Coronavirus (COVID-19) Medical Information
IMPORTANT: Wabash College will require COVID-19 vaccination for all students and employees for the fall 2021 semester. The FDA authorized vaccines protect individual health and reduce the spread of the virus among members of the College community. Please see additional information in the FAQs below.
Wabash has spent the summer taking appropriate measures to protect our campus community’s health, and yet we cannot predict what public health conditions might be two weeks or two months from now. To that end, we expect our alumni, parents, and guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to coming to campus for events and activities. (If you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, please let us know and we will try to make the appropriate arrangements to protect your health.)
Face masks are required for all unvaccinated persons while indoors on the Wabash campus. Face masks are also required when 50 or more people are gathered indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
For more information on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the CDC website.
General COVID-19 Information
The best source for up-to-date information about COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website and the CDC FAQ page. We recommend you bookmark these pages for easy reference. Submit Wabash-specific questions via email.
Disclaimer: These FAQs are subject to modification depending on guidance from the CDC, the Indiana Department of Health, the Montgomery County Health Department, as well as the incidence and prevalence of COVID-19 at the national, state, or local level.
Where do I need to wear a mask on campus?
Masks are required in:
- Classes, labs and instructor-led activities
- The Fitness Center and Weight Room in the Allen Center
- The Bookstore
- Indoor events with more than 50 people
We will reassess this requirement after the first two weeks.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask at all times when indoors, except in their room in their living unit.
I am vaccinated. May I still wear a mask?
Yes, many vaccinated persons will choose to wear masks to protect themselves or members of their families who are unable to be vaccinated, particularly when the community transmission is high. If you see someone wearing a mask indoors, consider it an invitation to put on your own – always err on the side of being a responsible citizen.
Why is Wabash requiring vaccination against COVID-19?
Our goal for this year is to enhance our students’ opportunities to have a more fulfilling college experience. As a community that values close, face-to-face interactions, COVID-19 vaccination provides the best opportunity to accomplish that goal. If everyone is not fully vaccinated, the CDC’s guidance for Institutions of Higher Education requires continuation of the mitigation practices we used last fall, including masking, physical distancing, surveillance testing, and reduced campus access for guests, and the American College Health Association recommends COVID-19 vaccination requirements for on campus students.
How can I get tested for COVID-19?
Students, please contact the Student Health Center at 765-361-6265 or email Nurse Amidon. Please do NOT just drop into the health center if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
COVID-19 PCR testing is also available for anyone at the Montgomery County Health Department from 9:00 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. on Fridays; appointments are required. You can sign up here. Rapid tests are available at Walgreens.
What are the protocols for hosting events on campus in the fall semester?
- Move as many events and activities outside as possible.
- Masks are required for all indoor events with more than 50 people.
- Schedule indoor events in the largest space possible with the best possible ventilation.
- Do things to minimize crowds and lines, including:
- Pre-ordering or pre-registering
- Have multiple and well-spaced lines open for registration
- Emailing handouts or other materials
- Encourage people to stay home if they have as much as a sniffle.
- All publicly advertised events, e.g., Homecoming, must include a statement that directs participants to www.wabash.edu/covid for the most up to date campus policies and information.
- When in doubt, contact the Healthy Campus Task Force.
How should I decide if my group should meet in person or on Zoom?
Consider group size, meeting space, the function of the meeting, and the preferences of the involved individuals. If one of the goals is connection, it is better to meet in person. If the meeting primarily involves looking at documents or there are people at special risk, consider meeting on Zoom.
What are the protocols for hosting visiting speakers?
Hosts should consider the following when deciding whether to bring a speaker to campus vs. having them participate via Zoom:
- What is the pedagogical advantage of having the person physically present?
- Facilitating a discussion has a greater pedagogical advantage than giving a lecture.
- Networking with the speaker is better accomplished in-person.
- Are there others at the institution who would want to interact with an on-campus speaker?
- Is there a cost and time savings that make a virtual visit better?
- Is there a discrete way to ask about the vaccination status of the speaker? (Invitation communications should include mention that “Wabash is a fully vaccinated campus.”
- When in doubt, contact the Healthy Campus Task Force.
What are the protocols for Community Service, Service Learning, and Federal Work Study in the Community?
- If Montgomery County is on Orange or Red on the IDOH Coronavirus Dashboard, please consult with the HCTF at least a week before the event.
- Masks required for indoor activities with the general community.
- Things to consider as you are planning:
- What’s the vaccination status of the group?
