January 19, 2022
We hope you’re well as we prepare for a fully in-person spring semester. Supporting the central academic and co-curricular Princeton experience requires that we all be mindful of our continued responsibility for the health and safety of ourselves and our community. Each of us recognizes how, in this difficult moment, our choices and actions may affect classmates, roommates, teammates, faculty and staff, and their families.
As more students have returned to Princeton since January 14, we’ve seen a notable and welcomed increase in the energy and activity on campus. Our winter sports teams are now well into their seasons. Wintersession, both in-person and virtual, offers a variety of exciting ways for us to engage one another. And A Month of Service: Just Food: Food Access, Equity, and Justice provides opportunities for staff, faculty, and students to serve safely while learning about longstanding issues of food access and how the pandemic has affected under-resourced people’s needs for sustenance.
Recent changes in our personal travel policy and the decrease in the length of COVID-positive isolation for those who are fully vaccinated reflect a shift in our policies. But these changes require a firm commitment to the guidance these policies demand, such as very consistent face-covering-wearing, participating in regular testing, and following any and all isolation protocols. By doing so, you will contribute to a successful in-person spring semester.
As you prepare for the coming semester, let us remind you of a few key concerns and procedures.
Return Protocol for All Undergraduate Students
When you arrive on campus, take the following steps until you receive a negative test from our on-campus testing program (you cannot substitute a result from an off-campus testing location):
- Submit a test sample as soon as you arrive. Test kits will be made available to returning undergraduates in multiple locations.
- Wear a face-covering and stay socially distant from others indoors.
- Stay in your room as much as possible.
- Do not enter Firestone Library, any branch library, or Dillon Gym.
- If you are getting grab-and-go meals, from Campus Dining or elsewhere, please eat alone until you receive a negative result.
If you have received a positive COVID test result from somewhere other than the on-campus testing program, let Global and Community Health (GCH) know by sending proof of your result to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will evaluate your result and let you know whether you are exempt from testing for 90 days, including testing on arrival to campus.
Asymptomatic Testing Update
All undergraduate and graduate students are required to submit a test sample twice a week. Because of Omicron’s rapid spread, we anticipate an increased number of positive test results as students return to campus. Your results may appear in the TigerSafe app before GCH is able to reach you by phone to notify you that you’ve tested positive.
To support the health and well-being of those around you, we ask that you proactively check your test results via the TigerSafe app or the web portal. Results are typically posted at least twice each day, at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
If you receive a positive result in the TigerSafe app or web portal, please complete the following:
- Return to your dorm (or bedroom if you live off-campus) and stay in your room. Keep your phone close by and turned on so that GCH can reach you to discuss isolation.
- If you are not contacted by phone in 2-3 hours, please send an email to email@example.com with a subject line that reads “I’m isolating in my room.”
- Start gathering the things you will need for isolation in case you’re asked to move into isolation housing. A suggested list is below.
Isolation dorms can only accommodate a limited number of students at once. Students assigned to the isolation dorm may need to share a bedroom. Should we exceed our isolation dorm capacity, undergraduate students who test positive for COVID may be required to isolate in their residence or dorm room. Students who test positive and wish to leave campus to isolate will be able to do so only if they can use a private vehicle. You will not be able to isolate in a hotel.
Students living on campus in singles will be able to isolate in their own room if necessary, even if they share bathrooms. If we see high need for isolation space, we’ll prioritize the isolation dorm for students who share bedrooms with roommates.
As of last Friday, January 14, if you’re fully vaccinated, the isolation duration may be as short as five days (your test day is day 0). You’ll be released from isolation on day 6 if you are asymptomatic; if your symptoms are improving; and if you’re fever-free for at least 24 hours. Your isolation and release dates will be emailed to you from GCH. You must wear a KN95 face mask or equivalent at all times. Do not remove it to eat or drink around others for days 6-10.
Prepare an isolation “Go Kit”
We suggest you prepare a “Go Kit” with the following items, so you’ll be prepared if you need to isolate. This list is based on common requests from students in isolation:
- Reading material for course work and pleasure
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Menstrual hygiene products
- Small exercise equipment such as a yoga mat and resistance bands
- A 10-day supply of any prescribed medication you currently take
- Over-the-counter medications (you don’t need all of these, but please consider medications that have helped you in the past with any flu-like illness): Tylenol; NSAID’s (Motrin, ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Aleve); Sudafed; Mucinex; Robitussin DM; throat lozenges; cough syrup; cough drops; melatonin; Pepcid; and vitamins C and D (if you normally take any of these supplements)
You may not attend classes until you have received a negative test result through the campus testing program or a 90-day testing exemption from GCH. If you are required to isolate or quarantine for COVID, you must inform your course instructors via email as soon as possible and copy your residential college dean/director of studies to let them know.
