WKU Environmental Health and Safety Director David Oliver announced a change in the university’s COVID-19 safety guidelines in an email to faculty and staff Friday.
In accordance with new COVID-19 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, members of the WKU community who have been in close contact with an infected person can refrain from standard quarantine procedures if they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 for at least 14 days but no longer than 89 days. Those vaccinated can not bypass quarantine if they are experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19.
The CDC announced other new guidelines for fully vaccinated people on Monday.
“Fully vaccinated people who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure,” the CDC stated. “If they experience symptoms, they should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including SARS-CoV-2 testing, if indicated, and inform their health care provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care.
According to the CDC, a person who has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can interact without wearing a mask with a small group of people who have been fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated persons should wait at least two weeks after their final dose before interacting with other fully vaccinated persons in small settings.
The CDC stated that people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 should continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing when in a public setting, such as a restaurant.
Additionally, fully vaccinated people should wear masks and practice physical distancing when they meet privately with an unvaccinated person who is at a high risk for contracting severe symptoms of COVID-19.
When meeting with unvaccinated members of a single household, fully vaccinated people are allowed to gather with the household indoors if no unvaccinated member is at a high risk for contracting COVID-19, according to the CDC.
“For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing a mask or social distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19,” the CDC stated.
Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, said during a media briefing Monday that the new CDC guidelines are positive news, but Kentuckians should continue to stay cautious while the pandemic persists.
“A real concern most public health officials have is that people might misinterpret this as not having to practice mask wearing and social distancing,” Stack said. “If we do that, we run the risk of supercharging the pandemic when we should be near the end of the pandemic.”
Oliver reminded faculty and staff to continue practicing the current Healthy on the Hill measures.
“Please continue with our other precautions, such as mask wearing, social distancing, proper hygiene and avoiding large crowds where distancing is not possible,” Oliver wrote.
Leo Bertucci can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @leober2chee.