January 10, 2022
To the Pace Community:
Happy new year. I hope you had a restful and relaxing break, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all again back on campus. 

As you know, the Omicron variant is driving an exceedingly high rate of infection in our region and across the United States. While it seems clear that the overall health risk is lower than with previous variants—especially for those who are vaccinated and boosted, as is required for those coming to our campuses—we remain committed to keeping our community as safe and healthy as possible while enabling our students to remain on track and engaged in their studies. Accordingly, we are keeping the COVID-19 Alert Level at orange for all three campuses, and we are taking several precautionary steps as we return for the Spring 2022 semester.

REMOTE LEARNING: We will begin the semester as planned on Monday, January 24. (At Haub Law, the semester begins January 18. Haub students received an email from Dean Angie D’Agostino on Friday with details for that campus.) However, we will conduct the first two weeks of classes remotely, through Sunday, February 6. This will allow us to both de-densify our campuses during the Omicron peak and also ensure that students who must isolate or quarantine can remain engaged with their courses. On-campus events will continue in that period, with 50 percent capacity limits and no food.

Some programs with necessary in-person components will continue in-person, and clinical experiences and other off-site activities may continue, depending on the procedures at the sponsoring institution. Your faculty or staff will contact you with information on whether your in-person activities will continue. 

Our campuses and residence halls will remain open, and faculty and staff should report to work under their usual arrangements beginning January 18

COVID-19 VACCINE BOOSTER: As we have previously announced, anyone coming to a Pace campus will be required to be both vaccinated and boosted once they are eligible (subject to approved medical and religious exemptions). You can find information on booster eligibility here. You should upload your booster record to the Confidential Patient Portal. First enter your booster date under the Immunizations tab, then go to the Uploads tab and then select “COVID-19 Vaccination Documentation” from the drop-down menu. A video with instructions on uploading your booster record is available here.

To continue to access campus, you must upload a record of your booster within 30 days of when you become eligible. You will not receive a confirmation email for loading your booster record; instead, we will randomly audit booster records to ensure compliance. We recognize there may be extenuating circumstances, including for international students who did not receive their initial vaccine in the United States, and we will issue extensions where appropriate. You may apply for an extension via the confidential Patient Portal beginning January 17. You can find an FAQ here.

Under current CDC guidance, those who are vaccinated and boosted are not required to quarantine after exposure to a positive case. If you are eligible for a booster but have not received it, you will be required to quarantine after an exposure.

RESIDENCE HALL MOVE-IN: Residence halls remain open, and residential students should schedule their move-in time per guidance from Residential Life. Dining halls will be open starting January 23, with full service. (Haub Law students should refer to Friday’s message from Dean D’Agostino.) We will not require entry tests for residential students, but we continue to strongly encourage a negative test before arrival, and all students will be part of the community testing program. Residential Life will shortly send an email to residential students with further information.

TESTING: We strongly encourage everyone returning to campus to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before returning to campus. People with a history of COVID-19 may continue to test positive on a PCR test within 90 days of their initial infection. If you test positive with a new infection, please complete your isolation period before coming to campus. 

As the semester begins, we will re-institute our community testing protocols, requiring weekly testing for certain communities (including those exempted from the vaccine requirement and certain high-risk groups) and a randomly selected sample of the population coming to campus. For at least the first two weeks of the semester, we will randomly test 20 percent of the community, and we will re-evaluate that percentage as conditions change. Any member of the Pace Community may choose to participate in testing, and we will have expanded testing access starting the week of January 17. Information about how to participate in community testing is available here

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be excluded from the testing pool for the 90 days following their positive result. 

POSITIVE TESTS OVER BREAK: It is important for University Health Care to maintain records of COVID-19 cases within the Pace Community. If you had COVID over the break, please report your illness here by January 17. Those who had COVID-19 will be excluded from our community testing program for 90 days after their illness.

MASKING: Omicron is especially transmissible. While it seems to cause less severe illness than previous variants in those who are vaccinated and boosted, you can still be a vector of spread even if asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. The best way to protect yourself and your community is to continue wearing high-quality, well-fitting masks, such as a KN95 mask or a double mask, when you are in a public place. Masks will remain a requirement on Pace campuses.

I know it is a disappointment that such stringent protocols are still required after so much time. But we are determined to keep our community as healthy as possible while providing the most comprehensive educational experience we can. We believe that taking these precautions now—specifically de-densifying our campuses where possible and ensuring our students have access to their classes even when isolated—will enable us to return to more normal operations soon.

Thank you for your cooperation and commitment. 
Brian Anderson, MPH, CSP
Executive Director, Emergency Management
and Environmental Health and Safety 
See our Return to Campus website for additional communications from Pace University. For the most current information for the Haub Law School community, click here.