Vaccinations and boosters
Lafayette requires the COVID-19 vaccine and booster for all eligible students, faculty, and staff. Vaccinations have been identified as safe and effective and continue to provide strong protection against the most serious consequences of COVID-19. Waning protection from the initial series of vaccinations prompted the CDC to expand eligibility to all who initially received vaccines and our requirement that members of the community receive a booster by Feb. 1, if they are at least six months past dose two of Moderna, five months past dose two of Pfizer, or two months past the single Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Lafayette’s testing strategy was developed in collaboration with local health resources and utilizing external partners to expand our capability and responsiveness in conducting the most appropriate testing to help keep the community safe.
We recognize that the timing of the start of the spring semester, while the omicron variant continues to spread rapidly in many communities, presents unique challenges, distinctly different from those we faced in the fall. Our testing strategy has several prongs: pre-arrival, arrival and on-going testing will be combined to achieve our goals of learning and living together. We have partnered with Genetworx to manage all testing except diagnostic tests done for students who are symptomatic. Diagnostic testing will only be done for students (not employees) and will be completed at Bailey Health Center.
Close contacts are defined by the CDC as persons who have spent 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within six feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 if that time occurred within two days prior to the positive COVID-19 test or onset of symptoms. Students in a class or who live on a residence hall floor together are not necessarily close contacts if one of them tests positive for COVID-19. Close contacts are identified during the tracing process. The trained medical personnel at Lehigh Valley Health Network are conducting our contact tracing and notifying Bailey Health Center of the names of all close contacts.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated for a period of at least five days. We will require asymptomatic students to complete an antigen test after the fifth day. If students remain symptomatic or if the test after the fifth day is positive, they will remain in isolation. Students will receive instructions from the staff on when to leave isolation. Our capacity to isolate students is reasonable but not unlimited. For students who reside in privately or college-owned apartments that have a self-contained bathroom (within the unit), it is possible to isolate in place with the consent of roommates. Students who live within two hours of campus and can safely return home to isolate should plan to do so.
Consistent with CDC guidance, asymptomatic students who are fully vaccinated and who have received a booster and been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual do not need to quarantine, but we will administer a screening test five days after exposure and students are expected to self-monitor for symptoms for an additional five days. For the full ten day period, students should mask in all settings, restrict social activity as much as possible but should continue to attend class. Students experiencing any symptoms for which they would seek medical care (e.g., fever above 100.3, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing) should not attend class and should obtain the earliest possible appointment at the Health Center for diagnostic testing.
For asymptomatic students identified as close contacts and who are either unvaccinated or without a booster, we will follow CDC guidance that quarantine is required for five days. Isolation space is not unlimited and is prioritized for students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and can’t safely return home. Students who are required to quarantine must have a plan for how they will accomplish this that does not rely on the use of College-provided resources.
Masking outdoors is not expected.
Masking indoors in shared spaces is expected and remains a strong mitigation strategy. This is especially true in classrooms, labs, libraries, and other administrative and academic spaces and also has proven to work well in residential common spaces. Expect to wear a mask indoors as we begin the semester.
The word “expected” is used to convey that masking is what members of the community will do in these settings. It is an expectation for our community and one that everyone needs to embrace. Please do not take this to mean “not required.” It is indeed the expectation that everyone will continue to mask in classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and other campus spaces. Members of the community who fail to adhere to the expectations regarding masking will be asked to leave buildings or events.
You have several options for the type of mask you can wear and as long as the mask is at least 3-ply and covers your nose and mouth, it is acceptable. If you are concerned about the effectiveness of cloth masks, consider wearing a surgical mask with the cloth mask or a KN-95 or KF-94 mask.
Visitors to campus
Visitors are allowed on campus, and we strongly encourage members of our community to only welcome vaccinated guests. This includes faculty and staff colleagues visiting to give lectures and collaborate on projects. Visitors should be limited.
