President Yager Provides an Update on Vaccination Rate and COVID Testing

Sent to students, faculty and staff Sept. 10, 2021

Good afternoon,

It has been truly wonderful to see you all back on campus within our studios, classrooms, performance spaces and shops. As we complete our second full week of courses, I wanted to take a moment to first thank you for your continued support and observance of our COVID-related health and safety protocols, and also provide a few important updates.

Vaccination Rate
As a community of faculty, staff and students, we are now more than 90% vaccinated. Fewer than 60 individuals have vaccine exemptions out of a community of more than 2,000. An additional small percentage are partially vaccinated and will be fully vaccinated in the coming weeks.

Active COVID-19 Cases
Since we began testing and tracking reported cases in early August, 16 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in our community. Of those, five were students who never came to campus, meaning they tested positive before their arrival, and two were staff primarily working remotely before the start of the semester. As of today, only 11 remain active. Of all 16 total cases, so far, none have resulted in serious illness or hospitalization.

COVID-19 Dashboard - Available Next Week!
Our staff have been hard at work creating a refreshable COVID-19 dashboard webpage that will track the total number of active cases, the number of tests administered through Student Health Services, our positivity rate and our vaccination rate. Please watch your inboxes for this important webpage link that you will be able to bookmark and return to.

Any Student Can Receive a Test on Campus
Reminder: Any student, whether residential or commuter, can receive a test on campus via Health Services. However, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health recommends only those individuals who have symptoms and/or have been officially notified by a contact tracer that they were reported as a close contact be tested. All unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students are required to test twice weekly.

A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of someone who is positive for a total of 15 minutes or more within two days prior to illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask. In the indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.

If you are a student and need to schedule a test or are unsure if you should test, contact the COVID Response Team at

Faculty & Staff Testing
We are confirming an on-campus option for test availability for faculty and staff that will be announced shortly. Presently, any faculty or staff member experiencing symptoms or officially reported as a close contact (see definition above) should be tested by their primary care team or via a local testing option.

Reporting Positive Tests
All students, faculty and staff are required to report if they test positive for COVID-19 at an offsite testing facility.

Students should report a positive result to

Faculty and staff should report a positive test result to the COVID Response Team at and their primary care physician.

What About Other Circumstances?
Finally, a number of questions regarding what to do in certain circumstances have arisen over the past week. Though not intended to be comprehensive, a few of the most common scenarios are addressed below. We are also beginning another audit of all COVID-19-related information on our website and will be making improvements for the findability of what action to take and when.

Again, I thank you all for your continued vigilance and support of our COVID-19-related health policies. Please, continue to wear your masks.

Thank you,

David Yager 
President & CEO

Additional resources at 



My classmate / roommate / friend / coworker is getting tested, but doesn't know the result yet. Should I get tested?
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health recommends that only those exhibiting symptoms or those who are officially notified by a contact tracer or other healthcare professional that they have been reported as a close contact to a known positive case of COVID-19 be tested. If you are symptom-free, we recommend continuing to mask and practice social distancing. If you are unsure or would like further guidance, contact or your physician.

My classmate / roommate / friend / coworker is getting tested and has symptoms and is not attending class / work today. Should I also not go to class / work?
If you are not exhibiting symptoms, you are not required to isolate. We recommend continuing to mask; you may elect to double mask and practice social distancing. Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms should not go to class / work and instead should contact or their physician for further guidance.

I'm not attending class / work, and getting tested at an off-campus testing facility. Should I notify UArts or wait until I get my results?
Students should notify and relay their absence to class instructors. Employees may also notify and notify their supervisor.