Posts tagged ‘vaccination’

Fall 2021 Return-to-Campus Protocols

Dear LVC Students and Families,

The fall 2021 semester begins in just a few weeks. We have been closely monitoring the pandemic situation and consulted with Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to develop protocols and policies to guide us in returning to campus.

The below COVID-19 protocols are based on campus vaccination rates, levels of infection in our surrounding county, and public health guidance. Some of last year’s restrictions have been lifted or loosened to allow for more socializing—which is crucial to our educational mission and to our community’s mental health and well-being. Other restrictions, such as universal indoor masking, remain in place, given the infectiousness of the Delta variant and until a higher percentage of students report being vaccinated. As has been all-too-common during the pandemic, the situation can evolve quickly. I’ll keep you informed if our plans change.

Vaccinations give us the greatest chance for an as normal as possible semester and reduce our chances of having to pivot to online learning. Please report being fully vaccinated here. 

Let’s all recommit to following LVC’s Community Covenant.

For ourselves. For each other.

President James M. MacLaren, M.A., Ph.D.

FALL 2021 SEMESTER PANDEMIC PROTOCOLS

LVC will hold an on-campus vaccination clinic Friday, Aug. 27 (first dose) and Friday, Sept. 17 (second dose) for students, employees, and their immediate family members. Student Affairs will work with students who need to arrive earlier than they had planned to accommodate their participation in the vaccine clinic.

Individuals that have had the first dose of Pfizer can sign up for the second dose of Pfizer at the Aug. 27 clinic.  Sign up below, and bring your vaccine card. At least 21 days must have passed since your received your first dose. Any amount of days after the 21 days is acceptable. 

Register by August 17 to secure your spot.

SIGN UP NOW.

Unvaccinated students must provide evidence of negative test results within 72 hours of arrival on-campus.

SUBMIT RESULTS HERE.

Students are responsible for acquiring their own tests. They must provide negative SARS-CoV-2 test results within 72 hours of their arrival on campus. Either PCR or antigen tests are acceptable; antibody test results will not be accepted. The COVID test must be administered within 72 hours of your arrival at LVC. For example, if your arrival date is Aug. 28, the test must be completed on Aug. 25, 26, or 27, and the results need to be submitted by Aug. 28. If you have had a positive COVID test in the 90 days before your arrival to campus, you do not need to provide a new, re-entry test result. However, you should provide the details of your positive test result using this link as well. Call Shroyer Health Center if you have questions at (717) 867-6232.

Students who have not submitted negative test results will not be permitted to move into their on-campus residences or attend classes. Separate protocols will apply to student-athletes per NCAA and MAC requirements.

The College will conduct surveillance testing of unvaccinated students and employees. 

LVC will notify individuals selected for surveillance testing. Separate protocols apply to student-athletes per NCAA and MAC requirements. 

Indoor masking is required for everyone. 

LVC requires indoor masking in all campus settings, including residence halls. You do not have to wear a mask inside your room or apartment. Roommates are considered part of your household/family unit. 

Neck gaiters, bandanas, and face shields are NOT adequate face coverings. 

The CDC recommends non-valved, multi-layer cloth masks to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Recent studies indicated that neck gaiters and bandanas are not as effective. Please do not use neck gaiters, bandanas, or face shields in place of masks. 

Outdoor masking is not required. 

Practice social distancing. Classrooms, labs, and dining areas will have 3 feet of distancing. 

Residential students:

  • Bring your vaccination card to show when you pick up your key at move-in if you have not already uploaded a copy. 
  • Pack only essential items so you are prepared in case the College needs to close residential facilities.
  • For questions about bunking beds and moving furniture, consult with your residential assistant. Protocols will vary according to spaces.

Vaccination is strongly encouraged. 

Vaccines are not just about personal protection—they are vital to public health and are recognized as the way to return to a fully normal environment. We implore those who are hesitant to listen to the science to talk to their primary care physician and do what’s right for our community and our vulnerable members. Learn more from Dr. Courtney Lappas. 

Sign up for a vaccine at Penn State Health

Sign up for a vaccine at WellSpan. 

Pharmacies including Rite-Aid and Walmart also have COVID vaccines. Check online for availability and locations

Report being fully vaccinated here. 

If you have already submitted your vaccine information, you do not need to resubmit your information. Please bring your proof of vaccination with you to campus.

Students must complete the Symptom Tracker 1) if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or any other symptoms for which you need medical care, 2) if you wish to report close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals, or 3) if you wish to report test results from off-campus testing (if not already reported). 

