BREAKING: Fordham Adopts New COVID-19 Protocols for the Fall 2022 Semester

Updated visitor and guest policies and discontinued VitalCheck daily screenings are among the changes

With the start of the fall semester approaching, Marco Valera, vice president for administration and COVID-19 coordinator, announced the updated COVID-19 policies for the university in an email sent on July 27. These protocols include making changes to the use of the VitalCheck daily screenings, as well as to the visitor and guest policies. 

For the first time since the university closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Fordham campuses will be open to non-Fordham visitors and guests, as well as to university-sponsored external events, beginning on Sept. 1. Visitors must have completed their vaccination series and will be required to provide proof of vaccination to gain entry to campus. Valera added that details regarding visitation policies to the residence halls and overnight guest policies will be provided soon by the Offices of Residential Life at Rose Hill and Lincoln Center. 

All students, faculty and staff are also required to be up to date on their vaccinations, which currently includes having received all doses in the primary series and all recommended booster doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The university will continue to consider requests for individuals who have medical or religious accommodations. 

Free COVID-19 vaccinations will be available on campus starting Monday, Aug. 1.

Free COVID-19 vaccinations will be available on campus starting Monday, Aug. 1. 

Another change from the spring 2022 semester is that surveillance and return-to-campus testing will no longer be required for the fall semester, but Valera noted that all individuals returning to campus are encouraged to take a PCR or rapid antigen test prior to their arrival. Testing before arrival was especially recommended for individuals traveling from outside of the New York metropolitan area.

The university will provide on-demand testing and testing for suspected exposure but will limit diagnostic testing to students only. Employees who have COVID-19 symptoms are advised to not come to campus and should instead see their health care providers for diagnostic testing. 

Weekly testing will be required for individuals who have medical or religious accommodations for their vaccination status or individuals who are not fully up to date on their vaccinations. Operating times and locations for testing will be provided in August.

Since the fall 2020 semester, Fordham has partnered with the company VitalCheck to monitor the campus population’s COVID-19 symptoms. Beginning on Aug. 8, daily VitalCheck screenings will no longer be required to access campus. The VitalCheck notification will still be sent daily so individuals can report any COVID-19 symptoms and access telehealth appointments. 

“The University will continue to use VitalCheck to manage vaccine, testing, and isolation requirements, and for integration with the ID card system for access to campus,” Valera said.

No changes to the mask policy have been made since the mandate was lifted on March 5. Masks are recommended but not required in classrooms, labs, work settings and public spaces for individuals who are up to date on their vaccinations in compliance with CDC guidelines.

“All individuals may wear masks in any setting if they choose to do so,” Valera noted. “Faculty may require masks in classrooms and laboratory settings, if they believe the particular circumstances warrant such measures.”

A mask mandate remains on Ram Vans and in University Health Services’ locations on campus, which include offices and testing and vaccination sites.

A mask mandate remains on Ram Vans and in University Health Services’ locations on campus, which include offices and testing and vaccination sites. Additionally, all unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear a mask on campus.  

The isolation and quarantine process remains the same since it was last updated on Jan. 18. Resident students who are unable to travel home to isolate will be placed in designated residence hall rooms, and commuter students will be required to isolate in their off-campus residences. Valera noted that Fordham’s contact tracing process is currently being reevaluated and details regarding its protocols will be released when available. 

Quarantining upon exposure continues not to be required for students, faculty and staff who are up to date on their vaccinations, but the university encourages them to monitor their symptoms and to take a COVID-19 test five days after exposure. Human Resources will provide employees with guidance should any employees become ill on campus. 

The university’s policies and protocols are subject to change depending on campus conditions and federal, state or local regulations, according to Valera.