Fall Semester COVID-19 Protocol


Fordham has updated their COVID-19 protocol for the fall semester. (Courtesy of the Ram Archives)

Fordham University has updated several of its COVID-19 protocols for the fall semester. According to Keith Eldredge, assistant vice president and dean of student services, there are two significant changes this semester.

“One is that at this time we are not going to do any surveillance or return-to-campus testing,” said Eldredge. Last year, students were required to submit a negative test before returning to campus after breaks. Eldredge stated that return-to-campus testing might be reinstated as time goes on, but for now, it will not be required.

Another change is VitalCheck, which is no longer required as a daily attestation, unlike in the past two years. “We still have daily notifications in place. Really it is an opportunity [for students] if they are experiencing symptoms, or if they tested positive, as a way to notify the faculty,” said Eldredge.
VitalCheck will still be used to manage vaccine, testing and isolation requirements and it will remain integrated with the ID card system for access to campus.

Following CDC guidelines, Eldredge said that students are still required to be fully up-to-date with vaccines. At the moment, the second booster is only required for individuals who are 50 years or older.

The masking protocol will be the same as the end of the spring semester, said Eldredge. Masks are not required indoors on campus, but they are still recommended. However, there are two exceptions: masks are still required on the Ram Van and in any health center-related facility or testing site.

“Faculty members still have the discretion to make it [masks] required,” said Eldredge.
In an email to the Fordham community at the end of July, it was announced that the campus will open to non-Fordham visitors on Sept. 1. According to the email, all visitors over six months of age are expected to be up-to-date on vaccinations. “They could come to campus last year, but only for specific events — like a football game or family weekend. The main change is that we will return to externally sponsored events on campus,” said Eldredge. “We allow facilities to be used by an external group. [For example], in the summertime, a lot of local schools will hold their [graduation] ceremony on campus.”

For the past two years, no external events have taken place on campus, only Fordham-sponsored events or events for students on campus.

In an email to students living on campus on Aug. 23, Residential Life announced the return of guest pass privileges. Students will be allowed to apply for overnight guest passes and guest passes for external visitors.

Eldredge also noted that the gym no longer requires students to sign-up for time-slots, which went into effect Aug. 8.

Finally, Eldredge said there will be a change to the quarantine and isolation requirements, in accordance with the new CDC recommendations.

While the CDC previously recommended that those not up-to-date on vaccinations should quarantine if exposed, they will no longer be required to. Instead, it is recommended that they wear a high-quality mask and test on day five. This is the same policy that was previously in place for those who are up-to-date with vaccinations.

The school still requires a five-day isolation for a positive test. However, instead of requiring a negative test on day five to end isolation, students will be able to leave on day six if they are symptom-free and fever-free without medication for 24 hours.