Students do not have to complete the symptom tracker daily like they did last academic year.

Contact tracing will continue. 

LVC’s contact tracers will contact you if you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or have tested positive for the virus. Please respond to them; they will advise you on the next steps. If you are a contact of someone positive for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated, the contact tracing team may reach out for record-keeping purposes. Contact tracing details are confidential. Students and employees will not be informed of your name or personal information. 

Quarantining for 10 days will be required if you are unvaccinated and exposed to SARS-CoV-2. 

If you are fully vaccinated and learn that you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, contact Shroyer Health Center. 

Contact Shroyer at 717-867-6232 or healthservices@lvc.edu. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you should monitor for symptoms, especially after a known exposure. 

Isolation will be required for anyone who is symptomatic. 

Whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated, you will be required to isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you test positive for the virus, you will need to isolate for 10 days. It’s likely that students will need to isolate at home, not on-campus. Students in isolation will be responsible for completing their work as with any other infectious disease. Health center staff will give students isolation instructions whether their symptoms are COVID-19 related or not. Self-isolation when ill with the common cold, influenza, or other viral illnesses is the best way to avoid getting others sick. 

Students may visit other residential facilities this semester. Masking is required. 

The only people you should engage with without wearing your mask are your roommates or housemates. Each resident is permitted to host one student guest. 

Off-campus visitors are prohibited from entering residence halls. 

Residence hall common areas and kitchens will be open with limited capacity. 

Clean up after yourself when using common areas and wash hands frequently. Avoid these areas if you are sick, quarantined, or isolated.  

Student dining capacity will increase, but social distancing of 3 feet is required. 

The plexiglass shields have been removed. Students should distance and dine only with students in their “bubble.” 

Visitors from off-campus such as speakers, presenters, and prospective students and families are allowed on campus, but they must be masked indoors and practice social distancing. 

Always remind visitors to they cannot come to campus if they have symptoms or have had a known, recent exposure to someone with COVID-19. 

Large indoor gatherings will be limited according to capacity. Masking is required. Distancing is required for those who are not part of a household unit.

Convocation, Homecoming, and Inauguration events are under review and will be adapted as necessary. Students should consult with their faculty or staff advisors in the preliminary stages of planning indoor events so the advisor can consult with the administration. 

Indoor gatherings including food or drink are not permitted. 

Students can sit outside or under the tent near Mary Green to eat take-out. 

COVID-19 testing for students is available at the Shroyer Health Center.   

A nurse will examine you before performing a test. Contact Shroyer at 717-867-6232 or healthservices@lvc.edu. If the symptom tracker gives you a red x, a Shroyer nurse will contact you. Students tested off-campus for SARS-CoV-2 should report their results to health center staff.

In-person classes will not have a voluntary hybrid option. 

The expectation is that if a course was scheduled for in-person instruction, then that is the assumed instructional delivery format (versus students electing a Hyflex model based on their individual preference). If a student contacts a faculty member to request to take a course online or hybrid, then the faculty member will refer the student to the registrar’s office, since a faculty member cannot make that decision. Students should contact the registrar’s office to submit the necessary medical documentation to be considered for taking a course online. This documentation will be reviewed by a committee that contains medical professionals to determine if an accommodation is warranted. If an accommodation is warranted, then discussions will occur with the department chair or program director, and the faculty member to determine the best path forward. 

Completing academic work during quarantine and isolation:

If you are enrolled in an in-person course and you must quarantine or isolate, you are responsible for completing your work as with any other infectious disease or illness. Students should work closely with their faculty members to determine the best way to complete course objectives during this time. 

Classrooms will have assigned seats. 

Students will have assigned seats in classrooms to support contact tracing. Seats will be 3 feet apart. 

Labs and music practices will have mitigations in place. 

Faculty members will advise students on protocols particular to lab and music settings. 

Outside community members are not permitted to use indoor athletics facilities (fitness center, pool) or Bishop Library. 

Protocols will be in place for student-athletes participating in fall training and competition. 

Vaccinated Student-athletes 

  • Fully vaccinated student-athletes or those with documented COVID-19 within the last 90 days will not be tested unless symptomatic or identified by a risk assessment of a documented close contact with COVID-19.  

