As you prepare to start the Spring semester and return to campus, we wanted to provide some additional information and updates.
Start Smart: The First Two Weeks of the Semester
We will begin with a “Start Smart” approach. As you know, instruction for the first two weeks will be held entirely online, to allow faculty and students to participate if they have tested positive and feel well enough; in-person classes will begin Jan. 31. Students are welcome to return to the residence halls as scheduled after signing up for a return date through the process Student Life communicated about in recent emails.
Before You Return: You should secure a pre-arrival COVID test and upload results, whether positive or negative, to the Loyola Student Health Portal. Information on how to do this is posted on the homepage of this portal. If you test positive, reach out to Student Health Services to coordinate the timing of your return. You can find more information about submitting your test result on the Health and Safety page of the Loyola COVID site.
Campus Services Are Open: During the first two weeks of the semester, the Fitness & Aquatic Center, Library, and dining services will be open and available to students, along with other student support services. You can find the Fitness & Aquatic Center’s hours posted on the FAC website, and the Library’s hours will be on the Library website. All hours are subject to change.
Books: The bookstore offers you the option of picking up books in person or having them shipped to your home.
Masks: Masks must be worn indoors, except when eating or when in personal living spaces. All members of the Loyola community are strongly encouraged to wear KN95s or a cloth mask doubled with a surgical mask for the time being. Every member of the community will be provided with two KN95 masks.
Vaccine Booster: If you will not be eligible in time to meet the Jan. 31 booster deadline, you should receive your booster as soon as you are eligible and submit documentation. Student Health Services will reach out to you via email if you are not in compliance. You can find more information about the booster requirement and submitting proof on the Health and Safety page of the Loyola COVID Operations site. You can find information about upcoming booster clinics at Loyola and Notre Dame of Maryland University on our Vaccination FAQ.
Changes to Isolation/Quarantine Protocols
We are amending our isolation and quarantine protocols in line with the current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Symptomatic students who test positive must isolate for 5 days, be fully asymptomatic for 24 hours, and test negative on day 6. If they have continued symptoms or test positive on day 6, they must isolate for the full 10 days. Students who test negative on day 6 must stay masked for the full 10 days.
- Asymptomatic students who test positive must isolate for 5 days and test on day 6. If they are negative, they will be released from isolation, but they must stay masked everywhere (indoors and outdoors and in personal living spaces) for 10 full days except while eating and sleeping. If they test positive on day 6, they must continue to isolate and will be tested again on day 8. Students continuing to test positive will need to isolate for the full 10 days.
If the testing or telemedicine visit would fall on a Saturday or Sunday, it will be scheduled for Monday.
These protocols apply to students who are currently in isolation and for everyone moving forward. You can see the full protocols on our COVID website.
If you are a residential student who is currently isolating at home: You can submit proof of your negative test for clearance for return to firstname.lastname@example.org, but you must put in the subject line, “Day 5 Clearance Test.” If you are currently in isolation on campus or in off-campus housing, our Student Health Services team will reach out to you with a new date for when you are eligible to leave isolation.
Isolation During the Spring Semester
Some universities that are welcoming students back to campus before Loyola are reporting that their isolation spaces are filling up quickly. Once their isolation spaces are full, they are asking students to isolate in their residence hall rooms.
The Rapid Response Team is working with professionals across the University to create a contingency plan to isolate in place in case our current designated isolation space is not large enough to hold the number of students who test positive. This is not an ideal scenario, but we are seeing this situation unfold at other institutions, and we want to be prepared for a high number of cases.
If you test positive, we will ask you to travel home to isolate, as long as you do not need to take public transportation. If you need to stay on campus, you might be asked to isolate in place in your assigned residence hall room.
If we reach the point of needing students to isolate in place in their rooms, students who have tested positive will be able to leave isolation for reasons such as: picking up grab-and-go meals from a specified dining location, for testing or treatment, picking up medications, or taking out your trash.
We are hopeful that we will not have students isolate in their rooms, but we want to be fully transparent that this approach might be needed.
Thank you also for your patience and understanding and for recognizing that the Student Health Services team is dealing with many of the same challenges that healthcare facilities are facing across the nation.
The University will be monitoring the status of COVID-19 on campus and in our community and will continue to take additional steps for the safety of the community and to support our students. We expect the omicron variant to cause a high number of cases but to pass relatively quickly. Our community has navigated the pandemic so well, and we are looking forward to a great semester together.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our Loyola community healthy and safe.
The Rapid Response Team