Happy 2021! We hope this message finds you well. We would like to provide you with some updates on the upcoming Spring semester. This message focuses on arrival and more academic information will be coming later this week. Of course, we continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving guidance while also collaborating with local and state leaders to navigate your safe return to campus.
As we have communicated previously, Spring semester classes begin on Wednesday, February 3rd and a staggered arrival process for residential students will take place from Saturday, January 30th through Tuesday, February 2nd. During that same arrival period, all students who are commuting and living off campus will also begin their COVID testing cadence. As in the Fall semester, students who have chosen to study remotely are not permitted to be on campus and are not part of the college’s COVID testing protocol. For those students who are still looking to change their residential status, please complete this form.
We currently expect most COVID-related policies from the Fall semester to be in place during the Spring semester. For those new to campus, we encourage you to review the Community Commitment and the Return to Campus website.
In the coming weeks, we implore our community to remain vigilant to circumstances that could risk exposure to COVID-19. Again this semester, we are asking that all community members self-quarantine for the 14 days prior to their scheduled return to campus to best mitigate the chance they may bring the virus with them when they return.
Arrival/Initial COVID Test Scheduling
As stated above, all students will be permitted to return to campus between January 30th and February 2nd. If you are planning to arrive after February 2nd, please contact Ed Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate your arrival planning. Unfortunately, due to the current state guidance and our campus safety protocols in place, arrival prior to January 30th is not permitted.
Beginning on the dates below, your initial Spring semester COVID test can be scheduled through the CoVerified app at at time that is most convenient for your travel plans.
- January 12th – New residential students and those traveling from outside the New England region will be cleared to schedule their initial on-campus test
- January 14th – All remaining residential students will be cleared to schedule their initial on-campus test
- January 18th – All commuter and off-campus students will be cleared to schedule their initial on-campus test
In addition to the COVID arrival protocols outlined below, please note the other requirements for check in including but not limited to: clearance from Student Financial Services, completion of the state’s flu shot mandate, and the submission of your health forms. A full list of arrival requirements and a detailed outline of the arrival process can be found on the Spring 2021 Arrival page.
Questions about test scheduling or issues related to the CoVerified app can be directed to email@example.com.
Once tested at our on-campus testing facility, residential students will be permitted to move into their room and will be under Modified Quarantine until they have received a negative test result from our testing center (usually within 24-48 hours). Modified quarantine requires a student to stay in their assigned room with the exception of using the bathroom and grab and go food at the dining facility. Additionally, all students will need a negative test result to access in-person classes, the bookstore, campus mailroom, etc.
State of Massachusetts Travel Restrictions
The State of Massachusetts has established strict travel guidelines for anyone entering the state. This is an evolving set of requirements, but as of today, the travel order impacts travelers from ALL STATES aside for those arriving from Hawaii and anyone traveling internationally.
Among other options, some may choose to satisfy these travel restrictions by providing a negative result of a COVID-19 test that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts. The college is providing at-home testing kits at no cost on a one time basis to assist in adhering to the Massachusetts travel order testing requirement. Students returning to campus from out-of-state can request a testing kit by completing this At-Home COVID-19 Test Kit form by January 15. Students may still choose to get tested at their own expense, though the at-home testing kit is an option to lessen the burden of locating a test and obtaining results within the 72-hour time requirement for the Massachusetts travel order.
Please note that test results from the college’s at-home test kits will likely not be available until January 31 so that should be considered when selecting your arrival date. More details on logistics related to receiving the at-home test kit will be emailed to those who submit the At-Home COVID-19 Test Kit form. Unfortunately, the at-home testing kit is not available to those students currently outside the continental United States.
On-Campus Testing for COVID-19
Testing will continue to be a focal point of our COVID-19 mitigation strategy. If you live on campus or will be regularly commuting to campus, your COVID-19 testing frequency is two times a week. All testing appointments can be made through the CoVerified app. We encourage you to schedule your tests in advance.
If you are experiencing any potential symptoms prior to arriving on campus, do not come to campus. You will not be permitted to get tested or check in if you are experiencing any symptoms. For a complete list of COVID-19 symptoms, please refer to the CDC website.
If you are testing on our campus for the FIRST TIME this semester, you must complete the InHouse Physicians electronic consent form if you have not done so already, and make sure you sign in both signature boxes at the bottom of the consent form. A confirmation email will be sent to you and you will need to show this either on your phone or on paper when you first go to testing. For your first on-campus test, you also need to print and complete the Broad consent form and bring it with you to that first test.
For information about on-campus COVID-19 testing, including how to get your test results, please visit the testing information web page on the Return to Campus website. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be patient with responses as we are working through a myriad of tasks with the return to campus, though we commit to a response within 1-2 business days.
Campus Life and General COVID-19 Policy Reminders
Given the current state of the pandemic, life on campus and COVID-19 policies will be similar to those in the Fall (and still very different from campus life prior to COVID-19). Please be sure you have read and understand all elements of our Community Commitment. It is essential that each member of the community shares in the responsibility to keep all of us safe here on campus.
Although we will continue to evaluate and adapt policies to best align with current guidance, below is an overview of what students should expect to start the semester, with an eye towards providing the best possible experience for a full, hybrid semester:
- Face coverings MUST be worn when outside of your residence hall room.
- Maintain social distance – avoid situations with large crowds and stay 6 feet apart from other individuals whenever possible.
- Limit off-campus travel to only essential reasons.
- Guests will be limited to those living in your specific residential building or house with expanded guest privileges occurring further into the semester after safety evaluations of COVID guidelines.
- Dining will be limited to take out options with in-person dining considered further into the semester.
- Campus events and programs will be primarily offered virtually until late February.
- The library will be open starting the first day of classes following implementation of COVID-19 campus protocols and library-specific policies.
- The fitness center, varsity athletics, club sports, and intramurals will have a gradual reopening with restrictions at the start of the semester.
- Counseling will continue to be accessible by all students. Call 508-286-3905, or submit an appointment request form on Inside Wheaton to initiate services. Tele-therapy sessions are available to students in the state of Massachusetts, while case management and consultation appointments are available to students outside of Massachusetts. Any active Wheaton College student may access the Mental Health Support Line (24/7 with languages other than English) by calling 508-286-3905 and choosing 1 when the voicemail comes on to speak with an on-call clinician for support, for any mental health need.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns:
- Campus policies and COVID-19 mitigation protocols – email@example.com
- Campus COVID-19 testing – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Campus housing – email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you soon!