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The College has a multi-layered approach to health and safety that is designed to protect our community. We are relying on all community members—faculty, staff, and students—to follow the public health guidance developed by both the state and the protocols set forth by the College even if you have had COVID-19 or been vaccinated. We ask that you please do your part to keep everyone on our campus healthy. For an overview of the College’s efforts, see the COVID-19 Higher Education Control Plan.

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Daily health check

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  • All students living in College housing and all faculty and staff coming to work on campus are required to check-in daily to the College’s Daily Health Checker App. Employees should complete the daily health check only on days they are coming to campus.
  • OneCard access to buildings may be disabled if students or faculty and staff fail to complete the Daily Health Checker. 
  • Students who report symptoms should stay in their rooms and reach out to Health Services on campus, which is provided by Newton-Wellesley Collegiate Health. Health Services will see how you are feeling and provide advice on next steps. Health Services can advise you on whether or not you need to take a symptomatic test for COVID-19 and will connect you with other supports on campus, such as Residential Life for assistance related to your housing and meals and your class dean for academic support. 

Faculty and staff who have symptoms should stay home and not come to campus for work. Staff should alert their manager regarding their absence, and faculty should alert their department chair if course coverage is an immediate concern. Notification that an employee is not cleared to work will be provided confidentially by the app to a nurse, contracted by Wellesley, with the Operational and Environmental Health Network (OEHN). The nurse will then reach out to discuss whether you should see your primary care physician or seek symptomatic testing.

Ad hoc planning group

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As Wellesley prepares to fully repopulate our campus in the fall and return to its normal academic calendar, the College has created an Ad Hoc Planning Group. This group, which includes several members of the faculty and administrative staff as well as a student representative, will advise relevant committees and offices about the transitions that lie ahead of us, including sequencing administrative processes such as registration and housing selection; identifying ways to best support faculty, students, and staff as we all adjust to a different campus and work environment; and advising senior leadership on contingency plans, should conditions in the fall be more challenging than we currently project.

The group members include:

Adam Van Arsdale, Amy Banzaert, Brenna Greer, Carol Shanmugaratnam, Casey Rothschild, Erin Konkle, Helen Y. Wang, Jen Pollard, Lori Tenser, Lisa A Rodensky, Megan Nunez, Michael Jeffries, Piper Orton, Ravi Ravishanker, Sheilah Horton, Sara Wasserman, Tracy Gleason, and Tatiana Ivy Moise.

Acknowledgment and training

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All community members—faculty, staff and students—are required to sign a COVID-19 Acknowledgment before returning to campus. All faculty, staff, and students are also required to complete a Wellesley College Training Module. These steps are strongly recommended for everyone, including those learning or working remotely, to ensure that all members of our community have a shared understanding of the health and safety protocols the College has put in place. Links to these materials are available in the Spring 2021 Documentation Toolbox.

Testing

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What you need to know about testing at Wellesley 

Wellesley is partnering with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard—one of the world’s leading genomic research centers—to provide asymptomatic testing for all students on campus and designated members of our faculty and staff. Regular asymptomatic testing is the best way to reduce transmission of COVID-19; identifying those who are infected but asymptomatic is critical so that they can be isolated and their close contacts quickly identified and quarantined.  

Regular asymptomatic testing

All students in residential housing will participate in testing twice each week. Designated faculty and staff who have significant and regular contact with residential students will participate in weekly testing. Testing appointments are scheduled through the Campus Key Wellesley app, which is available through the App Store for iPhones and through the Play Store for Android phones. Scheduling will be completed every Saturday evening, and an email will be sent from Campus Key with the schedules for the upcoming week. Schedules will also be available through the Campus Key app.

This is asymptomatic testing: if you have symptoms, you should not show up for testing and instead fill out the Daily Health Check App and see the guidelines for symptomatic testing. If you have tested positive in the past, you should not be retested for 90 days, unless you become symptomatic. The College will notify you when it’s time for you to rejoin the testing group.

There are two asymptomatic testing sites on campus:

  • Davis Parking Facility/Pub
    Sunday 11–4 p.m.
    Monday–Thursday 8–4 p.m., closed for lunch from 11–12 p.m.
  • College Club (on the upper level in the Wall Room)
    Sunday 11–4 p.m.
    Monday–Thursday 7–3 p.m., closed for lunch from 11–12 p.m.

Both testing sites are closed Friday and Saturday. 

Test results will generally be available by 9 p.m. the day after your test (24 hours after the test sample arrives at the Broad Institute). Negative results will be communicated through an email from CareEvolve, a system that the Broad uses for information exchange with those who are being tested. In the event of a positive test, Health Services will contact students and a nurse from OEHN will contact faculty and staff directly to discuss next steps for care and isolation.

