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COVID update: start of semester delayed and boosters required

January 4, 2022

Skyhawks,

Each semester for the last two years, the FLC community has come together to meet the challenges of the pandemic. Unfortunately, we’re once again faced with complex circumstances as we look to return to campus this month. Because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in recent weeks, we are delaying the start of the semester to Monday, January 24 and a COVID booster shot is required for all students, faculty, and staff once you are eligible to receive one. If you already have a vaccine exemption on file, you are also exempt from the booster requirement. 

Student safety and well-being are our priorities, and this semester will be about balancing mitigation efforts with putting energy into creating a great semester. To ensure that we can enjoy all the things that make FLC great, we need to make these necessary shifts.

Delayed start of semester

Classes will begin in person Monday, January 24. 

  • This delay will not affect Spring Break dates.
  • All other academic dates, like finals and commencement, will be pushed out one week. Updates will be reflected on the online academic calendar

The delay does not affect campus offices, which are open as normal should you need to call or make a virtual appointment. In-person meetings are available for those in compliance with the vaccination booster policy. Many of your questions are addressed on our website but contact Skyhawk Station with any additional questions.

Students returning to residence halls can move in on Friday, January 21 from 10am-4pm, Saturday, January 22 from 12-5pm, and Sunday, January 23 from 12-5pm. We will work with students on a case-by-case basis if other arrangements are necessary; contact the Housing Office at 970-247-7503 or email studenthousing@fortlewis.edu.

Booster requirement

Students, faculty, and staff are required to get the booster once eligible. Individuals are eligible for a booster six months after their primary Moderna series, five months after the Pfizer series, and two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With the emergence of Omicron, health experts indicate that a fully boosted campus population will allow us to engage in the full range of campus activities and protects against serious illness. If you’ve already received your booster, instructions on how to submit your vaccine records are below:

  • Continuing students: upload a digital copy of your vaccination documents on the Fort Lewis App or FLC’s secure portal.
  • New students: use your secure admission portal.
  • Employees: instructions will be sent separately from HR.

Getting a COVID vaccine booster is the best protection against serious illness and helps ensure continuity in learning by preventing class absences. By requiring the booster shot, we are putting ourselves in the best position to maintain a sense of normalcy and well-being and doing our part to not exacerbate healthcare resources.

People who are fully vaccinated and receive a booster are 47.5 times less likely to be hospitalized than someone who is unvaccinated. Individuals who are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot are 9.7 times less likely to get COVID-19 than unvaccinated people, and 3.3 times less likely than people who are vaccinated without a booster. (Data provided by Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment)

Vaccine and booster clinics before and after January 24

Please use the extra week to seek a booster in your home community. FLC will host vaccination and booster clinics on campus for those who do not have access to vaccines at home. Vaccine clinics with ample supply of all three vaccine and booster types are widely available now in La Plata County.

Testing before and after January 24

It is in the best interest of our community for all faculty, staff, and students to test for COVID before traveling back to Durango and again within 72 hours of engaging on campus. If you have a COVID vaccine exemption on file, you are required to test weekly for the Spring semester, and a negative test result is required within 72 hours prior to engaging on campus.

Free testing is available all semester long on campus—please use this resource to keep yourself safe.

We understand that these changes and the general COVID situation may cause stress for you. That is why we are working so hard to preserve as much normalcy as we can in our Spring semester. Despite the Omicron speedbump, this semester will include great classes, amazing basketball games to watch, inspiring research presentations, and powder in the mountains. The most important things right now are that our community is safe and that our students are learning in person. 

We are here for you and will see you on campus January 24.

Best, Tom

Tom Stritikus
President
Fort Lewis College

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