Return to Campus Update from Provost Evangelista: 12-22-20

Return to Campus Update from Provost Evangelista: 12-22-20

Holiday Greetings Muskies!
I hope that you are all ready for a wonderful - and safe - holiday season.  With the fall semester completed, we are continuing to plan for the spring semester, and I have details to share regarding these plans.    
As a reminder, residence hall move-in will be on January 16 & 17, 2021.  You will receive information from the Office of Residence Life regarding your move-in slot.  Classes begin on Monday, January 18, 2021, with Martin Luther King, Jr. observances and activities throughout the first week of the semester. 
One of the ways we will ensure a safe return to in-person learning and residential living is through expanded campus testing.   You may recall that the MuskieSafe Pledge, which all students signed upon return to campus in August of 2020, specifically states that Muskingum students agree to comply with all testing and screening protocols  Expanded testing is an essential part of our campus safety plan and will involve both pre-arrival testing for all students and ongoing surveillance screening tests once the semester starts.
For Pre-arrival testing, every student who will be taking classes on our campus is required to submit a COVID-19 PCR test and be cleared to return based on a negative result.  We have contracted with Telomere Diagnostic Labs to provide a convenient way for you to do a simple saliva test at home and mail it back, all free of charge.

Here is what you will need to do:

  1. Be on the lookout for your Telomere saliva test kit to arrive via FedEx at your home address on or about 12/23/2020.
  2. DO NOT complete the sample when it arrives.  Instead keep the kit in a safe place until the Muskingum test date of Wednesday, January 6, 2021.  On that date, you will provide a saliva sample per the test instructions.
  3. Place your sample in the Telomere return shipping package and mail it back on January 6th.   
  4. You will be notified of test results by January 14, 2021.
  5. If your test result is negative, you will be cleared for move-in on your assigned date and to begin attending classes on January 18th.  
  6. If your test result is positive, you will be contacted by the Wellness Center for placement in home isolation until you can return safely to campus.
  7. This pre-arrival PCR test is not required for students who meet all of the following criteria:  had a positive COVID-19 test on or after November 1, 2020, and have recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, fever, shortness of breath).  If you believe you meet these criteria, you should email with a copy of your positive PCR test result and a request to be exempted from this test.
  8. In addition to the Telomere PCR pre-arrival testing, you will also need to complete a health screening survey, which will be emailed to you in January prior to your return to campus.

Surveillance sample testing
will continue during the spring semester to ensure a healthy campus population.   Athletes will follow a testing cycle per the NCAA guidelines, while students in majors with clinical experience requirements will follow testing cycles developed for their programs.  All other students and employees will be required to participate in population sampling, where your name could be drawn for testing on any given week.  
The extraordinary cooperation and care shown by our students is what kept Muskingum strong for the fall semester, and I know we’ll pull together to create a safe and strong spring semester.  If you have any questions, please email and we will get back to you to with an answer, or call Student Affairs at 740-826-8080.
So, be on the look-out for your test kit, and for future emails, as we prepare for return in January.
Happy holidays to each of you!
Provost Evangelista

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