August 30, 2021
Dear Members of the HWS Community,
Our dashboard this morning reports 55 students in isolation or quarantine with 1 recovered. While we believe we have followed up with all contacts related to the initial cluster identified last week and although 96% of students are fully vaccinated or in the process of becoming fully vaccinated, we fully expect that given the current high prevalence in the region, additional cases will occur. So far, vaccinated students with breakthrough cases are experiencing only mild symptoms, which indicate that vaccines mitigate illness as well as prevent many cases from occurring. Most of the students involved in the initial cluster and its aftermath will be coming out of isolation or quarantine over the next few days and should mostly be reporting back into class next week if not sooner. Having now completed our entry testing, this week we will begin regular surveillance testing of all students with varying schedules based on vaccination status and team membership.
Following our announced vaccination mandate for students and now that Human Resources has had time to update its tracking system, HWS will now require COVID-19 vaccination for employees, which means that all unvaccinated employees who do not file for an exemption are required to begin their vaccine sequence no later than our Sept. 7 Pfizer on-campus clinic. Our third-party service providers will follow suit. Employees for whom we do not yet have information regarding their vaccination status will be contacted by Human Resources directly following this note with instructions on where and how to file their information.
HWS community members needing to start or complete their vaccination sequence, including students, faculty, staff and Sodexo employees, are encouraged to participate in the next vaccine clinic:
- September 7 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. in the Bristol Field House. Please use this link to register. Note that while the link may state that this is open only to those individuals who received their first dose on 8/16, this free clinic is open for both first and second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
- Other local options are available, such as Wegmans, Walgreens and Rite Aid pharmacies, and the Office of Campus Life can assist with travel.
We direct your attention to the COVID-19 Dashboard which includes frequently asked questions, which we are adding as they emerge. One question recently asked was regarding physical distancing requirements in classrooms. Although the CDC and New York State have no specific guidelines for physical distancing at colleges and universities, we are recommending that individuals in indoor classrooms remain at least three feet apart. Contact tracers from Ontario County Public Health are using this measurement as one factor in determining if classroom contact is significant enough to warrant testing and quarantining. Employees who are found to be close contacts based on contact tracing will be contacted and offered testing at Hubbs. Employees who experience COVID symptoms should go to a testing facility immediately and not come to work until their symptoms and testing status resolve.
As we head into week two of in-person instruction, we remain grateful for the resilience and flexibility of the HWS community. Our collective cooperation and diligence in the days ahead will be extremely important to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Finally, we’ve seen the impact of Hurricane Ida throughout the weekend. Many of you may have family members directly impacted. The Counseling Center is available for students throughout the day if you wish to connect with a counselor. Our Campus Life team will also be reaching out to students to provide support.
As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at any time.
Joyce P. Jacobsen
Provost and Dean of Faculty
B. B. Barile
Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students