As 2021 comes to a close, we are engaged in comprehensive planning for the return to campus in the new year. The contagiousness of the omicron variant, intensely increasing national case numbers, and predictions for a significant post-holiday surge necessitate that we closely monitor trends and implement safety precautions to protect the Temple community.
This week, I met with my Public Health Advisory Council, comprised of the university’s top experts in public health, infectious disease, and clinical care, along with the senior-most leaders in academic and operational administration. The council provided recommendations that serve as the basis for our spring 2022 plan:
- Instruction will be conducted online only through Jan. 21, with the exception of essential in-person classes; campus services for students will remain available;
- Residence halls will open, as scheduled, on Jan. 8; students will need to be tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival;
- Essential employees will return to campus on Jan. 3; in-person work for all other staff will be at the discretion of supervisors, and we will resume regular operations Jan. 24;
- All eligible students, faculty, and staff are strongly urged to receive a booster as soon as possible.
I have asked Provost Greg Mandel and Chief Administrative Officer Ken Kaiser to move forward with the implementation of this plan. They will provide further details as an immediate follow-up to this message.
We should all be proud of how the Temple community came together this fall to protect our collective health and well-being and restore vibrant campus life. I am confident we will do the same this spring as we return from the winter break prepared to adapt to a dynamically changing environment.
May your holiday season be safe, restful, and joyful.
Dr. Jason Wingard