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Fordham Forward FAQs for Faculty

Skip to Quarantine and Contact Tracing Procedures

Are there any changes to the Spring 2022 calendar?

Fordham is not modifying its academic calendar or altering the mode of instruction for its undergraduate or graduate programs. Fordham will continue to require daily VitalCheck screening, full vaccination of all individuals on campus, and that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces at all times.

Will I be required to be vaccinated?

All employees teaching and working in-person are required to be fully vaccinated. Fordham is requiring that all students be vaccinated. Additionally, all faculty, staff, and students will also be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose prior to the start of classes for the spring 2022 semester or as soon as medically permissible. Employees may request exemptions on medical and religious grounds here

Faculty and staff who have been fully vaccinated should send an image of their completed vaccine card to hrvitalcheck@fordham.edu and covidresults@getvitalcheck.com.

If I receive a vaccine accommodation from HR, will I be able to come on campus?

Unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff who have received an accommodation from the University will be allowed on campus provided that they have received a negative COVID-19 test within the past seven days and wear a face mask both indoors and outdoors. All members of the University community who have received a COVID-19 vaccine accommodation must be tested every seven days to continue access to campus. In addition, unvaccinated individuals will not be permitted to dine indoors, use indoor athletic facilities, nor take part in indoor entertainment events per the New York City policy requiring proof of vaccination for such venues. The policy, known as Key to NYC, went into effect on August 16.

Are there social distancing measures in classrooms?

On June 15, 2021, the State of New York lifted the vast majority of COVID-19 restrictions after reaching a statewide vaccination rate of 70 percent. All interior spaces will return to pre-COVID seat spacing and occupancy levels, including elevators, stairwells, hallways, and all other spaces. 

If the University determines that social distancing is required, how will we know the new capacity of the classroom in which we teach?

The University will provide instructors with the number of students their assigned classroom can hold under current conditions (no social distancing), 3-foot social distancing, or 6 foot social distancing.  

If the University announces that we must reduce classroom capacity because of social distancing, may I simply decide to teach fully online?

The decision to move all courses fully-online, if necessary, will be made at the University level.  As long as in-person learning is possible, even with social distancing, each instructor is responsible for determining the best way to continue teaching with in-person components. It may be helpful to develop a plan in advance for such a contingency and discuss it with your students.

On what basis will the University make the decision to adopt social distancing in the classroom or to shift to remote learning?

Fordham will monitor daily the COVID-19 case count on each campus along with the positivity rate in the surrounding neighborhoods. The University’s senior leadership team will follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York state and New York City departments of Health, and consultations with local public health experts, before making a decision to impose or relax mitigation measures on campus. The University will base such decisions on multiple sources of information—there is no single metric that will determine campus COVID-19 status.  

Will my students and I be required to wear face coverings?

The University requires all members of the campus community to wear face masks while indoors, except in limited settings, such as individuals who are alone in a room or roommates residing together in University housing.

Free KN95 masks, which provide superior filtration of virus-laden droplets with minimal distortion of one’s voice, are available to all at the Public Safety offices at each campus.

Can I or my students eat or drink in the classroom?

Eating and drinking is  prohibited in all classrooms and instructional spaces (laboratories, libraries, etc...).

How will the University’s mask mandate be enforced in the classroom?  

Everyone is required to wear a face mask in classrooms, laboratories, or studio environments. If an instructor sees a student in their class who is not wearing a mask or wearing it improperly, they should respectfully ask the student to don a face mask. If the student does not comply, the instructor should ask the student to leave the classroom and refer the matter to the Dean of Students. If the student disrupts the class or refuses to leave, the instructor can immediately contact Public Safety through the hot-line phone in the classroom, or the instructor can discontinue that day’s class and let the Dean of Students address the matter through the Student Code of Conduct. 
 
