Dear USF Community,
As we return from our winter break and prepare for the spring semester, we write today to share important updates with everyone — students, faculty, librarians, and staff — so all members of the community are aware of what has been put in place to protect each one of us during the constantly changing situation with COVID.
We are grateful for your cooperation and flexibility as we navigate this challenging environment together. Students have been responsible in uploading their vaccination status, including boosters, and maintaining safe and healthy behaviors. Our faculty and staff’s current vaccination rate is exceptional at over 97 percent. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.
As you are aware, COVID-19 cases are surging in the Bay Area and across the nation, fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant. As we continue to consult with infectious disease experts, and with local and state health care agencies, we believe the steps we are taking are the best course of action right now to limit the spread of COVID-19 while remaining committed to providing the widest possibilities to our students.
Beginning Jan. 24, USF will offer the course modalities published in the 2022 spring schedule. The university will continue to monitor the impact of the Omicron variant as well as public health advisories, and should we need to move in-person instruction to an online modality for a limited time period, we will communicate any changes through the USF website and via email.
Based on the latest public health guidance, the President’s Cabinet has directed the COVID Management Team to share the following information about policies and protocols as we plan for the spring semester. Again, please know that we are closely monitoring the situation. We expect that there may be other changes in guidance, given the course of the pandemic. We are committed to keeping you updated and informed as we move forward.
Faculty and Staff Vaccination Requirement, Proof of Vaccination, and Boosters
All faculty and staff, except those who have an exemption approved by Human Resources, are now required to be fully vaccinated (including boosters) as soon as possible. We ask that all faculty and staff complete their vaccinations before the end of the spring semester.
Effective Jan. 10, the university will require all fully vaccinated employees to upload proof of vaccination, including boosters, to Workday. An email will be sent to employees on Jan. 10 with instructions on how to access the Workday link and upload proof of vaccination including the booster, if applicable. Individuals are eligible for a booster six months after receiving the final dose of the Moderna vaccine, five months after receiving the final dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
For the approximately 2 percent of employees who are not yet vaccinated, you will receive additional information from Human Resources on when you need to show proof of vaccination and the exemption process. Effective Feb. 9, employees who are working on campus and not vaccinated or have not yet uploaded proof of vaccination will need to submit, in Workday, a negative test on a weekly basis before entering the workplace.
Booster Mandate for Students
To prepare for the start of the semester on Jan. 24, the university implemented a booster mandate for all USF students who do not currently have an approved vaccine exemption. The mandate requires that all eligible, fully vaccinated students receive a COVID-19 booster and provide documentation of it to Med+Proctor by Friday, Jan. 21. Individuals are eligible for a booster six months after receiving the final dose of the Moderna vaccine, five months after receiving the final dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This information has already been shared with students, and the latest CDC guidance on boosters is available on the CDC website.
Quarantine and Testing Expectations for Students and Faculty and Staff
For Students: Prior to the holiday break all USF students received detailed information regarding quarantine and testing requirements for the spring semester. Students who are not fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine for seven days prior to participating in on-campus classes or activities this spring. In addition, all students, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to provide a negative COVID test result one to two days prior to returning to campus.
For Faculty and Staff: Faculty and staff are required to test prior to returning to campus and can do so through their healthcare providers or local testing facilities. If this delays your return to campus date please work with your supervisor. Employees who are currently working on campus should test at their earliest convenience. Please send positive test results to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unlike students, employees do not need to send negative results.
California Travel Advisory
The California Department of Public Health has issued a new travel advisory effective immediately that recommends all travelers arriving in California test for COVID-19 within three to five days of arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. This applies to USF employees and students.
USF will host four booster clinics at the beginning of the spring semester. These clinics are open to faculty, staff and students. They will take place on the following dates:
- Thursday, Jan. 20, 12 – 3 p.m., UC 402/40
- Saturday, Jan. 22, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., UC 402/40
- Thursday, Feb. 3, 12 – 2 p.m., UC 502/50
- Thursday, Feb. 10, 12 – 2 p.m., UC 502/504
Please watch for additional information.
If you are eligible for a booster before the start of the semester, please secure an appointment by working with your primary care provider, visiting a local or retail pharmacy (Walgreens, CVS, etc.), or by going to the SF.gov vaccine site.
On-Campus COVID-19 Testing
When classes resume on Jan. 24, on-campus COVID testing will be available every Wednesday and Thursday for faculty, staff, and students. To participate and sign up, please visit HPS COVID-19 Resources. Students with approved exemptions and employees who have not uploaded proof of vaccination will continue to be required to test and have received additional information. Students, faculty, and staff reporting symptoms during the spring semester will receive instructions for testing from the COVID Tracing Team.
When you do return to campus, we highly recommend that you upgrade your mask to the best available protection. Please see the latest guidance from the California Department of Public Health, Choosing your Mask, which recommends, at minimum, a triple-layer cloth mask made of tightly-woven fabric and well fitted to the face with a nose wire, followed by a well-fitted surgical mask or a surgical mask along with a cloth mask. The highest level of protection comes from KN95, N95, and KF94 masks. All masks should be well-fitting, and must fully cover your mouth and nose.
Limited Remote Classes in January
Prior to Winter Break, students enrolled and faculty teaching intersession classes were notified that most of their intersession classes were moved to a remote modality. The decision was based on the close proximity of the start of intersession to the New Year holiday.
At the School of Law, spring semester classes will be remote from Jan. 10 through Jan. 21. The law school will resume in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 24, as was previously communicated.
The Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning winter session classes have been moved online.
Food at Events
As communicated earlier, USF will continue the policy implemented in fall 2021 of not permitting food and beverage at indoor events. Food and beverage will continue to be served outside only. USF will reexamine this policy throughout the semester and communicate any changes.
Faculty and Staff Meetings
All departmental meetings of faculty and staff should continue on Zoom at this time.
Contact Tracing and Testing
As a reminder, USF has established detailed procedures for COVID-19 contact tracing and testing. Specific procedures have been established for employees, and for residential and non-residential students. An abridged version of these procedures is available on the testing and tracing page of USF Together, and the full, detailed procedures can be found in the COVID-19 Response Protocol section. For questions, please contact email@example.com.
Updated Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines
USF is aligning with the latest update to isolation and quarantine guidelines from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Health and Safety Reminders
Please review the following practices to protect your health and well-being, and the health and well-being of the community:
Continue to monitor for symptoms. If you are on campus for winter and/or intersession — whether in student housing, classes, or working — you must submit your daily Dons Health Check or submit symptoms directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are off campus, you are not required to submit daily symptom checks, but please contact email@example.com if you need information.
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
- Wear face coverings while indoors, and outdoors when distancing cannot be maintained.
- Limit large group settings whenever possible.
- Stay home when sick or not feeling well.
- Utilize hand sanitizer often, including from the stands located throughout campus.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as the university navigates this complex and evolving situation. Your flexibility in the face of change and disruption is greatly appreciated.
COVID Management Team