- Can it be done outside?
- Can the same goals be met in a virtual format?
I’m fully vaccinated and was just notified that I’m a close contact of a COVID-19 case. What do I do?
In accordance with CDC guidance, If you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 get tested 3-5 days after the date of your exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and self-isolate until the results are back.
I’ve been vaccinated, how do I share that information with Wabash?
Returning students and employees who have been vaccinated should upload a copy of their vaccination card using the COVID Pass app. New students in the fall 2021 semester can upload a copy of their vaccination record on the New Student Road Map.
I've had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, can I be vaccinated?
Yes, as soon as you have gone through your 10 days of isolation and have recovered (you have no ongoing symptoms), it is safe to receive any of the three authorized vaccines in the U.S. We are still learning how long immunity may last from COVID-19 infection, but the CDC considers someone immune from re-infection for a period of 90 days following onset of COVID-19 infection. The period of immunity is likely longer, but there are no good ways to determine how long that time period might be for an individual. Typically, asymptomatic or mild infections lead to a less robust and shorter duration of immunity. This also appears to be the case for those with weakened immune systems who don't mount a good immune response to the infection. We do know that receiving an authorized COVID-19 vaccine following infection provides a major boost in antibody levels and likely will lead to a prolonged period of immunity. Right now it's recommended that previously infected individuals receive a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine following infection to ensure good protection, particularly against variants of concern such as the Delta variant. Early data is starting to show that a single shot of an mRNA vaccine following infection may produce an adequate booster effect, but that is not an official recommendation at this point. Note that if you were treated with monoclonal antibodies for your infection, or were diagnosed with MIS-C or MIS-A, you need to wait 90 days before receiving vaccine. You can read more about COVID vaccines here.
Where can I get vaccinated?
The fastest way to identify a location where you can be vaccinated is to use the CDC’s website and enter your zip code. Persons in Indiana can register for a vaccination through the Indiana Department of Health website. Many vaccination locations offer vaccinations during business hours with no appointment necessary.
I will only have had one dose of the vaccine when I arrive on campus. Can I get the second dose after I arrive?
Yes, vaccines are readily available at the Montgomery County Health Department and local pharmacies, both within easy walking distance of the College. The College may be able to offer vaccines on campus. You should expect to participate in additional virus mitigation practices, for example return-to-campus and surveillance testing, masking, etc., until you are fully vaccinated. To enhance your campus experience, we urge you to begin your vaccination process as soon as possible.
Does the College make an allowance for individuals who cannot be vaccinated?
Students—using their Wabash email address—may contact Associate Dean of Students Heather Thrush beginning on July 26 to request a medical or religious exemption form and instructions for providing documentation. All exemption applications will be reviewed in a timely manner with decisions announced as soon as possible; we plan to begin announcing decisions by August 2. Employees should contact Director of Human Resources Cathy Metz to request an accommodation before providing any information.
If I am vaccinated, do I need to wear a mask?
Masks are required indoors during move in, at large indoor gatherings of 50 or more people, and when in classes, laboratories, and instructor-led indoor activities for the first two weeks of the semester.
I had COVID-19. Does that exempt me from the vaccine requirement?
No. Medical studies suggest that a percentage of people infected with COVID-19 do not develop appropriate levels of antibodies. Vaccination provides far greater protection, reduces the risk of severe illness or hospitalization, and decreases transmission among individuals.
Why is Wabash requiring a vaccine that has Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and is not fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration?
COVID-19 vaccines are available under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. Before these approvals were granted, the vaccines were tested on tens of thousands of individuals (data from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). The study groups were as large or larger than those for previous vaccines licensed by the FDA. Additional data has been collected from the millions of people who have received the vaccines under the EUA. All three of the authorized vaccines in the U.S. prevent a vast majority of cases and hospitalizations and are nearly 100% effective at preventing death. The FDA process for vaccine licensure is very complex and can take months to complete. Both Pfizer and Moderna have submitted licensure applications to the FDA. It is important to note that the three vaccines currently being used in the U.S. have been scrutinized for safety and effectiveness far more than any other FDA licensed vaccine in history. Read more about the side effects on the CDC website.
Can a student live at home and not get the vaccine?
Wabash is a residential liberal arts college and we are planning for in-person classes. We are not planning virtual courses this year.
Will Wabash accept vaccinations from other countries?
Yes, as long as they are approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization. The College will assist international students who wish to receive one of the three vaccines approved in the United States, but those students should first check in with the Student Health Center.