Dear Temple students,
While the fall semester is quickly approaching, cases of the COVID-19 delta variant are on the rise in Philadelphia, which is currently seeing a substantial rate of transmission. That, along with new regulations from the city, have resulted in the need to make some adjustments to our plans for the fall. We want to make sure you have the information you need to have a healthy and successful experience on campus. We’ve repeatedly said “we’re in this together, so we can be together,” and that is more true than ever now.
The risk of contracting COVID-19 remains very real. The delta variant, which comprises a high number of new cases, is more infectious, making unvaccinated individuals more likely to become infected with the virus. And, young people who are unvaccinated make up a greater proportion of those being hospitalized with the virus than earlier in the pandemic. This shift in the virus has resulted in the city of Philadelphia requiring COVID-19 vaccines for college campuses.
This means all students must be fully vaccinated by Friday, Oct. 15. You will need to receive the first dose of a two-dose vaccine by Sept. 10 and the second dose by Oct. 1, for the vaccine to be fully effective by Oct. 15.
We believe the strongest defense against the virus is the COVID-19 vaccine. These vaccines are safe, effective and free. They also significantly decrease the chance that you will contract the disease and are effective at preventing hospitalization and death among those who do contract COVID-19. You can schedule an appointment to get your vaccine through Health Services, or find vaccines in your area at vaccine.gov.
Health Services will also be hosting a series of pop-up vaccine clinics on Main Campus, the first of which is scheduled for next Friday, Aug. 20, from 4 to 8 p.m. during Templefest.
Because the vaccines have been proven to be effective, we can have a more fully open campus with a fully vaccinated community. Once you get your vaccine, please upload a record of your vaccine information to the Patient Health Portal. This step is critical in being considered fully vaccinated by the university. Temple University will assume that you are unvaccinated until you provide evidence of being fully vaccinated.
You may complete a waiver to request an exemption from this requirement for medical or religious reasons. Those granted exceptions will be considered unvaccinated by the university and will be required to comply with the COVID-19 surveillance testing program and other restrictions.
As was stated in an email to the university community on Aug. 10, all individuals—both unvaccinated and vaccinated against COVID-19—are required to wear masks indoors on Temple’s campuses and outdoors when a safe distance from others can’t be maintained. This means you’ll need to wear a mask in settings like the library, TECH Center, student center, classrooms, dining halls and buses. Popular events at the start of the year, including Convocation, will also require masking.
In a change from last year, students moving into university housing this year are welcome to bring as many people they would like to help them move. However, everyone in assisting with move in will be required to wear a face mask, so make sure you bring enough. When you are inside your room, apartment or suite, you can remove your mask, but they must be worn in all university housing common areas. Please note, all unvaccinated students moving into university housing for the fall will need to schedule a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of checking in.
If you need a mask, they are available on Main Campus at the student center, Charles Library and the TECH Center.
The university’s mandatory surveillance testing program requires testing as frequently as twice weekly for those who are exempted from being vaccinated against COVID-19, and begins when you arrive on campus. Failure to comply with testing may result in disciplinary measures including but not limited to revocation of access to Temple’s buildings, including residence halls.
Students who have not submitted COVID-19 vaccine information to the Patient Health Portal, and therefore required to participate in testing, will receive an email with more information about the testing process and how to schedule testing appointments.
Two testing sites will be operating on Main Campus and one at the Health Sciences Center. Please note that testing is done by appointment only and walk-ups will not be accepted.
- Mitten Hall, Great Court
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Paley Hall, Lower Level Room G2
Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Health Sciences Center
- Student Faculty Center, Room 108
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Though the testing sites will be staffed, tests are self-administered. This means you will be given a test kit, which includes a test tube and nasal swab, and will follow step-by-step instructions to complete the test yourself. Watch a video to learn what’s expected.
Test results will be available between 12 and 36 hours after your test. Negative test results will be texted or emailed. You can opt in to receive text messages from Student Health Services by visiting the Forms section of the Patient Health Portal. Those who receive a positive test result will get a call from a Health Services staff member, who will provide you with information about what you should do next.
Temple’s internal contact tracing unit will continue to interview those who test positive for COVID-19 and identify close contacts. Unvaccinated close contacts will be required to quarantine, including being kept out of class. Fully vaccinated close contacts will be required to get tested for COVID-19 but will not need to quarantine. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. Isolation housing for those who require it will be available on Main Campus in Johnson Hall.
Acting in defiance of the COVID-19 mitigation and containment efforts put in place by the university and the city of Philadelphia carries serious consequences. Sanctions for students in violation of COVID-related policies, such as refusing to participate in mandatory testing or cooperate with contact tracers, and other blatant disregard for the health and well-being of Temple University and the surrounding community may result in sanctions such as revocation of university building access, removal from campus housing, suspension or expulsion.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve all experienced a range of challenges. The upheaval and uncertainty have affected us all in different ways. Some of us have felt isolated and lonely, not being able to connect with loved ones the way we normally would. Others of us have had loved ones fall ill or pass away. Some of us, ourselves, have fallen ill, or experienced other hardships resulting from the pandemic.
However, despite our individual circumstances, we look forward to moving past the difficulties we’ve faced and being together this fall to experience what makes Temple so special. But, we must acknowledge the pandemic is still a part of our lives and take seriously the role each of us plays in prioritizing collective well-being and doing what it takes to ensure we have the in-person experience we’ve all missed.
We remain in this together, so we can be together.
Senior Director, Health Services
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students