Dear Temple students,
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.
Since the earliest days of the pandemic, our priority has been protecting the health and safety of the Temple community. With forecasts predicting a surge of cases during the start of the spring 2022 semester, we have made the decision, like a growing number of universities, to move the first few weeks of instruction online. This means that classes will be taught virtually through Friday, Jan. 21. Only classes designated as essential by the dean of a school or college will be held in person during this period and students in those classes will be notified directly by their school or college prior to the start of classes.
Students who live on campus will be able to return to their residence halls as scheduled after winter break. Any student residing in on-campus housing for the spring semester will be required to complete a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival and is strongly encouraged to take a test immediately prior to returning to campus. Student Health Services will offer testing for the semester beginning Monday, Jan. 3.
Campus services such as Health Services, dining, libraries, the Student Center and the TECH Center will also reopen as scheduled for the spring semester. Scheduled Athletics events will continue to operate subject to the requirements of the city and our athletic conference.
To remain healthy, we urge you to take the following steps.
As we continue to assess requiring booster shots, we strongly urge you to get your booster as soon as possible. An incredible 97% of the Temple community is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If it has been six months or more since your last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you are eligible for a booster shot. Boosters are the best way to prevent yourself from becoming infected or becoming seriously ill if you are infected and are readily available in pharmacies, doctors’ offices and through public health organizations. Please upload your booster shot information at temple.edu/vaxupload.
If you are not able to get your booster over the winter break, Student Health Services will resume vaccine clinics on Main Campus beginning the week of Monday, Jan. 10. Temple Health System is also offering COVID-19 boosters.
Practice 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. Monitor your health for any COVID-19 symptoms and stay home if you feel sick.
Stay in the know
Our website, temple.edu/coronavirus, is the best resource for up-to-date information about Temple’s response to the pandemic. Check often for information about spring semester operations.
The steps we are announcing today are the best way to keep campus safe and open for the spring semester. An assessment will be made during the remote period to determine the best course moving forward. We are hopeful that we will be able to return to the in-person experience we enjoyed this fall. Further decisions will be driven by the requirements of the city of Philadelphia and the data and public health guidance available at the time.
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 before your return.
We wish you a safe and healthy new year.
Senior Vice President and Provost