Portage County Community Level at Orange – How does this impact the NEOMED Campus?

Dear NEOMED Community:

As we approach the fall semester, we look forward to welcoming all students — new and returning — as well as staff and faculty, many of whom were able to do some summer traveling for the first time in nearly three years.

We want all to know, particularly those who are new to our campus, that safety and wellness are our first priorities. While the overall state of the COVID pandemic is better than it was last year, we recognize that we are still in a pandemic.

To continue our efforts to keep the campus community as healthy and safe as possible, NEOMED requires completed COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of attendance and employment. This policy allows for exemption of the vaccination requirement for those individuals with valid medical reasons and matters of conscience. For more details, students should contact Student Services (immunizations@neomed.edu) and employees should contact Human Resources (hroffice@neomed.edu).

Our ability to pivot with our safety procedures remains intact, and we continue to monitor trends as they relate to our campus, practice sites, Portage County, the state of Ohio and beyond.

Unfortunately, the Portage County Health District (PCHD) reports that it’s COVID-19 community level has moved up to Orange. This means that based on the current level of 200 or more new cases per 100,000 population in Portage County over the past 7 days as well as the number of new admissions and staffed inpatient beds for COVID-19 patients, the community early warning level of potential increases in health system strain is high.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the setting of prevention strategies based on high community levels. As a result, NEOMED will reinstitute the University’s “Mandatory Face Mask Zones.” Such zones include the primary academic corridor (south corridor), all classrooms and clinical settings — e.g., NEOMED Health Care. Face masks may also be required at gatherings/events subject to the discretion of Colleges or event hosts. Each area/room will be marked accordingly.

We continue to have relatively low infection rates among our students, faculty and staff. We achieved this through your dedicated efforts and compliance with the safety guidelines managed by our COVID reporting team. I want to thank all of you for your incredible leadership, commitment and a job well done.

For the most up-to-date information and guidelines regarding COVID-19, NEOMED uses the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) as our single source for mandatory infection control, quarantine and isolation requirements.Please visit the ODH site for the latest information. You may also refer to this ODH infographic for guidance on what to do if you contract or are exposed to someone with COVID-19.

The University also provides links to ODH on our COVID-19 webpage.

In addition to following ODH guidelines, you must continue to comply with University safety protocols, which remain on our website and include:

  • Anyone visiting NEOMED’s campus must adhere to all areas on campus that are marked as “Mandatory Face Mask Zones.”
  • All COVID-positive results should be reported to covidreporting@neomed.edu. ­­­­­­­­­­­
  • All Students and Employees: If you have tested positive, you must fill out this short form for the Portage County Health Department. Please use your NEOMED email address when filling out the form. Do not use non-NEOMED or personal email addresses.
  • Students: You must also fill out the University Student Absence Reporting Form to make Student Services aware of your absence so they can notify your College leads as well as the assessment staff. You may direct questions (not answered in ODH guidelines) regarding exposure and symptoms to Student Services at semerick@neomed.edu.
  • Employees: You must also notify HR of your positive result by emailing hroffice@neomed.edu. You may direct questions (not answered in ODH guidelines) regarding symptoms and exposures to hroffice@neomed.edu.

I appreciate your understanding as increases or decreases in Portage County’s alert level may necessitate further changes to our protocols.

Thank you again for keeping the campus community as healthy and safe as possible.

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President

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