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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 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.

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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.

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 Fall 2020 Documentation Toolbox.

Testing and tracing

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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 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:

  • The upper level of the College Club in the Wall Room 
  • The lower level of the Davis Parking Garage near the Lulu Wang Campus Center

The scheduling app will run once a week on Sundays to generate the testing schedule for the following week. Testing results will be available within 24 hours from the time the Broad Institute receives the test samples. Negative results can be accessed through the CareEvolve portal that is accessible through the Toolbox. 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.

Contact tracing

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.

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.

Faculty, staff, and students who are studying remotely should 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.

Isolation and quarantine

woman sitting on a bed

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. 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.

See the student isolation and quarantine guide as well as the flowchart for students for more details.

For faculty and staff

Employees will isolate or quarantine at home. 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 but asymptomatic, and the employee’s position allows for remote work, then the employee may continue to work remotely during the isolation period. See how this works in the 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.

Flu shots

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Per Massachusetts state officials, the influenza (flu) vaccine is now required for all college students to help combat the effects of COVID-19. All students who are on campus this fall or who plan to be on campus in the spring must provide proof that they have had a flu shot by December 30. 

Students can currently receive flu shots on campus by calling Health Services (781.283.2810) during business hours to schedule a flu shot appointment. Flu shots are also available through the COVID-19 testing sites on a rotating basis.

Faculty and staff are also strongly encouraged to get a flu shot.


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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.

Per Governor Baker’s executive order, as of November 6, 2020, there is a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and students should avoid unnecessary activities that could lead to increased COVID-19 transmission during these hours.

The three Ws

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Watch your distance

  • 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.

Wear a mask

  • 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.
  • 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.

Wash and sanitize your hands

  • More than 500 hand sanitizing stations have been installed across campus, in common spaces, and at entrances and exits.