Protecting Our Community


The policies and practices below are intended to represent the plans we are implementing for students, faculty, staff, and visitors coming to our physical campus, but we are asking all members of the Simmons community, wherever you are, to follow the latest recommendations and guidelines for hand-washing, physical distancing, mask-wearing, and other key practices that will prevent the spread of COVID-19


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Vaccination

In order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 on the Simmons campus, all students, faculty, and staff who live, study, or work on campus at any of our Boston or remote locations are required to be vaccinated and boosted. Full vaccination with a booster is also required for all faculty and staff who work on campus.

Testing

There will be no regular PCR testing available on campus this fall, unless the public health situation drastically changes and public health experts and the COVID Recovery Task Force Steering Committee feel it is necessary to reinstate testing. Students who are experiencing symptoms or were exposed to COVID at least 5 full days ago can obtain a rapid antigen test at the Center for Health Promotion and Wellness, and should call to speak to a nurse before coming to the office. Faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms should not come to campus and instead should consult their healthcare provider or seek out a testing provider. Free antigen tests are available from local pharmacies for anyone with health insurance. Any questions about testing can be sent to [email protected].

Isolation, and Contact Tracing

Under current CDC and Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidelines, at least 5 days of isolation are required for people who test positive for COVID. Please review the below information to determine if you need to isolate.

Per the CDC's recommendation to end universal contact tracing, Simmons is no longer conducting independent contact tracing for students, faculty, and staff. Those who test positive may still be contacted by their local health agency for contact tracing through their city or town. Additionally, we will no longer be notifying faculty members when a student tests positive. It is the student's responsibility to inform their professor if they will be absent due to isolation or quarantine. Faculty who are aware that a COVID-positive student has attended an in-person class who wish to communicate this to their students may use this letter to inform their class of the potential exposure, but it is not required.

Isolating after a positive COVID test

Simmons continues to follow public health guidance from local, state, and federal agencies. As a result, we are implementing Mass. Department of Public Health's updated isolation recommendations following a positive COVID test.

Students

Students who test positive should begin wearing a well-fitted mask immediately to avoid infecting others (N95, KN95, KF94, or a disposable surgical mask covered with a cloth mask). The day you test positive or begin having symptoms is day 0 (zero). Isolate yourself from others through at least day 5. If you have had no symptoms, you can end isolation on day 6. If you had symptoms, you should isolate until any symptoms improve, including 24 hours fever free without the use of fever-reducing medication. You should continue wearing a mask around others through at least day 10.

Students who live in the residence halls will isolate themselves in their own rooms. You should plan to go home to isolate if you live within 200 miles from Simmons and can travel home via private vehicle (no public transit or rideshare). Resident students who are isolating on campus can order meals from dining services and pick them up in a well-fitted mask.

To receive isolation guidelines, including meal ordering information for resident students, please complete this online form.

Students in isolation should not leave their room for reasons other than meal pick-up or bathroom use, or to receive necessary medical attention. Students in isolation should not have guests come to their room for any reason. Students who live off campus should isolate themselves at home, and should stay apart from others in their household as much as possible.

Unfortunately, given the highly transmissible nature of the current variants, and the fact that most people who test positive were contagious two days before symptoms appeared, it is likely that roommates/housemates will have already been exposed to the virus. Roommates of COVID-positive students who remain in their room have the option of remaining in the room or going home. You may also consider staying with friends if that is an option for you. If you are not able to stay elsewhere, you can take precautions to reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Limit contact as much as possible.
  • Wear masks when you have to share space. (Do not wear masks while sleeping.)
  • Eat in separate areas.
  • Ventilate the space as much as possible- open windows, use a fan in the window, and/or run any exhaust fans in your space (such as kitchen or bathroom fans, where applicable).
  • Do not bring guests to your room while your roommate is isolating.

Those who have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 should immediately begin wearing a well-fitting mask around others for at least 10 days and monitor themselves for symptoms. If symptoms develop, isolate immediately and take a test. 

Students can contact the Center for Health Promotion and Wellness at 617-521-1020 with questions about isolation, symptoms, or possible exposure.
 

Employees

Simmons continues to follow public health guidance from local, state, and federal agencies. As a result, we are implementing Mass. Department of Public Health's updated isolation recommendations following a positive COVID test. If an employee shows no symptoms five days after a positive COVID test, the isolation period will now be shortened from 10 to 5 days, followed by five days of wearing a tight-fitting mask indoors and when around others. If you have a question about your symptoms, please contact a medical professional. Individuals who are still symptomatic after five days are to remain in isolation for the full 10 days, per Mass. DPH guidance. These guidelines are subject to change as additional information becomes available by the CDC and Mass. DPH.

Exposure to Infected Person

If you have had recent confirmed or expected exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should wear a mask for 10 days around others indoors in public and should test at least 5 days after exposure. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should begin isolating and take a test as soon as possible. There is no longer a requirement to quarantine after exposure, regardless of your vaccination status.

