December 17, 2021

Return to Campus Updates

Preparing for a safe return in January 2022
Return to Campus: Preparing for a safe return in January 2022
View this message in American Sign Language above.

Dear Gallaudet University students, faculty, teachers, and staff: 

As we finish the fall semester strong and anticipate winter break, the COVID leadership team has been planning for the Spring 2022 semester. With the rising number of positive infections driven by the Omicron variant, we have had to implement more robust health and safety measures. The return to Red Mask status earlier this week is one example of our proactive approach, triggered by an increase in positive cases on campus. This week our positivity rate is 0.61%, up from an average of 0.14% since we began tracking COVID on campus. (The current Washington, D.C. positivity rate is 4.3%.) We ask that everyone be extra vigilant during this period with wearing masks and practicing distancing.

Several measures will be implemented in January 2022. They include: 

  • Staggered return-to-campus dates 

  • Twice-weekly testing for at least the first two weeks on campus

  • Gallaudet University Professional Development Week to be online  

  • First two weeks of Gallaudet University classes to be remote   

  • Gallaudet University students who live on campus to quarantine for 10 days 

  • COVID booster shot clinics on campus

NOTE: This message applies to all Gallaudet University and Clerc Center employees, and Gallaudet University students. 

Clerc Center leadership will send a separate communication with details for KDES and MSSD students

Staggered return-to-campus dates

We are requiring that you be physically present in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia (DMV) area no later than your group’s date listed below unless you are on approved remote status. This requirement is to ensure a safe and balanced return to campus by mitigating COVID exposure from travel and to manage the impact on the Shield T3 testing staff and other support resources.

  • Gallaudet University staff: by January 3 

  • Clerc Center teachers and staff: by January 3 

  • Gallaudet faculty: by January 10 

  • University students: 

    • New students attending New Student Orientation: by January 12 

    • Returning students: by January 17 

    • Other student groups, e.g., athletes, paraprofessionals, etc., please coordinate with your athletic director or program director 

If you are unvaccinated against COVID (due to an approved exemption or incomplete vaccination) and traveling back from outside the DMV area, you will be required to quarantine for ten (10) days. Human Resources or Student Life will be in contact with you to make arrangements.

Twice-weekly testing for a minimum of two weeks

All campus community members must come on campus to test with Shield T3 at least two times per week for at least the first two weeks. The two testing days cannot be consecutive; that is, there must be at least one day in between testing. There is no limit to how often you test as long as you test on two different days per week. Off-campus tests will not be accepted for the first two-week period. This will enable us to quickly establish a clear campus baseline.

Twice-weekly testing periods: 

  • Gallaudet University staff: January 3-14 

  • Clerc Center teachers and staff: January 3-14 

  • Gallaudet faculty: January 10-21 

  • Students (all): from date of arrival through January 28

Once your twice-weekly testing period has passed, you may return to testing once every seven (7) days, unless notified otherwise.

System access will be turned off for those who do not comply with the twice-weekly testing during their first two weeks on campus.

Gallaudet University Professional Development Week to be online

Gallaudet University Professional Development Week (PDW) will be held online. Faculty and participating staff are invited to join virtually from their on-campus offices. Testing hours will be expanded to accommodate faculty and staff on campus for PDW.

The PDW schedule is Monday to Thursday, January 10 to 13. Sessions will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. every day. More details will be shared soon by Academic Affairs.

First two weeks of Gallaudet University classes to be remote
The first two weeks of classes will be held remotely. Students will join from their residence hall rooms or off-campus homes.
Gallaudet University students who reside on campus to quarantine for 10 days
All Gallaudet University students who reside on campus will quarantine for the first ten (10) days. Quarantine means that students will be limited to interactions within their own residence hall. Visits are not allowed between residence halls. Cafeteria service will be limited to take-out only, and activities will be held outdoors. This applies to all students who reside on campus, regardless of vaccination status.
COVID booster shot clinics on campus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 16 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. We strongly encourage you to get your booster shot over winter break if you are eligible.

The Student Health Service (SHS) will be offering COVID booster shot clinics again in January at the SHS Clinic. Be on the lookout for clinic dates. All appointments can be made on the SHS Patient Portal under the “Appts” tab. Sign in to the Patient Portal using your Gallaudet username and password. Select either Moderna Vaccine or Pfizer Vaccine.
Report your COVID booster shot received elsewhere
If you receive a COVID-19 booster shot off-campus, you are strongly encouraged to upload proof to the SHS Patient Portal under the “Immunizations” tab.
Reminder: Health and safety requirements
for all campus community members

All campus community members (faculty, staff, students, and residents) are required to follow these COVID-19 health and safety rules, depending on remote status/location: 

For all employees and students, regardless of remote status or location

Remote non-matriculated students (e.g., ASL Connect students) are exempt from these requirements. However, if such students elect to come to campus, they must be in compliance with the University's vaccination requirements. 

  1. Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu (or receive an approved exemption).

  2. Complete the Return to Campus safety training in Blackboard.

For all employees and students on campus

  1. Test twice per week for the first two weeks upon return to campus, and then test at least once every 7 days thereafter for COVID-19 with the PCR COVID-19 test (rapid and other test types are not accepted).

  2. Follow the current mask protocol.

  3. Monitor for symptoms and report any via the self-assessment in ServiceNow.

  4. Unvaccinated individuals with approved exemptions: Complete the self-assessment in ServiceNow daily.  

We will prove we are #BetterTogetherAtGallaudet once again in Spring 2022. 

Thank you! Have a safe winter break.

Dominic Lacy
Chief Operating Officer
Jeffrey Lewis                   Travis Imel
Interim Provost                  Dean, Student Affairs
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