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Dec. 20, 2021: Booster Requirement and Return to Campus Guidance

Dec. 20, 2021: Booster Requirement and Return to Campus Guidance

Dear DePauw Students,

Congratulations on the end of a successful term.  As we reflect on the challenges and successes of this semester and plan for winter and spring terms, we are emailing to update you on processes and changes to the COVID-19 mitigation strategies so that you know what to expect on campus. 

Prior to returning to campus students are expected to:

COVID-19 Booster Requirement

Our vaccination rates have been a primary reason for the limited number of COVID-19 cases on campus this past term. With the initial vaccine’s waning effectiveness over time, the emergence of new variants contributing to breakthrough cases, and examples of uncontained outbreaks at other higher ed institutions, we are requiring all students, staff, and faculty to receive the COVID-19 booster. Guidance from the CDC recommends that “everyone ages 16 and older can get a booster shot” as an important additional layer of protection against the Omicron variant.  

Beginning in January, DePauw will require COVID-19 all employees and students who are eligible for a booster to receive their booster shot prior to returning to campus or as soon as they reach eligibility. The CDC indicates that individuals ages 16 and older are eligible for a booster dose 6 months after completing a Pfizer or Moderna series, 2 months after receiving a Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, or at least 6 months after completing WHO-approved vaccines such as Sinopharm, Sinovac or AstraZeneca. To determine when you are eligible, check your vaccination card or document to find the date of your final dose of the initial vaccine series.

  • For students who will be on campus for any part of Winter Term and have reached the time of eligibility for a booster, they should complete their booster by the first day of Winter Term classes on January 5, 2022. If you are not yet eligible for a booster, you are required to obtain yours and provide documentation of it within one week of your eligibility
  • For all other eligible students, boosters should be completed before January 25, 2022.  If you are not yet eligible for a booster, you are required to obtain yours and provide documentation of it within one week of your eligibility.
  • Students who have reached the time of eligibility for a booster must receive their booster shot no less than 48 hours prior to returning to campus for 2022; students without proof of the vaccine booster submitted on this form, will not be able to attend class or move into housing.

Previous exemption accommodations will continue for those who have already requested them. 

Return to Campus Guidance

For anyone who will be leaving campus during the Winter Break or Winter Term periods, please know that we expect students will follow all Return to Campus Testing guidelines (see attachment). The Return to Campus guidelines are based on recommendations from the CDC for travelers based on vaccination status and point of origin (i.e. domestic travelers vs. international travelers). Note that all recommendations include a post-travel test so we are asking that students prepare by bringing at-home tests to campus with them when they return. 

In addition to the guidelines noted in Return to Campus Testing guidelines, we highly recommend that even vaccinated domestic travelers take an over-the-counter rapid COVID-19 test the day of or day prior to their travel to campus. Because students will be promptly resuming classes and other activities upon return to campus, testing prior to returning to campus will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 among students.

Students should report any positive pre-travel tests to c19testing@depauw.edu to receive guidance on next steps; please include a photo of your test results with the date the test was conducted.

On Campus Testing

Given the availability of over-the-counter rapid testing options at local retailers, starting January 1, 2022, DePauw will no longer offer drop-in testing for asymptomatic students or employees. 

  • We will continue testing unvaccinated students and close contact students at regular intervals to help determine spread within our residential community.
  • We will still require regular reporting of testing for unvaccinated employees.
  • DePauw Health Wellness Center will continue to test symptomatic individuals.
  • Students will be expected to supply their own over-the-counter rapid tests for return to campus testing purposes. Tests can be purchased at many major retailers such as Walgreens, Walmart, Amazon and other pharmacies. Some insurance providers reimburse the cost of the test. Check with your insurance to determine if the cost of tests can be reimbursed.

Depending upon the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community and the campus status level, there may be moments when it is necessary for DePauw to provide testing to a larger asymptomatic campus population. If this is the case, the COVID-19 Mitigation Team will provide notice and details.

International Travel Guidance

For those who may be traveling internationally during Winter Break or Winter Term, please be aware that on Dec. 2, the United States changed its testing requirements for incoming international flights. Starting December 6, all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States. More information is available here.

Contact Information during Winter Break

For those students staying on campus during the break, please continue to be vigilant with personal symptom tracking, and choose to stay home and immediately report any symptoms to DePauw Health Wellness Center while the University is open. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should contact DePauw Health Wellness Center at 765-658-4555 to schedule an appointment with a provider. Should you need to find care during a time DePauw Health Wellness Center or DePauw offices are closed, please call DePauw Police at 765-658-5555 to connect with a DePauw staff member for guidance.

Please know that while the University is closed from December 23 - January 2, this email account may not be monitored daily but we will respond to questions as best as we can during that time frame. 

As we near the end of 2021 and the start of a new year, we share your exhaustion with the pandemic and the difficulties it has added to our lives. We are grateful for your perseverance and the consideration shown to one another and are hopeful for what the new year will bring. We wish everyone a restful and healthy winter break. 

COVID-19 Mitigation Team