COVID-19 Guidance and the New Academic Year

The following message, providing new guidance about COVID-19 in advance of the start of the fall term, was sent to the Drexel community:

Summary

  • Drexel continues to require full vaccination for all on-campus students, faculty and professional staff.
  • Boosters are not required. Drexel strongly recommends staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, including obtaining all boosters for which you are eligible.
  • Effective September 6, masks are recommended in all indoor public areas including classroom settings; masks remain required in all health care settings, including Drexel COVID testing sites, Student Health, and on clinical rotations. Students at the College of Medicine and College of Nursing and Health Professions may be required to mask in additional clinical instruction settings.
  • PCR COVID testing remains available to all students and employees. There will be no entrance testing at the start of the academic quarter. All new and returning students and employees are encouraged to take an at-home, rapid COVID antigen test before coming to campus.
  • Students who test positive for COVID and live in Drexel Housing will isolate in place in their room rather than move to separate isolation housing.
  • Find the latest updates on COVID-19 health at Drexel.edu/coronavirus.

Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues,

As we start the 2022–2023 academic year, we want to reinforce our commitment to the health and well-being of the Drexel community and share our updated COVID-related guidelines. These updates have been made in collaboration with public health authorities and follow extended conversations within the Drexel community.

Vaccination

In accordance with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s vaccine requirements for institutions of higher education, Drexel continues to require full vaccination for all on-campus students, faculty and professional staff. While it may not always prevent infection, vaccination still greatly reduces a person’s risk of severe illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19. Remember to upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination via the Drexel Health Checker mobile app or online interface by September 1, 2022.

If you have previously been granted a Drexel COVID vaccine exemption, the University will continue to honor it through the end of the 2022-2023 academic year; to learn more about required student immunizations as well as exemptions, visit the Office of Counseling and Health Services’ site about COVID immunization.

You are considered fully vaccinated when you have received both doses of an FDA-authorized two-dose vaccine such as the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines, or when you have received a single dose of an FDA-authorized one-dose vaccine such as the Janssen/JJ vaccine. Drexel also accepts any COVID-19 vaccination approved by the World Health Organization. In addition, Drexel strongly recommends booster doses for all those who are eligible.

More about COVID-19 Vaccination at Drexel.

Masks Recommended

Effective September 6, face masks will be RECOMMENDED in all indoor shared spaces, including classrooms. Masks will still be REQUIRED in health care settings, including COVID testing locations, the Student Health Center and health care rotations. Students at the College of Medicine or College of Nursing and Health Professions may be required to mask in certain clinical instructional settings.

well-fitting, high-filtration mask provides substantial protection to the wearer, even if others around you are not masked. Masks continue to reduce the risk of transmission in crowded settings or for individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Drexel will continue to make KN-95 and KF-94 masks available to students and employees who cannot otherwise access them. You can request a mask at the Hagerty Library, DAC, Recreation Center, Main Building Lobby, Kline School of Law, New College Building lobby, the Queen Lane security desk and Drexel COVID testing centers. You can also obtain free masks through vendors participating in the U.S. government’s free N95 programAlways carry a mask with you as guidance and situations may change.

COVID Testing

We strongly recommend that students and Drexel employees take a rapid antigen at-home test for COVID-19 before returning to campus at the start of the term. You can order tests for free online through the U.S. government and most health insurance fully covers home test kits available at area pharmacies. If you test positive, please do not return to campus until you finish your isolation period and are well.

Drexel will not require PCR entry testing at the start of the academic quarter for students living in on-campus housing. However, all students, faculty and professional staff who are experiencing symptoms or who have had a close contact exposure will still able to receive a PCR test for COVID-19 at our on-campus testing sites. You can schedule your test through the Drexel Health Checker. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a known COVID exposure, follow these instructions to determine when you should get tested as well as other precautions you should take: If You Are Infected or Exposed.

Ventilation

At Drexel, HVAC systems in all occupied buildings have been assessed, and supplemental treatment using HEPA filtered recirculating air cleaners has been provided in spaces as needed. The HVAC equipment servicing these areas has been refit with upgraded filters, has been reprogrammed to run more often and adjusted to maximize the amount of outdoor air that can be drawn in. Preventative maintenance schedules have been completed to ensure that mechanical systems are operating properly.

How Drexel Responds to COVID Cases

Drexel maintains a campus contact tracing program for students and works to ensure affected community members are notified and take any required precautions. We provide services including meal delivery and telehealth to students who are living in Drexel University Housing and who need to isolate; most students will isolate in place in their University residence rather than being required to move to isolation housing if they test positive for COVID-19. More detailed information concerning isolation-in-place is located on the Response to Coronavirus site.

If you have COVID symptoms or an exposure, follow these directions and notify Drexel—students should email COVIDtracing@drexel.edu; employees notify covid19health@drexel.edu.
We will continue to provide updates or changes to the guidelines depending on community viral transmission and the evolving science. You can find our full public health guidelines and the latest information on COVID-19 at Drexel.edu/coronavirus/health-safety.

As we revise our guidelines, we acknowledge the ongoing lessons from the COVID pandemic. Whether it is COVID-19, flu or even our mental health and overall well-being, we are all in this together. While COVID-related risk assessment and decision-making increasingly falls on the individual, our collective well-being is nonetheless greatly impacted by one another’s actions. We are a caring community living through an ongoing pandemic.

Thank you for sharing our commitment to health and well-being. We look forward to seeing you on campus this fall!

Sincerely,

Marla J. Gold, MD
Chief Wellness Officer
Senior Vice Provost for Community Health

Subir Sahu, PhD
Senior Vice President for Student Success

Paul E. Jensen, PhD
Executive Vice President
Nina Henderson Provost
University Professor

Megan Weyler
Senior Vice President
Chief Human Resources Officer