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Important May Health and Safety Updates

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Sleeves Up! President Allan Belton receives his second shot in the COVID-19 series. Photo credit: Silong Chhun

Image: Sleeves Up! President Allan Belton receives his second shot in the COVID-19 series. Photo credit: Silong Chhun

May 14, 2021

1. Updated CDC guidance says fully vaccinated people can take off their masks indoors and outdoors

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks or physically distance, except where required by federal, state, local, and tribal laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

This is a huge step forward! Thank you, Lutes, for doing your part to care for yourselves and for our community.

While those vaccinated will now have more choices on whether to take off their masks, we do have spaces where all Lutes will still need to mask up for the remainder of the spring semester (through Friday, May 28). Areas and activities that still require masks include:

  • All indoor teaching spaces, e.g., classrooms, meeting rooms, and labs (in line with Washington’s updated mask guidance for schools)
  • The Commons, 208, and all dining facilities, unless consuming food or drink
  • The PLU Health Center
  • Athletics will continue to follow the guidance of the Northwest Conference and the current spectator policy
  • Visitors to indoor spaces on campus

Have the conversation

As we adjust to this new guidance, please be aware that not everybody who is fully vaccinated will be comfortable removing their mask. So check in with your colleagues and friends, and remain considerate of individual choices and comfort levels.

Don’t feel pressured to be maskless. If you’re more comfortable wearing your mask, please continue to do so, and feel free to say, “I’d rather keep wearing a mask.”

2. Washington State reopening tied to vaccination rate

On Thursday, Governor Inslee announced that Washington state will be in Phase 3 of reopening this coming Tuesday, with the state on track for a total reopening of its economy by June 30. The full reopening could happen earlier if 70% or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination. According to the Washington State Department of Health, 57% of Washingtonians have initiated vaccination already.

In line with the Governor’s announcement, PLU has shifted our focus to campus and regional vaccination rates. As a result, we will no longer be utilizing the Campus Status Dial. Reporting on vaccination rates will be added to our COVID-19 metrics page.

PLU’s full return to campus is intrinsically linked to the state’s reopening status. All Lute community members are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are able. Locate your closest vaccine appointment in Washington.

3. New Vaccine FAQs

This month, PLU announced the expansion of the student immunization requirement to include the COVID-19 vaccine. PLU will require all students — undergraduate and graduate (with the exception of students of the online MS in Marketing Analytics program) — to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to arriving on campus for the fall semester, with case-by-case exceptions made for medical or religious/right of conscience reasons. This policy is similar to our current requirements for measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations. Where COVID-19 vaccination exemptions are granted, the university may require additional COVID-19 mitigation measures such as testing, quarantining, and other limitations or requirements. View the new FAQ section.

4. Continuing with the THRIVE Network // Reflect + Rejoice

The THRIVE Network is guiding students through Spring 2021 in three parts. You’re already seeing a lot of this information in Sunday newsletters to all students (no need to sign up), and these themes have been woven throughout university programming and engagement this semester.

The end of both a semester and an academic year often represents a period of overlap, from focusing on finals and finishing the semester strong to looking ahead to next opportunities and preparing for crucial transitions. It’s easy to be swept up in these tasks and concerns.

But the end of the semester also provides an opportunity to check in with yourself and reflect mindfully on the past few months. It’s important to do this intentionally, and reaffirm for yourself what the semester has meant to you. We are able to reflect more thoughtfully when we can get out of autopilot and get grounded. This might look like simply taking a deep breath or two.

Sunday newsletter topics:

  • What are you grateful for in this moment?
  • Who has supported and/or challenged you this semester? How might you thank them?
  • How have you grown this semester/year? Who or what has helped you grow?
  • What things have been hard, unfinished, challenging, or lost for you this year? What do you want to let go of or leave behind? What might you need to forgive yourself for?
  • Why is celebration important in this season? What does celebration look like for you?
  • Whom do you share your accomplishments and joy with?
  • What have you learned this semester/year that you want to use in the future? How might you share this with others?

For more resources, check out the THRIVE webpage. Please remember that telemedicine and remote-care services are here for students year-round. Lute Telehealth provides 24/7/365 access to medical and mental health support, via both on-demand and via scheduled appointments. Things may not catch up to you until you have had additional time to rest, so please reach out at any point, Lutes!

5. Summer Sessions 2021

Stay connected with PLU this summer, and enroll in summer courses! Undergraduate PLU and non-matriculated (visiting) students can participate in two four-week terms filled with general education and major courses. Courses are offered in face-to-face, blended, and online formats. A schedule of courses is available now, and PLU student registration is open.

For more information: FAQs / 253-535-7722 / summer@plu.edu