Dear USF Community
In partnership with our medical experts, we have been closely following the emergence of the Omicron subvariant BA.2, along with the developing science and epidemiological data reported by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Per data presented by the World Health Organization this week, BA.2 has become the dominant global variant, accounting for 86 percent of the reported cases worldwide. In the U.S., BA.2 has also been increasing, and it now accounts for 35 percent of sequenced cases. In the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Region 9, which includes California, BA.2 accounts for 41 percent of cases. These numbers have been steadily increasing since the initial detection of BA.2.
While cases and deaths overall have been decreasing in the U.S., for the second week in a row they have increased worldwide. Previous spikes in Europe with other variants have preceded a similar spike in the U.S. BA.2 appears to be more transmissible, though it has not been shown to cause more severe illness in those people who are up to date on their vaccinations. It is possible, and even likely, that we will begin to see an increase in cases in the U.S. in the near future.
Despite the emergence of new variants, it is important to remember that vaccinations have remained highly effective against severe illness and hospitalizations. Other tools, such as social distancing, wearing masks (particularly while indoors), staying home when sick. and having testing kits available can help slow the spread of COVID-19 no matter the variant.
We will continue to work with our medical experts and follow the relevant guidelines set forth by SFDPH, CDPH, and the CDC to ensure the safety of our community.
Below please find some important updates and reminders.
We will continue to require masks indoors in campus buildings, with the exception of the Koret Health and Recreation Center (where masks are highly encouraged effective Friday, April 1). We will revisit our mask mandate at the end of the semester. Thank you for continuing to mask up! As a reminder, Student Life is providing N95 masks to high-risk individuals such as unvaccinated faculty, students, and staff, and KN95 and surgical masks will continue to be provided to the schools and college as supplies allow. N95s for unvaccinated individuals, KN95s, and surgical masks are still available at Public Safety kiosks.
Food at Events
Starting this week we will now allow food at indoor events. Previous procedures and policies regarding food service will return and are managed through EMGS. Please contact EMGS directly to coordinate your events: email@example.com.
We ask that at indoor events, when not actively eating or drinking, you keep your mask on.
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic
Being up to date with vaccinations is still the best protection. A booster clinic will be available on campus for the USF community on Tuesday, April 19 from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. at McLaren 250.
Students, please continue to submit all COVID-19 vaccine documents to Med+Proctor.
COVID testing through GoHealth for students, faculty, and staff continues to be available in McLaren 250 on Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m., Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m., and Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. To register, please visit the HPS COVID-19 Resources web page.
Students, faculty, and staff reporting symptoms and who are identified as close contacts continue to receive instructions for testing from the COVID tracing team. Drop-in hours for symptomatic testing, close-contact testing, and end-of-isolation testing are offered on the fifth floor of the University Center seven days a week. Students with approved exemptions are testing weekly at GoHealth testing. Those who have symptoms that cannot be explained by something else should refrain from attending classes and events, even if receiving a negative test result. The COVID Management Team has seen some instances of individuals having symptoms but not testing positive for 2-3 days after symptoms start. Staying home when symptomatic is important for decreasing the risk of exposure to the campus community.
A Few Reminders
DONS HEALTH CHECK AND BUILDING ACCESS
All community members need their USF OneCard or mobile OneCard (available for iOS and Android) to access campus buildings. We remind you to complete the Dons Health Check daily symptom monitoring, and to not come to campus if you are not feeling well. If you do not complete the Dons Health Check survey, you will not be able to access buildings on campus.
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. You must submit your daily Dons Health Check or submit symptoms directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are not coming to 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.
- Continue to 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.
A reminder that any approved visitors at campus events are subject to all community expectations and requirements.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we continue to navigate this complex and evolving situation. Thank you for living our mission and doing your part to keep our community as safe as possible. Your continued flexibility in the face of change is appreciated.
COVID Management Team