|TO:||Gonzaga Students and Families|
|FROM:||Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President|
|SUBJ:||Christmas Break and Spring 2022 Semester COVID Planning|
|DATE:||December 13, 2021|
I hope that this Finals Week is going well for you. Hopefully a very well-deserved holiday break will allow for rest and recuperation with family and friends following a busy fall semester.
I continue to be impressed by the many ways you all have worked to keep yourselves and others healthy this fall. Due to your active commitment, we have been able to successfully navigate the pandemic and limit the spread of COVID-19 to continue fall semester in-person. Many of you and your families have been deeply impacted by COVID-19, and our hearts and prayers go out to you.
Despite the widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic continues to be ever-present. The now-dominant “delta variant” continues to drive positive case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths in our country and around the world. The emergence of the new “omnicron variant of concern” underscores the tenacious and highly infectious nature of this virus.
Christmas Break and Spring 2022 Semester
We must remain diligent and committed in order to protect our campus community, especially as we plan for our return this Spring semester. The holidays can be a very busy time and as such we want to make sure you are aware of a few things to anticipate this Spring semester:
- Holiday Travel & Safety: Many of you will be traveling this holiday season and to keep yourself and others healthy and safe, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and isolate and test if you feel sick. Visit the CDC Travel Recommendations webpage and CDC Travel Requirements for International Students for ideas on how to travel safely this holiday season.
- Vaccine Booster Shots: Everyone 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is eligible for a booster shot. While you are on break, if your last vaccination occurred six months or more ago, we strongly recommend that you schedule/receive a booster shot appointment to provide continued protection against COVID-19. To learn more about the COVID-19 booster and eligibility, click here. After receiving your booster, remember to please upload a new photo of your card to the student vaccination portal. It is imperative that you do this.
Please note: we have consistently followed the recommendation of the Spokane Regional Health District, and it is very likely that we will require evidence of a third (“booster”) vaccine for eligible students and employees early in 2022. We do plan to offer COVID-19 booster clinics in Spring for those students unable to obtain the vaccine over the holidays.
- Unvaccinated Undergraduate Testing: This spring, we will require testing for all unvaccinated undergraduate students upon returning to campus, similar to what was required upon return from Thanksgiving break. More information will be shared with these students directly prior to the start of the new semester. Click here to learn more about COVID-19 testing options based on your vaccination status.
- Additional Resources: Per Washington State mandate, spring semester will look very similar to fall: masks will once again be required indoors in congregate settings, new students must update their vaccine status if they have not already, quarantine and isolation protocols will be in place, and requirements for events and visitors will remain in place for the spring semester. For frequent information updates, visit the Zag On FAQs page and the Zag On blog. We will keep you posted if there are any changes made to these protocols.
We ask that you remain diligent this coming spring semester so we can finish the 2021-2022 academic year in as safe and healthy a manner as possible.
The Zag On website continues to be the primary location for ongoing COVID-19 updates and information. Ahead of your return this spring, please visit this site for additional information and continually added resources, including updated Arrival and Return to Campus Guides for Spring 2022.
I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays, full of joy, merriment and peace. Merry Christmas to you all and we look forward to greeting you again in January!