Spring 2022 COVID Update

The message below was sent from President and CEO David Yager to students, faculty and staff Thursday, Jan. 6, 2021.

To the UArts community:

As we approach the start of the spring semester, I write to you with an overview of our COVID-19 response planning for the spring. As you know, guidance is evolving in light of the omicron variant, including the CDC's updated isolation and quarantine period. Accordingly, so is our response strategy.

Our planning is a reflection of the work of many, but particularly the Covid Response Team (CRT), which formed in the summer of 2020 as an expanded working group of our Crisis Management Team (CMT). It has been meeting weekly since March 2020, closely monitoring the guidance and direction of the Centers for Disease Control, as well as local, state and federal regulations. They have pivoted as the regulations have changed and we continue to update our plans.
 
Our plan will continue to be updated based on guidance and directives from government agencies. I encourage you to bookmark uarts.edu/about/community-health-policy and check it regularly for the most up-to-date information.

Spring 2022
The university will open as scheduled for the spring semester. In-person New Student Orientation is scheduled to begin Jan. 21, and we welcome returning residential students Jan. 22-23. The first day of classes is Jan. 24.

Vaccine (and Booster) Required
University of the Arts is a COVID-19 vaccine-required community, with few exceptions for religious and/or medical reasons. As communicated Dec. 13, 2021, the university has updated its immunization requirements to include a COVID-19 booster for eligible students, faculty and staff.
 
Healthy Promise
Above all, our plan for a successful return to campus relies on our shared commitment to uphold the UArts Healthy Promise. Central to the promise is the agreement to follow our vaccine and mask requirements. It is only through our daily and continual commitment to protect ourselves and the entire UArts community that we will succeed.

COVID-19 Tests
On-campus rapid COVID-19 testing remains available for students. Students can book appointments for a rapid test here. On campus testing resumes Jan. 24, 2022.

Employees will be issued two rapid tests to self-administer as needed. Details about employee rapid tests will be shared in a separate email communication.

Vaccine and Masks Required for Visitors
Our vaccine and mask requirement extends to all visitors to campus, including guest lecturers/artists, families, contractors and visitors to public events. Any department hosting visitors must communicate the policy to any guests.

Relative to special event and performance settings, all departments must require pre-registration to allow any outside guests to certify that they understand our policies and are fully vaccinated. All departments are also advised to limit food and beverage events, and when absolutely necessary, consider limiting the audience only to UArts students, faculty and staff. In instances in which masks will be removed—such as for eating and drinking or in some performance settings—this exception should be communicated to attendees in advance. Though there is no federal, state or local mandate requiring social distancing, we recommend that indoor special events not exceed 50% of the space's maximum capacity. If you have specific questions relative to a planned event, contact your program director and/or dean to surface your concerns. You may also write to the Covid Response Team at crt@uarts.edu.

Mixture of In-Person and Hybrid Services
We have learned many lessons throughout the pandemic, including that some services to students, faculty and staff are best delivered remotely. Area supervisors have made determinations based on the best delivery format for their respective areas, and you will notice that some departments will continue to offer services remotely and/or in a hybrid fashion. Refer to department webpages and communications for specific details.

Isolation and Quarantine Protocols and Designated Apartments
UArts has identified a floor of apartments with a separate point of access that will be held and used in the event that any residential student needs to quarantine. Students who are required to isolate/quarantine will be instructed not to attend class, and faculty will be notified of their absence by Student Affairs. The university has updated our quarantine timeline following the updated recommendation from the CDC. COVID-19-positive community members will be required to isolate for five days, and we will require COVID-19 testing of all community members at the end of isolation.

Limited Travel
Though official university domestic travel has been approved, area supervisors have been advised to only approve travel deemed truly essential to support our successful functioning as a university. Any international travel must be reviewed and approved first by supervisors and then at the senior staff level.

I am confident that through the collective action and individual commitments we each make, we will be successful in our plans for the fall semester. I look forward to welcoming you back to campus.
 
Sincerely,
 
David