Graduate Student Information for Spring 2022
The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff continues to be our top priority during this pandemic. Here you'll find several important COVID-19 updates for the spring semester related to return to campus and remote learning, masks, testing, and more.
Health and Safety
Based on the latest CDC guidance about the relative ineffectiveness of cloth masks, students, faculty, and staff should wear a 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. All students are expected to be familiar with and comply with any guidelines outlined on the Protecting Our Community page.
Given the rise of the Omicron variant, Simmons is updating its testing policy. All students, faculty, and staff who are on campus one day a week will continue to test once a week. If students, faculty, or staff are on campus more than one day a week, they will now need to test twice a week – regardless of vaccination or booster status, until further notice. We will evaluate this policy as the semester continues.
Testing hours at the Linda K. Paresky Center are as follows:
January 15 - 17
Saturday, Sunday, Monday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Regular Hours of Operation starting January 18
Monday - Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Any questions about testing should be directed to the Simmons Health Center.
Reporting a Positive COVID Test Result
If you tested positive for COVID-19 during the winter break, please make sure to upload the results in CoVerified and notify the Simmons Health Center. This is very important, as it impacts testing protocols and our campus COVID data. Per CDC guidelines, any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 is exempt from further testing for 90 days.
It is our expectation that all students will comply with the COVID-19 testing policy, as they are critical to ensure the health and safety of our community. Students who do not comply with testing protocols will be subject to the following outcomes:
- First Notice - If a student goes an entire week without testing, they will receive a warning letter on Monday letting them know they must come into compliance by the end of the day on Friday. Student-athletes will not be allowed to participate in athletic practice or competitions per GNAC and NCAA rules while non-compliant. This will be the only warning students will receive.
- Second Notice - If a student misses a test for the second time, they will be required to attend a documented meeting with their Area Coordinator (for Residential Students) or the Dean of Student Experience (for Graduate or Undergraduate Commuter Students). Student athletes will not be allowed to participate in athletic practice or competitions per GNAC and NCAA rules while non-compliant.
- Third Notice/Restriction - If a student misses a test for the third time, their access to campus facilities will be suspended until they are in compliance. Tap access will be monitored weekly and non-compliant students who are identified as having entered academic buildings will be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will be required to attend a conduct hearing. Students will be responsible for all fees and work missed during this time. Students who believe they have an extenuating circumstance will also have an option to appeal this decision. Student athletes will not be allowed to participate in athletic practice or competitions per GNAC and NCAA rules while non-compliant.
Simmons Star Testing Compliance Rewards Program
We value and appreciate your compliance with the Simmons testing policy and will recognize your commitment to health and safety through the Simmons Star Testing Compliance Rewards Program. Each week, students who test will be entered into a raffle to acknowledge their commitment to the health and safety of the campus community. Drawings will occur every Wednesday morning of the following week and students will have an opportunity to win a variety of prizes, including gift cards, Simmons swag and other fun items. Residential students will have an opportunity to earn additional incentives through the residential compliance incentive program.
Thank you for your cooperation on this extremely important initiative, which is vital to ensure a safe campus community this semester.
Download the CoVerified mobile app or access the website to activate your account. On the login screen, enter your simmons.edu email address. You should be directed to the Simmons sign-on page. Verify your mobile phone number and answer the prompts to activate your account. If you are using the app, make sure to allow notifications so you can receive results in a timely manner and ensure we can reach out to you as needed. You can also review the detailed instructions.
To schedule a COVID-19 test, choose “Testing” on the bottom of the mobile app or “Schedule a Test” on the left side of the website. Choose the Residence Campus site to see appointments.
CoVerified has three statuses:
- Cleared - A green Cleared status means you have either tested negative within the last 12 days or you have been exempted from testing because you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days.
- Restricted - Your default CoVerified status will be “Restricted” until you receive your first negative test. Following that, a red Restricted status means you have either tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 5 days or it has been more than 12 days since your last negative test. Anyone with a Restricted statuses should immediately report to the testing center upon arriving to campus. Continuing to come to campus while on a Restricted status without testing may result in removal of campus access.
