January 10: Spring Semester COVID-19 Protocols
COVID-19 Protocols for Spring Semester
We look forward to welcoming you back for the spring semester. As we prepare for the first day of classes on Tuesday, January 18, I write to share information about our updated COVID-19 protocols. In light of the Omicron surge, these protocols have been developed in accordance with CDC guidelines and in consultation with our medical professionals.
We know that the college experience has and continues to look different than we all imagined. I believe the changes outlined below balance the health and safety of our community with our mission to provide the best possible living and learning environment for our students.
Pre-Arrival and Vaccine Booster Requirements
Please be reminded of the pre-arrival testing and COVID-19 vaccination booster requirements prior to your return, as outlined in the January 4 communication. Your pre-arrival test and booster information can be uploaded here.
The Massachusetts Department of Health has adopted recommendations from the CDC regarding isolation and quarantine protocols, which the College will follow as we return for the spring.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 regardless of vaccination/booster status:
- Must remain in isolation for five days, regardless of having symptoms or not;
- Are required to isolate at home, unless public transportation would need to be accessed;
- Are eligible to leave isolation after five days if fever free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved;
- Must wear a mask indoors and outdoors for five days following completion of isolation period when unable to maintain appropriate physical distancing;
- If experiencing ongoing symptoms, remain in isolation until symptoms resolve.
Close Contact and Quarantine Protocols
The CDC recently updated their guidance that those who have been identified as a close contact and have not yet received their booster vaccination will be required to quarantine according to the following guidelines.
Close contacts who have received their booster or who are fully vaccinated with Moderna within the last six months, Pfizer within the last five months, or Johnson & Johnson within the last two months:
- Will not have to quarantine, unless symptomatic;
- Must wear a mask indoors and outdoors for 10 days when unable to maintain physical distancing;
- Are encouraged to test on day five after exposure or at any time if become symptomatic.
Close contacts who have not yet received their booster, and those with previously approved COVID-19 vaccination exemptions:
- Must quarantine for five days (and are encouraged to do so at home);
- Must wear a mask indoors and outdoors after release from quarantine for five days when unable to maintain physical distancing;
- Should test on day 5-7 after exposure or at any time if symptomatic.
Required weekly surveillance testing will continue for the spring semester. Testing twice per week is available if desired. Testing Center hours are available here. Positive test results and close contact notifications will be communicated via email with guidance on next steps.
The College will continue to follow state and federal best practices for indoor masking. The College’s current indoor masking protocols shall remain in place, and N95 or KN95 masks are encouraged. In addition, while not required, masking within the residence halls is encouraged for vaccinated individuals and remains mandatory for those unvaccinated. The College will reassess masking protocols if new state or federal guidance is issued.
Return to Residency
We look forward to welcoming our resident students back to campus on Sunday, January 16, and Monday, January 17, in accordance with the move-in schedule provided by Residence Life. Following move-in, we will temporarily suspend non-student visitor access to residence halls for the first few weeks of the semester.
Virtual Community Meeting and Additional Information
We recognize that many of you may still have questions and concerns. The College hosted an informational webinar on Tuesday, January 11, at 4:00 p.m. ET. A recording of the webinar can be accessed here.
You may also refer to our frequently asked questions here. For additional inquiries related to pre-arrival testing, please contact Monique Avila, COVID-19 Testing Center Coordinator at email@example.com or 508-565-1608. For questions regarding booster vaccinations, please contact Maria Sullivan, Director of Health Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-565-1307.
Together, with ongoing commitment and patience, we will overcome these challenging times while supporting one another on-campus. Thank you for doing your part to keeping our campus safe, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Pauline M. Dobrowski
Vice President for Student Affairs