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. 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.
Complete the symptom tracker (formerly known as the daily health check) only when you are experiencing symptoms. A nurse from OEHN, our occupational health and safety consultant, will follow up with faculty and staff and Health Services will follow up with students. If you are experiencing symptoms, do not come to campus (faculty and staff) or leave your room (students).
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 any unvaccinated close contacts quickly identified and quarantined.
Regular asymptomatic testing
All faculty, staff, and students on campus are tested once weekly as part of a pooled PCR testing program. (Students will be tested twice weekly through at least mid-October.) With pooled testing, all individuals are tested using a nasal swab, and the samples are analyzed in groups of 10.
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). If you have never tested before, you will be prompted to register with an email from Wellesley COVID Testing (email@example.com via notify.schooltesting.org). You should use your main Wellesley email address (the one with your username) and not one of your aliases when you register to view your results and select a password. Subsequent test results will come from this same email address. You will also receive a text from 38656. 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.
A pooled test will return one of the following results:
- No follow-up testing needed: Test result was negative for COVID-19.
- Inconclusive, Unsatisfactory, TNP, or Invalid: The pooled test samples could not be analyzed for one or more reasons. If this occurs, each person in the pool will receive an email and/or text with instructions to retest immediately with another pooled test.
- Individual retest required: COVID-19 was detected in the pool, but it does not mean there was a positive COVID-19 test for any particular individual in the pool.
If COVID-19 is detected in a pooled test:
- Each person in the pool will receive an email and/or text with instructions to retest immediately at the College Club with both individual BinaxNOW (rapid antigen) and individual PCR tests.
- The College Club is open seven days per week to facilitate immediate retesting for students, faculty, and staff. Please see the chart below for weekly schedules.
- Do not go to class, extracurricular activities, the office, or start your shift until you have been retested.
- Take extra precautions until you receive negative results from both your BinaxNOW rapid test and your individual PCR follow-up tests. Please wear a mask at all times (even outdoors), maintain physical distancing, and do not eat with others on campus.
- An individual is not considered positive until an individual positive test result is confirmed. Individuals will be isolated immediately based on a positive BinaxNOW rapid test, subject to confirmation through the individual PCR result.
- You will be contacted regarding BinaxNOW test results as soon as 30 minutes after testing. Negative results will be shared via email and text, similar to other test results. Faculty and staff will receive notification of a positive result through a phone call from an OEHN nurse. Students will hear from Health Services. To ensure quick notification, please make sure to provide the testing staff with your correct mobile number before leaving the testing center make sure you have registered to receive test results.
This is asymptomatic testing: if you have symptoms, you should not show up for testing and instead fill out the Symptom Tracker and see the guidelines for symptomatic testing.
Each Saturday evening, you will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org assigning you testing day and location based on the preferences you indicate in the Fall 2021 Toolbox. You may come without an appointment on your assigned day.
7 to 11 a.m. and 12 to 4 p.m.
College Club and Beebe
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
12 to 4 p.m.
College Club and Beebe
* Saturday testing is only for retests and students who may have missed their test earlier in the week.
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) if they have symptoms. It may be that the PCP will direct them to find a COVID-19 test. 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.
Close contacts who are vaccinated will not need to quarantine unless they are symptomatic, but they will be asked to take additional precautions such as wearing a mask and physical distancing for seven days and testing twice that week to protect against the spread of infection. Symptomatic and unvaccinated close contacts will need to quarantine. (The CDC defines close contacts as those who were indoors within six feet of a person who tested positive for a cumulative total of 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.)
Wellesley has 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 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
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.
Symptomatic or unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts will be moved to designated quarantine spaces on campus for up to 10 days.
The Office of Residential Life will support students in moving to isolation or quarantine space and arrange for meal delivery. Class deans are available to consult with the faculty to make accommodations so that students who need to isolate or quarantine can keep up with their classes.
For faculty and staff
Employees who test positive will need to isolate at home for 10 days. A nurse from the Occupational Environmental and Health Network (OEHN) will be in touch with the employee to monitor their health. Contact tracers will reach out to identify close contacts (more than 15 minutes within six feet indoors within a 24-hour period).
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’s position allows for remote work, then the employee may continue to work remotely during the isolation or quarantine period.
Close contacts who are vaccinated, including faculty teaching an in-person class in which a student has tested positive, will be contacted by email or text and notified they are a close contact. Contacts who are vaccinated do not need to quarantine unless they are symptomatic. You will be asked to take additional precautions to protect against the spread of infection: masking, physical distancing particularly when eating with others, being attentive to symptoms, and testing twice during the week.
Close contacts who are unvaccinated will be contacted by phone and will need to quarantine for 10 days (students are moved to quarantine space on campus, and faculty and staff will quarantine at home).
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 as well as their subsequent testing schedule. Human Resources will notify the employee’s manager of the return to work date, and employees should check in with their manager before returning.
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.
The most effective way for us to help keep our community, families, and loved ones safe is to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with one of the vaccines approved by the FDA or the WHO. Vaccination is free and widely available.
Vaccination is required for all students, faculty teaching in the fall, and for administrative and union staff, subject only to approved medical or religious exemptions or disability accommodations.
All students returning in the fall were required to upload proof of vaccination by July 15. Any student who has not uploaded their proof of vaccination or contacted the Health Services office will be put on a leave of absence for the fall semester.
All faculty and administrative and union staff were required to upload proof of vaccination to Workday by August 2. Any employee who has not supplied proof of at least partial vaccination and does not have an approved medical or religious exemption will be placed on unpaid leave.
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 indoors.
- If a fully vaccinated community member is identified as a close contact, they may continue working or going to class providing they have no symptoms. If any symptoms develop, they should complete the symptom tracker indicating so and not go to work or class.
Departments and individuals should work with the Events and Scheduling Office to plan in-person events.
- Departments are welcome to hold student panel events in accordance with mask requirements and posted capacity limits, particularly in larger indoor spaces.
- Food is permitted at outdoor activities and gatherings of up to 50 people.
- We may permit larger student events outdoors that have some snacks/drinks if students wear masks when not eating/drinking. These will have to be approved by the Office of Student Involvement with consideration given to health and safety. No guests will be permitted at these events.
- No other group meals or eating inside academic and administrative buildings will be permitted due to the mask requirements.
Wear a mask
For information on proper mask fitting, recommendations for the most protective types of masks, and cleaning tips visit the CDC’s guide to masks. Any faculty member or student-facing staff member who would like KN95 masks should put in a request using the Facilities website service request form.
- Masks are required inside all academic and administrative buildings.
- Masks are required to be worn in shared College vehicles or when traveling together in a vehicle for a College-related purpose.
- Students do not need to wear masks in residence halls unless they are in a common room. Students should wear masks while in the dining hall unless they are eating.
- Staff are not required to wear masks when alone in private offices. The College recommends maintaining physical distancing to the extent possible if groups are gathered indoors.
- Masks are not required outdoors, except at gatherings of more than 50 people.