August 13, 2021
Dear Students & Families:
The beginning of the fall 2021 semester is just a few weeks away, and everyone here on campus is excited for your upcoming arrival. While we all wished COVID-19 were a thing of the past, unfortunately we know this is not reality, and probably will not be for some time to come. However, we also believe that by working together, we will be able to provide the in-person educational experience you deserve with your health and safety as our top priority.
As the pandemic continues to be a dynamic situation with the Delta variant spreading at a rapid pace, University leadership has continued to work closely with national, state and local public health officials to formulate academic and operational plans focused on everyone’s health and safety. More than ever, we believe that vaccination is the best way to keep ourselves and the surrounding community healthy and safe in order to achieve our goals for this academic year. This is why we have required all students and employees to be vaccinated prior to the fall semester.
Please find here the Undergraduate Student Arrival and Return to Gonzaga Guide. This publication provides key information to help you prepare for on-campus classes and activities this fall. Resources in place to support you are also included. Please take the time to read the Guide closely. Reach out to the appropriate campus resource if you have questions or need further explanation on any of its contents, including Residence Life and Dining.
Here are a few essential highlights:
- Vaccination Requirement: All students and employees who will be on campus at some point during the academic year are required to submit full vaccination status in order to return to campus. This means you are either fully vaccinated or you have an approved and verified medical or religious exemption. Update your vaccine status in the Online Vaccination Portal immediately in order to avoid a ‘hold’ being placed on your enrollment. If you have questions about vaccination, or the enrollment hold, please contact the COVID-19 Hotline at (509) 313-7070.
- Masks Required: While we had hoped to start the academic year mask-free, it has become clear that the safest, most prudent, course of action is to start the year requiring the wearing of masks indoors in congregate settings such as classrooms, hallways and meeting spaces, so that we can assess the prevalence of infection on campus and assure a successful start to the year. This requirement may be lifted for vaccinated campus members after the first few weeks, and we will continue to assess this policy throughout the year. However, individuals who are not fully vaccinated, for any reason, will be required to wear masks and physically distance in indoor, congregate settings in accordance with State directives.
- ZagCheck Discontinuation: ZagCheck is no longer required for daily reporting, but we ask that you monitor for symptoms daily. If a student is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, they will be asked to stay at their residence and report symptoms to Health and Counseling Services.
- COVID-19 Testing: Gonzaga will not be offering walk-in testing, but will conduct limited surveillance testing, provide Signs, Symptoms and Exposure (SSE) testing, and targeted testing of close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus.
- Events and Guests: We are looking forward to welcoming guests back to campus. Information about vaccine requirements and how to visit campus safely is available here. In-person events will be held in accordance with public health guidelines, with more information to come as the semester begins.
The final pages of the Guide include a COVID-19 Notice & Acknowledgement of Student Risk – a document that requires you to indicate you have read the publication and understand your role as a student. It is essential that you complete this final step before coming to campus. Simply log in to Zagweb or visit https://www.gonzaga.edu/covidnotice to sign the form. Students who do not complete this step will have a hold put on their account.
In addition to reading the Guide, check out the new FAQs and lists of resources at www.gonzaga.edu/zagon, and watch for a video message this coming week from Dr. Kent Porterfield, Vice-Provost of Student Affairs, who has additional highlights and information to share.
This last year has shown us more than ever the importance that commitment, encouragement, and tenacity have in our success. As we prepare for our next academic year, we continue to set the stage for another thoughtful and carefully managed educational experience, relying on our community to be active participants in mitigating risk and protecting one another. Caring for one another, and working together, are key hallmarks of this community of Zags.
Together, we will once again Keep Calm, and Zag On!
Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.