Boise State students and staff will still be required to wear masks and follow other COVID-19 mitigation protocols when they return to campus for the start of the spring semester.
The university will continue learning in person, but officials are urging everyone to get vaccinated and take other precautions as health officials warn of a new wave of COVID-19.
“While we expected and witnessed an increase in positivity rates, we want to keep the campus open and still plan for a face-to-face start to the semester,” Alicia Estey, Chief of Staff and Vice President of the University. business, said in a Dec. 30 email to colleagues.
“Because omicron, the dominant variant of COVID in the United States, is highly transmissible, it is essential that all members of our community follow public health protocols so that we can keep the campus safe and open for class. and activities this spring. “
According to Boise State’s COVID-19 dashboard, the university reported 179 cases between December 31 and January 6, the majority of which were reported among off-campus students. This is more cases than the university has reported in any other week since the start of the school year.
In the United States, several colleges and universities have temporarily moved online courses as the omicron variant spreads and threatens to overwhelm healthcare systems.
Idaho public health officials fear this COVID-19 surge will force hospitals to re-adopt crisis care standards. They warned the peak could be even worse than what the state has seen before.
This week, more than 6,300 new cases were reported in Idaho, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The state’s positivity rate also jumped to 17% during the week of December 26, about double the previous week.
At Boise State, the community will need to continue to follow protocols that were in place last semester, including wearing masks in indoor campus spaces and crowded outdoor environments and staying home in the event of illness. Students who live on campus must also be tested upon return, unless they have been fully immunized, tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, or meet another exemption.
People who flew over the holidays or attended a crowded event are also encouraged to get tested before returning to campus, according to Estey’s email.
The university is also urging people to improve their masks.
Boise State updates isolation and quarantine policies
The university’s public health unit updated its quarantine and isolation procedures to meet new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the guidelines, those who test positive for COVID-19 must stay home for five days – less than in the past – from the onset of symptoms or from the date of the positive test. If symptoms go away after five days, people can stop isolating themselves, but should continue to wear a surgical mask around others for an additional five days.
Those with known exposure but who have received a booster or have been fully vaccinated – either with the Pfizer of Moderna vaccines in the past six months or with the J&J vaccine in the past two months – should wear a surgical mask around them. others for 10 days and test on the fifth day, as long as they are asymptomatic. Those who have been boosted but are showing symptoms should be tested and stay home until they receive the results.
People with known exposure who are asymptomatic but not fully vaccinated – including those who were vaccinated more than six months ago and have not received boosters – should stay home for five days, test on the fifth day. day and wear a surgical mask around others for the next five days, as directed.
The university on its website encourages people to contact Boise State Public Health with questions.
Boise State will continue to monitor the situation and communicate any changes to the community if necessary, Estey wrote.
This story was originally published January 7, 2022 4:33 p.m.