Check your courses Canvas sites to see what arrangements your instructors have made for students required to be in isolation or quarantine for COVID. All courses are available during the first two weeks of classes. To access a course in which you are not enrolled, log into Canvas, select Courses in the global navigation menu, select All courses, and then search for the course.
All residential dining locations are open for take-out meals through the end of January. Campus Dining plans to reopen dining halls for in-person dining and campus cafes February 1. These short-term changes will allow us to accommodate the production and distribution of meals while we respond to the needs of students in isolation.
Face coverings must be worn indoors, since they serve as an essential mitigation to help reduce the spread of COVID. While KN95s are ideal, a tightly-fitting cloth mask worn over a surgical mask also provides effective protection to yourself and others. Wearing masks indoors in libraries and in classrooms is especially important. If someone asks you to pull up your mask so that it covers your nose and mouth, please do so immediately.
Beginning Friday, January 21, students may pick up packets of KN95 masks from their residential college office during regular business hours by showing their Princeton ID. Saturday, January 22 and Sunday, January 23, from noon – 4:00 p.m., students may pick up packets of KN95 masks at the 100 level of Frist Campus Center. Masks will be distributed at the same location as the test kits.
Remember that Boosters are Required
All undergraduate students must receive a booster and update their vaccination information in MyUHS by Monday, January 31, or 30 days after they become eligible. Compliance with the vaccine policy is necessary to maintain prox access to campus facilities and to continue your progress to degree.
When Am I Eligible for a Booster?
- Six months (recently reduced to five months, but for the purpose of our vaccine policy, it is required after six months) after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine, including Pfizer and Moderna.
- Two months after the single dose of the J&J Janssen vaccine.
- Students who received a WHO-approved vaccine that is not Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J should follow the CDC guidelines for boosters.
- If you are not eligible to get a booster before January 31, 2022, you will have 30 days from the date that you become eligible to enter your vaccine booster information into MyUHS. For example, a student who got their second dose of Moderna on August 15 would be eligible for a booster on February 15 and would need to get a booster and enter their vaccine information in MyUHS by March 17, 2022.
- Those who are eligible for a booster and have recently tested positive for COVID-19 may delay getting a booster for 90 days after the date of their positive PCR test, though we recommend they get a booster as soon as they complete their isolation period.
Please note: Anyone eligible for a booster may receive either the Moderna or Pfizer version, regardless of their original COVID-19 vaccine. “Third doses” of the vaccine for immunocompromised people will count as a booster for the purpose of this policy.
University Vaccine Clinics resumed offering boosters at Jadwin Gym on January 5. An updated clinic schedule is available on the Princeton COVID Resources site. To search for booster clinics anywhere in the U.S., visit www.vaccine.gov. Please note that University clinics will not offer the J&J vaccine.
Your Mental Health is Vital to Your Wellbeing
We recognize that we are still living in rapidly-changing and anxiety-producing global circumstances. Many of us are experiencing strong emotions or distress that are either new or more intense than ever before. And we’re feeling this distress while trying to engage in rigorous coursework and co-curricular activities and maintaining relationships with others.
We want to emphasize that resources to support your mental well-being are all around you, from your (A)RCAs, Peer Health Advisers, Directors of Student Life, Deans and residential college staff, to the providers at Counseling and Psychological Services and UHS. Their goal is to minimize disruptions to your daily life and provide as much support as possible to students in need. Don’t hesitate to reach out, but do be patient; they’ll respond as soon as possible.
To speak to a CPS counselor, call (609) 258-3141. After hours, please call the same number and choose option #2 to speak with the counselor on call.
Finally, please be sure to review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that are updated regularly to address student questions.
We’re all fatigued by this on-going pandemic. But we’re very pleased that we can welcome everyone back to campus for in-person teaching, learning, and co-curricular activities for Spring 2022.
Remember, too, that COVID will continue to change. We’re all watching closely and hoping, as you are, that the situation will change for only the better. Thanks for doing your part to protect everyone’s health and wellbeing, including your own.
Our very best,
V.P. W. Rochelle Calhoun & Dean Jill Dolan