful for their partnership and commitment to the health and safety of the Xavier community.
Return to Campus for Students
As previously shared, Xavier has an expectation that all students get tested within 72-hours (3 days) before returning to campus. A negative test result verification (photo of the test) should be uploaded to Med+Proctor, the same system utilized for all students to upload their proof of vaccination or exemption request. Students who test positive should notify COVID Support at email@example.com and complete their isolation period at home before returning to campus.
Many students have already secured an at-home test or have an appointment at a local testing site. This testing is best and has already helped a number of students identify a positive case prior to returning to campus.
As witnessed across the country and locally in the Cincinnati community, testing has increasingly proven more difficult and at-home tests are much harder to locate. Therefore, students may also complete an online self-check prior to returning if they simply cannot identify a testing option.
Xavier is asking students to take these important steps prior to returning:
- Get a booster if eligible and upload your updated vaccine card to Med+Proctor.
- Bring masks to campus. Masks must be worn in most indoor locations. Medical-grade face coverings are strongly encouraged.
- Complete a COVID test and upload the results to Med+Proctor or submit your online self-check.
- Be thoughtful in your social behaviors to mitigate spread, both before and after returning to campus.
Thank you to each and every Musketeer as the Xavier community comes back together for another successful semester.
Rachel Chrastil, PhD
Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Vice President of Risk Management
Chair, COVID-19 Task Force
Dean of Students
COVID-19 Task Force and COVID Support Services