Omicron Update: Important Information
Dear Lewis & Clark Community,
We continue to monitor the rapidly evolving surge of the COVID Omicron variant and to consider the impact these developments will have on the spring semester. We need both to keep our community safe and to honor our commitment to the in-person teaching and learning that define a Lewis & Clark education. In that spirit, we have made the following decisions.
Remote Start for Classes and Work
Spring semester on all three campuses will begin as previously scheduled: January 10, 2022, for the Law School and Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and January 18, 2022, for the College of Arts and Sciences. However, all classes, on all three campuses, will be conducted fully remotely through Monday, January 24. In-person classes for all will resume on Tuesday, January 25. This will allow time to complete COVID testing for returning students, faculty, and staff, and provide more time for those eligible to receive their mandatory booster shots.
Residential students are expected to return to campus as previously scheduled, in order to participate in entry COVID testing. Between your arrival time and your receipt of negative test results, social gatherings should be minimized and social distancing will be required.
Because there will be several days between when residential students arrive and when they are able to be entry tested, all residential students are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID test administered within the 72 hour-period PRIOR to coming to campus. The only exceptions to this requirement will be:
- Residential students who are tested early on campus (e.g., athletes who are in season, RAs, students participating in Winterim)
- Residential students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days
Residential students can find full details on the testing requirement here. Residential students will receive more detailed communication regarding expectations, safety precautions while in the residence halls, etc. from Campus Living in the coming days.
Staff members should plan to work remotely to the extent possible until after they have been tested, as described below. Once you receive your test results, those who test negative should plan to return to the work schedule they had established with their supervisor prior to winter break. This means that most staff should plan to work remotely, to the extent possible, through January 17. However, some units will need to return to campus sooner, and testing for some essential employees will be made available earlier in January. Managers in those units will be in contact with impacted employees.
Entry COVID Testing
Students, faculty, and staff will be required to be tested prior to or near the date on which they return to campus. Details about testing locations and sign-up are forthcoming, but for now, mark your calendars with the following dates:
- January 5: Testing of essential employees, such as Campus Safety, Campus Living, and Facilities employees who need to be on campus immediately in January. If you fall in this category, you will be notified.
- January 12 and 13: Testing of all faculty and staff, resident assistants (RAs), new undergraduate students, and students who have been in residence on-campus over winter break. You will receive more information about testing locations and how to sign up once it is available.
- January 18–22: Testing of all other students, from all three campuses, and contracted employees. You will receive more information about testing locations and how to sign up once it is available.
Required Booster Shot
Students, faculty, and staff are required to get a booster shot as soon as they are eligible. If you are eligible, and if at all possible, get your booster shot before returning to campus.
Students must follow these steps promptly after receiving their booster shot to document their compliance with the booster requirement.
Faculty and staff will need to upload their documentation to Workday. We will provide instructions to faculty and staff during the first week of January about how to upload proof of your booster shot.
If you are not yet eligible for a booster or you are not able to get a booster appointment before returning to campus, you should still plan to return to campus and to get your booster as soon as you are eligible. To facilitate this, we will offer on-campus booster clinics on January 11, 13, 14, 18, 19 and 20. Watch your email in early January for a survey to assess the need for booster shots and for details on how to sign up. Meanwhile, students who will not be boosted before the first day of classes must email Wellness Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to be cleared to attend class and to put a booster dose plan in place.
Enhanced COVID Safety Protocols
We have lived with COVID long enough to know that there are some simple, effective measures we can take to protect ourselves and each other. Given how contagious the Omicron variant has proven to be, until at least through January 24, we will need to return to some enhanced safety protocols when learning and working together. We will continue to assess the need for ongoing policy changes, but for now, the following is in effect:
- Masks. At least through January 24, all community members and visitors to campus will be required to wear a KN95 (or N95) mask anywhere masks are required on campus (currently, in indoor public spaces). These masks are more effective than cloth masks or surgical masks. Please plan to bring a supply of KN95 masks to campus with you in January. If you have trouble obtaining these masks for any reason, we have a limited supply that will be available on campus.
- Social Distancing. All members of the Lewis & Clark community are to observe social distancing and to limit their social interactions to their roommate/housemates until they have received a negative COVID test. Visitation between residence halls during this time is strongly discouraged, and external visitors to residence halls will be prohibited (except as necessary for move-in).
- Grab-and-Go Dining. All dining on campus will be grab-and-go only through at least January 24.
- Visitors. All visitors to campus will be required to provide evidence of vaccination and a booster, if eligible. Visitors who are unvaccinated or who have yet to receive a booster for which they are eligible will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID test from within the 72 hours prior to their visit.
We know all too well that it is frustrating to start a new year with what feels like a pandemic step back. But we also know how well our community can come together to stay safe and to enjoy all the things that make Lewis & Clark such a wonderful place to learn and to work. We look forward to seeing you on campus in January, and to a productive semester ahead.