Message from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety re: COVID-19 January 5, 2022 Marshall University officials continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and in the last several days issued updated guidelines for the spring 2022 semester. To provide a safe and healthy environment for the Marshall community, it is essential students, faculty, staff and visitors comply with all established protocols. Following meetings earlier this week with the county health department and Marshall Health experts, university officials remain confident we can start the new semester next week in person as planned. Health officials believe our masking, testing and case management guidelines—as well as the ready availability of vaccines and boosters—are appropriate to protect the Marshall community. In addition, our on-campus vaccination rates remain significantly above those in our surrounding communities and our positivity rates have been comparatively lower throughout the pandemic. Here is some other important information related to COVID-19 and Marshall University: You may hear in the news that some county health departments are discontinuing contact tracing; however, the university intends to continue to use its own trained staff to trace potential COVID-19 exposures among students and employees. The contact tracing allows rapid identification and isolation of potentially infected individuals. The university is once again requiring all students and employees to complete and keep updated their information in the online Vaccine Registry, which now has a field to add details about booster doses. While vaccines are not mandatory, keeping the registry current is a requirement for continued compliance with the university’s protocols. All students must complete the Return-to-Campus Student Agreement, which must be signed and submitted online by 11:59 p.m. this Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Masks will be required in every university building, including classes, but are not necessary in individual dorm rooms or personal office spaces. Cloth masks are available to the general university population, and a limited number of N95 masks are available to students and employees who are immunocompromised and therefore at greater risk of serious illness from the virus. Please contact the Office of Environment Health and Safety for assistance or information. The university’s health and safety team will continue to monitor a number of key metrics to guide decision-making. Due to the evolving nature of the pandemic, particularly with the current omicron variant, the percent positive testing rate will be less of an indicator of the need to change course than will capacity for isolation and quarantine in the university’s residence halls, and hospital capacity in the region. Marshall University is committed to a safe and healthy learning environment and is making every effort to continuously assess the evolving scenario. Timely notification to the university community will occur should circumstances necessitate adjustments to operations. Thank you for your continued support and efforts to keep all of us safe and healthy.