Will I be required to be vaccinated?
All University faculty, students, and staff must be fully up-to-date as defined by the CDC as of Tuesday, November 1, 2022, which includes the updated bivalent booster.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals 12 and older are eligible for the updated (bivalent) booster that is effective against multiple COVID variants, and in order to be considered up to date with vaccines, they should receive the updated booster if it has been 2 months or longer since their last COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals under 18 can only receive the Pfizer updated booster. The updated Moderna booster is only available for those 18 and over. Being up-to-date on the vaccine is particularly important because it will be more effective against new variants of the virus, helping us to both keep our community safe, and to function with less disruption.
The University has the new updated vaccines in stock and will administer them free of charge. You can sign up for the vaccine on the Testing and Vaccine Resources Page. (The updated vaccines are also available in the New York City area.) Members of the campus community must receive the updated vaccine as soon as they are eligible—individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days will have the deadline for compliance adjusted accordingly.
Individuals can upload proof of vaccination to VitalCheck by clicking on the link text “Has your vaccination status recently changed?” on the daily VitalCheck email/text message.
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.
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 CDC's updated mask guidelines say that individuals may now "wear a mask based on your personal preference, informed by your personal level of risk." Accordingly, at Fordham masks are recommended but not required in classrooms, labs, work settings, and public spaces for individuals fully up-to-date on vaccinations (meaning an individual has received a full series of COVID-19 vaccines, and a booster shot, if eligible). All individuals may wear masks in any setting if they choose to do so.
NOTE: Faculty may require masks in classrooms and laboratory settings, if they believe the particular circumstances warrant such measures.
- Unvaccinated individuals with an exemption must still wear masks.
- Masks remain mandatory on Ram Vans and in University Health Service locations (offices, and testing and vaccination sites).
Can I or my students eat or drink in the classroom?
Eating and drinking is allowed in classrooms at the discretion of the faculty member.
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.
What if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. Day 0 is your first day of symptoms or a positive test. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or your test specimen was collected.
If you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving or you never experienced symptoms, you can test on or after day 6 using a rapid/antigen test (not a PCR test).
If your rapid test is negative, please complete this Symptom-Free Attestation Form to notify us. If your rapid test is positive or you are continuing to experience symptoms, you need to remain in isolation for 10 days. If you leave isolation before day 11, wear a well-fitted mask any time you are around others inside your home or in public.
Note that after a confirmed case of COVID-19, you may continue to test positive on a PCR test for an average of 90 days. However, a rapid or antigen test is only likely to be positive if you are still at risk of spreading infection OR you have contracted COVID-19 again, so it is an accurate way to test.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; Lincoln Center 212-636-6313 or email@example.com; Westchester 914-367-3179 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Can I be tested for COVID-19 on campus?
The University will offer on-demand testing and testing for suspected exposure, and for students only, diagnostic testing, but will discontinue surveillance and return-to-campus testing in the Fall semester. (Employees who have COVID-19 symptoms should not come to campus, but should see their healthcare providers for diagnostic testing.)
The University will continue to require weekly testing for individuals with medical or religious vaccine accommodations, or who are not yet fully up-to-date with their vaccines.
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.
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 Information Technology 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.