For the 2021-22 academic year, the University’s COVID-19 containment strategy will rely largely on vaccinations rather than weekly testing of all students. This list of FAQ about the policy will be updated frequently.
See the June 25 letter to students and families about vaccination policies.
Most recent additions/changes are preceded by an asterisk *
WHAT DOES “ONBOARD TESTING” MEAN AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Unvaccinated students will be tested upon arrival on campus and must wait to receive a negative result prior to moving into their residence hall. (This is the same way it was handled last academic year.) The on-campus Sewanee Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory uses a self-administered nasal swab test that will take less than a minute to complete. Note, however, that it might take several hours to receive your test result before you can move in.
* The University will accept a negative PCR COVID-19 test from a certified laboratory (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, a local health department) that is time stamped within 72 hours of your scheduled arrival. Obtaining a test result in this manner will allow you to move into your residence hall immediately after check-in upon arrival. Please upload a photo of documentation of your negative test result. Hard copies will also be accepted upon your arrival at Sewanee.
If you tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of your arrival on campus, but not within two weeks of your scheduled arrival date, please send your positive test result laboratory paperwork to this form. In this case, you will not need to test upon arrival on campus.
* What kind of COVID-19 test does the University use?
The Sewanee Molecular Diagnostics Lab will be performing the tests on campus. The test itself will be a highly sensitive PCR test. Samples will be gathered via a self-administered simple swab of the nostrils that takes less than a minute to complete. The nasal swab goes about ¾ inch into each nostril and the process is quick and easy. You will need to sign an acknowledgement form prior to testing.
WHAT IF I COMPLETED MY VACCINATION REGIMEN AFTER AUG. 1?
Please upload your vaccination documentation promptly. Arrive in Sewanee at your designated date and time, bringing your vaccination documentation with you. We will verify all your information upon check-in.
WHAT IF I HAVEN’T UPLOADED MY VACCINATION INFORMATION BY AUG. 1?
The University must have documentation that you have completed your vaccination regimen prior to your arrival; otherwise you will participate in weekly testing. After Aug. 1, a charge of $975 for the fall semester will be posted to the accounts of students who have not uploaded their vaccination documentation.
WHAT IF I’M PARTIALLY VACCINATED BEFORE I ARRIVE ON CAMPUS, BUT STILL NEED THE SECOND SHOT OR TO COMPLETE THE WAITING PERIOD TO BE CONSIDERED FULLY VACCINATED?
You will be tested weekly until your vaccination regimen is completed and documented. If you upload your partial vaccination documentation and have made plans to become fully vaccinated, you will not be charged the $975 fee.
* How will weekly testing work for unvaccinated students?
Students who have not uploaded documentation of vaccination will be tested weekly for COVID-19. On-campus testing will occur on the same day(s) each week; students will receive reminders the day before. Testing will be conducted at University Health Services.
The University will accept a PCR COVID-19 test result from another provider (e.g., CVS). A photo of the test results must be uploaded to this form by 4:30 p.m. on the designated testing day each week and must be no older than 72 hours at the time of submission.
Student-athletes may be tested off-cycle on occasion in order to comply with NCAA timing requirements before competition. (There will be no additional cost to students for NCAA-required testing.)
CAN UNVACCINATED STUDENTS RECEIVE THEIR WEEKLY TESTING FROM A PROVIDER OTHER THAN THE UNIVERSITY?
Yes. The University will accept a PCR COVID-19 test result from another provider. To be considered valid, a photo of test results must be uploaded to this form by 4:30 p.m. on the designated testing day and must be no older than 72 hours at the time of submission. This verification must be submitted weekly in order to stay in compliance with the University’s policy.
WHERE CAN I GET VACCINATED IN SEWANEE?
There are numerous locations near Sewanee to receive COVID-19 vaccination. Consult www.vaccines.gov or call University Health Services at 931.598.1270 to inquire about the availability of the vaccine. In addition, the University plans to offer options such as on-campus vaccination clinics and transportation to local vaccination providers during the semester. Details will be available soon.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A MEDICAL OR RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION?
Use the linked forms to apply for a medical or religious exemption. (Completed forms may be emailed here.) Students with an approved exemption will still need to be tested weekly but will not be charged for their tests.
IF I HAVE ANTIBODIES FROM A PREVIOUS COVID-19 INFECTION, AM I EXEMPT FROM THE WEEKLY TESTING?
