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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
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BREAKING: University outlines health and safety protocols for fall semester

Guidelines include indoor masking, vaccine requirements, limited in-person events

In an email sent out to the University community on Friday, President Sylvia Burwell announced updates to American University’s health and safety protocols. 

The updates shared the recent change to mask mandates on campus — on July 30, the University announced it would reinstate indoor mask wearing in accordance with a reintroduced D.C. indoor mask mandate.

“With cases rising once more, the prospect of adhering to numerous safety protocols again, when we took precautions and made sacrifices for so long, weighs on us all,” Burwell wrote. “We are committed to doing everything we can to safeguard our community, as well as supporting our friends and colleagues who are understandably concerned about young children or immunocompromised family members who cannot yet be vaccinated.”

Vaccinations are also required for all students, faculty, staff and contractors with a presence on campus. Burwell shared that more than 9,500 students and 3,400 faculty and staff members are either fully vaccinated or in the process of getting their COVID-19 vaccinations. The deadline for students to upload their proof of vaccination is Aug. 17 for students with housing assignments and Aug. 24 for all students, according to an email sent to students on July 30. 

The Friday email reiterated that unvaccinated students, faculty and staff with approved exemptions will be tested twice each week. 

Regardless of vaccination status, any community member will be subject to testing if they come in contact with an individual who has tested positive or if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. Fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff will not be subject to regular testing, but have the option to get tested as a safety precaution. 

Like last semester, testing will take place at Constitution Hall on East Campus. 

When returning to campus, partially vaccinated students — those who have received only one dose of a two-dose vaccine or those who have not been fully vaccinated for 14 days — are instructed to self-quarantine for seven days if coming from outside of the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. 

The University also announced that it will be limiting in-person events such as Convocation and the Sophomore Welcome at the beginning of the semester. 

“Most business meetings will continue online to preserve campus space for student-focused activities,” Burwell wrote. “Given the vaccine requirements, faculty, staff, and students can meet in small groups (e.g., 2-3 people) in offices if mask mandates are followed. Schools and units can use their conference rooms for team meetings with masking.”

The University plans to discuss these health and safety protocols at greater length during a community webinar next Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 

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