Dear USF Community,
Wishing you all a happy and healthy start to 2023. As we begin the spring semester, we wanted to send out a few public health reminders to help protect each of you from COVID and other respiratory viruses that have surged over the winter break.
Please be assured that we continue to monitor public health guidance carefully and are regularly engaging with our medical consultants.
Face Coverings on Campus
Per our protocols, which are in line with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) guidance, and due to COVID-19 community levels being categorized as low, face coverings indoors and outdoors continue to be optional. The deans of each school and college have discretion to require masks in programs within their areas due to exposure risk related to training and work in professional settings. Please refer to any communications from the deans’ offices for details. Some faculty, librarians, and staff have discretion to require that students wear face coverings in classrooms or office spaces. We ask that students please comply with these requests. Any questions or concerns about wearing face coverings in classrooms may be directed to the dean’s office of your school or college.
Throughout the semester, we will continue to monitor COVID-19 levels in our community and share any significant changes with you. When levels are in the low range, as they are now, masking will be optional. In the moderate range, masking will be recommended, particularly if you are a person at high risk. If levels are in the high range, indoor masking will be required.
Please remember that, regardless of our community COVID levels, people may choose to wear a mask, and masking may be required in other places by local or state authorities. It is always best to carry a mask with you at all times. All community members should stay up-to-date with vaccinations based on their risk factors and get tested if symptoms present.
As a member of the USF community, you should self-monitor for symptoms and not come to campus if you are symptomatic, even if you have a negative test. You no longer need to complete the daily online Dons Health Check. You should still monitor your symptoms and report positive COVID test results through the positive intake reporting form if you’ve been on campus within two days of a positive test. You may also contact email@example.com to report a positive test.
Spring Testing Schedule
COVID testing through GoHealth for students, faculty, and staff is available on Mondays from 1–3 p.m., Wednesdays from 1–3 p.m., and Thursdays from 9:30–11:30 a.m. in University Center 501. To register, please visit HPS COVID-19 Resources.
Students, faculty, and staff who are reporting symptoms and who identify as close contacts will receive instructions for testing from the COVID tracing team. Drop-in hours for symptomatic testing, close-contact testing, and end-of-isolation testing is offered on the fifth floor of University Center. Students with approved exemptions will continue to be required to test weekly at GoHealth testing and have received additional information.
Spring 2023 Immunization Clinic on Campus
Health Promotion Services will host an immunization clinic with Dignity Health Medical Group on Friday, Jan. 20 from 8 a.m.–12 p.m. in University Center 402/403. At this clinic, you may receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, hepatitis B vaccine, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, tuberculosis (TB) test, or flu shot.
You can schedule an appointment online, and walk-ins are also welcome. Please be sure to bring your USF ID and a copy of your insurance card.
It is unclear the amount of protection that infection with previous variants provides against Omicron and its many subvariants. Vaccines have proven time and again to provide significant protection against severe disease, even as new variants have emerged. If you have had a previous infection, vaccines provide added immunity and protection. In addition, they have been proven to be very safe. It is strongly recommended that everyone remain current with their vaccination as outlined by the CDC and California Department of Public Health. For people at high risk for severe disease, it is recommended to get the new bivalent booster as it appears to provide added protection against hospitalization. If you are at low risk, it is recommended that you at least have had the primary vaccine series plus at least one booster (3 shots). The original vaccine and booster are still very much protective against severe illness for low-risk people. As always, please consult your primary care provider to make sure you are current with your vaccine schedule.
Students need to submit their COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster records through Med+Proctor. Faculty and staff may update their information in Workday by following the upload instructions. Find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster clinic near you.
Please continue to self-monitor for symptoms, do not come to USF if you are not feeling well, and report any positive test results at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay up-to-date on COVID guidance by visiting USF Together and by downloading the USF mobile app.
An abridged version of USF’s contact tracing procedures is available on the testing and tracing page of USF Together.
We know that at times a member of our community may be made aware of a positive case prior to email@example.com being notified. If a member of the community discloses to you that they have tested positive for COVID, and they did not test at one of USF’s on-campus testing clinics, please refer them to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can work through our protocols and send the proper notifications. When a student tests positive and confirms which classes they have attended during their 48-hour infectious period, faculty and fellow classmates will receive communication from a member of the COVID tracing team. Communication may be delayed depending on when the team receives the information about the positive result or whether someone had symptoms before testing positive. We can all do our part by not coming to campus if we are not feeling well.
Close Contacts and Positive Tests
In the event that you are informed that you are a close contact of a COVID-positive individual — whether or not that individual is a member of the USF community — please be informed of the following steps regardless of vaccination status:
- After being exposed to COVID-19, immediately begin to wear a well-fitted mask and monitor your symptoms.
- Consider testing as soon as possible to see if you are already infected; if you test negative before day three, test again one to two days later during the three to five days after exposure.
- If you test negative, continue to wear a well-fitted mask through day 10. You can still develop COVID-19 up to 10 days after exposure.
- If you test positive, isolate immediately and complete the positive intake reporting form or contact email@example.com and let them know you tested positive.
- Always wear a well-fitted mask and contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
In the event that you test positive, please follow these steps:
- Complete the positive intake reporting form or contact email@example.com and let them know you tested positive.
- Isolate away from others who are not COVID-positive. Upon receiving your positive result, the COVID tracing team will do an intake to determine your length of isolation. They will provide guidance on isolation procedures and when you are eligible to test out of isolation. The isolation period is 10 days, with the ability to be released on or after your fifth day of isolation if you receive a negative test. You will also be provided information on your infectious window and how to notify those you have had close contact with.
- If you are a residential student, the housing office will be in touch with you to coordinate your isolation location and resources.
All visitors to USF are expected to follow our community guidelines. Visitors must self-monitor for symptoms and avoid coming to campus if they do not feel well. To ensure clear communication of these guidelines, the group that is sponsoring a visitor or event is responsible for ensuring that their visitors understand our community guidelines. Business units were asked to build these visitor expectations into their existing workflows. Vaccinated guests no longer need to show that they are up-to-date with vaccinations prior to coming to campus. If transmission levels change, this may change.
Additional Information on Flu/Respiratory Viruses
This winter has seen an unprecedented level of RSV and influenza cases. These viruses can present similarly to COVID-19 and are very infectious. Please continue to protect yourself and your community by practicing the following safe and healthy habits:
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
- Consider wearing an optional face covering to help protect our community from the flu, cold, and other respiratory viruses.
- Take extra precautions in large indoor group settings.
- Stay home when not feeling well.
- Utilize hand sanitizer stands around campus.
- Get your influenza vaccine.
Thank you for your continued cooperation and for all you are doing to keep our community safe and healthy.
COVID Management Team