Dear Members of the University Community:
On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the State of New York lifted the vast majority of COVID-19 restrictions after reaching a statewide vaccination rate of 70 percent. These changes follow updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which state that colleges and universities at which all students, faculty, and staff are fully vaccinated prior to the start of the semester can return to full capacity in-person learning, without requiring or recommending masking or physical distancing for people who are fully vaccinated.
Given these changes, Fordham is modifying its policies in the following ways:
Vaccination Status and Campus Policy:
All employees teaching and working in-person are required to be fully vaccinated by August 1, 2021, in anticipation of permanent U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of one or more of the currently available vaccines. Employees may request exemptions on medical and religious grounds here. (Students are already required to be fully vaccinated by August 1.)
All faculty, students, and staff are expected to be registered with VitalCheck, a HIPAA-compliant service that is linked to your Fordham ID card for ease of entry to campus. Faculty and staff can register with VitalCheck at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Students attending in-person classes in the fall are automatically registered with VitalCheck and will begin to receive the daily notifications closer to the start of classes, provided they have uploaded their vaccination records.
Unvaccinated students and employees with a Fordham-approved vaccine exemption must continue to wear masks indoors and maintain social distancing, if possible, consistent with their activities.
Fully vaccinated students and employees are not required to wear masks in any location on campus, indoors or out, including residence and dining halls, athletics facilities, classrooms, offices, conference rooms, hallways, elevators, and other spaces. On-campus personnel may continue to wear masks if they prefer to do so.
COVID-19 vaccinations are available on or near campus through August. Please click here for times and locations.
Neither quarantine nor isolation are required for asymptomatic, fully vaccinated individuals. Employees who experience COVID-19 symptoms should contact their primary care physicians or schedule a virtual consultation through the VitalCheck; students who experience COVID-19 symptoms should contact University Health Services.
COVID 19 Testing:
Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated students and employees will not be required to be tested for COVID-19. Prior to August 1, testing is required every week for unvaccinated employees and students. After August 1, testing will be required every week (on the 7th day) for students and employees with a Fordham-approved vaccine exemption. The University will replace routine PCR tests with rapid antigen tests (backed by PCR tests, if necessary).
All employees entering campus will be required to be on VitalCheck no later than July 15, and must send their proof of vaccination to VitalCheck at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. VitalCheck will display proof of vaccination on your smartphone and serve as the campus access card. Validity of vaccination documents is confirmed via the New York state Department of Health database.
Campuses will remain closed to non-Fordham individuals for the fall with the exception of Fordham-sponsored events, individuals attending Mass at the Bronx campus, student and family tours, approved contractors and vendors, and students and staff of Fordham Prep.
Contractors and vendors approved by the University can access campus and be unmasked if they show proof of vaccination. Alternatively, they can provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to their arrival, and wear a mask while inside campus buildings.
Temperature screenings will end at all security posts.
Campus Facilities and Public Spaces
All interior spaces will return to pre-COVID seat spacing and occupation capacity, including elevators, stairwells, hallways, and all other spaces. Signs limiting capacity will be covered over but not removed for the time being.
Central building ventilation systems will continue to operate in accordance with American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and CDC guidelines, and buildings will continue to use windows and outside air settings for window AC units for ventilation.
Custodial Services will revert to pre-COVID cleaning routines; private offices will continue to be cleaned on request by placing the “please clean” door tag on the outside doorknob.
The University will remove all plexiglass barriers except those installed at security stations.
Fordham conferences/meetings with outside speakers or guests are permitted as long as they are part of a Fordham education program that are intended for an audience of Fordham faculty, students, or staff. Events held solely or primarily by external groups on campus will not be allowed this fall. All guests must provide proof of completed COVID-19 vaccination series either prior to arrival or upon arrival at campus security posts. Since all attendees will be vaccinated, masks and social distancing are not required. Capacity is limited only by the space size or Public Assembly permit for larger spaces.
Fordham-sponsored events held outside of the University will follow the venue’s COVID-19 policies.
University-sponsored travel has been restored. See the policy on University sponsored travel here.
Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York state Department of Health. Students living overseas who are not vaccinated before they arrive in the U.S. will be required to notify Fordham in advance so they can be vaccinated upon arrival. Those students will be required to test weekly until they are 2 weeks past their final vaccine dose. Students living overseas can find more detailed information online.
Fordham will resume full occupancy of Ram Vans in the fall: only students, faculty, and staff will be eligible to use the Ram Van service during the Fall semester.
Fordham will continue to follow the evolving CDC and New York state public health guidelines. The University will also continue to bar external groups from meeting or renting space on campus, indoor or out, through the fall semester. This prohibition includes filming and photography by outside groups. Fordham-hosted events and meetings will be permitted, with appropriate protocols for screening non-University guests and speakers, as outlined above.
Finally, I want to thank you all for your cooperation with the University’s COVID-19 protocols and policies over the past 15 months: you have helped keep the campus community safe and healthy, and set the stage for a return to normal campus life in the fall.
Marco A. Valera, Vice President for Administration
& COVID-19 Coordinator
This communication takes the place of the regularly scheduled Five Things email. Five Things will resume next week.