No. The CDC recommends that you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19.
MAY STUDENTS WHO ARE SYMPTOMATIC REQUEST A TEST?
* Yes. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you might be infected, whether you have been vaccinated or not, you should call University Health Service (931.598.1270) for triage, appointment, and testing options.
WILL I HAVE TO LEAVE CAMPUS IF I TEST POSITIVE?
The University may require those who test positive to leave campus. The University is not maintaining on-campus COVID-19 quarantine and isolation space this fall.
WHAT LIMITATIONS AND EXPECTATIONS WILL EXIST FOR UNVACCINATED STUDENTS?
In addition to the cost of testing (for students without an approved exemption), any costs associated with isolation, quarantine, or travel must be covered by the student if they need to leave campus due to a positive test or close contact.
There are no current plans to restrict movement of unvaccinated students on and off campus. However, students are expected to follow CDC guidelines regarding masking & distancing.
IF AN UNVACCINATED STUDENT IS ASKED TO LEAVE CAMPUS AS A RESULT OF A POSITIVE TEST OR CONTACT TRACING, WILL THE STUDENT HAVE ACCESS TO REMOTE LEARNING, AS THEY DID LAST ACADEMIC YEAR?
Students should not expect that classes will be available remotely (via Zoom, e.g.) this fall. Faculty members and the Care Team in the Student Life office will work with the student just as they would for any other need to miss class. As in years past, students who miss class due to medical issues or other excused absence will use existing ways to make up missed work, including contacting the professor for support.
* What happens if a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19?
Per CDC guidelines, if any student or employee—regardless of vaccination status—tests positive for COVID-19 they will be asked to isolate themselves away from campus. Time away from campus can be 10 days or longer. University Health Service will work with students to determine when they can return to campus.
* What happens if an unvaccinated student or employee is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?
Per CDC guidelines, an unvaccinated student or employee who has been in close contact (within six feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine away from campus. The period of quarantine may be up to 14 days. The Office of Public Health will determine the length of quarantine for students.
* What happens if a vaccinated student or employee is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?
Per CDC guidelines, a vaccinated student or employee who has been in close contact (within six feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19 will NOT be asked to quarantine away from campus as long as they have no symptoms.
SHOULD I BRING A MASK(S) TO CAMPUS?
Yes. Students should bring masks to campus as there will very likely be occasions and instances during the course of the semester where masks may be required.
DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK ON CAMPUS IF I’M VACCINATED/NOT VACCINATED?
* Under the University’s current masking policy, masks are not required outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, unless otherwise indicated by the University. The University recommends that both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated students and employees monitor and follow the latest CDC guidance—including the recommendation that unvaccinated individuals wear masks while indoors in public places.
Indoor gatherings of vaccinated individuals do not require masking, unless otherwise indicated by the University. Masks may be required for indoor events or gatherings where the vaccination status of attendees is not known. Event organizers (professors, program directors, group leaders, etc.) may require masking in classrooms, at meetings, lectures, or events, and for other gatherings. If an individual is unvaccinated or uncomfortable in gatherings of any size, they are encouraged to wear a mask.
ARE VISITORS ALLOWED ON CAMPUS?
There are no plans to restrict visitors to campus or the Sewanee Village. Families should feel free to visit the Mountain.
WILL ALL CLASSES BE IN PERSON?
With very limited exceptions, all classes will be in person. A very small number of class sections will be fully remote, for reasons not involving COVID-19.
WILL THE UNIVERSITY PARTICIPATE IN INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS?
The University plans to fully participate in intercollegiate athletic events this season. Athletes, coaches, and support staff will be required to follow University, SAA, and NCAA COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.
WILL VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED STUDENTS BE HOUSED IN SEPARATE ROOMS?
Rooms will not be assigned based on vaccination status. Any student seeking a disability accommodation should follow the current process to make that request.
WILL UNVACCINATED FACULTY AND STAFF BE REQUIRED TO BE TESTED WEEKLY?
* No. The University is focusing testing efforts on unvaccinated students due to their communal living in residence halls, many with shared bathrooms and common areas, as well as a central dining hall. In addition, students have a life on campus that involves group activities, social gatherings, and other events. Screening of unvaccinated students, including those living off campus, helps the University return as safely as possible to a pre-COVID-19 level of campus activities.