From the President, re: Health and Safety Updates

January 13, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

With the start of the spring semester fast approaching, I want to take the opportunity to share some important updates in our COVID-19 health and safety protocols. These include new quarantine/isolation procedures, mask distribution and booster availability: 

  • Our quarantine/isolation policy now aligns with the five day recommendation from the CDC that has also been adopted by the state Department of Public Health. Under the new guidance, if an individual tests positive, they must isolate for five days at home. After that time (day 6 through day 10), if their symptoms are resolved or resolving, they should wear a mask when around all other people, and should return to campus. If their symptoms are not resolved within that period, they should remain isolated for the full 10 days.

Residential students and student-athletes who test positive must isolate at home for the first five days and if their symptoms are resolved after that time, they must have a negative antigen test before returning to their residence hall or athletic experience.  More details specific to these student populations will be provided in separate communication from the Office of Residence Life or Department of Athletics.

If someone is a close contact with an individual who has tested positive and they have received a booster shot or are still within the five months vaccination period for Pfizer and Moderna (or two months for Johnson & Johnson), they do not need to quarantine. If they are unvaccinated or eligible for a booster, they should quarantine at home for five days and mask around anyone else for five days after that.

  • Contact tracing will now be limited to residential students and athletes only. Essentially, we are now contact tracing for communal living situations only – mirroring state DPH guidelines for K through 12 schools.

If you are a commuter student or an employee and report a positive case you will receive a standard message describing the requirements for isolation and encouraging you to notify close contacts and your supervisor or, if you are a student, your faculty members. Faculty members should use this communication from their students to document students’ quarantine or isolation status.  The Dean of Students Office will not be sending individual notices to faculty about student quarantining or isolation.

  • Masks, including KN95s and N95s, which offer the most protection against the Delta and Omicron variants, will be available for distribution, starting Tuesday at the following locations: the Adanti Student Center Information Desk, the Buley Library Circulation and Security Desks and the Wintergreen Building Information Desk.

To ensure a continued ample supply for all members of our community, please collect only one mask per person per day. You will not be able to pick them up for others (e.g., an entire office, class, organization, etc.). Please be considerate of those in our community who have a greater need for access to these masks.

  • Booster shots are strongly encouraged for everyone on campus for the spring semester, with proven effectiveness against serious COVID symptoms. Weekly vaccination clinics – which are open to the public as well as to members of our campus community – will be held Thursday afternoons by Griffin Health, starting Jan. 20 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Schwartz Hall Programming Space, 320 Fitch Street. This walk-in clinic will also offer the pediatric COVID vaccine (for ages 5 to 11) as well as vaccinations for those aged 12 and up. Beginning in February, the vaccine clinic will be expanded to Thursday and Friday at the same times and location. 

For this and more information, please visit our Reopening website, where you can ask questions about our health and safety protocols for the spring semester.

As we transition into this new phase of living with COVID and mitigating its effects, we also carry a personal responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe by utilizing both communication and compassion. In essence, we must be our best selves and assume the best of each other, while continuing the selfless teamwork that has served us so well throughout the course of this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Joe Bertolino
President