Next Steps on Campus COVID-19 Protocols

Dear Wheaton Community,

Congratulations on the successful completion of the 2021-2022 academic year. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of the Class of 2022 next week!  

As a community, we have navigated the last 50 months of the pandemic with commitment and determination. We are proud of the contributions from all members of this community to continue prioritizing the well-being of the individuals and the collective community during this challenging time.

As we shift away from an emergency response model into more permanent and adaptable management of operations going forward, the COVID-19 Task Force is implementing the following updates to many of the protocols that reflect the current state of the pandemic. These protocols are for the next couple of months and we will plan to communicate our plans for Fall 2022 before August 1.

Indoor Masking

Effective May 15, 2022, indoor masking will be optional for all members of the community, and visitors to the community, who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. Masking is required for all when visiting the Counseling Center and Norton Medical Center. Additionally, masks are required for individuals who have tested positive in the last 10 days.

Symptom Monitoring

One of the most effective mitigation strategies has been and will continue to be symptom monitoring.  All community members are expected to continue to personally monitor themselves for symptoms to protect the community. 

  • If an employee is experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, they must not come to campus, must notify their supervisor, and are encouraged to take a rapid test and/or consult with medical professionals before returning to work. If symptoms are mild, and your position allows, you may be able to coordinate a remote work arrangement with your supervisor. If symptoms inhibit your ability to work remotely, or your position does not accommodate an alternate work arrangement, then paid sick leave or other paid time off must be used.
  • If a student is experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, they must not leave their room and should take a rapid test and/or consult with Norton Medical Center before resuming regular activities.

Testing

The college will discontinue surveillance testing for COVID-19 on May 26, 2022. Rapid tests remain available to community members who are experiencing symptoms, if necessary. These tests are available during office hours by contacting the Dean of Students Office at 508-286-8218 or Health Services at 508-286-8210.

Positive Test Result

Although the surveillance testing on campus will end on May 26, any community members who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate for 5 full days, regardless of a subsequent negative test result, as stated by CDC guidelines

After the surveillance testing on campus ends on May 26, any community members will report their positive COVID-19 test results through different channels:  

  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they should work with their supervisor as they normally would when having to take time off or work remotely due to illness.  Employees may consult with Human Resources if they have questions. 
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must complete this form, also available on the Community Reporting page of insideWheaton. The college will implement isolation-in-place protocols for any students on campus during the summer months. 

Timeline of isolation: The date of symptom onset is day 0 (if there are no symptoms, day 0 is the date of the test).  Community members are cleared to return to regular campus activities with a firm fitted mask on the morning of day 6 (days 1-5 are in isolation) as long as they are 24 hours fever free and all other symptoms are improving. