Thursday, September 9, 2021
The New Jersey Department of Health reported Wednesday that 14,813 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in the state have been identified. The report also noted that over 5 million New Jerseyans have been vaccinated and less than .28% of them have contracted COVID-19.
Governor Murphy continues to note the most serious effects of the virus are on the unvaccinated. President Biden announced additional federal government actions to mitigate the virus.
Statewide, COVID-19 statistics continue to show mixed signals. Cases continue to rise, as do vaccination levels. The transmission rate continues its steady decline. Read more: Track COVID-19 in New Jersey: Maps, graphics, regular updates.
Rise in Student Cases on South Orange Campus
Like the State, we have experienced a considerable, but not unexpected, rise in positive COVID-19 cases among students, particularly on the South Orange campus. Most students testing positive are vaccinated but mildly symptomatic – an indication of vaccine effectiveness. Health Services is conducting testing and contact tracing, giving students isolation and quarantine instructions, and providing them health and wellness advice and resources. Please note the 58 positive cases this semester represents only .6% of our student population.
The HICT continues to monitor the ever-changing path of the virus, University and public health statistics, and government guidance. Our environmental health and safety protocols – created in consultation with numerous health and higher education experts – enable us to adapt to the rapidly changing situation. We remain in contact with local health authorities.
With our previous experiences and our planning throughout the summer, we remain prepared to adjust any of our health and safety measures to adapt to the changing public and campus health environment. We are particularly grateful to you for getting vaccinated; through your efforts, we have a University community vaccination rate exceeding 90%.
If cases continue to rise, we may need to implement some of the “pivot” plans we have developed for the South Orange campus. These could include temporarily moving to remote instruction, broadening the indoor mask mandate, moving activities outdoors, and rescheduling other events.
Students: Health Services is here for you. You may request to be tested for COVID-19 at Health Services as frequently as once per week.
We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we continue to adapt our processes and protocols to the ever-changing path of the virus.
We will continue to keep you apprised and will promptly communicate any adjustments to health and safety protocols.
Indoor Mask Requirement
All individuals (vaccinated and unvaccinated) are required to wear a mask at all indoor, nonresidential, on-campus University settings, except when alone or dining.
We provide important information from the CDC about the contact tracing process:
- For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19. A person is still considered a close contact even if they were wearing a mask while they were around someone with COVID-19.
- If you think you may have COVID-19 and are waiting for a COVID-19 test result, stay home and monitor your health to protect your friends, family and others from possibly getting COVID-19.
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19
- Stay home and away from others except to get medical care.
- Monitor your health.
- Cooperate fully and honestly with your contact tracer.
We encourage you to learn more at the following CDC pages:
Seton Hall Contact Tracing
We continue to conduct comprehensive contact tracing in coordination with local health officials. The University’s contact tracing protocols remain in place from last year.
Any student who tests positive for COVID-19, vaccinated or unvaccinated, should be immediately referred to Health Services (973-761-9175). The protocol for students testing positive is:
- The student is advised to isolate for 10 days. Resident students will isolate in a separate residence hall.
- Health Services will begin contact tracing by following the guidelines from the CDC and the local health department. This includes the identification of any close contacts in any academic setting.
- Close contacts will be notified by designated University personnel and advised to quarantine and get tested as appropriate based upon their vaccine and symptom conditions.
- Please note that it is not necessary for any class to be moved to remote instruction unless advised by the Academic Dean or Office of the Provost.
Students who must isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 related reasons are advised to notify the Dean of Students to help us provide the standard notification. This “Class Absence” notice informs professors that a student will be absent for a period of time due to medical reasons.
You can learn more about testing availability at: How To Get Tested For COVID-19 In New Jersey.
Recent Public Health Developments
Vaccines are free, widely available, and effective. Additionally, vaccinated individuals appear to have an extremely low probability of becoming seriously ill or worse.
- Covid Vaccine Finder
- On-Campus Flu and COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic – September 28 (details forthcoming)
Response Rate to Confidential Vaccine Declaration at 99% Across Entire University
- 99.6% of full-time faculty have declared their vaccination status.
- 98.4% of staff and administrators have declared their vaccination status.
- 100% of incoming students have declared their vaccination status.
- 99.2% of current students have declared their vaccination status.
- 96.1% of adjunct faculty who have fall 2021 semester assignments have declared their vaccination status.
University Vaccination Levels Exceed Revised State of New Jersey Goal Levels
Through the Confidential Vaccine Declaration (CVD), current Seton Hall data are indicating that fall 2021 vaccination rates are near 88% for students (96% of those are fully vaccinated), 93% for staff and administrators (97% of those are fully vaccinated), 97% for faculty (99.6% of those are fully vaccinated), and 95% for adjunct faculty (97% of those are fully vaccinated). These percentages are well above the NJ and national rates.
Remaining Vigilant and Prepared
Your health and safety remain paramount in Seton Hall’s planning and actions. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact the HICT here.
Vice President of University Relations
Co-chair, Health Intervention and Communication Team
Monica N. Burnette, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President, Division of Student Services
Co-chair, Health Intervention and Communication Team
Categories: Health and Medicine