Published on June 18, 2021  

Good morning!

We hope this note finds you enjoying a fun and restorative summer.

This email is the first of a series you will receive this summer addressing the question most frequently asked of us: What do we expect things to be like in the fall?In short, we expect a return to regular activities and operations while continuing to monitor for the presence of COVID-19 on our campus.

What We Expect Campus to Be Like This Fall

The University is moving incrementally toward the Fall term and implementing changes gradually throughout the summer. Changes align with evolving healthcare guidance and feedback garnered over the last academic year. By fall, we anticipate:

  • Masking for vaccinated persons will be optional in indoor and outdoor spaces;
  • Unvaccinated individuals should follow prevailing CDC guidelines;
  • Classrooms and most indoor spaces will be arranged in pre-COVID configurations;
  • Group sizes will not be limited and we expect a full return to social activities, athletic competitions, and Samford-sponsored events;
  • Outside groups with whom we have a pre-existing relationship will be permitted and scheduled on a space-available basis;
  • Covid19health@samford.edu will remain operational to facilitate easy and early reporting; contact tracers will follow up with any cases. Positive cases and known contacts should be reported to the University within two hours;
  • Vaccination for employees and students is strongly encouraged but not required.
  • We are monitoring guidance related to our testing protocols closely. To the extent we test this academic year — and based on feedback from students and employees -- we will be reducing the number of tests significantly while retaining an accurate picture of on-campus prevalence; eliminating redundant tests; providing more advance notice; and allowing individuals to select their own appointment time.
  • We continue to monitor CDC guidelines relating to vaccinated versus unvaccinated persons.

Vaccination

Samford strongly encourages vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 virus as the best gateway to a year with few constraints of the nature we experienced last academic year. We encourage students and employees, in consultation with their health professional, to be vaccinated this summer before coming to campus this August. This means acting now if you’ve not done so already. To be clear, Samford does not mandate COVID-19 vaccination of its students and employees.

The University’s position is based on available medical evidence and commensurate recommendations by international, national, state and local health organizations regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States. As has been the case since the pandemic began, we will continue to monitor updates regarding the virus and vaccines to remain current with the latest guidance.

Vaccination status impacts the appropriate healthcare response in the event of contracting COVID-19 or exposure to an infected person. Therefore, prior to returning to campus, students and employees will be asked to identify their vaccination status with one of three choices:

  1. I am vaccinated and will upload documentation verifying my status;
  2. I am not vaccinated; or,
  3. I am vaccinated but choose not to upload documentation verifying my status. I understand that for the purpose of testing, contact tracing, quarantine and/or isolation I will be regarded as an unvaccinated individual.

An Important Note About Masking

Suspending or eliminating masking requirements does not mean masks are prohibited, only that masks are optional. We expect all members of the Samford community to respect another's decision to mask as that person's personal circumstance often is unknown to us.

Many fine points are not addressed here and as previously noted, the landscape is changing constantly. As we’ve attempted to do since the pandemic began, we will continue to evolve as needed and will respond appropriately if required. Please look forward to further updates as we move through the summer. In case of questions, students should contact covid19health@samford.edu and employees should contact covid19employees@samford.edu.

In the meantime, be well and have fun!

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