Update - 5 January 2022
A message from Dr. Amy Gray, Vice President for Student Life:
I write with updates regarding COVID preparedness for the spring semester. As all likely understand, the delta variant remains active and omicron is spreading rapidly across the country. Public health experts continue to argue that vaccinations are the best defense against COVID. Even those who have received both vaccinations and boosters are vulnerable to the omicron virus. In general, evidence suggests that cases are mild for those who are fully vaccinated (initial inoculations(s) plus booster). Boosters now are widely available, though a relatively low percentage of Americans have received this important supplemental dose of the vaccine.
AU concluded the 2021 fall semester in a strong position – thanks to the vigilance of the university community in complying with institutional expectations. Still, the highly contagious omicron variant poses a threat for the spring semester to all members of the community, including those who are fully vaccinated.
In recent days, we have received a number of calls from students with questions about whether or not AU will start the spring semester in a remote format. Last year, remote instruction was necessary in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, with 90% of our students vaccinated and an even higher rate among employees, we remain committed to face-to-face learning and safety on the Aurora and George Williams College campuses and at the Woodstock and Orchard locations.
The university is taking this threat seriously and will insist upon compliance with requirements related to vaccination status, surveillance testing, and masking. To put it simply, if you do not intend to comply, you should not return for the spring semester.
Students and faculty who participate in fully online programs and who have no plan to be on campus are exempt from the requirements outlined below.
I. VACCINATION REQUIREMENT
What do I need to know about vaccination status for the 2022 spring semester?
The university will continue to require COVID vaccination for all students and employees, excluding those in fully online programs. At this point, AU is defining this as having received the initial inoculation(s); boosters are not required but are strongly encouraged.
To submit required documentation regarding vaccination status, employees may email a copy of their vaccination card to firstname.lastname@example.org; students may email a copy of their vaccination card to email@example.com.
Where can I get a vaccination, including boosters?
To find a vaccination site near you, visit vaccines.gov.
Will AU be offering any on-campus vaccination clinics?
On Wednesday, January 12, AU will be offering a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the University Banquet Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The clinic will be open to all students, employees, and their families. Booster appointments can be scheduled using the following link: https://kordinator.mhealthcoach.net/vcl/1619486318676. For those needing to receive the initial inoculation, walk-ins will be welcome.
Will exemptions to the vaccination requirement be available for the 2022 spring semester?
The university will continue to consider granting exemptions for medical reasons or due to religious and strongly held personal convictions. The form to request an employee exemption is located here. The form to request a student exemption is located here. All requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and those requesting an exemption will be notified in a timely manner of the status of each request.
Is the university requiring the booster?
AU is encouraging all employees and students enrolled for Spring 2022 to receive a COVID-19 booster shot to help meet the latest challenge that COVID-19 and its variants pose to our campus community. Recent studies indicate that a booster dose significantly increases the level of protection against the omicron variant.
Please note that booster doses are recommended for those who are six months past their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two months past their single Johnson & Johnson dose.
II. TESTING REQUIREMENT
What must unvaccinated students and employees do to comply with university requirements?
Per Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker's Executive Order, all unvaccinated students and employees are required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
When and where is on-campus testing available?
On the Aurora campus, testing will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Testing will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis for all asymptomatic unvaccinated students. Testing is located in Room 002 (Racquetball Room) in the lower level of Alumni Hall (adjacent to the Weight Room). To locate this room, please enter through the north entrance (facing the Quadrangle) of Alumni Hall and follow the signage. There will be a large “sandwich-board” sign outside this door to identify this entrance. If you are currently experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, please seek diagnostic testing off-campus.
On the George Williams campus, asymptomatic unvaccinated students and employees will be required to undergo weekly surveillance testing each Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Testing is located in the Mabel Cratty Building. If you are currently experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, please seek diagnostic testing off-campus.
How can I find an off-campus testing location?
Local testing locations can be found through the Illinois Department of Public Health or by contacting your local health department. In addition, testing is often available at local pharmacies, clinics, and other locations and will typically require an appointment.
What is required in order to provide proof of weekly testing?
Those participating in on-campus testing will have their results submitted to the appropriate university department for tracking purposes.
Those seeking testing off-campus must submit documentation of testing as follows:
- Students on the Aurora campus, including Orchard Center, who secure testing off-campus must submit documentation of testing to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon each Friday.
- Students on the George Williams campus who secure testing off-campus must submit documentation of testing to Yvette Howard at email@example.com by noon each Friday.
- Students on the Woodstock Center campus must submit documentation of testing to Maureen Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org by noon each Friday.
- Employees at any campus who secure testing off-campus must submit documentation of testing to email@example.com by noon each Friday.
What happens if I receive a positive result during weekly testing?
Students and employees who test positive should immediately isolate at home and follow any isolation orders as directed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Employees should notify their supervisors of their absence; students should contact their instructors. Employees and students may also contact the COVID Line (630-844-7500) or TimelyCare (timelycare.com/au or timelycare.com/gwc) for further instruction.
What are the consequences if I am unvaccinated and do not participate in weekly testing?
Failing to participate in on-campus testing or submit documentation of off-campus testing will be considered a violation of the university’s “Failure to Comply” policy, as defined in the A-Book, our student handbook.
Will the university continue to have a mask requirement in place?
Face masks will be required indoors for the entire campus community, regardless of vaccination status, until further notice. The mask should cover your nose and mouth, be secured under your chin, and fit snugly against the sides of your face. Disposable masks are available in common spaces and other high-traffic areas throughout campus.
IV. SYMPTOMS AND EXPOSURES
What should I do if I am experiencing COVID-like symptoms?
If you are sick, stay home. Contact your supervisor and/or your instructors and notify them of your absence. This is the appropriate and responsible practice regardless of whether you may have contracted COVID, the flu, a common cold, or any other communicable illness. If you are running a fever, please do not return until you are fever-free for 24 hours. If you are experiencing other symptoms, please do not return until the symptoms begin to subside.
Who should I contact if I have questions regarding quarantine and isolation?
AU’s COVID line (630-844-7500) will continue to operate from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to assist students who need guidance regarding a positive COVID test, COVID-like symptoms or a COVID exposure. In general, AU will follow the recommendations of the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding isolation and quarantine.
V. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For information regarding AU’s quarantine and isolation protocols, please visit: AU COVID-19 FAQ. Please note that COVID-related protocols may evolve over the course of the semester based on guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.