January 12, 2022
Dear GCC Student Body,
We hope you have had a wonderful Christmas break and are as excited to return to campus as we are to see you. Please take a few minutes to read through the following information in preparation for your return to campus. Below you will find:
Please follow these instructions as you prepare to return
During each of the past two breaks, we have asked students to monitor for symptoms and to be attentive to exposure to others who have tested positive or have Covid-like symptoms. Your efforts have been greatly appreciated. They were particularly helpful during Thanksgiving Break when many students identified symptoms and/or exposure and remained at home to quarantine. Recognizing the challenge before us, we are again asking you to help in this important way. Please:
1) Make every effort to limit your exposure this week (avoiding large gatherings and practicing social distancing).
2) Get tested if you can secure antigen or PCR testing before returning to campus. We recognize that gaining access to testing can be difficult at this time. Therefore, we are not requiring returning students to confirm a negative COVID-19 test prior to the start of the spring semester, but testing negative, regardless of vaccination status and/or symptoms, will help ensure a healthy start to our semester.
3) ALL STUDENTS, vaccinated or not, should self-monitor for symptoms and test at home IF they have any Covid -like symptoms or contact with someone who has recently had symptoms or tested positive.
4) Please email SLLCovidUpdate@gcc.edu IF you:
Those in the categories outlined above should not return to campus prior to testing and/or quarantining, and we stand ready to aid with your delayed return.
Changes in light of new CDC and Pennsylvania Health Department (PADOH) guidance
Shortened Isolation Timeframe For COVID-Positive and Exposed Students
In accordance with new CDC guidance, students who test positive will be required to isolate for five full days from the onset of symptoms (previously ten full days). Students may be evaluated for release on the morning of the sixth day based on their symptoms. Upon release from isolation, students will be required to wear a mask– except while eating – for up to five additional days. Exposed students will quarantine for five days (rather than following the previous guidance which required a negative test result to leave quarantine after seven days). Both shortened time frames should be welcome news.
Positive Student Isolation at Home
Given the unique characteristics of the Omicron variant compared to previous iterations of COVID-19, and in recognition that the College’s isolation space remains limited, all students who are able to complete isolation at home will be expected to do so. If going home is not an option, and space allows, a positive student may request permission to complete his or her isolation in an on-campus facility.
Eligibility for a Quarantine Exception
The CDC continues to recognize two categories of individual as exempt from quarantine: those who have had Covid within the past 90 days; and those who are vaccinated. However, the definition of vaccination has been altered as noted below.
Submitting a Positive Test Result
Please upload a photo or electronic copy of your test result HERE if you tested positive between semesters. Submissions should include the result, test date, and your name. At-home tests are acceptable. This information will be used to exempt students from quarantine for 90 days from the date their test was administered in alignment with CDC and PADOH guidelines. Note: results for active cases should be emailed directly to SLLCovidUpdate@gcc.edu.
Submitting New Vaccination Information
This same guidance allows for quarantine exemption for ONLY those who have received a booster shot or remain within 6 months of their second Pfizer or Moderna shot and 2 months of the J&J vaccine if exposed to Covid 19. Those who have been boosted or received the vaccine during break should submit a photo of your updated or new vaccination card HERE. Those with a vaccination that falls outside of these timeframes can submit record of a booster at any time, but should simply email it to SLLCovidUpdate@gcc.edu after the start of the semester.
There will continue to be no campus-wide masking mandate. However, we are providing each student with a KN95 mask in alignment with the CDC’s call to wear a tight fitting mask as outlined above. Please keep this mask in case the need were to arise.
While we will continue to refine our plan in light of the Omicron variant and changing CDC guidelines, we are thankful for all we have accomplished together and are blessed to partner with you again this semester. Thank you for doing your part to help with our return and maintaining the health of our community.
Mr. Hardesty, Mr. Cirelli, and the Covid Team