Dear Methodist University Community,
Just one year ago, coming off the Independence Day holiday weekend, I remember putting forth our plans for the Fall 2020 Semester at Methodist University. From strategies that included in-person learning and residence hall living, to the creation of a COVID resource web site and a daily health monitoring app, we were gearing up to move Forward Together as safely and effectively as possible. We were knowledgeable, but had questions. We were confident, but willing and prepared to adapt.
Exactly one year later, we can reflect on a remarkable year. We stayed true to a “safety first” strategy, remained resilient, and succeeded in the classroom and out all of the way through a memorable, in-person commencement ceremony in May.
Safety remains at the forefront of our strategies as we now approach the Fall 2021 Semester and the race against COVID-19 certainly is not over. As I mentioned recently, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have declined lately, but a much more contagious and deadlier variant is on the rise. It’s imperative we remain as cognizant and diligent as ever. It’s crucial that we continue in safety, excellence, and move Forward Together.
While I shared our general plans for vaccinations and testing of our MU community a couple of weeks ago, after continued meetings and guidance from health officials I can reiterate those strategies with additional detail now.
Methodist University is not requiring vaccinations of all students, faculty, and staff this fall. Though, this is likely to change if/when the FDA changes vaccines from emergency authorization to full approval.
While vaccines have proven to be highly effective, and many universities have chosen to require 100 percent vaccination compliance, MU is still allowing for some choice at this time and will do everything possible to accommodate all while keeping our campus as safe as possible.
Requirements before coming to campus this fall:
- All students, faculty, and staff should immediately upload their CDC vaccination card showing they are fully vaccinated, or
- If unvaccinated, produce negative test results of a PCR COVID-19 test that are no more than 72 hours old before the first day of returning to campus this fall.
- Fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff will not be required to wear masks or to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus. In addition, fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to be tested unless they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
- Fully vaccinated student-athletes also will not be required to wear masks, to be regularly tested (unless they have symptoms), or to quarantine if they are exposed.
- Following the successes of last year, safety protocols will remain very similar for unvaccinated individuals. Masks should be worn at all times indoors (except when eating) and quarantine will be necessary for 14 days if exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- In addition, to continue my obligation to keep our community as safe as possible, we will follow CDC and NC Department of Health and Human Services recommendations and require testing of unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff on a weekly basis. While this testing will be available at the Student Heath Center, payment will be the responsibility of the individual.
- All students, faculty, and staff should continue to take two minutes each morning for daily health monitoring on the MU Green Screen app. It’s valuable information for you, but also for contact tracing in the event of a COVID case on campus.
If you have already been vaccinated, please upload your cards as soon as possible at the link offered above. If you have chosen not to be vaccinated, testing and a continuance of some successful protocols from last year are our best opportunity to keep you and the rest of the community as safe as possible.
We have come a long way by moving forward together, MU, and I can’t wait to see our entire community safely back on campus next month.
Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.