Masks, Physical Distancing, and Cleaning

Effective June 6, 2022, masks are optional on the Simmons campus for those who are vaccinated and boosted, except in the Health Center and certain spaces where there is posted signage that masks are still required. Those who are unvaccinated are asked to remain masked while indoors on the Simmons campus.

Anyone who chooses to wear a mask should wear a tight-fitting KN95 or N95 mask whenever possible. There are many counterfeit KN95 masks for sale on the internet, so please visit ProjectN95 or the CDC to find safe and effective masks. Alternatively, you may wear a medical/surgical paper mask with a close fitting cloth mask over it.

Disinfecting wipes will be available in all classrooms and meeting spaces, and hand sanitizing dispensers will also be available in high traffic areas (near elevators, lobbies, and dining areas). All community members are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and utilize the sanitizer dispensers around campus.

Campus Visitor Policies

Visitors are welcome on campus, including families, prospective students, external partners, contractors, etc. By entering campus, any guest is attesting to being free of COVID-19 symptoms and will be expected to comply with any COVID-related policies. Visitors for the specific purposes below may have additional requirements.

Guest speakers and lecturers

Any invited guest speaker or lecturer for an event or class must be fully vaccinated and boosted. Any group or class inviting a speaker or lecturer is responsible for collecting the invitee's attestation via email using the below template:

Simmons currently requires guest speakers and lecturers to be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and to follow all public health guidelines while on campus. Please reply to this email and confirm that:

  • You are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19
  • You have not tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 5 days
  • You have not experienced any new occurrences of symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • If you experience symptoms on the day you plan to attend the Simmons campus, you will contact the host and inform them you cannot attend
  • You will follow the current policies on masking while on campus.

Visitors to athletic events

By attending a game, spectators are attesting to being free of COVID-19 symptoms and will be expected to comply with COVID-related policies.

Residential Guest Policy

Any fully vaccinated and boosted friend or family member of a resident can be a guest in the residence halls as long as they are not currently exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Residents are allowed to have one guest per resident and are responsible for the conduct of their guests. Residents must obtain the permission of their roommate(s) prior to the visit of any overnight guests. Overnight guests may stay for up to six days in a 30-day period and for up to three consecutive days at a time. Please note that the University does not allow cohabitation. A cohabitant is defined as a visitor, who adopts daily activities analogous to those of an assigned resident with respect to unlimited use of the room, using the amenities of the hall (such as a bathroom or laundry room) on a frequent basis, and any combination of these or similar activities.

Host Policy

For the purposes of the host policy, a guest is defined as anyone who is not a residential student or is a student, but is not a resident of the hall that they are entering/visiting. All guests must be escorted by their host residential student according to the Residence Campus escort policy.

The host policy (meaning that a guest must be escorted at all times) is in effect any time the residence halls are open. Guests must be escorted in all areas of the hall (including stairways) and into and out of the building. This includes the escort of guests on the Residence Campus quad to and from the exit at the Public Safety desk in Simmons Hall after 11:00 p.m. and until the gates are unlocked in the morning. Each resident is responsible for ensuring that the behavior of their guest is consistent with the policies of Simmons University. The host student bears the responsibility for policy violations of a guest and may be referred to the conduct process for a guest's violation(s). Should a resident host require assistance with the removal of a guest, they may call a staff member of Residence Life or Public Safety. Residence Life staff members reserve the right to require the removal of any guest deemed by them to be in violation of policy or disturbing to the community.

Communications to our Community

See COVID-19 related communications sent to our community, including Undergraduate and Graduate Student communications such as The Anchor.

Contact Information

Student Health Center
617-521-1020
Send an email

Center for Global Education
617-521-2206

Public Safety
617-521-1112 (non-emergencies)
617-521-1111 (emergencies)

Counseling Center
617-521-2455

Campus Preparedness
Send an email

The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides funding to institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.

Simmons University has signed and returned, to the Department of Education, the Certification and Agreement related to the CARES Act and will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received to provide emergency financial aid grants to eligible students.

Details on the amount received, the number of eligible students as well as the methodology for determining which students received grants can be found in our latest 30 Day Fund Report.

30 Day Fund Reports

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting - Institutional Portion

The University has been awarded $1,111,221 from the Department for institutional support pursuant to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Formula Grants Authorized by Section 18004(a)(1) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds are being used by the University to help cover additional costs that have been incurred as a result of the significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. The below report represents a summary of those costs that have been incurred during the period from July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

The University was awarded $1,996,674 for Institutional support from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II), as authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act).   

These funds are being used by the University to replace lost revenue for room and board services that were interrupted due to the coronavirus. The below report represents a summary of the University’s use of these funds during the quarter ended March 31, 2021.

The University was awarded an additional $2,709,949 for Institutional support from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), as authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP).   

The below reports represents a summary of the University’s use of these funds.

 

Current Student Communications (including The Anchor)

Learn More