- Remote - If you are not going to be on campus for two weeks or more, set your CoVerified status to Remote so you will not be required to participate in weekly testing. Do not come to campus during Remote status. If you are coming to campus for any reason, click the “Return to Campus” button and follow the prompts. If it has been more than 12 days since your last test, you must immediately get tested to get back into compliance.
Vaccination is required for all students, graduate and undergraduate, who participate in face-to-face curricular and co-curricular activities at any of our Boston or remote locations, including all face-to-face classes, immersion weekends, off-site cohorts, and other in-person events at these locations.
To enter and upload your COVID-19 vaccine documentation to the patient portal, current students can visit myhealth.simmons.edu. Please contact the Health Center at 617-521-1020 or email [email protected] with questions.
Ensuring our community is protected is a top priority, so Simmons is committed to help international students or other students who cannot access an approved vaccine in their area get vaccinated as soon as possible upon arriving on campus. Unvaccinated students may be required to quarantine or follow other health protocols until they are fully vaccinated.
Students may reach out to the Simmons University Health Center to discuss the process for requesting a medical or religious exemption to the COVID vaccination policy, as they can for other vaccine requirements.
Simmons is requiring a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for all campus-based undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled on our campus during the spring semester. Individuals must get their COVID-19 booster by January 18, 2022, or 14 days after they become eligible for the booster. Individuals become eligible for a booster five months after their second Pfizer dose, six months after their second Moderna dose, and two months after the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine dose.
If you are having trouble accessing a booster, you can schedule an appointment at the state’s newly revived mass vaccination site at Fenway Park. In addition, Simmons is planning an onsite booster clinic on February 3, 2022. This clinic is hosted by Osco Pharmacy and open to students, faculty, and staff. Osco can provide all three vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, and can incorporate first, second, and booster doses. Attendees should bring their physical vaccine record cards. If unable to provide that, then they should provide documentation of previous vaccines so Osco Pharmacy can issue a new card. A link will be provided by Osco Pharmacy for attendees to schedule appointments.
There have been many upgrades to campus facilities for increased health and safety protocols. All HVAC systems across campus have been upgraded with CDC-recommended air filters and increased airflow from outside air. Portable air filtration units have been added to classrooms and high-traffic areas. Plexiglass shields have been installed at high-traffic service locations. Enhanced surface cleaning will continue, and hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available across campus.
Remote learning the Week of January 17
After careful consideration and input from our public health experts, Simmons has decided that all classes will be taught remotely during the first week of the spring semester from Tuesday, January 18 through Sunday, January 23. We plan to resume in-person classes on Monday, January 24, though we will continue to closely monitor the latest University-level and broader public health COVID data. Virtual learning during this week will help achieve several important goals, including the establishment of a baseline for our on campus COVID caseload, while allowing students, faculty, and staff to establish a regular testing cadence for the spring semester. This remote week will also reduce potential interruptions to teaching and learning during the start of the semester for those who may test positive and need to return home and/or to isolate. During this week, students should come to campus to test at least once at the testing site or submit a test taken elsewhere to comply with the University’s weekly testing requirement.
Once a first negative PCR Test is recorded, students will have access to the academic campus to study. Booking study space will continue to be done via 25Live, and physical distancing should be observed at all times. This benefit is intended for small group or individual study only. Classrooms should not be reserved to attend virtual classes.
Guest and Dining Policy
For the beginning of the spring semester, we are reverting to previous limited guest policies. Only Simmons residential students are permitted to be inside of University residence halls until further notice. No guests, including Simmons University commuter students, are allowed inside the residence halls during this time.
Dining in Bartol Hall will be grab and go. The Fens and Common Grounds will be closed until Monday, January 24.
Contact the Health Center (617-521-1020) with questions or concerns, including with issues in appointment scheduling, if you believe you received a “restricted” status in error, or if you are unable to view test results in CoVerified. If you are unable to reach the Health Center, go directly to the testing site during open hours for help.