COVID-19 Thanksgiving Guidance and Covid Testing Town Hall

November 11, 2020

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and the number of COVID-19 cases is rising in New Jersey and across the country. This letter outlines considerations for travel, requirements for return to New Jersey from certain states, gatherings, and changes to the screening program scheduled for Thanksgiving week.

The University is not imposing direct restrictions on personal travel. However, travel of any type carries with it risks to you as a traveler and risks to the communities you visit and to which you return. Therefore we encourage members of the community to refrain from any personal travel that is not required.
 

 Travel Out of State

The New Jersey travel advisory remains in effect. If you are traveling to any of the more than 40 states on the travel restriction list, you are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days upon your return to New Jersey, including returning to any on-campus activities. Therefore, the University discourages travel to states on the restriction list. Please note that New Jersey does not require quarantine if you have spent less than 24 hours in the restricted state.

If you do plan to travel and will be returning to campus, please note:

  • You must complete the COVID Risk Assessment Form 3-7 days prior to returning to campus to allow the Global and Community Health Team at UHS to advise whether a 14-day quarantine is required by the University upon return, depending on current State of New Jersey regulations.
  • You cannot reduce the length of quarantine by receiving a negative COVID test result. As it can take up to 14 days from exposure to test positive or experience symptoms, negative tests are not sufficient to end self-quarantine early. This is a State of New Jersey requirement.

See the NJ self-quarantine for travelers FAQ for more information.
 

Gatherings

Risk of transmission increases during indoor gatherings. The risk further multiplies during celebratory events, like Thanksgiving, when we are spending extended time together with people from outside our household or COVID-19 “bubble.” Consider the helpful advice from the CDC for celebrating the holidays, which includes guidance on relative risks for a variety of activities for Thanksgiving
 

Testing

If you are required to participate in the University’s asymptomatic testing program, please note that testing during the week of Thanksgiving follows an adjusted schedule. 

  • There will be no specimen pickup on Wednesday or Thursday, November 25-26. Do not place specimens in drop boxes after 10:00 AM Tuesday or before 10:00 AM Friday.
  • The Caldwell Field House test clinic will only be open Monday and Tuesday, November 23 and 24, between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM. It will be closed Wednesday through Friday.

Additionally, based on public health guidance, a negative test result does not provide assurance that it is safe to gather with others. Please continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidance and carefully consider whether to participate in indoor gatherings.


COVID Test Results Required for Domestic and International Air Travel Over the Thanksgiving Holiday

Students enrolled in the Asymptomatic Testing Program can use the emailed results of their most recent PCR test for airline travel. Please take into account your departure time when submitting samples, as we cannot guarantee timing for your results. Most results, if correctly scanned and submitted, are distributed within 72 hours.

Students not enrolled in the Asymptomatic Testing Program can make an appointment for an asymptomatic Covid-19 test at UHS, taking into account that results take 48-72 hours from the time the test specimen is submitted, not counting Sunday.

  •  If you know that you will need a PCR test results letter for your departure, call UHS at 609 258 3141 immediately to schedule your appointment. Please have ready your departure time and what your airline requires. UHS staff can work with you to figure out when is the best time for your appointment so that you receive your results in time for your travel. Medical Service hours are available on the UHS website.
  •  When coming to UHS for your appointment, please wear a facial covering and come unaccompanied. Also, please do not eat or consume beverages, chew gum or smoke 30 minutes prior to arrival. UHS will do its best to assure you have your result at the appropriate time for your flight. We cannot, however, guarantee the timing of these results.

For More Information

 For questions about asymptomatic or symptomatic testing or travel risk assessment, see the UHS website or email covidtests@princeton.edu.

 For questions about health and safety, see the EHS website or email ehs@princeton.edu.

 Stay safe and remember: wear a face covering, keep your distance (six feet or two meters), wash your hands, and answer your phone (in case a contact tracer is trying to reach you).
 

Town Hall for the Graduate Student Community on On-Campus Covid Testing: Friday November 13, 4:00-5:00pm

Registration Link: https://princeton.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEocO-tqDsoEtT-9qTUp-DMeV4lTGLTQQ-E

 Leaders from University Health Services, Environmental Health and Safety, the Office of Communications, and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, in partnership with the Graduate Student Government, will be hosting a Town Hall for the Graduate Student Community on campus processes related to Covid Testing. This is an opportunity to address any questions you have regarding the testing program, test results, test kit pick-up, contact tracing, isolation/quarantine procedures, or any related issues.

We welcome you to submit questions to gsg@princeton.edu in advance, in order to accommodate as many questions as possible during the town hall.


Study and Work Spaces by Reservation

The study and work spaces that are available to graduate students by reservation will continue to be available during Thanksgiving week, with the exception of Thursday and Friday.  20 private study spaces have been made available for daily reservation at the New Graduate College. These spaces can be reserved for single occupancy use, allowing for a private study or workspace in which students can work without face coverings. For guidelines and to reserve a space, please visit the EMS website. We are very grateful to our partners in University Services and throughout campus for making this possible and for maintaining the necessary health and safety protocols.

We recently shared that reservable spaces for graduate students to study and work were made available in Chancellor Green. These spaces continue to be available by reservation, in addition to several new spaces that were added in the Frist Campus Center.  To reserve these spaces, please visit the EMS website.

 Additionally, the Library Study-Browse Service continues to be available for graduate students to book a seat for an available time slot in a designated space within our on-campus libraries. Students can use the online reservation system to book a seat.