Questions and Answers: Fall 2021 Announcements

Why not mandate vaccines for students?

As indicated during the webinar, the Governor of Florida issued an executive order that bars colleges and universities receiving state funds from requiring proof of vaccination. This essentially covers all private and public institutions in Florida, however Stetson University has communicated its expectation that all students be vaccinated.

If I’m going to get vaccinated, don’t I have to start now?

In order to have documentation to submit through the online reporting form (available on the Safer Stetson Vaccination page) employees receiving a two-dose vaccine should plan on receiving their first shots as noted below.

  • Moderna – 1st shot no later than Sept. 2, and 2nd shot 9/30
  • Pfizer – 1st shot no later than Sept 9, and 2nd shot 9/30

Since vaccinated folks can still get and pass on the delta variant, why aren’t we gateway testing vaccinated students as well?

CDC and Florida DOH have indicated they do not want colleges and universities to utilize testing resources for non-symptomatic vaccinated populations, however Stetson does not bar vaccinated community members from testing, but only indicates they are not required to test; however, students do need to participate in the Fall 2021 Gateway Campus Arrival clearance process.

Are we going to bring back COVID leave? Many of us with kids who can't be vaccinated and are going back to school, we may find ourselves in a very difficult situation very soon.

There are currently no plans to reinstate the COVID leave program however, the university and Human Resources will continue to monitor the environment and will reconsider if appropriate.

Is there a way to include adjunct faculty to this requirement?

Adjunct faculty are included in the part-time and volunteer category and will be required to be vaccinated by spring semester.

If an employee previously reported their vaccination completed, may they still receive the day off?

Yes.

Will faculty also be required to get the vaccine?

Yes. Full-time faculty are employees of the university and required to be vaccinated by Sept. 30.

What percentage of students at DeLand campus have received vaccinations? What are the vaccination rates for students only, no faculty or staff?

As of Saturday, Aug. 14, 55% in DeLand and nearly 63% at the College of Law. This information is accessible at any time on the COVID-19 Dashboard

Will campus go back to normal once we reach 70% vaccinated and if so does that percentage include both campuses or 70% for each individual campus?

Our vaccination goals are by campus not for the entire university because what matters is the health landscape within those who we interact with physically. At 70% vaccination rate, we will have a decrease in mitigants and an increase in vibrancy. We are currently looking at what vaccination rate gets us closer to pre-pandemic life given the new science on the Delta variant.

Hello, Nurse Burgos. Since you have stated that there are breakthrough cases regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, would there be reason to doubt its efficacy?

The vaccines have proven to be highly effective against hospitalizations and death. As stated by Asal Johnson, epidemiologist and professor of public health, vaccines aren’t 100% effective in preventing infections, but incredibly effective in keeping people out of the hospital and ICU’s. They are only as effective as each individual’s health and immune system. Overall, a high vaccination rate would also protect against potential breakthrough cases.

Are there student organizations by which its members would be considered student employees of Stetson University? What about student employees? Are they subject to the mandatory vaccination mandate as well?

No. Student employees are first and foremost considered students and not subject to the mandate.

Why are positive cases allowed to enter campus?

Students that test positive during Gateway Testing are asked first to isolate at home. If that is not possible, they stay in a university isolation area.

Is there anyone that can address natural immunity?

A study published on the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on August 6, 2021 suggests that antibody responses following COVID-19 vaccination provide better neutralization of some circulating variants than does natural infection with COVID-19. The results showed that “unvaccinated individuals are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated after initially contracting the virus. These data further indicate that COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity alone and that vaccines, even after prior infection, help prevent reinfections.” Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0806-vaccination-protection.html.

Even if a person is vaccinated, they don’t have to get tested and just get an arm band. People that are vaccinated are also positive. Please put all of this into perspective.

Breakthroughs and unvaccinated people will start with the same high amount of viral load when infected with delta variant.  However, the viral load in vaccinated individuals drops faster when compared to unvaccinated people. The CDC recommends all people including vaccinated to wear masks in high transmission areas. Florida and Volusia county are currently considered high transmission areas.

Can you elaborate on quarantine policy and seating charts?