Unvaccinated Student-athletes 

  • ENTRY TESTING: Unvaccinated student-athletes may not compete or practice until testing negative for Sars-CoV-2 within three to five days of arrival on campus.  
  • SURVEILLANCE TESTING: Unvaccinated student-athletes are required to participate in weekly testing one to three times per week, depending on the type of test administered. 
  • PRE-COMPETITION TESTING: Unvaccinated student-athletes will need negative test results within one-to-three days of the first competition of the week, depending on the type of test administered. 
  • IN CASES OF CLOSE CONTACT: Unvaccinated student-athletes identified as a close contact of another individual with confirmed positive COVID-19 will need to quarantine in accordance with local public health authority guidance. 

If there is sustained increased transmission on a team, all symptomatic individuals and individuals with close contacts will be tested. 

Student-athletes who test positive for COVID-19 will be placed in isolation for 10 days and not released until at least 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms have improved. No exercise is permitted during isolation. 

All student-athletes should mask during travel. 

Spectators are allowed at outdoor athletic events. 

Spectators do not need to wear masks outdoors but should stay 3 feet apart from those who are not part of their household. 

We will determine the protocol for spectators at indoor events at a later time. 

The risk of myocarditis in student-athletes is much higher for those who are unvaccinated. 

Unvaccinated student-athletes have a 0.5-2.5% chance of developing myocarditis compared to vaccinated student athletes, whose risk is exceptionally low, at 0.0006%. 

Top 5 Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccination

From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most important things we can do together to stop this pandemic. It can help protect you, your friends, your family, and your community. Here are the top 5 things you should know about COVID-19 vaccination.

  1. COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in US history. These vaccines cannot give you COVID-19.

Results from vaccine safety monitoring efforts are reassuring. Some people have no side effects. Others have reported common side effects after COVID-19 vaccination like pain, redness, or swelling at injection site. You may also have tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea. These reactions are common. Serious safety problems are rare.

  1. COVID-19 vaccines work.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19. It may also help protect people around you, like your friends, your family, our school, and our community.

  1. You may have side effects after vaccination, but these are normal.

You may have some side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, such as pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. You may also have tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they typically go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.

Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain you may have after getting vaccinated. It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination to try to prevent side effects.

LVC employees can use their COVID-19 sick days if experiencing side effects from vaccination.

  1. It takes 2 weeks after vaccination for you to be considered “fully vaccinated,” meaning your body has built protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

You should keep using all the tools available to protect yourself and others until you are fully vaccinated.

  1. After you are fully vaccinated, you can start to do some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccines are the key to getting back to normal. If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic. More details about what you can do can be found on CDC’s webpage.

Although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, scientists are still learning many things:

  • How effective the vaccines are against new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • How well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications.
  • How long COVID-19 vaccines protect people.

If you want to know more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/vaccines.

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You will not have to quarantine, isolate, or be tested for the fall semester if you are vaccinated. 

Submit your proof of vaccination to LVC and be entered into a weekly $100 drawing.

Vaccine Safety and Science—Q&A with Dr. Courtney Lappas

The Key to Normality

June 2, 2021

As LVC prepares for the upcoming academic year, Ali Wenger, content strategist at LVC, talked with Dr. Courtney Lappas, professor of biology with expertise in immunology and molecular biology, about COVID vaccines.

What would you say is the most important fact(s) for people to know about the safety of the vaccines?

First, I would say that as is the case with any drug or vaccine, it is completely normal and prudent to think about safety. The great news is that all evidence indicates that the three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the U.S. are remarkably safe. The dangers of COVID-19 are much, much greater than any vaccine side effect. Almost 600,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 to date. So far, approximately 300 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the U.S. alone. Many people have experienced no side effects. The most common side effects are temporary and minor—things such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle aches, etc. There have been very, very rare occurrences of allergic reactions, as is the case with almost every vaccine, but even these reactions are treatable and temporary.  

Most people are probably aware that a very, very rare blood clotting disorder has been linked to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The important thing to realize about this observation is that the risk of blood clots resulting from the J&J vaccine is exceedingly low—very significantly lower than the risk of blood clots resulting from remaining unvaccinated and contracting COVID-19. 

Some people might be concerned about potential long-term side effects of the mRNA vaccines in particular—the Pfizer and Moderna shots. Rumors have been circulating about potential effects on fertility, cognitive function, etc. Thankfully, there is no scientific reason for concern. If any side effects are going to occur because of vaccination, they generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. There are no documented reports of delayed side effects of vaccination, in other words, side effects that first show up many months or years after vaccination. It might help people to know that the components of the mRNA vaccines are completely cleared from the human body very rapidly—within days. The mRNA in the vaccines cannot change your DNA, and it will not persist in your cells.

Finally, the safety of the vaccines currently approved for use in the U.S. has been thoroughly investigated. No “shortcuts” were taken in the clinical trials or approval process. 

