January 11, 2022

EmmanuelForward Update: January 11, 2021

To the Emmanuel College Community,

To further ensure a successful start to the Spring 2022 semester, the College today is providing the following updated health and safety guidelines in advance of residence hall move in and the beginning of classes. These protocols reflect the very latest public health guidance from federal, state and city authorities in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. As the semester progresses, the College will continue to assess conditions both on and beyond the campus and will announce any changes to protocols during the first full week of February.

Important Highlights for Return to Campus

Within this email is information on the following topics, so please read the entire message in detail to ensure understanding of all requirements and protocols.

  • Students, faculty and staff have been required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Additionally, members of our community must receive a booster shot by February 4th

  • Resident students are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result administered within 72 hours prior to arrival

  • Resident students are required to take a PCR test upon arrival on campus; commuter students must take a PCR test prior to the beginning of in-person classes

  • Classes scheduled from January 19th to 21st will be conducted virtually

  • Masks are required indoors until further notice regardless of vaccination status

  • Isolation protocols have been adjusted for those testing positive

Move-In, Pre-Testing and Surveillance Testing

Move-in for residential students begins on January 16th. As communicated last week, documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result is required prior to moving into the residence halls. Ideally, this is a PCR test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival. Understanding the difficulties in securing PCR tests and delayed turn-around times, a rapid antigen test will be accepted. It is recommended that this test be taken within 24 hours prior to arrival. Instructions on submitting both types of tests are outlined in the EmmanuelForward FAQs. Information on where to find a test in Massachusetts is available at this link.

In addition to the pre-test, resident students will need to test on their first day on campus (a day “0” test). If the Testing Center is not open due to a late move-in time, the test should be obtained as soon as possible the following day. Commuter students must test at the Testing Center and receive a negative result prior to the start of in-person classes on January 24th.

The College’s Testing Center regular hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Additionally, the Testing Center will be open over the weekend:

Saturday, January 15th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 16th from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Regular surveillance testing will continue during the Spring 2022 semester. Those who are fully vaccinated must test 1x/week. Athletes and those with an approved vaccine exemption must test 2x/week.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be taken out of the testing protocol for 90 days following the positive result. Those who have recently tested positive must upload the test result via this form so testing requirements can be removed in CoVerified.

Additional testing details are available in the EmmanuelForward FAQs.

Class Format, Week of January 17th

Based on increased rates of infection locally and nationally, we anticipate seeing positive cases over the course of move-in weekend. To ensure there is no disruption in classes due to the possible need to isolate, all classes from Wednesday, January 19th, through Friday, January 21st, will be conducted virtually. The intent is for classes to be held in-person starting Monday, January 24th. Class formats will continue to be evaluated during the semester based on public health conditions.

Resident students should still plan to move into the residence halls as scheduled beginning on January 16th.

Booster Requirement

As previously communicated, the College is requiring that all members of its community receive a COVID-19 booster shot. Please note that eligibility has recently changed: those receiving the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are eligible five (5) months after the second dose. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible after two (2) months. All members of the Emmanuel community must submit booster documentation by Friday, February 4, 2022. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not exempt from the booster requirement. Documentation may be uploaded to the Health Services portal.

The booster requirement is consistent with the College’s overall vaccination policy. The booster has proven to be effective in both reducing serious illness, as well as risk in acquiring COVID-19 from the current Omicron variant. Additionally, a boosted individual does not need to adhere to additional quarantine requirements when exposed to a positive individual (see section below).

Fenway Park is a booster site, offering many weekday appointments. Please visit this link to schedule.

While the official deadline to submit booster documentation is February 4th, we strongly encourage members of the community to get boosted as soon as eligible.

Isolation & Quarantine Protocols

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance for isolation timelines following a positive test result. Those who are asymptomatic or whose symptoms have resolved within five (5) days may end their isolation period but continue to always wear a mask for an additional five (5) days. Those who continue to experience symptoms after five (5) days of isolation must continue until symptoms resolve (up to 10 days). Those who are unvaccinated and test positive must isolate for the full 10 days regardless of symptoms.

Quarantine protocols have also been adjusted by the CDC for those who have been in close contact (less than six (6) feet apart for 15 minutes or more) with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 when health and safety measures were not in place. Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted do not need to quarantine but should remain carefully masked for 10 days and be tested within five (5) days after exposure. Those who are vaccinated but not boosted, or those who are unvaccinated and were unmasked with a positive individual should quarantine and closely monitor symptoms for five (5) days.

A student testing positive while on campus is strongly advised to return home for the isolation period. As noted above, this isolation period is anywhere between five (5) to 10 days based on symptoms and vaccination status. Based on data trends, it is anticipated that we will see more positive cases early in the semester and adequate space is not available to isolate each case. 

Those for whom it is not feasible to return home will isolate within their assigned residence hall room. Given our high vaccination rates and booster requirement, as well as CDC guidelines for exposures, isolating in place represents the least disruptive course as we manage this phase of the pandemic. Most vaccinated individuals will exhibit no or very mild symptoms if they test positive. We encourage residential students to come to campus with any supplies that may be helpful if mild symptoms are present. Information can be found on the EmmanuelForward site.

Those with an approved non-medical COVID-19 vaccine exemption will be required to leave the residence halls to complete the 10-day isolation period. Additional information will be shared with these individuals.

Other Campus Policies

The masking policy will remain in place on campus in all indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status. Given how contagious the Omicron variant has proven to be, the College is expecting that individuals discontinue the use of cloth face coverings and use a medical-grade surgical or N95/KN95 mask. The College will provide N95 masks to all members of the community in the Testing Center.

For the first weeks of the semester, dining will be grab-and-go in all locations (Main Dining Room, Muddy River Café, Dunkin’ and Joe Di’s). There will be no dine-in options on campus until further notice. This policy will be evaluated as soon as possible so we can return to regular dining protocols following the beginning of the semester.

The guest policy has been revised for the beginning of the semester, as well. Initially, there will be no visitation between residence halls and no external guests (including commuters, COF students or family members). One family member can enter the residence hall to assist with move-in. There will also be no external visitors permitted at athletic events for the time being. We hope to be able to adjust these visitor policies as we evaluate on-campus COVID-19 cases and transmission and receive documentation of booster shots.

The fitness centers in the Jean Yawkey Center and the New Residence Hall will remain open and accessible to students. We ask that those using the fitness centers always remain masked, maintain distance and limit time in the spaces to 30 minutes.

For the first weeks of the semester, meetings and events will primarily be held virtually. Students can attend athletic events, but there will not be external guests as noted above. The Office of Student Affairs will communicate with clubs and organizations about how to approach events to begin the semester. For any meetings being held, food and beverages will not be permitted.

We thank our entire community – students, faculty, staff and families – for continuing to ask questions and share feedback as we collectively work to navigate this ever-changing pandemic. Please email emmanuelforward@emmanuel.edu for any further clarifications. We will continue to communicate as conditions evolve.

 

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