Will masks be provided to those who do not have one?
Free masks (both disposable surgical masks and washable cloth masks) are available to all at the Public Safety offices at each campus.  Disposable KN95 masks, which provide superior filtration of virus-laden droplets with minimal distortion of one’s voice, are also available.  A transparent reusable face mask, which allows students to see an instructor’s facial expressions while offering comfortable protection against COVID-19 transmission can also be obtained at these offices.

How should I conduct office hours?

Instructors can hold office hours and advising appointments through both in-person meetings (provided all parties wear face masks) and through synchronous online means (e.g., Zoom). Please encourage students to schedule appointments in advance for in-person office hours to avoid unnecessary congestion in offices and hallways. Google Calendar or SSC Navigate is recommended for scheduling meetings with students.

What should I do upon learning of a student's financial, housing, or other needs?

A variety of funds are available for students who are experiencing emergency financial hardship. Please reach out to the dean's office of the student’s school about the students particular needs. The dean will serve as the liaison with the Financial Aid office and/or with the committee managing Student Emergency Funding.

Quarantine and Contact Tracing Procedures

What if I recently tested positive for COVID-19?

If you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, please upload a copy of those recent positive test results via VitalCheck, and you do not need to have a new test. VitalCheck is working on an upgrade, so, for now, upload your positive test image and select that it is a negative test (not a positive test).  

What if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have no symptoms:

  • Notify your supervisor; AND
  • Isolate for 5 days; AND
  • For an additional 5 days, wear a well-fitted, layered mask whenever they are around other individuals, indoors or outdoors; AND
  • Receive an antigen test at the University (which will be placed in your record), and return to work.

(Rapid antigen testing will be available and is recommended for those individuals who are concerned and want a test before leaving isolation.)

If you begin to show symptoms, you should report them to University Contact Tracing by calling (914) 367-3001 or (914) 367-3190 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., or (718) 817-2222 between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

If you develop symptoms after being asymptomatic and testing positive in the last several days, your five-day isolation must start over from the date symptoms begin. You must then follow the guidelines for someone who has tested positive and has symptoms below.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms:

  • Notify your supervisor; AND
  • Isolate at least 5 days from the start of the symptoms; AND
  • Complete the Google form attestation once they are symptom-free, so they may end their isolation; AND
  • If you leave isolation before 10 days past the start of isolation, wear a well-fitted, layered mask whenever you are around other individuals, indoors or outdoors until the 10th day.

What if I have been exposed to COVID-19?

If you have close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive and have received a COVID-19 booster vaccination; OR completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines within the previous 6 months; OR completed the primary series of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last 2 months:

  • You do NOT need to quarantine. You should be tested approximately 5 days after exposure.

If you have close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive and have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over 6 months ago and have NOT received a COVID-19 booster vaccination; OR have completed the primary series of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over 2 months ago and have NOT received a COVID-19 booster vaccination; OR are partially vaccinated (only 1 dose of a 2-dose vaccine series); OR are unvaccinated:

  • Notify your supervisor; AND
  • Quarantine for 5 days; AND
  • Get a Broad PCR test on day 5 and wait for the results; once negative results are received (likely late on day 6 or possibly on day 7), you can leave quarantine; AND
  • For an additional 5 days, wear a well-fitted, layered mask whenever you are around other individuals, indoors or outdoors.

For all contacts, regardless of vaccination status, if symptoms occur, you should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms that your symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Guidance around quarantine and isolation is provided by the CDC. Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have COVID-19.

  • Isolation separates sick people with COVID-19 from people who are not sick. ​​People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to COVID-19 to see if they become sick. Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated

What should a fully-vaccinated employee do if their child is quarantined for COVID-19, and they need to stay home as the primary caregiver?

  • Notify supervisor
  • Notify Dan Wexler in Human Resources and provide appropriate documentation
  • Stay home to care for quarantined child
  • Work/teach online if possible

Fordham has also identified resources for short-term childcare during the semester.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Guidance around quarantine and isolation is provided by the CDC. Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have COVID-19.