Test results will generally be available by 9 p.m. the day after your test (24 hours after the test sample arrives at the Broad Institute). Negative results will be communicated through an email from CareEvolve, a system that the Broad uses for information exchange with those who are being tested. In the event of a positive test, Health Services will contact students and a nurse from OEHN will contact faculty and staff directly to discuss next steps for care and isolation.

Health Services or OEHN will also reach out directly to individuals who receive an “inconclusive” result that requires restriction of activity on campus until a negative result upon re-testing. This is a new Broad category for those test results that are "inconclusive" because the results are neither positive nor clearly negative. It is different than an "invalid" test, which means that the test was not able to be processed due to an insufficient sample, label error, etc.

An inconclusive result does not mean that an individual is positive nor will they necessarily be positive upon a re-test. In an abundance of caution, we are asking students who receive an "inconclusive" result to remain on in-room restrictions until a valid test result can be obtained. The student can retest the next available testing day.

In other cases of “invalid” results where the sample could not be processed, individuals will simply receive an email instructing them to re-test.

Have questions about the student testing process? See the Spring Student COVID-19 Testing FAQ.

Symptomatic testing

If students are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they should contact Health Services for confidential consultation and support regarding next steps. Health Services on campus is provided by Newton-Wellesley Collegiate Health and has the capacity to offer symptomatic testing to students on campus.

Faculty and staff should work with their primary care physician (PCP) to get tested if they have symptoms. It may be that the PCP will refer them to one of the “Stop the Spread” sites for testing. If they have difficulty securing a test, Newton-Wellesley Collegiate Health has offered to help and can be reached at 617.724.7000. Positive test results (outside for Broad testing) should be reported to the College using the report positive test form found in the Toolbox.

Students and employees approved to be on campus should also notify the College if they have been or know that they will be tested for COVID-19 based on symptoms or exposure; if they have been notified by a department of health of a known or potential exposure to COVID-19; or if they learn that they or their cohabitant(s) have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Support for remote students

The Office of Student Wellness has also developed useful guidance on how to get help if you are sick for students studying remotely.

Contact tracing

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Wellesley has trained a team of staff members to do contract tracing for the community. This team will follow up with individuals who test positive and their close contacts and will coordinate with local boards of health regarding any members of the College community who need to isolate or quarantine. Individuals may be contacted by other contact tracers from the Board of Health or the state and should cooperate with them accordingly as well. (The CDC has updated guidance for contact tracing and now defines close contacts as those who were within six feet of a person who tested positive for a cumulative total of 15 minutes within a 24-hour period. Previously this definition applied only to those who were within six feet for 15 consecutive minutes.)

The Wellesley College contact tracers will be calling from 781.474.0383. Please put this number into your contacts in your phone. It is imperative that you answer your phone if they call you to determine whether you have been exposed. Plan to spend approximately 15-45 minutes to talk through the process. If you have a concern that you have been exposed, stay in your room or home until you receive further instructions. You may also proactively reach out to the Contact Tracing team by calling 781.474.0383.

Isolation and quarantine

woman sitting on a bed

For students

Students who test positive will need to isolate in designated rooms on campus for at least 10 days. Health Services will be in daily contact with the student to monitor their health. Students who are identified as close contacts and need to quarantine will be moved to designated quarantine spaces on campus for for up to 14 days. Students who are vaccinated or were previously positive are still subject to quarantine the same as any other student. This time may be reduced to 10 days if the following requirements are met: 

  • You have not had, and do not have, any symptoms;
  • You are tested on day eight of your quarantine period and receive a negative test result;
  • You monitor yourself for symptoms for the full 14 days. If you develop symptoms you should contact Health Services and be re-tested.

The Office of Residential Life will support students in moving to isolation or quarantine space and arrange for meal delivery. Class deans will work with the faculty to make accommodations so that students who need to isolate or quarantine can keep up with their classes.

student isolation and quarantine guide flowchart for students

For faculty and staff

Employees who test positive will need to isolate at home for at least 10 days. A nurse from the Occupational Environmental and Health Network (OEHN) will be in touch with the employee to monitor their health. If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and he or she is not feeling well, the employee should use sick time and should not work. If the employee is isolating or quarantining but asymptomatic, and the employee’s position allows for remote work, then the employee may continue to work remotely during the isolation or quarantine period.

If a fully vaccinated employee is identified as a close contact, they may continue working providing they have no symptoms. If any symptoms develop, they should complete the daily health check indicating so, and they will be contacted by OEHN about next steps. 

Employees who have not been fully vaccinated and are identified as close contacts of a positive case will need to quarantine off campus for up to 14 days, even if they previously tested positive more than 90 days before the new exposure. If they tested positive less than 90 days before the new exposure and are asymptomatic, they do not need to quarantine. If they are symptomatic, they will need to be evaluated by OEHN. 

