COVID Update | University Policies and Mitigations

April 14, 2023

It has been three years since the start of the pandemic. Over that time, the University’s mitigation strategies aimed at supporting continuity of teaching, research, and operations have evolved. COVID-19 is still circulating and remains a public health concern, but the combination of vaccinations, acquired immunity, antiviral treatment, and other factors has made it less of a threat than at the start of the pandemic.

Our COVID-19 response teams continue to review and consider the mitigation efforts that remain in place. Based on recommendations from the University’s Scientific Advisory Committee, which is comprised of scientists, physicians, and administrators, and the University’s Public Health Implementation Team, the Environmental Safety and Risk Management Committee (ESRM) has endorsed the following: 

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Lifted

The University strongly recommends that students, faculty, staff, and researchers stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination and boosters. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be effective at reducing the risk of severe disease.

However, the University is no longer requiring the primary vaccine (one dose of a single dose vaccine or two of a two-dose vaccine) for the University community. The COVID-19 Vaccine Policy first endorsed on June 2, 2021, is no longer in effect. 

Visitor Policy Ended

Visitors to the University are expected to follow CDC and NJ Department of Health guidance for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or were in close contact with someone who tested positive in the past 10 days, including isolation and mask requirements.

The Visitor Policy enacted for COVID-19 mitigation is no longer in effect. 

COVID-19 Testing Laboratory Closing

The campus laboratory certified to conduct PCR testing for COVID-19 for members of the University community will close in June. The last day that the laboratory will process samples will be June 6, 2023.

University Health Services will continue to provide PCR testing at McCosh Health Center for undergraduate and graduate students with respiratory symptoms. Students will also continue to have access to free rapid antigen test kits.

The campus testing laboratory has been in operation since October 2020 and has processed more than 790,000 tests. At the time it was established, regular testing of asymptomatic individuals was an important mitigation strategy for COVID-19. With the Omicron variant, asymptomatic testing became less  effective as a public health measure. Following the close of the campus testing lab, the related COVID Dashboard will no longer be maintained. Past data will continue to be available online at this time.

PCR testing is widely available through pharmacies, physician’s offices, hospital testing sites, urgent care centers, and other testing locations. Rapid antigen tests are readily available in pharmacies, grocery stores, and online.

Isolation is Still Required 

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (runny nose, cough, fever, body aches, etc.), you should test for COVID-19. If you test positive, the NJ Department of Health still requires people to self-isolate for at least 5 days, staying out of work, classes, activities, events, etc. in accordance with CDC guidelines

After 5 days, if your symptoms have improved and you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours, you may return to work, classes, and other events as long as you wear a mask at all times around other people for 5 additional days.

There is no indication from public health officials that the expectations for people who have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive will change any time soon. 

University faculty and staff continue to be able to use COVID-19 days to cover this isolation time or to care for someone who is isolating.

For information about isolation and COVID-related news, visit the Princeton COVID Resources site.