category: Advisory Welcome Back Runnin’ Bulldogs! By Gardner-Webb University On January 5, 2022 We’re excited to start the Spring 2022 semester with you right here on campus! Because positive COVID cases across the country have surged over the holidays with the new Omicron variant, we are taking some active measures that we hope will increase everyone’s health and safety during your return to Gardner-Webb. We are taking action because our goals are to protect our campus community, to remain face-to-face on campus for the entirety of the semester, and to ensure a full and normal 15 weeks of college life. We believe that additional vigilance on the front end of the new semester will help minimize the pandemic’s impact on us. Here are the updates and changes you need to know right now. Pre-Return Health Screening All students will receive a health screening form via e-mail 48 hours prior to their arrival date. For commuting students, you will receive the screening 48 hours prior to the first day of classes. Please make sure you check your email and complete this form, as failure to do so will impact your ability to check in or return to classes. If you test positive or start showing symptoms prior to your move-in time or the first day of classes, do not come to campus and contact [email protected] or call (704) 406-2081. Indoor Masking Beginning tomorrow, January 6, 2022, Gardner-Webb University will require masks indoors for a limited period of time for all persons in “areas of substantial or high community transmission.” This includes classrooms and other indoor public spaces where social distancing cannot be consistently maintained such as the Tucker Center. This requirement also applies to Dimensions, which involves numerous persons gathered indoors. This requirement will help us navigate an anticipated spike in positive cases caused by the return of so many people at one time to campus. We hope to be able to remove the indoor mask requirement just as soon as conditions improve and risk levels diminish. Face coverings remain a requirement in our Charlotte Center, per Mecklenburg County order. Students traveling together as part of University-sponsored activities, including student-athletes in buses, vans or other vehicles, will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. Vaccinations and Boosters Gardner-Webb University does not presently require a COVID vaccine (or subsequent booster) of its faculty, staff or students, but consistent with the recommendations from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services we are encouraging them very strongly. There are several non-GWU locations nearby including drugstores, pharmacies and clinics where you can get vaccinated when you return from Christmas break. If you want to get a vaccination off campus and need transportation, contact the Dean of Students, Lesley Villarose, at [email protected]. We’ll take you to get your vaccination or booster. There will also be a booster shot clinic on campus the week of January 17th, details to come on that event. The Atrium Health Clinic on campus will continue to offer free testing for faculty, staff and students, subject to availability. We will continue to follow the recommendations of health care professionals as well as national, state and local health officials. For details on our isolation policy and quarantine guidance you can review the CDC recommendations right here. Current Data As of January 4, Gardner-Webb is reporting 14 positive COVID cases among our students (9), staff (5), and faculty (0). These individuals are all in isolation. We continue to make campus health and safety our top priority. Our goal is fewer cases and quarantines. The formula is simple and by now very familiar: wear it (your mask), wash ’em (your hands), and keep it (a safe distance). Please Take Your Symptoms Seriously Any students (undergraduate, commuter, or graduate) with symptoms, or questions, remember to reach out immediately to Case Manager Madison Parker [email protected] or call (704) 406-2504. If you are a faculty or staff and you develop COVID symptoms, you should contact Barry Lane at [email protected] or (704) 297-6988. Welcome back, Runnin’ Bulldogs! See you in The Springs!