We write today to remind you that you have an important part to play in keeping yourself and our community healthy. The success of this semester depends on your behavior.
Since students arrived on campus in August, we have seen 51 Loyola students test positive for COVID-19—most of whom have been vaccinated and all of whom are making a good recovery. As of today, 48 of those are active cases of students who are isolating. That said, we are noticing the COVID-19 positivity rates among our unvaccinated students are still higher.
We know that the vaccine doesn’t fully eliminate the risk of infection, though it helps reduce the spread and severity. So, positive tests should not be surprising. They are nonetheless discouraging—and disruptive for students who are isolating while they recover and missing out on being in the classroom and attending campus social events. Regardless of your vaccination status, you can contract COVID-19, so we need every member of our community to follow the University’s COVID guidelines.
If COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the University will likely be forced to cancel events and activities, limit dining options, and move courses online. Those are not steps we want to implement, but they would be necessary to protect the health of our Loyola community.
Let’s do what we can to make sure we can continue to enjoy an in-person semester. The actions and decisions we make—individually and as a community—will determine the success of this semester. Please commit to safe and responsible behavior for the benefit of every Greyhound.
Follow COVID-19 Policies
Here is what you can do:
- Wear your mask. You must always wear a mask when you are indoors on Loyola’s campuses—and you must wear it correctly. The only exceptions are when you are eating and drinking in designated food-service areas or when you are in your own residential unit. Even in common areas and elevators in the residence halls, you must be masked. Students who aren’t wearing masks at the Fitness & Aquatic Center (FAC) will face repercussions, up to and including losing access to the FAC for a period of time.
- Monitor and report your symptoms. Report your symptoms and possible COVID-19 exposures through the symptom tracker. If you have symptoms on the weekend, reach out to the after-hours medical support.
- Stay home if you have symptoms. None of us want to miss a minute of this semester. But if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you cannot participate in classes and campus activities. If you are vaccinated and are exposed to COVID-19, you will still be able to participate in classes and activities as long as you are masked and not symptomatic, continue to monitor for symptoms, and go for COVID-19 testing 3-5 days after exposure. Student Health Services will guide you through this process. Learn more on our FAQ for students.
- Participate in contact tracing. If you test positive, please be honest and specific when contact tracers contact you in order to protect your friends and our entire community from infection.
- Make good decisions about which social events to attend. We can’t afford to have students making unhealthy decisions, such as attending large off-campus parties without masks. Be vigilant and recognize that it only takes one party—that doesn’t need to be that large—to derail the semester for everyone.
- Get your flu vaccine. Loyola is requiring flu vaccinations for all undergraduate and graduate students by Friday, Nov. 12. Students should have received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org earlier this week with information about walk-in flu vaccine clinics at Loyola on Wednesday, Sept. 22, and Tuesday, Oct. 12.
Let’s Do This Together
We are working to make this an exceptional semester. We know how important vaccination is in helping protect our community, and more than 95% of our faculty, staff, and administrators and 94% of our students are vaccinated against COVID-19. Professionals across the University are working around the clock to promote the health of our university family—and to support, you. Together, we can make this a great semester—and we are counting on you.
Mass of the Holy Spirit
This Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Loyola will celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit, the annual Mass where we will ask the Lord’s blessing on the new academic year. Limited seating will be available in Alumni Memorial Chapel, but all are welcome to attend via the livestream. Whether you watch online or in-person, please feel free to stop by the Quad to pick up a free grab-and-go lunch beginning at 1:30 p.m.
We invite you to join us in not only praying and hoping for a wonderful semester but also personally committing to living out our Jesuit values by making healthy decisions for yourself—and our entire community. Let’s be people for and with others and enjoy a great semester.
Amanda M. Thomas, Ph.D., Interim President, Loyola University Maryland
Trevor Tormann, ’22, Student Body President