As of April 22, the positivity rate for COVID-19 at Drexel is 2.3 percent. According to Janet Cruz, an assistant professor in the Drexel College of Medicine, no Drexel dorm that has significantly more COVID-19 infections than the others. Currently, about 25 percent of the beds in North Hall are being utilized for isolation or quarantine. The goal is to decrease this number, even though it is a very decent occupancy rate.
Should the occupancy reach 75 percent in North Hall, the campus has the right pause its opening or even send students back, as any other university would. With the variants of COVID-19 (such as B117 variants) and the increase in cases, asymptomatic carriers, higher transmission rates, etc., it is important for students to be fully vaccinated with the both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
For the fall term of 2021, Drexel University plans on requiring vaccinations for all students taking face-face classes, according to an email statement sent by President John Fry Tuesday. This means part-time, full-time, undergraduate or graduate students will need to show proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine to be on campus, live in Drexel campus housing, take in-person courses, and take part in campus activities, barring individual cases of personal health or religious accommodations. Drexel also plans to operate its residence halls at full capacity.
Students are expected to be fully vaccinated two weeks before coming to campus, but they also have an opportunity to get vaccinated with the Drexel COVID-19 clinic. “Fully vaccinated” means having both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. After the second dosage, you must wait at least 14 days to receive maximum protection.
Drexel students are strongly encouraged to utilize the Drexel Health Checker mobile app. If a member of the Drexel community feels like they have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, they can report it on the app. Someone will call them to inform them about testing, quarantine, and other healthcare needs. All of their medical information will be in a secure, HIPAA-compliant cloud database.
Although many students aren’t required to take classes in person, especially students in Drexel University Online, they are still strongly encouraged to take the vaccine, as mass vaccination will keep students and faculty safe when they need to gather. Drexel University saw a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, and most of the infection rates came from unmasked get-togethers indoors.
According to Drexel’s Marla Gold, deean Emerita and professor of Health Management and Policy in the Dornsife School of Public Health, this significant rise on campus was likely caused by the mid-quarter blues, along with an overall sense of security that came with more people receiving vaccines.
Drexel’s vaccine clinic in Behrakis Grand Hall, which is inside the Creese Student Center, began distributing doses of the Pfizer vaccine April 14 in partnership with the Sunray Pharmacy. Currently, the clinic administers over 1,000 doses per day at a rate of 100 per hour. All students at Drexel University are eligible to receive the vaccine, and can schedule their appointment online depending on availability.
Another reason students should strongly consider getting vaccinated when possible, while still maintaining safe distances, is the possibility of stronger COVID-19 variants spreading. The B117 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom in December 2020, is present on Drexel’s campus and is traced to almost half of the current COVID-19 cases among students and staff, according to Gold. Receiving vaccinations and continuing to take precautions is the biggest way to target these dangerous variants.
“The more time there is for a virus to be in motion and circulating, the more opportunities it has for genetic errors to give rise to variants,” Gold said.
On April 19, the clinic in Behrakis Grand Hall administered 1,122 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Drexel plans to continue its vaccination efforts through Commencement on June 11.
All members of the Drexel community are encouraged to contact Drexel’s COVID-19 line at (215) 703-2335 or email [email protected] with any questions or concerns.