Protect Purdue: As spring semester winds down, persistence, perseverance required for our campus community to finish strong

As some parts of the country experience a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases, Protect Purdue officials are encouraging students, faculty and staff to remain vigilant with final exams around the corner and commencement ceremonies just a few weeks away.

While the COVID-19 positivity rate on our West Lafayette campus has climbed above 20%, it is important to remember we are currently testing symptomatic individuals only. Overall positive case numbers remain low when compared with the height of the Omicron outbreak earlier this spring. More importantly, the severity of current cases has been very mild or mild. Thankfully, there also have been no additional hospitalizations reported related to COVID-19 from the Purdue community.

We applaud the persistence and perseverance of our campus community of over 60,000 individuals as we meet this ongoing public health challenge with consideration for others.

Together, we have answered the call by getting vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19 and staying home when feeling sick.

Fending off COVID-19 fatigue, we are making good public health decisions and adhering to the Protect Purdue Pledge and protocols that have allowed us to operate as safely, openly and actively as any university in the country while closely monitoring the science and local conditions. 

With this in mind, the primary goal for our Purdue community is to do everything we can to finish the semester healthy and strong – for yourselves and your fellow Boilermakers. We can do this by:

  • Assessing your personal situation, health risk and medical vulnerability.
  • Ensuring you are current on vaccinations and boosters.
  • Reevaluating your one-way masking preferences as an extra precaution.
  • Staying home and away from others if you are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Scheduling to get tested for COVID-19 to be safe, sure and get the necessary treatment and care.

Because of your continued commitment to protecting Purdue, our campus community is now 90% vaccinated and, according to Protect Purdue medical experts, our overall immunity exceeds 92%. For those who have contracted the virus, vaccinations and boosters have proven significantly effective in mitigating the severity of those cases.

While Purdue suspended routine COVID-19 surveillance testing on April 1 for students and employees at the West Lafayette campus, we have continued on-demand targeted testing where needed for individuals and groups who are vaccinated and unvaccinated. This has been deployed where potential spread of infection is possible and case numbers may be growing.

Ongoing wastewater surveillance testing for COVID-19, which is being conducted in collaboration with the city of West Lafayette, is showing a rise in the viral load in the community. And Protect Purdue experts continue to monitor those levels.

Complicating matters from a community health perspective, the reported number of positive cases of COVID-19 is now less reliable due to the closing of community testing centers and because home test results are less likely to be disclosed to public health officials.

Moreover, symptoms that may be connected to seasonal allergies during a typical Indiana spring – and not COVID-19 – are confounding the public health response.

As we have done over the course of the past two-plus years, the Protect Purdue Medical Advisory and Protect Purdue Implementation teams continue to be guided by the latest science and medical expertise. All public health protocols for our campus community are subject to change if the need arises – such as a surge in the severity of cases or new variants emerging.

We also continue to encourage all Boilermakers to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 by scheduling an appointment online. Purdue’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic is open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located on the northwest side of the Co-Rec.

By remaining committed to Protect Purdue as we round the homestretch of our spring semester, we can finish strong in true Boilermaker fashion.