Message from Director EHS and Emergency Manager David Oliver - WKU COVID-19 Guidance for Fall Semester 2021
- David E. Oliver
- Tuesday, June 15th, 2021
As we begin our preparations for returning to campus for the fall Semester, we will continue to take action to protect our students, faculty, and staff from COVID-19. Our protective measures have been modified in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), Kentucky Department of Health, and the Barren River District Health Department (BRDHD) and will continue to evolve as new guidance is released.
Based on state guidelines going into effect today, June 11, 2021 (https://governor.ky.gov/attachments/20210611_Executive-Order_2021-386.pdf), masking, social distancing, and crowd density restrictions are now lifted in Kentucky. However, masks may still be required in certain areas (e.g., healthcare facilities) and under certain conditions (e.g., after testing positive for COVID-19; after close contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19).
WHY SHOULD I BE VACCINATED?
In addition to masking, social distancing, and good hygiene practices, vaccination against COVID-19 remains one of the most effective ways to prevent illness and stop the spread of the disease. Vaccination provides multiple benefits to members of our WKU community:
- Lessens the likelihood of getting COVID-19 or from becoming seriously ill or dying
- Lessens the likelihood of spreading the COVID-19 virus to others
- Adds to the number of people in the community who are protected from getting COVID-19 which makes it harder for the disease to spread thus contributing to herd immunity
- Prevents the COVID-19 virus from spreading and replicating, which allows it to mutate and possibly become more resistant to vaccines
- Helps protect people around you, especially those at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- If fully vaccinated, eliminates the need to quarantine if identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after your second shot
- For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after the single shot
WHAT’S THE URGENCY?
Students begin moving into on-campus residence halls on August 2, 2021. In order to be considered fully vaccinated by that date, individuals will need to:
- Receive their 2nd dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine no later than July 19, 2021, or
- Receive their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine no later than July 19, 2021.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I TEST POSITIVE OR AM CONTACT TRACED?
WKU observes the current CDC COVID-19 guidelines for isolation/quarantine:
- For COVID-positive individuals:
- The individual must isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or the date of the positive test (whichever is the earliest).
- The individual may be released after the 10th day as long as they have had no fever or took fever-reducing medication (such as Tylenol) in the previous 24 hours and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.
- For individuals identified as close contacts:
- The individual must quarantine for 10 days and may be released from quarantine after the 10th day without being tested as long as they are asymptomatic, or
- The individual may be released after the 7th day after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on the 5th day or later).
- An individual who has fully recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days will be exempt from quarantine requirements.
- A copy of the release from isolation provided by the Health Dept. or healthcare provider will be required. This is a voluntary requirement; however, failure to do so will result in the individual being directed to quarantine.
- An individual who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be exempt from quarantine requirements.
- A copy of the individual’s COVID-19 vaccination record will be required. This is a voluntary requirement; however, failure to do so will result in the individual being directed to quarantine.
- Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 and those identified as being close contacts to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 must contact the WKU COVID Helpline at 270-745-2019 within four (4) hours of being notified of the test result or contact trace.
- Students residing in on-campus housing who receive a COVID-positive test result and those identified as close contacts to a COVID-positive case will be required to move into isolation/quarantine as soon as directed by Athletics or an EH&S COVID Team member.
- The WKU isolation/quarantine policy may be modified as additional guidance is released by the CDC and/or state/local public health officials.
To be eligible for on-campus isolation/quarantine, a student must:
- Be a resident of WKU's residential buildings during the current term.
- Have a permanent home address three or more hours of travel from WKU's Bowling Green campus.
- Be too ill for immediate travel with a medical recommendation stating they do not require hospitalization and may isolate/quarantine until able to return to their permanent address.
- Be an international student with a permanent home address outside the U.S.
- Be an independent student, as defined by federal financial aid and WKU, where WKU is their residence of record.
A student requiring isolation/quarantine and meeting the on-campus eligibility criteria will be assigned to a quarantine facility by a EH&S COVID team member.
A student may request that Housing & Residence Life (on-campus residents) or Dean of Students/ Advising & Career Development Center (off-campus residents) notify their professors that they are in quarantine/isolation. This is seen as the official notification and faculty cannot request medical documentation.
It is WKU policy that individuals on campus will not be challenged for wearing or not wearing a mask nor will anyone be required to show proof of vaccination in order to attend in-person classes or events.
Dr. David E. Oliver Ed.D, CSP, CEM
Director Environmental Health & Safety