Seating charts are required during all academic classes and student programs for approved events. Associate Deans will request seating charts from academic units. Contact tracers will request them of other groups. If there is a positive in the classroom, the contact tracing team uses the chart to identify anyone who was within 6 feet of the positive person for longer than 15 minutes.

For students that go through COVID-19 Gateway Testing, do they get their room key and bracelet the same day if they are asymptomatic? I read that students won’t get the test results for 24-48 hours.

We are using PCR testing - the highest testing standard. Results are available within 24-48 hours (which is fast given current demand). Students are reminded to be cautious until their results come in but can get their room key and move about campus. FOCUS events are virtual for the first 48 hours for just that reason.

Is there an expectation that in-person classes will become hybrid to accommodate a student who is isolated/quarantined? Will students have some options to attend classes remotely? If not, might this change with circumstances? Will there be Zoom option for in person classes if student has to quarantine during the year?

The way in which students in isolation or quarantine continue to engage in classes will be determined by the faculty. While there is no requirement for faculty to offer any particular type of virtual engagement to quarantined students (Zoom, recorded classes, asynchronous online assignments, etc.), faculty will work with students in their classes to ensure that they are able to continue the learning experience while quarantined.

Why is there a modality preference given to faculty when students may also have immunocompromised person in their house?

While an imperfect solution, we have made this extended accommodation for a brief period of time through September 3. With a largely on-campus residential population in DeLand, and substantial residential on-campus population in Gulfport, the temporary accommodation expansion addresses a group within the classroom (faculty) who lives exclusively off campus.  Additionally, we have learned the difficulties inherent in hybrid modality (that is, offering classes to a combination of online and in-person students), finding that modality to be the least preferred by faculty and students by a large margin.  To the extent possible, we are minimizing the requirement for faculty to adjust their classes to a hybrid format, and in so doing, offering a more optimal environment for learning in the current approved modalities.

What will large seminar classes (College of Law) look like? I’m in a class with around 80 people so I don’t know what that format will look like.

Classes will be spaced 3 feet apart. If class numbers exceed capacity, the Associate Dean is working with faculty members on ways to ensure appropriate spacing, such as hybrid teaching. 

Are the classrooms being cleaned with an aerosol between classes like they were last academic year?

Classrooms continue to be cleaned, but not at the frequency as last fall. The information has evolved and COVID-19, in its many forms and variants, is primarily an airborne virus, however cleaning supplies are available in all classrooms for individuals to clean their personal space.

Thank you for your efforts this past 18 months. I applaud you. For housing purposes, were vaccinated students attempted to be matched with other vaccinated students?

No, in line with CDC guidance for higher education institutions, we did not cohort students based on vaccination status.

I am vaccinated and recently contracted COVID-19. I was told not to attend on campus testing for up to 90 days as I can still test positive when I’m not positive. What are my options for the bracelet?

Please email COVID-19 Testing at [email protected]

If I had COVID three weeks ago, should I report it to Stetson in case my gateway test still comes back positive?

We ask all our community members to report positive cases or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infections and exposures to a positive case using the health concern form found at: https://www.stetson.edu/other/report-it/. Once we have this information on our tracking system, we will be able to assess historically positive cases (within 90 days) and exempt from isolation if gateway testing returns a positive result as long as you remain asymptomatic.

Are you planning any incentives or educational methods to help increase the vaccination rate among students?

We have enacted over 40 specific efforts focusing on incentives and vaccination education in our Vaccination Encouragement plan. These efforts will continue as long as they are needed. Stetson is continuing its ongoing campaigns and initiatives aimed at raising awareness, such as our recent Safer Stetson Weekly Awards and Safer Stetson Tuition Awards. For additional details, see the winners listed here.

Who do we contact if the classroom we're assigned to cannot hold the entire class?

All classes have been assigned within the capacity of the classroom determined by facilities within the classroom spacing guidelines in place. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your dean directly.

Will dormitory residents be alerted when there is a positive COVID test result on their floor?

Community Exposure notices are sent to various groups that are not considered “close contacts” and, therefore, in need of isolation. Community exposure notices are going above and beyond DOH guidelines. You will receive one if we believe you DID NOT have a direct exposure but were close enough, like on a residential floor.