Our COVID taskforce has been hard at work this summer reviewing the most recent science and medical advice from experts, and as promised we are now sending out our plans to keep our campus community as safe as possible this fall. I encourage you to review this information carefully, and please let me know if you have any questions.
The important news is that most of our academics, student life, athletics, and activities will be able to happen again. In so many ways, we get to return to the wonderful and personal practices that have long defined Georgetown College, rather than working around barriers and difficulties to make connections and teach. Trust me, we could not be more thrilled! Of course, this is only possible as more people take advantage of the vaccines that are now widely available. This brings us to our policies for this fall.
Given the high rates of transmission of COVID-19 in Kentucky with the spread of the Delta variant, Georgetown College is reinstating an indoor mask requirement for the start of school.
Masks are not required outdoors, while alone in private offices, in residence hall rooms, or while eating or drinking. Masks are required anytime people are near each other indoors. Athletes should check with coaches and athletic trainers for mask policies related to competition-level practice and games.
We have ordered one mask for every student, but we highly recommend bringing additional, comfortable masks along with you.
This policy applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. This policy is effective as of Sunday, August 8th, and will remain in effect for at least the first three weeks of class (through the first testing clinic). We will remove or ease off of this requirement as soon as it is safe to do so. As we reassess this policy, our decision will be based on three factors:
- The percentage of our student population that is fully vaccinated: while vaccinated people can still spread the Delta variant according to recent reports from the CDC, they are about half as likely to contract COVID and much, much less likely to be hospitalized or have other serious outcomes. As the percentage of vaccinated people go up, this will allow us to ease some of the other things we are doing to prevent the spread of COVID (like masks).
- Spread in our community: masks are currently recommended for any location that has substantial or high transmission in the community, and our local county recently entered high transmission. As local transmission hopefully declines this fall, this will also allow us to ease off things like mask requirements.
- Positivity rate and total number of positive students on campus: all unvaccinated students are required to test every three weeks. All students are able to test at testing clinics on campus (more on this below) and tests will be available in the health center for all students. The number of students testing positive in both locations will be another point we consider in deciding whether we can safely remove masks.
COVID vaccines are not required, but they are strongly encouraged. Those who choose not to vaccinate must be tested for COVID-19 as they return and every three weeks after that. Students who choose not to vaccinate will also be required to quarantine if found to be exposed, and this must be done off campus and at the student’s expense.
Uploading vaccine card:
For those who are fully vaccinated or are getting fully vaccinated, you will need to upload your vaccine card on the portal showing that you are fully vaccinated (my.georgetowncollege.edu). When you sign into the portal, you should see a box on the home page that says “COVID Vacc. Upload.” Click on that link, and you can upload your card. To be exempted from the initial test, you must do this before you return.
(1) If you are a returning student who already submitted the card with two shots (or one for J&J), then you do NOT need to reupload your card, but if you submitted the card with only one shot date for a vaccine that requires two (Pfizer or Moderna), you must resubmit it with both tests shown.
(2) You are not exempted from testing and quarantine until you have uploaded and had approved a vaccine card. You can find out if you are exempted by going to that same link: “COVID Vacc. Upload.” Click on that link, and it will say “You have successfully submitted your proof of vaccination.” If you have not submitted or it is not approved (because you only show one dose of a two-dose shot, or the picture did not come through, for example), then it will say, “You have not submitted proof of vaccination or your proof of vaccination was rejected. Please fill out the form below.”
(3) If you got one dose last spring and never got your second dose, then you are NOT fully vaccinated. The good news, though, is that you can get your second dose now or on campus and within two weeks be fully vaccinated. It is not a problem to go longer than three weeks between shots.
I have had students and parents ask if they can get a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna here on campus if they got their first shot elsewhere, and yes, both Wild Health and WEDCO have confirmed that they are able to give second doses for either vaccine, so long as the student brings their vaccine card showing the first shot and date. You should also be able to get your second shot elsewhere, so you do not need to wait until you return if you are at least three weeks past the first dose for Pfizer, or four for Moderna.
All unvaccinated students (and faculty and staff) are required to test every three weeks. After hearing from many students and parents concerns about finding affordable testing options, we are happy to announce that we will be able to host testing clinics on campus in the Fitness center, free for all students. These tests will be on specific days, and students who are required to test must test at these clinics. Failure to test at a required clinic will result in a fine of $85.
The first testing clinic, as already announced, will be on August 22nd, the Sunday before classes start. This clinic is from 12-4 (students will schedule a specific time to come be tested, which typically takes around 5-10 minutes, they do not have to stay for the entire four hours). Every unvaccinated student must test at this clinic, and they will also be offering the Pfizer vaccine for any student who wishes to be vaccinated.
The rest of the testing clinics will be on Tuesday afternoons from 2-6 pm in the Fitness center. Testing will be on these dates:
- September 7th
- September 28th
- October 19th
- November 9th
- November 30th
Again, the testing clinics are free for any student, but are mandatory for unvaccinated students. Failure to test will result in a fine of $85 per missed test. Unvaccinated athletes who miss a test will be fined and also will not be able to participate in any athletic activities until they present a negative test.
Previously Infected Students:
Students who have been positive for COVID in the last 90 days are still required to test at all mandatory testing dates and sites if they have not been fully vaccinated. However, students who were infected in the last 90 days might test positive without it being a new infection. Because of this, we recommend that students bring proof of their previous infection. If they have proof of a previous infection and do not have any new symptoms, they will not be required to isolate. If there is doubt, the health center will determine which students need to be treated as a new positive.
ISOLATION and quarantine:
Unvaccinated students who are found to be exposed to someone with COVID-19 will be required to quarantine off-campus and at their own expense. Quarantine is for ten days and a test: students found to be exposed must quarantine for ten days from the time of exposure, and must present a negative test to return to campus. While in quarantine, students will not be able to participate in any campus activities in person.
Any students who test positive for COVID, whether vaccinated or not, will be required to isolate for a minimum of ten days from their positive test or onset of symptoms, as determined by a doctor. In limited situations, the college may be able to provide isolation space, but this cannot be guaranteed.
For classes, here is the college's official policy:
- Absences due to a college-required quarantine or isolation will be excused by policy, and should be treated like other excused absences as provided for in the syllabus. However, in some cases, courses may not be adaptable to extended student absences, and such situations will be noted in the syllabus.
- As with other excused absences, faculty shall be as accommodating as is reasonable given course requirements and outcomes. Where possible, faculty are encouraged to explore methods (such as Zoom) that allow students who are excused to participate in class, but such accommodation is not always reasonable and may not be possible. In all cases it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to keep up with course work missed and to communicate with the faculty about how they will make up work. Faculty must allow students who are absent due to a college-required quarantine or isolation to submit make-up work, but faculty are allowed to set specific, reasonable deadlines for receipt of that work.
The following chart reflects all known positives/quarantines at any given time, regardless of where the test or exposure occurred.
|Date||Student Positive||Student Quarantine||Faculty/Staff Positive||Faculty/Staff Quarantine|
Testing Clinics: All unvaccinated students are required to test at regular clinics. Hopefully the number of students will decline as more choose to be vaccinated, but we will report the results from these clinics below. Each of these positives would also be reported in the chart above.
|Date||Total tested||Positive||Positivity Rate|
*Due to a mistake at the lab, the original tests were lost. 68 people showed up for a follow up test on Friday after we found out that the original results had been lost.
Percent Fully Vaccinated:
|Date||Percent of all students vaccinated||Percent of full-time faculty/staff vaccinated|