Fall Semester COVID-19 Updates for Employees - August 31, 2022
Dear Faculty and Staff,
We hope this message finds you well and that you are enjoying these final days of summer. The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force has continued to monitor and review current information and today we are writing with an update on fall COVID policies and procedures.
As COVID vaccines, boosters, and antiviral therapies are now widely available, Simmons has accordingly updated its guidelines to reflect the latest public health guidance from local, state, and federal agencies, and to align with other higher education institutions in the Boston area.
In This Message
COVID-19 Vaccinations Required
All students, faculty, and staff who live, study, or work on campus at any of our Boston or remote locations are required to be vaccinated and boosted.
Masks are optional on the Simmons campus for those who are vaccinated and boosted, except in the Health Promotion and Wellness Center, Counseling Center, and certain spaces where there is posted signage that masks are still required. Those who have an approved vaccination exemption are asked to remain masked while indoors on the Simmons campus.
Testing During the Semester
There will be no regular PCR testing offered on campus this fall. However, we have contracted with the Broad Institute and the clinical testing company Color in case the public health situation changes, and we need to reinstate surveillance testing.
Faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms should not come to campus and instead consult their healthcare provider or seek a testing provider. Free antigen tests are also available from the USPS and local pharmacies.
We also want you to be aware that we are recommending that all students, both residential and commuter, take a rapid or PCR test within 72 hours of returning to campus for the fall semester. In addition, all residential students are required to take a rapid antigen test on the day they move in, and they must bring their negative test (or a picture of it) dated from that day to check-in. Students who test positive cannot return to campus until they have completed at least five days of isolation, or 10 days if they remain symptomatic, or if they continue testing positive at day five.
Positive COVID Cases
Because we will no longer provide or require surveillance testing, Simmons is discontinuing its online COVID-19 case dashboard. Faculty should be aware that students will need to miss class if they have tested positive.
The regular attendance policy will be in effect for the academic year and students should work directly with faculty to make up any missed work. Faculty will no longer be notified of positive COVID cases, so it is important that students and faculty are diligent in working together to maintain safe and healthy classrooms on campus.
Faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their manager, and they should not return to campus until they have completed at least five days of isolation, or 10 days if they remain symptomatic, or if they continue testing positive at day five. Close contacts of an infected person should wear a mask indoors for 10 days. In addition, they should take a rapid antigen test at day five after exposure, and sooner if they feel symptoms.
Simmons' COVID-19 policies are subject to change if public health conditions dictate additional safety measures. The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force continues to monitor the latest guidance and data and will communicate future changes as needed. The Task Force is also monitoring the latest on the Monkeypox virus and will share additional information in the coming days.
Thank you for your cooperation as we ensure a safe living and learning environment this semester. If you have COVID-19 related questions, please email [email protected].
The COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce
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