December 20, 2021 - Update on Pandemic Precautions

The following message was sent to the University of Portland community on December 20, 2021

Dear University of Portland Community,

When we concluded the fall semester, we did so with a spirit of gratitude and appreciation for how we came together to help keep our campus safe.  It won’t be long before we start gathering back on The Bluff for the spring term. In order to do so safely, we will again need to take efforts, individually and collectively, to minimize further spread of COVID-19, especially the highly contagious Omicron variant.

I write to you now to share guidance on what to do over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday break, and to give you a sense of what to expect in early January upon your return to campus:
  • Get a booster shot – vaccine boosters in combination with the original vaccines appear to deliver the most effective resistance to the Omicron variant and the COVID-19 virus in general. Indeed, the data show that both the Pfizer and Moderna boosters increase immunity to the Omicron variant and help to prevent severe disease. Remember that you are eligible for a booster 6 months after having completed your two-shot regimen with Moderna or Pfizer, or the one-shot regimen with Johnson & Johnson. As soon as you are eligible, please get your booster.  

  • Upload proof of your booster shot – do this by visiting our vaccination page. Our COVID-19 Steering Committee is currently exploring the possibility of requiring booster shots, and it is very likely that we will require booster shots early in 2022 for students and employees in our UP community. So, uploading proof of having received your booster puts you a step ahead.

  • Get tested before returning to campus – remaining vigilant with testing, especially those whose exemption status requires it, is the safest way to stay apprised of your own health status. 

  • Wear a mask – this first line of defense served us well during our successful return-to-campus fall semester and should be followed for the foreseeable future, especially indoors.

  • Monitor your symptoms – with the contagious spread of the Omicron variant, please don’t assume that any symptoms you experience are a simple cold or flu. Monitor closely symptoms that mirror COVID-19, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, or body aches. If needed, contact a healthcare provider.  

  • Be careful in large gatherings, particularly indoors – celebrating the holidays with family and friends is understandable but should be done so cautiously and in small numbers.

Please take this guidance seriously and follow the suggestions diligently. We continue to carefully monitor the pandemic situation and will communicate further information as necessary. Enjoy the holiday break and we look forward to seeing you back on campus in a few weeks.
Herbert A. Medina
Acting President & Provost