Dear Lafayette students, faculty, and staff:

I hope everyone is enjoying some restorative time. As we approach the final weeks of the summer break and prepare to welcome new students and their families to campus, I thought it would be helpful if I reviewed our safety measures for COVID-19 for the upcoming semester. Our protocols have evolved to reflect the changing landscape of the virus, the benefits of enhanced therapeutics, and our collective immunity status to COVID-19. While we are now in a position to manage coronavirus similarly to other endemic respiratory viruses, we will continue to adhere to some specific public health policies that remain highly valuable for individual and community safety as the virus continues to mutate. Specifically, our protocols for this fall semester will be as follows:

Vaccination

We will continue to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for students and employees. The standard for being compliant for all students and employees is to meet the CDC definition of being “fully vaccinated.” We also recommend that all students and employees (a) get booster shots and (b) strongly consider getting one of the newer vaccines that we expect will be introduced in the near future to specifically target the highly contagious omicron variant when those vaccines become available. Students should continue to update their vaccine status in the health portal. Students and employees with approved medical or religious exemptions do not need to reapply for those exemptions.

Testing

Bailey Health Center will continue to perform free diagnostic testing of students. In addition, free self-test kits are available at the health center for students who are concerned about close contacts or having mild symptoms. The CDC does not recommend, and we are not performing, population-level arrival testing or surveillance testing. As many colleges and universities have done, Lafayette also concluded its COVID-19 dashboard following the spring semester.

Students who are experiencing symptoms are encouraged to seek medical attention and take precautions, including masking if they feel ill. Employees who are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive should follow the employee COVID-19 action guidelines shared by Human Resources. 

Isolation

Students who test positive within five days of scheduled arrival on campus for the fall semester should isolate at home and contact the health center for additional guidance before returning to campus.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 while on campus will still be required to isolate in place. This is the same protocol we transitioned to during the spring semester. Specifically, students who test positive should isolate themselves in their assigned rooms or off-campus apartments for a period of at least five days, until they are fever-free and their symptoms are improving. Wearing a mask for an additional five days is also recommended. There may be a small subset of students who have roommates with an elevated risk profile. We understand that for these students, sharing living spaces with a roommate who has a contagious respiratory virus is a concern. In these cases, students should contact the health center to discuss the possibility of alternative living arrangements. 

Students isolating in place should make arrangements with a “flu buddy” so that food and other essentials can be brought to your assigned room.

Masking

The College will adhere to a mask-optional policy for most spaces on campus. Individual faculty members may require masking for their class meetings, laboratories, and studio sessions. In keeping with our commitment to respecting our community values, we expect everyone on campus to support the decisions others may make to wear a mask at any time. Free KN95 and surgical masks remain available for students and employees at Feather House.

Thank you for following these protocols as we return to campus. 

I am grateful for your spirit of cooperation and perseverance over the past couple of years. Your care for one another and your determination through this extraordinary time have demonstrated once again the beauty of this community.  

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Respectfully,

Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Director of Health Services