COVID Campus Operating Status

The below warning levels, indicators, and actions are intended to guide conversation and decision-making regarding university response to the prevailing public and campus health situation. The current status level is set by the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force in consultation with the Simmons Health Center, COF, and other local and Commonwealth public health advisors.

Current Status Level: YELLOW

Status of campus operations:

  • Classes: In-person classes are operational at full capacity
  • Masking: 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.
  • Vaccination: All students, faculty, and staff are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted. Guest speakers and lecturers must also be fully vaccinated and boosted.
  • Events: Events are allowed with no limits on attendance or food
  • Meetings: There are currently no restrictions on meetings for COVID-19 mitigation purposes. However, there is still a shortage of meeting space on campus. Faculty and staff should use their own discretion when hosting office hours or holding meetings and are still encouraged to use virtual options when possible due to space constraints.
  • Dining: Dining in Bartol Hall, the Fens, and Common Grounds is operating at a normal schedule.

COVID-19 Warning Level System 

The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force considers a number of factors in determining the current status level and appropriate actions. Below are examples of public health data, campus situations, and other factors that weigh into our decisions. The indicators are not used as automatic triggers to change the status level, nor will one specific indicator change our warning status by itself. All of the following data points are considered and weighed together to determine whether the condition warrants escalating the warning level and taking additional actions.

  • Prevalence of COVID-19 cases in campus community (measured by on-campus testing and off-campus positive case reports)
  • Availability of campus isolation and quarantine space
  • Availability of staff for key campus operations, including classes, administration, testing services, health services, security, dining, and other functions
  • Availability of key mitigation supplies such as testing kits, masks, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Compliance with campus policies including vaccination, testing, masking, isolation, and quarantine.
  • Prevalence of COVID-19 in local community, including other COF schools and the City of Boston
  • Status of current health directives and guidance from city, commonwealth, and federal officials
  • Scientific data regarding the transmissibility or health effects of COVID-19 variants
  • Availability of ER, ICU, and hospital beds in area hospitals

Based on the above indicators, the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force will set the warning level for campus and consider or implement a set of actions to ensure the safety of our community. The actions listed are also not guaranteed to happen or to happen immediately once a warning level is reached, rather they should be considered as justifiable steps to take to address concerns of the virus’ spread on campus and our ability to continue operating safely.

GREEN: Low caution

Green represents the lowest level of concern, however, there still may be mitigating measures in place to ensure that safe operations continue.

Potential actions:

  • Revise masking policies to mask-optional in certain areas or situations, though some masking may still be required
  • Social events allowed to resume as normal
  • Revised testing frequency for low-risk groups, though some testing may still be required

YELLOW: Enhanced caution

Yellow represents a heightened state of caution where additional measures are necessary to ensure that campus transmission remains low and that in-person operations are able to continue safely.

Potential actions:

  • Encourage virtual meetings for faculty and staff
  • Restrict food at events to seated or grab-and-go only
  • Reduced visitors to campus - limited or no external groups/events
  • Testing one time per week for anyone working or learning on campus

ORANGE: Elevated caution

Orange represents a serious state of concern for the possibility of COVID transmission on campus and safe operations that necessitates some restrictions and additional measures to prevent further threat to campus safety.

Potential actions:

  • Restriction on size of events or shift to virtual
  • Increased testing frequency to twice per week
  • Discourage or restrict non-essential visitors to campus 
  • Limit cross-building visitation for residential students
  • Non-essential staff encouraged to shift to remote work
  • Shift dining operations (grab-and-go, restricting food outside of dining areas, etc.)

RED: Extreme caution

Red represents the highest level of concern for the safety of our campus community. This status will be invoked if there is clear evidence of campus outbreak, severe staffing concerns, or other extraordinary circumstances that require drastic actions.

Potential actions:

  • Shift to remote learning
  • Essential staff only on campus
  • Campus services may reduce service availability or shift to emergency-only services due to reduced staff (Public Safety, Dining, etc.)
  • Residential students may isolate in place or move off-campus