This is (still) my favorite time of year. Our campus is reinvigorated with the return of students who are excited to begin the Fall 2020 semester. I am happy you joined our wonderful community of fellow students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and we welcome you to the residence halls, campus walks, and classrooms. Amid the excitement of a new start, we face the reality that COVID-19 is challenging us all in many ways. For that reason, words like safety and campus experience have new meaning.
So as President Washington stated, let’s all do our part. It begins with these five steps, which by now I’m sure you are all familiar with.
- Wear your face covering properly.
- Stay six feet apart.
- Complete the Safe Return to Campus Training and daily Mason COVID-19 Health Check.
- Wash your hands often, or use hand sanitizer when you can’t.
- Stay put and don’t expose others if you are not feeling well.
OFF-CAMPUS GATHERINGS – NEW PROTOCOL
We will do everything we can to continue to offer you an in-person campus experience, but we all need to do our part. For the health and safety of our community, we are requiring the following:
- All student events and/or gatherings hosted by an organization, team, and/or individual, both planned and spontaneous, that exceed ten people must occur either virtually or on campus, following approved university guidelines (https://www2.gmu.edu/Safe-Return-Campus).
- Organizations and individuals that disregard these health and safety protocols will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. In addition to other sanctions, students that put both themselves and members of the community at risk will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
RANDOM COVID TESTING OF OUR COMMUNITY
Finally, to better understand trends and track potential cases of COVID-19 in our community, we will randomly select samples of our community to test. This kind of testing, known as surveillance testing, is very important to reducing the spread on our campus. It focuses on testing individuals who may not be aware they are infected with the virus (often because they are asymptomatic) and thus have the potential to infect others. While this is voluntary, we strongly encourage everyone to participate as it will help protect our community.
Our experts in the College of Health and Human Services and Volgenau School of Engineering are collaborating with Student Health and University Life in this effort. If you are selected for this random test, you will receive a communication with detailed instructions on how to participate. If your result is positive, Student Health Services will call you to recommend appropriate precautions you must take.
I am hopeful that each of you will take this opportunity to show what Patriots are made of, both in what we are willing to do, and equally importantly, not do. Let’s have a healthy, successful Fall semester!
Vice President, University Life