The College's contact tracers will be in touch with the quarantined employee. The quarantine time may be reduced to 10 days if the following requirements are met:

  • You have not had, and do not have, any symptoms;
  • You are tested on day eight of your quarantine period (or later) and receive a negative test result;
  • You monitor yourself for symptoms for the full 14 days. If you develop symptoms you should fill out the Daily Health Check.

A contact tracer will advise employees when they are released from quarantine and may return to work. OEHN will advise employees when they are released from isolation and may return to work. Human Resources will notify the employee’s manager of the return to work date, and employees should check in with their manager before returning.

flowchart for faculty/staff

Health care

Students with mild symptoms will be treated by our Health Services team provided by Newton-Wellesley Collegiate Health and led by Dr. Jennifer Schwartz, medical director. Those requiring additional care will be treated at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, or if needed, at Mass General or Brigham and Women’s Hospital, two of the best hospitals in the world. Faculty and staff should consult their PCP about care and treatment options.

Vaccines

graphic of a nurse with a clipboard

All College community members are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated when they are able to. The College’s ability to vaccinate depends on receiving allotments of vaccine from the state. Wellesley anticipates that Newton-Wellesley Collegiate Health (NWCH) will be able to vaccinate students, but it remains unclear whether they will be authorized to deliver vaccines to faculty or staff. The vaccination plan will follow the state’s phased distribution timeline.

Students who are eligible now

  • No pre-approval from the Dean of Students is required if you are leaving campus solely for the purpose of getting vaccinated in a nearby community. Instead, if you are able to secure an appointment for a vaccine, please inform your Community Director via an email with details on your appointment location and transportation and copy Student Housing (studenthousing@wellesley.edu).
  • Students are encouraged to seek appointments at the Natick Mall site or at a CVS or Walgreens in Wellesley or in the immediate surrounding area (for example, Natick, Needham or Newton) and to pay attention to risks when selecting locations. Please be careful to mask and observe physical distancing as much as possible, particularly if you obtain an appointment at one of the larger Massachusetts state sites.
  • If you are driving yourself, preferably alone, and go to a Massachusetts site, you do not need to quarantine as long as you go straight there and return right back to campus. However, if you take an Uber or public transportation, you are expected to observe an in-room restriction (staying in your room, doing classes remotely, and picking up meals to eat in your room) until your next two tests are negative. This will keep our community safe, and we expect you to abide by this in accordance with honor code expectation.

If you’ve been vaccinated

  • Vaccinated community members in the testing pool will continue to be tested and should continue to follow all campus protocols including masking, distancing, and completing the daily health check.
  • If a fully vaccinated faculty or staff member is identified as a close contact, they may continue working providing they have no symptoms. If any symptoms develop, they should complete the daily health check indicating so.
  • If a fully vaccinated faculty or staff member travels outside of Massachusetts, they may return to campus following a negative PCR test. 
  • Fully vaccinated students, given that they live in residential halls, are still required to quarantine when a close contact or following travel.
  • Fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff are asked to voluntarily inform the College of the date of last vaccination via the Spring 2021 Toolbox.

Gatherings

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Indoor gatherings (with the exception of classes) are limited to 10 people. Outdoor gatherings may have up to 25 people with approval and supervision.

Wear a mask

graphic of three women wearing masks over their noses and mouths
  • All members of the Wellesley community and all vendors are required to wear a mask at all times on campus except when in a personal space like a residence hall room or an individual office with a door.
  • The College is providing nonsurgical, disposable masks to faculty and staff who will be regularly interacting with students on campus. Administrators for each department, in conjunction with department heads, should determine what supplies are needed for faculty and staff who teach and work on campus. To order face masks and other COVID-19 safety supplies (such as personal bottles of hand sanitizer), department managers or administrators should place an order through the work order system (service request button) on the Facilities website. Indicate the items needed and the amounts for the first term. You will be contacted when the order is ready for pick up at the Distribution Center loading dock. Community members are also able to use their own masks, as long as it meets all the requirements of a protective face mask. No masks with filters are allowed. Scarves, bandanas, or pulling a shirt up over your face are also not acceptable. Masks must have more than one layer (preferably 3 layers).
  • The Office of Accessibility and Disability Resources can help with accommodations for community members for whom masks are not medically safe/appropriate and for other circumstances such as special masks for those who are hearing-impaired.

Watch your distance

graphic depicting distance between two people keeping 6 ft apart
  • The best way to stay safe is to maintain six feet of physical distance in common and shared spaces on campus. Look for signs around campus that will make it easy to navigate.
  • Social gatherings and events are limited to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outside, using masks and physical distancing as safety measures.

Wash your hands

graphic of a person washing their hands at a sink
  • Remember to wash and sanitize your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • More than 500 hand sanitizing stations have been installed across campus, in common spaces, and at entrances and exits.
  • The student Balance Health Educators have created a video on hand washing, sanitizing, and other tips for staying healthy.