Important COVID-19 Follow-up Information and Reminders for Students - January 11, 2022

Dear Students,

We are excited to welcome you back to Simmons for the start of the spring semester! We write today as a follow-up to last week’s COVID-19 message with several important updates and reminders as you prepare to return to campus.

Public health experts predict that this latest COVID-19 surge will peak in Massachusetts by the end of the month. The enhanced protocols and reminders below are designed to ensure the safety of our community during this time. The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force meets regularly to review our various protocols and will provide updates on any changes based on the latest data and guidance.

Goals during the Week of January 18

As a reminder, all classes will be taught remotely during the first week of the spring semester from Tuesday, January 18 through Sunday, January 23. In addition, tap access will be required for all Simmons academic buildings until January 24, so please be sure to carry your ID with you when you return to face-to-face classes. Our goals during the remote week are to:

  • Establish a baseline of COVID cases on campus and to resume a regular testing cadence
  • Allow students to transition back to the residence halls as safely as possible
  • Ensure that students do not experience major course interruptions at the start of the semester

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. Our ability to achieve these goals is heavily dependent upon the commitment by our entire campus community to complete the required PCR test upon arrival to campus and to submit the required proof of booster prior to arrival. Ninety percent of our graduate and undergraduate student population is eligible for the booster according to our records.

We were pleased with the progress that was made prior to the start of the fall semester, which allowed us to achieve a 99% vaccination rate and we are confident that we can achieve the same success prior to the start of the spring semester. To date, two thirds of our residential students have signed up for their move-in time slot.

As a reminder, residential students should move in as previously scheduled between January 15 and January 17 during check-in hours (9am to 5pm). The completion of pre-arrival and arrival testing by our residential students will also support our ability to achieve the above goals. We have received a number of questions from residential students about move-in and isolation/quarantine protocols. Please also find answers to frequently asked questions to assist you as you make your return plans.

Residential Student Return Information

Get Your COVID-19 Protocol Questions Answered

Members of Student Affairs and the Simmons COVID-19 Recovery Task Force will host drop-in hours this week to answer your questions related to COVID-19 protocols and your return to campus. Please use this link to chat and get your questions answered during the following days and times:

Tuesday, January 11, 5pm – 6pm
Wednesday, January 12, 8am – 9am
Wednesday, January 12, 12pm – 1pm
Thursday, January 13, 8am – 9am
Thursday, January 13, 5pm – 6pm (open to families)

Please also view the latest Frequently Asked Questions

Zoom Link

COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters

As a reminder, the deadline for students, faculty, and staff to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster is coming up on January 18, 2022. Read more about the booster requirement. 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 with a limited number of appointments 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. 

As mentioned above, 90% of our students are currently eligible to receive the booster according to our records. Reminders will be sent throughout this week. Students who are not in compliance with the booster requirement will not be allowed to attend classes until proof of the booster has been submitted. Faculty will be notified of non-compliant students in their courses.

City of Boston and Massachusetts Requirements

The City of Boston is set to launch its new B Together initiative, which requires individuals to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter certain indoor spaces in Boston. This includes restaurants and bars, fitness facilities, and entertainment venues – such as museums, movie theaters, arenas and stadiums, and concert venues, among other locations. View the City of Boston’s full list of places where proof of vaccination is required as of January 15, 2022.

In addition, Massachusetts has launched a new online system that produces a copy of COVID-19 vaccination cards for residents. Residents can visit MyVaxRecords.mass.gov and enter the information to be sent a digital vaccination card. It comes with a QR code that can act as vaccination verification.

Testing Reminder

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 status, until further notice. We will evaluate this policy as the semester continues. Onsite testing is now available for students, faculty, and staff.

As a reminder, testing hours at the at the Linda K. Paresky Center are as follows:

  • January 15 -17 | Saturday, Sunday, and Monday: 9am – 5pm
  • January 18 (Regular Testing Site Hours Resume) | Monday – Thursday 9am – 6pm; Friday 9am-5pm

Parking will be available in the Simmons Parking Garage while students get their COVID arrival test from January 15-17 during check-in hours. 

If You have Tested Positive for COVID in the past 90 Days

Please note, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days you are exempt from testing for 90 days, per CDC guidelines. If you test positive prior to your arrival on-campus please do the following:

  1. Notify the Simmons Health Center and follow these instructions to upload your positive test result in CoVerified so that you will not be flagged as out of compliance.
  2. Complete all isolation requirements prior to coming to campus. Note that if you are a residential student and you test positive prior to move-in, please do not move back to campus until you have completed the isolation requirements. Students who are isolated prior to the start of classes should reach out to their faculty directly to alert them and plan for any possible missed classes or assignments. COVID related notifications to faculty will resume with the start of spring classes.

Masks

While Simmons recommends that students wear a KN95 mask if possible, wearing a medical/surgical paper mask with a cloth mask on top of it is also an acceptable masking technique.

Simmons has a supply of medical/surgical paper masks available onsite at Public Safety, Residence Life, and the Health Center. In addition, we are working on procuring a limited supply of KN95 masks for our community that will prioritize student usage. We will not be providing N95 masks (except for students participating in select clinical programs), but will provide a fitting service for those who purchase one on their own.

Our community’s health and safety depend on the diligence and commitment of all of us to following these COVID-19 policies and protocols. Thank you for your continued cooperation, which is critical to ensuring a vibrant on-campus living and learning experience this semester.

Please email [email protected] with any COVID-19 related questions. You can also visit the new Who Can Help website to find a directory of contact information for a variety of questions and concerns.

Sincerely,
The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force