Important Year-End Information
December 14, 2020
Screagles, we did it!
We've successfully completed one of the most challenging semesters this University has ever faced, and we did it without having to close our campus. But like we’ve said so many times before, we still have a lot of work to do—we have to remain vigilant and continue to make wise choices.
Some of you have returned home, others are still with us here on campus or in the local area. All of us need to continue the safe practices that will allow us to come back in-person for the Spring Semester. This pandemic has reached new and dangerous levels and has the potential to become even worse in the coming months. However, there is good news as well with the announcement of the first waves of vaccinations beginning yet this year. We will keep you updated as we learn more about how we might offer or assist with vaccinations in the future, but we know this may take time.
For now, wherever you are, we need you to continue to follow safe practices, self-quarantine if needed and reach out to us if you need support. The holidays are traditionally a time of celebration and gatherings with friends and family, but I remind you there are alternatives. One resource is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of holiday recommendations.
I also encourage you to think about self-quarantining after the holidays and before our return to classes and campus. Classes resume virtually on January 19 and in-person instruction resumes on February 8. A list of classes with in-person meetings beginning January 19 has been added to the website. These classes, such as laboratories and studios, have hands-on experiences and will be held on the USI campus. Other classes have clinicals, practicums, student teaching or internship experiences held at off-campus locations. Faculty will instruct you regarding online components of the class. If you have questions, contact your faculty member or the Provost’s Office.
A list of other important Spring Semester dates was sent in an earlier email.
Changes to Quarantine Duration Announced
After review and approval from USI’s Task Force on COVID-19, and in accordance with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), beginning December 14, you will be able to end quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure:
- After day 10 without testing and if you are symptom free**
- After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later and must be a PCR test*—rapid (antigen) tests are not acceptable) and if you are symptom free**
**Day zero is the date of exposure. Day 1 begins the following day. Return to campus/class begins the day after day 7 or 10 of quarantine.
After ending quarantine, you should
- Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
- Immediately self-isolate if you have symptoms, fill out a Self-Report Form and contact the University Health Center, your local public health authority or healthcare provider.
- Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus. CDC will continue to evaluate new information and update recommendations as needed.
The Counseling Center offers several online options and will continue to be a resource during the break. For more information about offerings and hours, visit the Counseling Center website.
Telehealth visits are office visits with a doctor or nurse practitioner that are performed virtually over zoom or Facetime. Telehealth visits allow you to get medical advice, refills, or be screened for COVID-19 from the comfort and safety of your home. Schedule a telehealth visit online and choose video visit as the type of visit.
Winter Break Activities
Student Development Programs has put together a fantastic website for you to use as a resource over the break. It’s packed with Winter Break Activities as well as a clearing house of links to a number of resources you might need quick access to. You can find all on the Winter Break Activities page.
Winter Break Instagram Takeovers
If you don’t already, be sure to follow @usiedu on Instagram. Over the Winter Break and into the start of the Spring Semester, your own peers will be hosting Instagram takeovers one or two times a week. They’ll come to you from campus, from home and even from other countries, to show how they are finding ways to stay safe and thrive during the break. Stay connected!
Wellness Center Survey
There is still time to participate in the Wellness Center Survey which will help us gain valuable insight on what you would like to see in a new campus Wellness Center. Participation is anonymous and will help drive decisions affecting the planning and design. At the end of the survey, you can indicate interest in a virtual focus group in early spring to provide even more input on the design.
If you still have questions or need to talk with someone, you are always welcome to reach out to us at the Dean of Students Office or call 812-464-1862.
Be safe. Make good choices.
Dr. Jennifer Hammat
Dean of Students