COVID Summer Update – University Life

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Dear Patriots,

As we graduate our next class of Patriots around the world, I want to thank the entire Mason community for their contributions to the 2021-2022 academic year. Despite the persistence of COVID-19, we have managed to open our campuses and come together – in person – to learn, live, work and thrive.

Now the summer season is upon us, and as many of us look forward to spending time with friends and family, we need to remember that COVID doesn’t take a summer break. The number of COVID cases continues to rise and several local counties (Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William) are in the MEDIUM transmission zone. The health department and other agencies predict that despite the hot weather and time of year, our area could reach HIGH levels of transmission at some point this summer.

As prevalence and community spread continue to increase, there is an increased risk of becoming infected through your daily activities. And although vaccines are very effective in reducing the severity of the disease, you can still get a new COVID infection even if you are vaccinated and boosted. You can also get a new COVID infection if you’ve had an infection before as new variants circulate.

The good news is that the Mason Patriots know how to fight COVID and reduce our risk. You can protect yourself, your family, friends and vulnerable members of the community by voluntarily taking these steps:

  • Get your vaccine series and all eligible boosters to reduce your risk of serious illness. You can make an appointment to get vaccinated at Mason: vaccine.gmu.edu
  • Avoid crowded places and opt for wearing a mask if you must be in a crowded place or indoors with other people.
  • If you don’t have symptoms but want to be tested after a possible exposure/event, before seeing someone particularly at risk, for general reassurance or to help help mitigate the spread on the campus, please use our monitoring test program at Fenwick A, Colgan Hall (SciTech) or Van Meter Hall (Mason Square).
  • If you have symptoms, seek a diagnostic PCR test. These are free and available on campus for SHS students and for employees of SEERM’s in-car diagnostic site at the Peterson Clinic. Students in summer residence will have to test three times this summer from this week. (Detailed information is sent directly to residential students.) These appointments can be scheduled in your Medicat patient portal.
  • Consider using a rapid home test if you have questionable symptoms. (Low-risk vaccinated people often have mild symptoms that can be mistaken for allergies, but they are actually contagious and at risk of transmitting COVID to others.)
  • Continue to report COVID illnesses through the Mason COVID Health Check tool at: health check.gmu.edu. This is a required step when using Mason’s test facilities.

As always, we will continue to monitor and keep you informed of changes.

Thank you for your commitment and diligence in keeping you and our community healthy and safe this summer.

Sincerely,

Gregory Washington
President

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