From: Mary Wilson
Date: Jan. 10, 2022

Boosters: The University strongly encourages all eligible students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccination booster shot as soon as possible. Recent studies in the U.K. indicate that booster shots prove 80% to 85% effective against the omicron variant and 95% effective against delta; boosters also reduce the severity of COVID among those infected. In addition, the CDC has announced that those who have received boosters do not need to quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19. This will greatly simplify our management of COVID-19 on campus for all who are boosted. You can receive a booster at the on-campus clinic on Jan. 17.

 

From: Nancy Berner
Date: Jan. 5, 2022

Testing: I am sure a number of you have questions about your ability to receive a COVID-19 test through University resources. The supply of rapid tests the Department of Health supplied to UHS is specifically for students, and the University has not otherwise procured a supply of rapid tests, which are in short supply across the country. The Sewanee Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory (SMDL) has made progress in being able to extend its services more generally. SMDL is now able to bill Medicare and Medicaid, and with the extension of the CARES Act, we may bill insurance companies. However, we may only bill insurance companies for tests ordered by a personal physician for persons who have COVID symptoms or who have been exposed to persons known to have COVID. Thus, we cannot charge insurance companies for surveillance testing. But, as was the case last semester, the SMDL can perform surveillance tests with direct pay if the test is ordered by the employee's personal physician.

Masks and personal protective equipment: While we are learning to live with some presence of COVID-19 on campus, I want to acknowledge those with family members who cannot be vaccinated and/or who might be more susceptible to illness due to other health factors. We know that you do not want to take the virus home. Knowing that we are likely to have an increase in the highly transmissible omicron variant on campus this month, we are stocking up on KN95 masks. Employees who would like a supply of masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) for work should contact the Purchasing Office.

Boosters: You are encouraged to voluntarily report your booster record. This is a HIPAA-compliant survey that requires the date you completed your vaccination series, Banner ID, and a photo of your CDC-issued vaccination record card. Knowing the number of our campus community members who have received their booster shots will help us to understand the risk level within our campus community and will inform our decisions moving forward.