University community needs to follow testing, vaccine rules

The COVID-19 testing site is located in the Pavia Garage on the Coral Gables Campus. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami
By News@TheU

The COVID-19 testing site is located in the Pavia Garage on the Coral Gables Campus. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

University community needs to follow testing, vaccine rules

By News@TheU
All residential students are required to test for COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival on campus. With the start of classes on Aug. 23, here is the critical information members of the University community need to know.

As students return to campus for the start of the fall semester, the University of Miami has issued important protocols for students and faculty and staff members—including arrival testing rules for residential students, as well as vaccination policies for all faculty, staff, and clinical employees across the University’s three campuses and health system.

“Vaccination will be an important part of stopping the pandemic,” Dr. Roy E. Weiss, chief medical officer for COVID-19 and chair of the Department of Medicine at the Miller School of Medicine, said during a town hall meeting last week. “Vaccination will allow us to once again function in the ways we were used to functioning.”

The University has partnered with Walgreens to offer a vaccine clinic on the Coral Gables Campus. The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available Aug. 17-20 and Aug. 23-26 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the StormSurge Room at the Hurricane Food Court. The clinic is open to any student or faculty or staff member who wishes to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Additionally, employees can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine at the Walgreens in UHealth Tower. Appointments are available Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., at no charge. Call 305-702-9066 to make an appointment.

Consistent with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, face coverings will be required in all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, libraries, and at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center—regardless of vaccination status. Outdoor masking is strongly encouraged when congregating in large groups.

Erin Kobetz, vice provost of research and scholarship, who is also leading the University’s testing, tracing, and tracking efforts, said she recognizes that many would prefer relaxed restrictions, but local infection rates as well as keeping students, faculty, and staff safe are driving their strategy now.

“I appreciate everybody’s desire to be past this, but unfortunately that’s not our reality now, so the best way for us to beat the pandemic is through prevention, which includes masking up and getting vaccinated,” she said.

Here are details about how you can ensure you are in compliance with University testing and vaccination policies.

COVID-19 TESTING

  • Arrival testing: Students who live on campus will be required to test at the Pavia Garage site within 24 hours of checking in to any on-campus housing, regardless of vaccination status.
    • Walk-up testing will be available at the Pavia Garage testing site. Hours of operation will be provided as part of the move-in process.
    • Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days prior to move-in and who have provided proof of the positive test result to Student Health Service are exempt from arrival testing.
  • Ongoing surveillance testing: Any student who is not vaccinated, or who has not provided proof of vaccination, will be required to participate in COVID-19 testing at least once per week beginning the first week of fall semester classes. Testing will be required twice a week for students living at Lakeside Village, University Village, and Eaton Residential College (using the COVID-19 Breath Analyzer test).
    • Individuals required to participate in weekly testing will receive an email and/or a text message to schedule alerts and reminders.
  • Quarantine/isolation: Students who live on campus and test positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine/isolate off campus. Housing and Residential Life will work with resident students to identify off-campus accommodations for the duration of the quarantine/isolation period.
  • Commuter students who are not vaccinated, or who have not provided proof of vaccination, will also be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing.
  • Employees who are not vaccinated because of an approved exemption will be required to take a COVID-19 test at least once per week and will continually be required to wear masks in all indoor spaces.
    • Employees still working remotely with an approved telecommute agreement should work directly with their supervisor and HR partner to make sure that they remain in compliance with all testing and vaccination policies.

VACCINATIONS

  • Students are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to safeguard their health and the health of all members of our University and our South Florida community.
  • Any student who is vaccinated and provides proof of vaccination will have an opportunity to win prizes during the fall semester.
  • Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral associates employed by the University on the Coral Gables and Marine campuses are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to medical and religious exemptions.
  • All UHealth and Miller School of Medicine employees, as well as clinical, patient-facing employees, are required to be vaccinated. 

Visit coronavirus.miami.edu for the latest COVID-19 information and resources.