Dear Baylor Managers,
The Fall 2021 semester is upon us as we welcome students and their families to campus this week for Move2BU and various other events before classes begin on Aug. 23.
We are also in a critical and very fluid time with COVID-19, particularly as the delta variant increases its presence in Texas and our local community. Last week, President Livingstone announced some updates to our COVID-related protocols, underscoring the importance of our campus community remaining diligent in our campus-wide health measures to protect ourselves and others from the virus while allowing the full Baylor experience for our students in and outside of the classroom.
As we begin the semester, please be reminded of the following:
Vaccination. Baylor's medical experts continue to strongly encourage vaccination, which protects against severe illness and hospitalization. Vaccination also exempts you and your employees from required testing and quarantine if exposed to a positive case.
The Baylor Health Center offers all three vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA to faculty, staff, their spouses and dependents, as well as to students. More information about COVID vaccines – including how to confirm vaccination status or to make an appointment at the Baylor Health Center – is available at www.baylor.edu/vaccine.
If you are fully vaccinated and have not yet confirmed your exemption, please upload a photo of your completed vaccine card through the HIPAA-protected form at baylor.edu/vaccine. Completing this form will ensure exemption from required testing and will help us know how well protected Baylor is as a community as we begin the semester. Please also encourage your employees to report their vaccination to Baylor.
Face Coverings. In certain indoor settings, face coverings will now be required on a temporary basis. This includes the requirement that face coverings be worn by all students, faculty and staff in all classrooms and labs when used for academic instruction, in addition to some indoor locations where appropriate social distancing may not be possible, private faculty and staff offices when requested, and other areas designated by posted signage.
Outside of these required areas for wearing a face covering, students, faculty and staff can choose to wear a face covering in other indoor or outdoor settings based on their individual health and safety needs. We ask that you and your employees please keep a facemask with you at all times and respect others who might have personal or family health considerations.
Failure to comply with wearing face coverings within these specific settings may result in action taken with regard to the respective faculty or staff disciplinary process. If you have concerns or questions about compliance with the face covering guidelines, please reach out to your HR Consultant.
Healthy Habits. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, continue to encourage the practice of these healthy habits:
- Remind employees to complete a daily symptom self-assessment before coming to work on campus.
- Remind employees that if they begin experiencing any symptoms to please stay home and contact their primary care physician.
- Encourage employees verbally and through signage to wash hands often with soap and water.
- Encourage employees verbally and through signage to cover a cough or sneeze with their sleeve/elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Report a positive COVID-19 test to HR. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 through on-campus or external testing resources, please communicate the result to your HR Consultant immediately. Contact tracing and any cleaning and notification of close contacts will take place through the Baylor Contact Tracing Team. In order to comply with HIPAA and protect the private health information of your employee, please do not share any COVID diagnosis beyond your HR Consultant.
Twice-Weekly Testing. If an employee has not met the requirements for an approved exemption, they will be expected to complete mandatory testing twice weekly through at least the first four weeks of the semester starting Monday, Aug. 23. The University will communicate directly via email with students, faculty and staff regarding their twice-weekly testing responsibilities.
Exemptions from testing include:
- Full vaccination (14 days past final dose) with an FDA EUA vaccine
- A positive COVID-19 test within the past 180 days
- 100% remote work for the fall semester
If your employees have not already notified Baylor of any applicable testing exemption, please ask them to fill out the HIPAA protected notification form.
Failure for employees to comply with the twice-weekly testing requirements may result in action taken with regard to the respective faculty or staff disciplinary process. If you have concerns or questions about an employee's compliance with the testing requirements, please reach out to your HR Consultant.
Employees do not need an appointment to test. They are encouraged to pick a testing location and arrive during posted hours to receive a test. Also, employees should space their twice weekly testing out with at least 48 hours between tests. For example, if they test on Monday, they shouldn't test again until Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
Testing is available:
- 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon. - Thurs. at the North Village Community Center & the lobby between Cashion Academic Center and Hankamer Academic Center
- 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday at the North Village Community Center & the lobby between Cashion Academic Center and Hankamer Academic Center
- 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday & Friday at Clifton Robinson Tower
- 1 to 2 p.m., Wednesday & Friday at Piper Child Development Center
- 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday & Friday at Washington Tower
Faculty and staff located at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Dallas and Austin EMBA programs, and any other Baylor school or program satellite campuses away from the main Waco campus will have alternate testing requirements and instructions as communicated by their schools/programs.
As President Livingstone noted, our COVID plans are subject to change in the event local conditions either improve or deteriorate through the first month of the fall semester. For additional COVID-related information, please visit www.baylor.edu/coronavirus or contact the Baylor Information Call Center at 888-283-2158 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.
Thank you in advance for communicating and reinforcing these important COVID protocols to your employees as we keep our campus and local community healthy.
FAQs about Twice-Weekly Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Testing
What if my employee is sick for another reason and unable to come to campus to complete their twice weekly COVID-19 test?
Please tell your employee not to come to campus to complete a test if they are sick or feeling ill for any reason. They should contact their primary care physician if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. If they miss a scheduled test in a week due to illness, they can just continue with their testing appointments within the week of their return to regular work.
What if my employee is on vacation for a week?
They will not be required to test in that week. They should continue with the next week's regularly scheduled test.
Will my employee still be required to test twice weekly if they test positive for COVID-19 after the semester starts?
No, if they test positive for COVID-19 either through Baylor-provided testing or through a local healthcare provider, they will not be required to continue twice-weekly testing for at least 180 days after the date of their positive test. For an exemption, please ask your employee to email documentation of their positive test to Health_Services@baylor.edu.
What if my employee begins experiencing symptoms, can they test on campus at the Health Center or through MLD?
No, if your employee is experiencing symptoms, they should seek out COVID-19 testing from their primary care physician.
Can spouses or dependents test on campus at the Health Center or through MLD?
No, souses and dependents should seek out COVID-19 testing through their primary care physician.
For additional questions about faculty and staff testing, please contact askHR at 254-710-2000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or send an email to askHR@baylor.edu. You call also contact the Baylor Information Call Center at 888-283-2158 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT.