As we graduate our next class of Patriots into the world, I want to thank the entire Mason community for its contributions to the 2021-2022 academic year. Despite the persistence of COVID-19, we were able to successfully 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 time away with friends and family, we must remember that COVID isn’t taking a summer break. COVID case numbers continue to rise, and several local counties (Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, and Prince William) are in the MEDIUM transmission zone. Health department and other agencies project that despite the warm weather and time of year, our region may reach HIGH transmission levels at some point this summer.
As prevalence and community spread continue to increase, there is an increased risk of becoming infected during your daily activities. And while vaccines are very effective to lessen the severity of illness, you can still have a new COVID infection even if you are vaccinated and boosted. You can also have a new COVID infection if you have had a prior infection as new variants circulate.
The good news is that Mason Patriots know how to fight COVID and lower our risk. You can protect yourself, your family and friends, and vulnerable community members by voluntarily taking these steps:
- Get your vaccine series and any eligible boosters to lessen your risk of severe disease. You can schedule an appointment to be vaccinated at Mason: vaccine.gmu.edu
- Avoid very crowded places and opt to wear a mask if you must be in a crowded place or indoor area with others.
- If you are not having symptoms but wish to test after a possible exposure/event, prior to seeing someone who is especially at risk, for general reassurance, or to help contribute to mitigation of spread on campus, please utilize our surveillance testing program at Fenwick A, Colgan Hall (SciTech), or Van Metre Hall (Mason Square).
- If you are having symptoms, seek out a diagnostic PCR test. These are free and available to you on campus for students at SHS, and for employees at SEERM's drive up diagnostic site at the Peterson Clinic. Summer residential students will be required to test three times this summer starting this week. (Detailed information is being sent directly to residential students.) These appointments can be scheduled in your Medicat patient portal.
- Consider utilizing an at-home rapid test if you have any questionable symptoms. (Vaccinated, low-risk people often have mild symptoms that can be mistaken for allergies, yet they are actually infectious and at risk of spreading COVID to others).
- Continue to report COVID illnesses through the Mason COVID Health Check tool at: healthcheck.gmu.edu. This is a required step when utilizing Mason’s testing facilities.
As always, we will continue to monitor and keep you informed of changes.
Thank you for your commitment and diligence to keeping yourself and our community healthy and safe this summer.