Most Covid restrictions are removed for the fall 2021 semester at Indiana University

BLOOMINGTON – Following its announcement of an in-person fall 2021 semester earlier this year, Indiana University has released its full health and safety guidance for the upcoming semester. Most notably, the guidance notes that a COVID-19 vaccine will be required for all IU students, faculty, and staff. This new requirement will then allow the university to lift most restrictions on masking and physical distancing.

Dr. Aaron Carroll

“I am immensely thankful for the cooperation and dedication of our students, faculty, and staff through the last academic year with all of the necessary health and safety guidelines,” said Dr. Aaron Carroll, professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and one of the leaders of IU’s Medical Response Team. “As we approach the fall semester knowing that the vast majority of our IU community will be vaccinated, we are now able to remove many of the restrictions that had been in place and return to a more typical university experience.”

All IU campuses, including IUPUI, plan to return to mostly normal operations with the fall 2021 semester, including the usual fall, winter, and spring breaks. The fall health and safety guidelines will be effective beginning August 1 and were created by the university’s Restart Committee, which is led by IU School of Medicine Dean Dr. Jay Hess and includes medical, public health, legal and ethical experts.

Because of the university’s new vaccine requirement, students, faculty, and staff will notice a number of changes on campus this fall, including guidance around masks, distancing, events, and mitigation testing.

Masks

Wearing a mask on campus will be optional for those students, faculty, and staff who are fully vaccinated. Those who are exempt from the vaccine requirement or are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated — which occurs two weeks past the last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — should continue to wear a mask on campus.

Campus facilities

Classrooms, labs, housing, dining, recreation, and other campus facilities will return to pre-pandemic capacities, with no physical distancing required. Classes will be held in person in typical classroom settings.

On-campus child-care facilities will need to continue to follow the Family and Social Services Administration and CDC business plan guide because young children are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals working in these facilities will continue to wear a mask at all times and maintain physical distancing in classrooms, even if fully vaccinated.

Regular cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces and high-touch surfaces will continue, and hand sanitizer stations will continue to be available in high-traffic areas. 

COVID-19 testing

Students, faculty, and staff who are fully vaccinated will not need to participate in mitigation testing. They will, however, be asked to participate in surveillance testing to monitor for outbreaks or other areas of concern. Such testing will be at much lower levels than the previous year’s mitigation testing.

Those exempt from the vaccine requirement or who are in the process of getting vaccinated will continue to participate in mitigation testing at levels consistent with those at high risk last academic year, likely twice a week. Students who are exempt or not yet fully vaccinated and living in an on-campus, communal living will participate in arrival testing.

All campuses will continue to offer symptomatic testing and voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing.

Quarantine and isolation

Fully vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine if they are in close contact with someone with a positive COVID-19 test. 

Anyone with a positive COVID-19 test, regardless of vaccination status, will need to isolate for 10 days, or until symptoms improve and they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication, whichever is longer. In addition, all IU students, faculty, and staff must continue to comply with the university’s contact tracing efforts.

Events

Proposals for large events, defined as 250 or more in attendance, will need to go through a review process. The report recommends large events be held outdoors when possible. 

For large indoor events with non-IU attendees, all attendees will be required to wear a mask during the event.

Campus visitors

Official campus visitors, such as visiting scholars or invited speakers, who have proof of being fully vaccinated can follow the same guidelines as fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff: masks optional, physical distancing not required. Other visitors to campus (parents, tours, event attendees, etc.) should wear a mask at all times when on campus. 

The full Fall Restart Committee Report, which covers the time period from August 1 until Dec. 31, includes guidelines for all IU activities.

Information Amanda Roach, News at IU

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