Dear Temple employees,
As we close out 2021, we are grateful that we were able to experience a mostly normal fall semester despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With winter break upon us, however, the spread of the omicron variant is raising concerns, especially given growing evidence that it can infect fully vaccinated individuals or reinfect those who have recovered from COVID-19.
With forecasts predicting a surge of cases occurring in mid-January, we have joined a growing list of universities that have made the decision to move instruction online, with the exception of in-person classes deemed essential by the dean of a school or college, for the beginning of the semester through Jan. 21. See the message sent to students by Provost Mandel.
Essential employees will be required to report to campus as scheduled on Jan. 3. Essential employees are those designated by their supervisors as necessary to provide in-person services and support during this period. If you are unsure of whether you should report to campus, please consult with your supervisor as soon as possible. Nonessential staff should coordinate with their supervisors to make arrangements to work virtually between Monday, Jan. 3, and Friday, Jan. 21, returning to on-campus work, per your established schedule, on Jan. 24.
Faculty teaching in-person courses for the spring semester that are not designated as essential will need to make adjustments to accommodate this shift to virtual learning for the first two weeks of the semester. Resources are available through the Center for the Advancement of Teaching.
Students living in on-campus housing are able to return after winter break by showing a negative COVID-19 test. As we continue to assess requiring booster shots, we strongly urge all members of our community—including employees—to get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as eligible. If it has been six months or more since your second dose of a two-shot vaccine, or two months or more since a one-shot vaccine, we strongly recommend you get your booster shot.
After vaccines, the best way to minimize infection and transmission is by practicing healthy behaviors. Wear your mask, making sure your nose and mouth are covered. Keep a safe distance. Avoid crowds. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
The steps we are announcing today are our best strategy for keeping campus safe and open for the spring semester. Future decisions will be driven by the requirements of the city of Philadelphia and the data and public health guidance available at the time. Find all the latest information at temple.edu/coronavirus.
As we approach the third year of the pandemic, we know that fatigue levels are high. We hope providing this information at the start of winter break will ease some anxiety and allow you to rest and recharge during your time off.
Have a safe and healthy new year.
Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer