The entire USAHS community feels enormous pride this week as students successfully graduate at all five of our campuses and set forth to transform the lives of so many. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unwavering in our commitment to student success, academic excellence, and campus safety. To this end, in just a few short weeks, we will resume all in-person classes, labs and on-campus academic activities for the start of the 2021 Fall Term.
University leaders continue to carefully monitor changes in pandemic conditions, hospitalization rates, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and best practices from leading healthcare providers. With this insight, we have updated campus entry requirements to continue to provide a safe campus environment for our students, faculty and staff and permit the return to routine activities on campus that are critical to your academic experience. A safe campus will also allow for activities to expand and more spaces to open throughout the term.
To achieve these objectives while protecting your learning environment and mitigating teaching disruptions, the updated campus entry requirements provide the following options:
- All USAHS students, faculty (including lab assistants and contributing faculty), and staff will be asked to voluntarily disclose and agree to provide documentation by Friday, October 1 that they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
- Those who are not fully vaccinated or do not wish to disclose their vaccination status will be required to submit proof of a valid negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days prior to each campus entry. In other words, the COVID-19 testing date cannot be older than seven days from the date of entry.
- Vendors and campus visitors will be required to comply with the same campus entry requirements, adhering to one of the two options. Visitors will be limited to maintenance, security, patients for academic and research activities, and prospective hires/students.
Appeal from Professional Associations
We have taken seriously the joint statement from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which calls on all of us to assume our professional responsibility to promote standards that are critical to protecting the health, safety and welfare of patients, peers, practitioners, and the general public. As such, they are strongly recommending that all healthcare professionals obtain full vaccination status.
The American Nurses Association (ANA), representing the interests of the nation’s 4.2 million registered nurses, has also stated that it supports healthcare employers mandating nurses and all healthcare personnel to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in alignment with current recommendations for immunization by public health officials.
Thorough scientific studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at protecting against the virus and reducing the risk of potentially severe complications.
Expanded Spaces and Community Safety Assurances
Many study spaces, lounges, and labs will be open for the Fall Term. Activities in the Center for Innovative Clinical Practice, Activities of Daily Living, and Anatomy labs will also resume. For these to remain open and other spaces and activities to expand, we must contain the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses.
To that end, face masks will continue to be required regardless of vaccination status. As has been our practice, we will revise our protocol throughout the term based on your needs and as new guidance becomes available to maintain a safe campus environment.
Additional Details and FAQs
- All vaccination and testing information shared with the University will be confidential and only viewed by COVID-19 response personnel who follow all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) protocols.
- Though free vaccinations are easily obtained in our communities, we are working on a plan to facilitate the availability of vaccines on campus in September; more details will be provided soon.
- Free, valid tests remain accessible through diverse sites.
- We have prepared Reentry Protocol FAQs that are posted to our reentry site to answer questions you may have about the University’s new entry protocols for vaccine and testing. Should you have additional questions after reviewing, please contact [email protected].
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, USAHS has remained steadfast in our commitment to you and to our communities. We have effectively kept the University operating, advancing students in record numbers toward their degrees. Our success comes from a deep-rooted, collaborative spirit that focuses on educational achievement. Thank you for working together in safeguarding your peers, faculty and the entire USAHS community.