As more students, faculty, and staff complete the COVID-19 vaccination process this semester, there are some important points to remember when it comes to being on campus. Overall, everyone who has already received the COVID vaccine must remain committed and accountable to the semester’s pandemic protocols that mitigate COVID infection and transmission.
Things that stay the same for vaccinated individuals
UR Community Commitment
Most importantly, vaccinated students, faculty and staff need to continue adhering to all of the safety protocols in place for the spring semester—masking, social distancing, gathering limits, and other personal actions included in the UR Community Commitment. There are a few reasons for this, among them:
- The University doesn’t know who has been completely vaccinated and who has not, so it’s extremely difficult to exempt individuals from COVID protocols.
- The sight of someone not wearing a mask and not social distancing in public because they have received the vaccine will cause anxiety for individuals who aren’t aware of their vaccinated status.
- Research is still underway to determine whether vaccinated individuals can pass the COVID-19 virus onto others, without being infected themselves. Preliminary findings suggest that at least some COVID-19 vaccines likely have a partial transmission-blocking effect, but research confirming this is still in progress, so in order to keep everyone on campus safe and to keep in-person semester going, all of the protocols need to remain.
- New York State rules for higher education have not changed, and the University is required to follow them.
For all vaccinated students on campus this semester, participating in UHS’s surveillance testing program is still very much required. All students, including off-campus students, who regularly access campus are included on UHS’s list of individuals to contact for surveillance testing, using the rapid test. If students are vaccinated and therefore believe there’s no need for them to be tested, UHS cannot complete the required number of rapid tests needed to fulfill their weekly targets. Testing vaccinated students is one way to find out how well the vaccine protects against asymptomatic infection.
Dr. Chat Bot
Everyone on campus who has been vaccinated must still fill out Dr. Chat Bot every day. Dr. Chat Bot has been among the most effective ways for UHS to understand the overall health of University community members, and showing an “all clear” completed Dr. Chat Bot screen is necessary to access many spaces and activities on campus for the remainder of the semester.
Things that may change for vaccinated individuals
Students who are fully vaccinated more than 14 days, as well as those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days, may be exempted from having to enter into quarantine housing. This exemption includes quarantines otherwise required by being exposed to an infected individual, as well as New York State travel quarantines. Specific documentation is required. UHS is able to provide more guidance to students who may have these specific circumstances.