eNews: Important Fall 2021 COVID-19 Update

July 29, 2021

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Baylor University campus for the fall semester, which begins on Aug. 23. Today, as we continue to navigate COVID-19, we are sending you the first weekly update to help you prepare for a normal fall with classes and events at 100% capacity.

The important information below addresses some of the most frequently asked questions around weekly testing as well as exemptions from testing. We will continue to provide weekly updates leading up to Aug. 23.

1. Will Baylor require pre-arrival COVID-19 testing?

No, Baylor will not require pre-arrival COVID-19 testing as we did before the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.

2. Will Baylor require weekly COVID-19 testing? What are the exemptions to being tested?

Yes, during the first part of the fall semester, Baylor will conduct weekly COVID-19 testing for non-exempt students, faculty and staff. Testing is an integral component of our layered strategy to safeguard the health and well-being of the Baylor community, especially with the new and more contagious Delta variant circulating in the United States and lower vaccination rates.

Students, faculty and staff are exempt from testing in one of two ways:

  • You are fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after your single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine, according to the CDC.
  • You have had a positive COVID-19 test within 180 days. This is a change from Baylor's previous 90-day exemption for a positive COVID-19 test.

Our Health Management Team continues to monitor conditions and CDC recommendations. The University is prepared to revisit the testing policy early in the semester and make adjustments based on how effectively we contain the spread of the virus.

3. How do I verify my exemption from testing?

If you have not notified Health Services of your exemption request, you will be required to test weekly.

For students, faculty and staff to receive an exemption from testing:

  • If you have not already done so, please verify your exemption by filling out the brief HIPAA-protected form and uploading a photo of your completed vaccination card. PLEASE NOTE: To successfully access this form, you must be logged in to your own Baylor-provided email account. This information will be submitted to Health Services for exemption from weekly testing and quarantine and helps the University know how well-protected we are as a community headed into the fall.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 180 days of returning to campus, please submit your email documentation of the positive test to Health_Services@baylor.edu. You will be exempt from weekly testing until 180 days have passed from the date of your positive test.

4. When will weekly testing begin for non-exempt students, faculty and staff?

Students who are non-exempt will begin COVID-19 testing the week of Aug. 23.

Faculty and staff who are not exempt should begin weekly testing the week they arrive on the Baylor campus any time after Aug. 1. For more information about the summer testing locations and hours, please visit baylor.edu/coronavirus/testing.

We will provide more information in the coming weeks about fall semester testing locations, dates/hours, how to sign up for your regular testing appointment if you are not exempt and how the testing process works.

5. Is Baylor requiring a COVID-19 vaccination for attendance this fall?

No, Baylor will not require a COVID vaccination for attendance this fall. However, we encourage vaccination, which protects against severe illness and exempts students, faculty and staff from weekly testing and quarantine, which is very disruptive to the academic experience.

As of today, our reported vaccination rate campus-wide is 47%, with students at 42% and employees at 72%. If you have been fully vaccinated but haven't verified your exemption from weekly testing, please follow the steps above in question #3.

6. How can I find more information about getting vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccination is a critical prevention measure to help end the pandemic and accelerate the path to normal. You can find a vaccine site in your area at vaccines.gov or visit www.baylor.edu/vaccine to schedule your appointment on campus.

If you have questions about the vaccines, contact Baylor Health Services at 254-710-1010 or your healthcare provider.

7. Is Baylor requiring masks/face coverings?

At this time, masks/face coverings are not required on campus. However, for the health and safety of others, the University recommends that those who are unvaccinated wear a face covering indoors, as well as for individuals working within labs and other settings that require this level of protection. It is worth noting that the CDC updated its mask guidance for fully vaccinated individuals this week, and we are continuing to review our mask policy in light of these updates.

Thank you for working together to keep our campus community healthy as we look toward a normal fall. We will provide additional updates in the weeks ahead.


Baylor COVID-19 Team

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