Action Required: Preparations for Spring 2022

Published:
December 21, 2021

Dear Grinnellians,

In our transition from a very full fall semester to a most welcome winter break, I write with preparations for our spring semester. I do so with tremendous thanks and admiration for our campus community’s efforts and resolve this fall; they stood us in good stead and can continue to support community health and well-being at Grinnell. Below, you will find information on our three-pronged preparedness for the spring:

  1. Booster requirement
  2. Testing on arrival
  3. Upgraded mask requirement

1) Booster requirement

To be best prepared for the spring semester, the College will require a COVID-19 booster for all faculty and staff, and students enrolled for spring 2022 to help meet the latest challenge that COVID-19 and its variants pose to our campus community. Recent studies and early research that our University of Iowa teams have shared indicate that three vaccine doses — the two preliminary shots plus a booster — significantly increase the level of protection against the omicron variant. Thus, we are requiring a CDC-approved booster which must be completed by Friday, Jan. 7 for employees and by Friday, Jan. 28 for students.

Exceptions to the booster requirement:

  • You are currently in the waiting period prior to when a booster can be provided. Booster doses are recommended for those who are six months past their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two months past their single Johnson & Johnson dose. Once eligible, you are expected to get your booster and register booster completion information with the College within 10 days of fulfilling your recommended waiting period.

  • You have an existing approved medical or religious COVID-19 vaccine exemption on record with SHAW or Human Resources.

  • You are newly requesting and awaiting approval for a medical or religious COVID-19 booster exemption. As with all vaccine requirements, anyone may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons through SHAW or Human Resources.

Employees and students can confidentially upload their updated vaccination information though the SHAW Portal and the instructions can be found here. Grinnell adheres to strict privacy laws, and as with other vaccine requirements, vaccination status including medical and religious exemptions are held confidentially.

COVID Time-Off Allocation
The College will continue to allow employees to use the COVID time-off allocation for vaccine appointments if needed or for time missed due to immune response. Please use the code (SIOF) within NOVAtime for this type of leave. If you have any questions, contact Human Resources at 641-269-4818.

Booster Appointments
The CDC’s recommendations now allow for mix-and-match dosing for booster shots. Vaccines and appointments are readily available through Hy-Vee and many health-care providers. Walk-ins are welcome at Wal-Mart and Walgreens, depending on location. The College is also working to schedule a booster clinic on Jan. 28. More information will be shared when registration becomes available.

2) COVID-19 Testing for Students on Arrival Post Winter Break

As students return to campus from winter break the College will be administering COVID-19 tests at Harris Center. A second round of testing will take place in the following 3-5 days post arrival. The first day of testing will be Friday, Jan. 21. The second round of testing will be Wednesday, Jan. 26. Student Affairs will coordinate testing with students who are pre-approved for early arrival.

Students: if you are able to access COVID-19 tests, please test with 72 hours of returning to campus and delay your arrival if you test positive. Additional guidance will be provided in mid-January, detailing what to do in the event of a positive test result.

3) New Mask Requirement Beginning in January

Because of their availability and high standard of protection, N95, KN95, or KF94 masks will be required for faculty, staff, and students on campus. Other types of masks, including cloth masks, will no longer meet masking requirements. The College will be issuing a supply of KN95 masks to employees through department heads. Student Affairs will distribute masks to student rooms, so they are available upon return to campus. It is recommended that the approved N95, KN95, or KF94 masks be used for a maximum of one week. The mask should be removed and discarded if soiled or damaged. Please contact Heather Cox with questions.

Important Dates to Remember:

  • Employee booster requirement completion and upload into SHAW database deadline – Friday, Jan. 7, 2022
  • Employee N95, K95, and K94 mask requirement begins – Monday, Jan. 10, 2022
  • Student N95, K95, and K94 Mask Requirement Begins – Upon return to campus, or if already on campus, once masks have been distributed
  • On-campus Booster Clinic – Friday, Jan. 28, 2022
  • Student booster requirement completion deadline – Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

The Executive Emergency Operations Team, in consultation with our partners at the University of Iowa, continues to approach every decision using a community and public health framework that prioritizes the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community. We all look forward to engaging with you after a break that we hope brings rest and rejuvenation!

Warmly, with gratitude,

Anne

Anne F. Harris
President

 

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