Protecting Our Community
The policies and practices below are intended to represent the plans implemented 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
The federal government and Commonwealth of Massachusetts has declared that the public health emergency for COVID-19 ended on May 11, 2023. While this does not mean that COVID is no longer present, it does recognize that we have greatly reduced the spread of the disease and that we now have tools to treat and prevent potential infections.
In recognition of the end of the public health emergency, Simmons ended its vaccine requirement for students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors on May 19, 2023. After this date, students, faculty, and staff will no longer be required to upload and update proof of vaccination or boosters.
We still strongly recommend being fully vaccinated and up-to-date with any available COVID-19 boosters, as well as the seasonal flu vaccine, as they provide strong protection from infection. Our community has had very high vaccination rates throughout the pandemic, and we expect that even without the requirement, our students, faculty, and staff will still continue to be up to date on available vaccinations in addition to following good sense protection and prevention measures. We will still work to hold vaccine clinics throughout the year here on campus or at nearby locations.
The end of the public health emergency may also change the availability and cost of services such as lab-based or at-home tests for COVID-19. Private insurers may no longer be required to cover the cost of these services, so check with your insurance provider to see how your coverage may change in the coming months. The campus Center for Health Promotion and Wellness plans to continue to offer COVID-19 testing for students seeking diagnosis.
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 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 may 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.
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.
Why is Simmons ending the vaccine requirement?
The end of the public health emergency acknowledges what we have seen in the Simmons community and around the Commonwealth - that the spread of COVID-19 has greatly decreased, and that we have the tools and knowledge to treat and prevent infections. Our vaccine requirement was an important step to ensure that we achieved the vaccination rates necessary to protect our community during the highest risk periods of the pandemic. While we still believe that vaccination is an important tool to prevent COVID-19 spread, we no longer believe there is the same imperative to track and mandate vaccination within our community.
Will you continue to offer vaccine clinics and COVID testing?
Yes- we will continue to offer opportunities for our community to get vaccinated or boosted even after the end of the mandate.
I am due to get a second vaccination or booster before the end of the vaccine requirement. Should I still get it or just wait until I’m not required to anymore?
We still strongly recommend getting either your final shot to be fully vaccinated or a booster that will keep you up to date with your vaccinations, even if the requirement will end. Vaccines are an important tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the effects of infection.
Communications to our Community
See COVID-19 related communications sent to our community, including Undergraduate and Graduate Student communications such as The Anchor.
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
- 30 Day Fund Report: June 30, 2022
- 30 Day Fund Report: March 30, 2022
- 30 Day Fund Report: December 31, 2021
- 30 Day Fund Report: September 30, 2021
- 30 Day Fund Report: June 30 2021 update
- 30 Day Fund Report: March 31, 2021 - FINAL REPORT
- 30 Day Fund Report: December 31, 2020
- 30 Day Fund Report: September 30, 2020
- 30 Day Fund Report: May 20, 2020
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.
- HEERF Quarterly Report: July 1, 2020 - September 30, 2020
- HEERF Quarterly Report: October 1, 2020 - December 31, 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.
- HEERF III Quarterly Report: July 1, 2021 - September 30, 2021
- HEERF III Quarterly Report: October 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021
- HEERF III Quarterly Report: January 1, 2022 - March 31, 2022
- HEERF III Quarterly Report: April 1, 2022 - June 30, 2022