A COVID-19 update for fall 2022
To the Temple community:
While it seems hard to believe, the start of the fall 2022 semester will soon be upon us. As we prepare to return to campus, we wanted to take a moment to update you on the status of our COVID-19 plans for this fall. Our plans have been determined and approved after consultation with our president’s Public Health Advisory Council as well as Provost Greg Mandel and Chief Operating Officer Ken Kaiser.
First and foremost, before returning to campus this fall, we strongly encourage all members of the Temple community to self-test before arrival. Tests are easily obtainable, available for free and are a key step in keeping everyone safe.
The city of Philadelphia’s vaccine mandate for institutions of higher education is still in effect, meaning that all students, faculty and staff are required to have the original vaccine series or an approved vaccine exemption.
The university’s overall vaccination rate was over 97% last year and we project that it will remain at that level this year. We are thankful that our students, faculty and staff remain committed to keeping the Temple community safe. Our high vaccination rate is key in allowing us to return to campus for in-person activity and classes this fall.
We highly recommend booster shots. Appointments are available through either Employee Health Services or Student Health Services and can be scheduled through the patient health portal. Booster clinics will also be held on Aug. 29 and 30 and additional clinics will be added as needed. We also remain in frequent communication with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to ensure we have up to date information about variant-specific vaccines, should they become available.
Beginning with the fall semester, masks will continue to be required in healthcare spaces, clinical spaces and in settings where clinical spaces are incorporated within the learning environment. Masks are now optional in all other indoor and outdoor, non-healthcare spaces.
When it comes to masking, we encourage all members of the Temple community to make the best decision for themselves, taking into consideration all factors, including COVID-19 transmission levels, the indoor setting and their own health, while respecting the decisions of others to protect themselves. If you are concerned about COVID-19, the best way to protect yourself is to wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask. The effectiveness of this type of one-way masking has been documented. When in doubt, we encourage you to put on a mask.
Most importantly, we want to keep the vulnerable members of our community safe. We encourage everyone to continue to carry a mask and be willing to wear one if asked. Free masks are readily available across campus. Surgical masks are available at every building entrance and a limited number of KN95 masks will be available on Main Campus at the Charles Library, the Bell Building, the Howard Gittis Student Center information desk and the TECH Center security desk. Students can swipe their OWLcards to receive one mask each.
We will continue to monitor the situation and may have to make adjustments to our masking and other policies later in the semester depending on conditions, but for now, let’s be respectful to each other and take care of ourselves.
As has been the case for the duration of the pandemic, symptomatic testing will continue to be available in Morgan Hall.
Initially, we will be offering asymptomatic testing, but we plan to phase out such testing as the semester progresses. As long as we continue to be over 90% vaccinated as a campus community, students, faculty and staff with approved exemptions will no longer be required to do regular asymptomatic testing, effective immediately.
Tests are readily available and easy to obtain. After the closure of the asymptomatic testing site later in the semester, we will provide free COVID-19 at-home tests for students at various locations around campus by swiping your TUid card.
Quarantine and isolation
University Housing and Residential Life as well as contact tracers will be working with any student who tests positive. Those who do test positive are encouraged to isolate at home and away from campus. We will, however, have a limited number of isolation rooms, which will be prioritized for students living in university housing.
We continue to follow CDC guidelines when it comes to quarantine and isolation. While a negative test is not required to leave isolation, we will require a negative test for a student in isolation who will be returning to a campus residence hall.
Contact tracing will continue to conduct case investigations with a specific focus on identifying and containing clusters of positive cases.
While the pandemic is not yet behind us, this fall is looking like it will again offer students, faculty and staff a dynamic, in-person learning experience. That said, we must also continue to be flexible and be ready to pivot should circumstances change.
We appreciate everyone’s willingness to follow this guidance and continue to prioritize the collective well-being of both the Temple and North Philadelphia communities.
Senior Director, Health Services