FAQ: Spring 2022 Return

Arrival to Campus and Remote Learning the Week of January 18

If we are remote for the first week of classes starting January 18, can I wait a week to move in?

Residential students should move in as previously scheduled between January 15 and January 17 during check-in hours (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.).

Moving In

Prior to move-in, residential students are required to:

  • Submit your day and intended time of arrival to campus (ADD LINK)
  • Upload proof of the required booster once obtained (picture of vaccination card) at myhealth.simmons.edu (see booster clinic information for other available booster options)
  • Complete a COVID-19 test (PCR or home test) within 72 hours of your arrival to campus and upload results via CoVerified by following these instructions. If you receive a positive result, you must contact the Health Center to make them aware of your status. You must complete your isolation period at home if your arrival time falls within your isolation window. Do not come to campus during your isolation period.
  • Complete a required day of arrival test at the University testing site (hang on to your receipt, as it will be required at check-in). Please note, the testing site will remain in the Linda K. Paresky Center (LKP) — not the Special Functions room, as previously communicated — to accommodate all who need testing in a safe and spacious environment. The LKP is located on the third floor of the Main College Building.

Residents who have completed the above requirements will be granted access to the residence halls by checking in through the Simmons Hall access point on the residence campus.

Check-In Hours: 9am - 5pm, Saturday, January 15 – Monday, January 17. 

Residents must present a receipt from the Simmons COVID-19 testing site confirming they have completed their required day of arrival test when checking into the residence halls.

Although we are not requiring all students to remain in their rooms upon arrival, our goals during the remote week are to (1) get a baseline of COVID cases and start the testing cadence, (2) to allow for students to transition back to the residence halls as safely as possible and (3) to ensure that we do not have major interruptions to instruction. To that end, we recommend that students limit their interactions outside of the residential campus during that first week. No outside guests, including parents, will be allowed in the residence halls during the first week.  Residential students can interact freely with other residential students and can participate in Welcome Back Week activities and events which have been developed with social distancing and health and safety in mind. More info on Welcome Back Week will be shared in Monday’s The Anchor.       

In extenuating circumstances, where students cannot move-in during the specified testing/check-in hours or days, they must email Residence Life at [email protected] to request permission to arrive outside of those hours.  Students will still be expected to go to the testing site immediately and will still be required to submit a pre-arrival test.

I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find a test. Can I move in without a pre-arrival test?  

We recognize that many students may be having difficulty securing a pre-arrival test.  In extenuating circumstances where a student has not been able to submit a pre-arrival test, they will be required to test immediately on-site in LKP and quarantine until their negative test result comes back. Quarantine may last 2-3 days, during which students can leave their room to get food from Bartol and use the restroom. Students who do not move in during the regular move-in period as suggested and who also have not completed a pre-arrival test will be required to follow the same quarantine guidelines and will need to plan to work individually with their faculty to make up any missed work while awaiting their test results.

COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters 

I had COVID, do I need to wait to get my booster?

People can receive the booster after 10 days have passed from their positive test or the onset of symptoms and also have fully recovered from acute symptoms of COVID-19. However, if you received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you will need to wait 90 days before getting the vaccine. If you have a medical concern about getting a booster so soon after having COVID, you should consult your healthcare provider and provide the Health Center or Human Resources with documentation for why you will need to wait.

Can I get an exemption from the booster requirement?

Students with a medical reason or sincerely held religious belief who want an exemption from the vaccination requirement should contact the Health Center at [email protected]. Employees should contact [email protected]

What if I’m unable to get a booster?
Over ninety-five percent of Simmons campus-based students are eligible for the booster.  If you believe you have an extenuating circumstance that prevents you from securing your booster before the start of classes, contact the Health Center at [email protected] immediately. Faculty will also be alerted regarding students who are not in compliance.

COVID-19 Testing

I tested positive during the winter break, do I need to test when I come back?

Once you test positive, you do not need to take a PCR test for 90 days because you may continue to test positive even if you are not infectious. If you tested positive off-campus, you should upload your test to CoVerified, and you will be marked “Cleared” for 90 days from the date of your test. 

If you are a residential student and you tested positive in the past 90 days, you do not have to provide a pre-arrival test or test upon arriving to campus. Residential students must complete ten days of isolation after their positive test or their symptoms began before moving into the residence halls. 

When do I need to start testing?

Residential students must provide a test 72 hours before arriving on campus for move-in. This can be either a PCR or rapid test, and the results should be submitted through CoVerified.

We are beginning the weekly testing requirement during the week of January 18-21. You can take this test at the campus testing site during its regular hours, but unless you are living in the residence halls or working on campus, you must return home after your test. During the remote week you only need to take or submit one test, unless you are an employee who is coming to campus twice or more during the week, then you would need to test twice. You can also submit a test taken off-site to comply with the testing requirement. Additionally, you should take a test as soon as you arrive on campus for your first day of in-person classes or work. 

If I test twice per week, how far apart do my tests need to be?

You should have at least a day’s gap between your tests, if possible, such as testing on Monday and Wednesday. It’s best to space them three days apart, such as on a Monday and a Thursday, to ensure that you’re never more than four days from your next test. If you're only on campus two days in a row per week, you only need to test on one of those days.. 

Masks

What masks can I wear?

We are highly recommending that all community members wear well-fitting masks such as N95, KN95, or KF94. Wearing a medical/surgical paper mask with a cloth mask on top of it is also an acceptable masking technique. Refer to these guidelines from the CDC on how to improve mask fit. Do not purchase or use masks with a valve, as those allow air to escape and spread.

There are many counterfeit masks on the market, so check one of the following sources to check the quality of a mask before you purchase:

Do I need to be fit-tested to wear an N95 mask?

You do not need to be fit-tested to wear an N95 mask unless you are required to wear an N95 by your employer. However, because fit-testing can confirm that an N95 mask fits without leakage, it may be helpful to get fit-tested from a trained professional. 

We will have some limited opportunities for professional fit-testing during the next two weeks in the following times:

Friday, January 14: 1-3 pm
Tuesday, January 18: 12-2 pm
Wednesday, January 19: 2-4 pm
Thursday, January 20: 10 am-12 pm

All fit-testing will be done at the testing site in the LKP. You must bring your own N95 masks. We will not have any at the testing site to provide.

Isolation Protocols 

How will the new 5-day isolation guidelines be put into practice?

We will be following the new guidelines from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health which modify the isolation guidelines from ten days to five days of isolation and five days of strict masking for individuals who test positive but do not have symptoms or whose symptoms are resolving. 

If you begin experiencing symptoms or receive a positive test, you should immediately begin isolating. After five days of isolation, if you are not experiencing symptoms or if symptoms are resolving, you may leave your residence, as long as you wear a tight-fitting mask anytime you are around other people. Because students living in the residence halls who have roommates cannot remain masked while sleeping in a room with their roommate, residential students will continue to stay in their designated isolation space for the entire ten days. They will be allowed to leave to attend class and pick up food during this time.

Anyone who has been released from isolation but is in the 5-day masking period should not remove their mask for any reason while on campus. All food must be taken grab-and-go and can only be eaten in a private office or residence room. 

More information regarding isolation and quarantine can be found on our Protecting Our Community page.