  • Isolation separates sick people with COVID-19 from people who are not sick. ​​People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to COVID-19 to see if they become sick. Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated

How should student absences as a result of COVID or quarantine be handled?

Individual undergraduate students with officially excused absences (e.g., under COVID quarantine or isolation) may require special accommodations to be arranged by their instructors. Provided that the length of the student’s absence doesn't make it impossible for them to complete the work of the course, every effort should be made to allow them to keep up with their coursework. Although it is not expected that instructors will routinely record their in-person classes, instructors may choose to livestream or record a class session for the benefit of students who have excused absences. If an instructor requires technical assistance in making a temporary accommodation available for a student, Media Services stands ready to assist in setting up video capture. (Rose Hill 718-817-4170 or mediacenter@fordham.edu; Lincoln Center 212-636-6313 or mediaservlc@fordham.edu; Westchester 914-367-3179 or rblanchette@fordham.edu).

Can I be tested for COVID-19 on campus?

The University will conduct surveillance COVID-19 testing throughout the semester and conducts weekly COVID-19 testing among the small number of unvaccinated students and employees who have official vaccine exemptions, and on individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in contact with a COVID-positive person. Learn more on the Health Services webpage

Does Fordham report the names of COVID-19 positive individuals to the New York state Department of Health dashboard?

No. The University only provides the state with numbers of positive cases in various categories.
 
Does Fordham report the names of COVID-19 positive individuals to the New York City Department of Health?

Yes, the University is required by law to provide the names of students, faculty, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 (or have been identified as close contacts).  

What if a COVID-positive student reveals their positive test results to me and other students in the class?

It is the student’s prerogative to speak about their COVID-19 status. Nonetheless, the University is obligated to ensure that the student’s medical information is protected. You may not share the identity of the student with colleagues or other students, or refer to the student’s medical status except to University or public health officials who need the information for contact tracing and quarantine protocols.
 
Will students and faculty know if someone is unvaccinated in one of their classes? 

Fordham’s contact tracers will notify anyone in the class who is believed to have been in close contact with a COVID-positive member of the class. Every attempt will be made to protect the identity and privacy of those involved in the process. 

What measures have been taken to ensure classroom environments are safe for teaching?

Fordham performs regular maintenance on, and installs medical-facility grade MERV-13 filters in the air handlers for campus buildings. The building operating conditions currently involve distributing 100% outside air into the classrooms and exhausting building air to the atmosphere. The ventilation units are run two hours before occupancy in the morning and not shut down until two hours after the building is vacated for the night. In classrooms without central air systems, recirculating HEPA units provide rapid filtration of the air in each classroom.

Can I open the windows in my classroom?

Some instructors would like to open classroom windows in buildings like Lowenstein and Dealy. Such action is not recommended, because it will throw the building’s overall ventilation scheme out of balance. Air acts like water in that you can only get as much of it into a fixed space as you remove from the space. When you open the windows, depending on the ambient conditions outside, you may either be drawing in unfiltered air (which means the room was in negative pressure and now you've lost that advantage by balancing the pressure with an open window) or pushing air out of the space (which will make the supply fans run harder to "catch up" with the exhaust scheme). While pushing air out is ok, if there is a shift of wind, the flow regime could change in the opposite direction affecting the air balance in other rooms in the building. 
 
Can I hold classes outdoors?

There are a limited number of outdoor spaces on campus in which instructors can hold classes, weather permitting.  
 
How can instructors obtain additional assistance with technology for teaching their courses?

Instructors who would like to consult with an instructional technologist about how to use specific learning technologies/applications within their courses are encouraged to schedule an appointment through Faculty Technology Services. Additionally, Fordham IT may be able to assign an undergraduate Tech Support Assistant to help an instructor with technology management in a Zoom environment (when needed) so that the instructor can better focus on their teaching.
 
What if I have further questions?

If you can’t find the answer on the COVID-19 Guidelines pages, you may contact your department chair or associate chair, supervisor, or dean. You may also request a visit with a health provider through VitalCheck.