COVID Protocols for Upcoming Spring Semester

January 7, 2022

A message shared with the Towson University campus community

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The following message is sent on behalf of the COVID Response Leadership Team:
 
Dear Towson University students, faculty and staff —
We write to you today to update our plans in advance of the spring term.
 
TU is requiring all students, faculty and staff who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine booster to submit proof of their vaccination status to Towson.edu/VaxVerify by Monday, Jan. 31 or within 14 days of becoming eligible. If you’ve already received a booster, you can submit proof now.
 
TU’s campus community was 100 percent compliant with the University System of Maryland (USM) COVID-19 vaccination mandate for the fall 2021 term and we thank all of our students, faculty and staff for continuing, in advance of this term, to show how Tigers Care.

This decision is in alignment with today’s message from the University System of Maryland that affirms how “Recent data show that boosters offer added protection against COVID, reducing symptom severity, including in cases of Omicron infection. Our available vaccines shorten the duration of illness and infectiousness, reducing transmissibility and spread in settings such as congregate housing.”

As we manage through the current surge of COVID-19 cases in our state and nation, TU will continue to place health and safety of our community at the forefront as we have throughout the pandemic. 
 
We learn more each day about the virus and the omicron variant, which has proven to spread more rapidly than prior strains. We’re also seeing that those who are vaccinated and have had a booster are far less likely to become seriously ill or hospitalized. We continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.
 
We’re planning for the start of an in-person spring semester, complete with engaging campus life activities, beginning Jan. 31. We are emphasizing the following three key areas:
 

Vaccinations

  • The requirement for full vaccination against COVID-19 — including mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) boosters for those who are eligible — applies to the spring 2022 term, as well. All students, faculty and staff are required to upload proof of vaccination and/or booster to Towson.edu/VaxVerify by Jan. 31 or within 14 days of becoming eligible. If you’ve already received a booster, you can submit proof now.
  • An exemption process for religious and medical purposes remains available. Those who were exempt in the fall do not need to re-apply for a new exemption.
  • Vaccinations and boosters remain widely available and free for all who are eligible. Find a vaccine site near you at vaccines.gov. TU is hosting ongoing clinics on campus, and you can register now. All employees will be granted administrative time to get a booster shot during a regularly scheduled shift.
  • All members of our campus community are reminded that compliance with vaccination policy is a condition of being physically on campus. Non-compliance can result in restricting access to facilities and progressive discipline — including and up to cancelled registration for students, and including and up to termination of employment for faculty and staff. 

Return test
 

  • All members of the TU community are required to have a negative result from a COVID-19 test within five days prior to returning to campus for regularly-scheduled work, classes or residential move-in, or by Jan. 31, whichever comes first. Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days will be able to attest to that instead.
  • Any PCR, rapid antigen or at-home negative test will be accepted. The State of Maryland has opened additional testing sites around the state through the Maryland Department of Health to make access to tests easier. Baltimore County is also distributing 100,000 free at-home tests.
  • Residential students will have an opportunity for a return test at the West Village Testing Center prior to move-in at the end of January.
  • The negative result will need to be reported through this attestation form
     

    Masks

  • TU remains a mask-on campus in all indoor locations.
  • TU is requiring KN95 masks in all classroom settings both for the remainder of the minimester and the start of the spring term. They’re strongly recommended for all indoor settings on campus.
  • Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to bring their own KN95 masks, however, a supply of KN95 masks will be distributed at multiple locations around campus. 
      
    We also want to reiterate the following previously-communicated measures:
  • Twice-weekly sentinel testing for those who are exempt to the vaccination mandate resumes as of Feb. 1.
  • Anyone who is symptomatic or who has been exposed to COVID-19 must fill out the Tigers Care QuickScan. This symptom monitoring tool initiates TU’s contact tracing protocols and provides the University Health Center with accurate data about potential cases within the TU community. The QuickScan remains a daily requirement for those members of the TU community who are exempt from the vaccination mandate.
  • As announced prior to winter break, all TU-hosted events with more than 750 attendees planned would be limited to 50 percent capacity. Additionally, food and beverages for all indoor events on campus through Jan. 25 will be discontinued.
  • All faculty and staff approved by their supervisor for telework should continue to do so through Tuesday, Jan. 25. This includes student staff. Anyone with questions should speak with their supervisor.
      

    We will continue to work closely with our local, state and federal partners, including our fellow university leaders and health experts through the University of System of Maryland, as we prepare for the spring term.

    Thank you for continuing to show how Tigers Care!

     

    Sincerely, 

    Melanie Perreault, Ph.D.

    Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

     
    Vernon Hurte, Ph.D.
    Vice President for Student Affairs
     
    Steve Jones
    Chief Human Resources Officer and Vice President for Operations