How established is the science behind the vaccines? Has it been used in other vaccines that are more common?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the first mRNA-based vaccines to be deployed. However, the technology has been studied for decades and is very well characterized and understood. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses a different technology—it is an adenovirus-based vaccine, which is what some folks might think of as a more “traditional” vaccine. The adenovirus vaccine platform has also been studied for decades—most recently in vaccine trials in response to the Ebola and Zika outbreaks.  

Although some people might wonder if the development of these three vaccines was rushed, it is important to remember that the reason the vaccines could be developed so rapidly is because the technology was already so well established. This is a real scientific success story in which technologies that had been studied for decades were applied to a public health crisis as it unfolded. We can all feel very confident about the science behind the vaccines.    

How does one person getting vaccinated benefit our community?

Currently, more than half of the population in the U.S has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and this number continues to grow. This is great news, and it indicates that most people in the U.S. believe getting vaccinated is the right thing to do. This vaccination rate is directly linked to the very significant decrease in COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide. However, we need even more people to join their friends, neighbors, and classmates in receiving their vaccination so that the virus will not have the chance to mutate and potentially undo all the progress that has been made.  Everyone who gets vaccinated protects not only themselves but also everyone they interact with. And we must remember that we are truly in this together. Children younger than 12 currently cannot receive a vaccine, immunocompromised individuals may not be protected even after vaccination. Unvaccinated individuals may unknowingly transmit the virus to these vulnerable populations. Every additional vaccine administered reduces these risks.  

From a scientific point of view, what are the benefits of a vaccinated community?

The benefits of a vaccinated community are immense. Simply put, vaccination is the path back to normality. At LVC, a vaccinated community would allow us to gather once again in classes, sporting events, concerts, and parties without many of the strict precautions that have been in place for the past year. Vaccination of the LVC campus also protects the surrounding community—the younger siblings, children, parents, and grandparents of our community members. 

What else do you think is important for people to know about the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably safe and effective and are the culmination of decades of scientific and medical research. Getting vaccinated will protect you and the people around you and allow a return to normality. Vaccination has long been regarded by many as the single most important public health measure to which we can all contribute, and each individual who receives the COVID-19 vaccine contributes to the overall health and welfare of the community.  

Vaccination Facts for LVC Students

Background

As the semester comes to an end, vaccinating college students is important as we work to protect them, their families, and their communities. College campuses across the Commonwealth will be much safer for students, educators, and the entire community if students are fully vaccinated before returning to school for the Fall semester.

Some college students may receive their first dose of a two-dose series while on campus but may return home before receiving their second dose. This may include traveling to another county or state for vaccination, which would require utilizing a different provider for their second dose.

 

WHAT DO STUDENTS NEED TO DO AS THEY GET VACCINATED?

We encourage college students, and all Pennsylvanians, to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Everyone age 16 and older is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Choosing to get a vaccine marks an important step to protect yourhealth and the health of everyone around you as we continue to unite against COVID-19.

Students should work to schedule their vaccination appointment at their earliest convenience at a location nearest to them.

WHAT IF THE STUDENT RECEIVED THEIR FIRST DOSE BEFORE RETURNING HOME?

If students return home before receiving their second vaccine dose of a two-dose series, they should work with a provider in their community to get that second dose at the appropriate time. Students should remember to bring their vaccination card with them to their second dose appointment. And it is important to get the same vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) for each of the two doses in the series.

College students returning home at the end of the semester, even if that means to another state, should seek a second dose of vaccine (if applicable) as we want them to be fully protected against COVID-19. They should state that they cannot return to the same provider because of logistical challenges.

WHAT ROLE DO VACCINE PROVIDERS PLAY IN THIS?

Vaccine providers should work with college students to ensure they get their full set of vaccinations. If possible, both appointments should be scheduled at the same location.

If that is not possible due to a student returning home at the end of the semester, providers at the home location should work to ensure the college student gets fully vaccinated using the same vaccine they received as their first dose. The Department of Health will support Pennsylvania providers in these requests for second doses. It expects that numbers may not properly align, so providers are encouraged to include an explanation in the notes when filling out the second dose survey.

It is then important that the vaccine providers accurately represent this when they report the data to PA-SIIS.

Resources for more information

COVID-19 vaccine website

COVID-19 vaccine provider website

Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan

Let LVC Know You Have Been Vaccinated

Submit your vaccination confirmation after you have received the second dose of the vaccine. You will need to upload an image of your valid vaccination card.