In general, visitors should be discouraged from spending time in any building, particularly residence halls. Overnight visitors are discouraged in the residence halls, including (at this time) overnight visitors who have been fully vaccinated and received a booster.
Much like other organizations nationwide, Lafayette is requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative test from visitors to campus for admission to select alumni and family functions as well as indoor ticketed events including athletic competitions and Williams Center performances (excluding classroom activities).
- We still strongly recommend that all visitors be vaccinated for COVID-19, as vaccinations are proven to offset the most serious outcomes of the virus. FAQ: Proof of Vaccination for Ticketed & Select Indoor Events
- All visitors are expected to follow campus health and safety guidelines, including the masking requirement (expected indoors at all times and outdoors under the following conditions: when you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and have not yet received a negative COVID-19 test; if you have been identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19; and when you are in a crowded outdoor setting where physical distance cannot be achieved).
- Prospective students and their families are welcome on campus. To protect the health of our campus community, prospective students currently are not permitted to attend classes.
- Academic work in the community and class trips, performances, athletic events, and other activities will continue as long as they meet COVID-19 safety guidelines.
- Programs such as those offered by Gateway Career Center, International and Off-Campus Education, and others may be in partnership with organizations or locations that require proof of vaccination. Please check any program requirements carefully, especially for events off site at locations not directly controlled by Lafayette.
Prospective students and their families are welcome on campus. All visitors are expected to follow campus health and safety guidelines, including the masking requirement (expected indoors at all times and outdoors when in group settings including classes). To protect the health of our campus community, prospective students currently are not permitted to attend classes.
For additional details on visits to campus, please check the Admissions website.
Classroom air exchanges
Last year the College upgraded all available central HVAC systems with the highest possible filtration capacity by deploying high-efficiency MERV-13 filters in those units. We also had an outside consultant with expertise in airflow evaluate the air exchanges in our classrooms. The Facilities Operations and Environmental Health & Safety teams are deploying more than 60 portable HEPA filters to classrooms not serviced by central HVAC systems with high-efficiency filtration (MERV-13 or higher) and to those rooms with high filtration but lower air flow.
In-person vs. virtual meetings with faculty/staff
Our twin priorities are to protect the health and safety of our community and to deliver on our academic mission. We continue to strive to provide reasonable mitigation measures while prioritizing in-person instruction above other activities. Other activities, including individual and group meetings with students, advising sessions, office hours, department meetings, and committee meetings can be evaluated for their suitability to be held virtually. The mode(s) for all meetings should be made clear to all involved.
There may be circumstances under which a faculty member temporarily offers class remotely. Specific examples may include if the faculty member is required to quarantine or isolate, has a family member they are caring for who is required to quarantine or isolate, or if the percentage of the class that is quarantined or in isolation significantly impairs the efficacy of in-person instruction. In those cases, students will be notified by their faculty member of the duration of time for which the class will be delivered remotely.
For students who are fully vaccinated and who have received a booster, most normal activities will continue even if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Students should plan to attend classes, and mask in classes, unless they have symptoms for which they would otherwise seek medical care (fever above 100.3, persistent cough, flu-like symptoms).
The Office of Advising will notify faculty when students are not cleared to attend classes. The notification also will serve as a dean’s excuse for students not well enough to do work while in isolation. Students should communicate directly with faculty about how to complete missed work. Faculty will be notified when students are cleared to return to class.
Dining venues are expected to operate normally for the spring semester. Dining may alter hours or switch to grab and go for brief periods if the COVID-19 positive cases among students or staff has a significant impact on normal operational levels. As is the case throughout many industries, supply chain and labor challenges may occasionally require modifications to dining offerings and venue hours. Students will be advised of any changes through Lafayette Today and on the Dining Services website.
Student social events are expected to continue throughout the spring semester. College-sponsored events during the first several weeks of the semester may be altered or delayed depending on our experiences with pre-arrival and arrival testing.
Groups are encouraged to reduce density, consider options for hybrid programming, and utilize spaces where participants can spread out.