Updates to COVID-19 policies for the Fall

July 28, 2022

In preparation for the Fall term, the University has adjusted COVID-19 policies and protocols that are effective immediately. Please find the updates listed below.

A Q&A about the updates with Dr. Melissa Marks from University Health Services and Robin Izzo from Environmental Health and Safety is also available on Inside Princeton.

Nearly three years into the pandemic, the University continues to monitor the campus using three key markers to determine which mitigations are needed to support a healthy campus: 1) severity of disease; 2) local healthcare capacity; and 3) acute absenteeism that would significantly disrupt research, teaching and/or campus operations.  

In preparation for the fall, analysis was conducted by scientists, physicians, public health experts, and University leadership to evaluate campus conditions and make recommendations based on the current COVID landscape. As a result, the University has adjusted COVID policies to decrease the number of mandatory mitigation measures. However, if public health circumstances change, the University may need to reimpose mandates to appropriately mitigate COVID.   

Of the full list of updates below, the most significant policy change is that boosters will no longer be mandated. The primary vaccination series continues to be understood in the scientific community as both protecting the individual and protecting the community. Over the past few months, data suggest that the boosters do protect the individual, but do not significantly curb transmission of the current prevalent COVID variants. The University will continue to monitor the profile of the disease and the efficacy and availability of new boosters and may mandate boosters again in the future if public health circumstances and benefits warrant it. 

The second significant change is that participating in the asymptomatic testing program is no longer required. Students and employees are asked to voluntarily continue testing monthly to help the University monitor variants circulating on campus and community spread to inform our strategies. 

We also have changed our Visitor Policy to eliminate the proof of attestation requirement for visitors to campus. Visitors are still expected to be either vaccinated, have recently received a negative test, or agree to wear a face mask whenever indoors. Conveners of meetings and hosts may continue to ask for proof of vaccine or attestations, but they are no longer required.  

Please consult the COVID Resources site for more information about what to do if you test positive, about hosting visitors on campus, isolation, and more. The Dashboard will be updated and continue to communicate data related to our monitoring of the disease and the key indicators that inform our mitigation levels and strategies. You may also submit questions to Global and Community Health by emailing covidconnector@princeton.edu.  

COVID-19 Policy Updates

Visitors

  • The current Visitor Policy in effect will remain with the exception that the University will no longer require visitors on campus to submit attestations.
  • The policy states that visitors must either be fully vaccinated OR have recently tested negative (via PCR within 72 hours or via rapid antigen test within 8 hours of the scheduled visit) and be prepared to show proof if asked OR wear a face covering when indoors and around others.

Building Access

  • Effective July 25, the following buildings are unlocked and no longer require swipe access during the following schedules:
    • Frist: M-F, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and S-Sn, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (expanded hours will begin on August 22)
    • Firestone Library: 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Chapel: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Beginning August 15, the University will resume pre-COVID-19 schedules for all other academic and administrative buildings.
    • Buildings with classrooms will be unlocked from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
    • Other buildings will be locked on the schedule determined by the building’s access coordinator.  

Vaccinations

  • As the University moves toward a longer-term strategy for managing COVID-19, boosters will no longer be required at this time. However, all vaccinated students and employees are strongly encouraged to stay up to date with all CDC recommended COVID-19 booster doses when eligible. The primary series of the vaccine remains required.
  • The University will continue to monitor public health conditions and the benefits of boosters and may require them in the future.

Vaccine Clinics

  • Clinics will not be scheduled during the fall semester given how readily available the vaccine is and the extremely high percentage of fully vaccinated students and employees on campus.

Testing

  • Students and employees are no longer required to submit asymptomatic test samples, but are asked to voluntarily test monthly to help the University monitor variants circulating on campus. To support our monitoring program, please follow the monthly testing schedule.
  • The University will continue to offer testing on demand and the campus testing lab will process saliva samples submitted by campus community members.
  • All are strongly encouraged to submit a test 3-5 days after being identified as a close contact with an individual who tests positive and after travel, especially international travel.
  • Students: Isolation coordinators will contact students who test positive M-F between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to assist with their isolation planning. Students who share a sleeping space have been asked to develop an isolation plan in advance if they receive a positive test result before isolation coordinators reach out to them.
  • The Class of 2026 will be trained on how to submit tests following their arrival so that they are registered in the testing system and may submit tests on demand.
  • Several drop box locations will be removed by August 6, 2022. Please refer to the updated drop box map to find your most convenient location.

COVID-19 Days (Employees)

  • New employees will receive 5 COVID-19 days. This number is based on the required number of days the CDC and the NJ Department of Health require individuals to isolate after testing positive.
  • Existing employees will retain their unused COVID-19 days at this time.

Face Coverings

  • Instructors may continue to require masks in classrooms, labs, and other teaching environments.
  • In non-instructional spaces, the campus community is asked to be considerate and respond to the requests of individuals who prefer mask-wearing, including those who may be at higher risk.

Isolation

  • The University continues to follow the CDC and NJ Department of Health isolation requirement of 5 days, releasing the individual on day 6 if symptoms have resolved and requiring that they wear a KN95 mask around others until 10 days have passed since they first tested positive.
  • Isolation coordinators will contact students who test positive M-F between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to assist with their isolation planning. Students who share a sleeping space have been asked to develop an isolation plan in advance if they receive a positive test result before isolation coordinators reach out to them.