Summer COVID-19 Policies and June 1 Update

Dear Wheaton Community,

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has announced that all state COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted as of Saturday, May 29.  Throughout the past 14 months, the Return to Campus Task Force has carefully considered federal, state, and local guidance in setting our campus protocols while first and foremost prioritizing the health and safety of our community.    

As such, the following campus policies and protocols will take effect on Saturday, May 29:

Vaccinations

All students are required to be vaccinated and submit proof of their vaccination to Health Services (email health_services@wheatoncollege.edu) by August 1, 2021. Students currently living on campus are encouraged to be vaccinated by July 1, 2021 to hopefully allow for additional policy modifications.  Employees are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.  

Symptom Checker 

All residential students and employees conducting work on campus will be required to continue to complete the symptom checker on a daily basis. Students who are experiencing symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should stay in their room, report symptoms in CoVerified, and contact Norton Medical Center to discuss next steps. Employees who are experiencing symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should consult with their Primary Care Physician (PCP) and get tested if their PCP deems appropriate, and should not return to campus until they are 24 hours symptom-free.

Testing 

All residential students and employees working in student-facing positions on campus, including student employees, will be required to test weekly regardless of vaccination status. Testing appointments can be scheduled using the CoVerified App and are available Mondays 1-4 p.m. (Tuesdays when Monday is a holiday) and Thursdays 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Quarantine and Isolation 

Students who are fully vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days and are asymptomatic will not be required to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case. They should continue with their testing cadence, and monitor for symptoms daily.  Faculty and staff who are identified as a close contact of a positive case may not be required to stay off campus so long as they are cleared by a healthcare professional as fully vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days and are asymptomatic

Masks 

Masks or face coverings must be worn inside any Wheaton facility, except where unsafe due to a medical condition or disability.  Residential students when inside their bedroom with their roommates do not need to wear face coverings.  Masks do not need to be worn outside, unless social distancing cannot be maintained.  Face coverings are required at all times at events, whether held indoors or outdoors, except for when eating and  drinking. Additionally, masks or face coverings are required when present in spaces or interacting with members of the summer camps on campus, who are managing different guidance for working with children. 

Social Distancing 

It is expected that the campus community should follow these social distancing practices:

  • Maintain at least 6 feet from other people 
  • Avoid crowded places and large gatherings
  • Continue to utilize virtual meeting and event options

Wheaton Personal Travel Protocol 

Students – We encourage our summer resident students to continue to limit their travel off campus. If they travel out of the state or arrive from out of state, we require a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts unless the student provides proof that they are fully vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Absent a negative PCR test, student travelers who are not vaccinated and who have not had COVID-19 in the past 90 days are required to quarantine off-campus in Massachusetts for 10 days.  

Employees – Employees returning to Massachusetts are advised to get a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts unless they are fully vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Absent a negative PCR test, employee travelers are advised to quarantine for 10 days.Travelers may also test out of the quarantine advisory after arrival in Massachusetts, as long as they quarantine until receiving a negative test result.  

College-sponsored Travel 

Domestic travel is allowed for events, meetings, and/or research that do not provide the participants with the option to attend virtually.  Community members will be required to complete the College’s travel registry and a COVID-19 waiver after receiving approval from their divisional officer.  It is expected that the Wheaton Travel Protocol outlined above and all other safety protocols must be adhered to throughout the trip.

Visitors

Only Wheaton Community Members and tour participants guided by Admission and Athletics are permitted to enter campus buildings.  Students and employees may host non-Wheaton guests, but they must remain outdoors. External vendors conducting work on campus may enter buildings as necessary after prior approval, but must follow all college COVID-19 protocols.  

Gatherings, Events, and Meetings

Virtual meetings and events are still encouraged throughout the summer, but Wheaton community members may host in-person, pre-approved gatherings while adhering to all other college safety protocols.

Indoor Dining

There will be no indoor dining in the Balfour-Hood Campus Center, but food is available for grab and go Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hood Café. Outdoor tables and seating are available for use while adhering to other safety policies and protocols.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment and compliance to the campus policies and protocols. Please contact covidtesting@wheatoncollege.edu with any questions or concerns.  

The Return to Campus Task Force will continue to review federal, state, and local guidance while monitoring conditions on and off campus as we prepare for and finalize policies and protocols for the Fall 2021 semester.  Updates on the fall will continue to be communicated on at least a monthly basis throughout the summer. 

Stay safe and be well,

Dean Zack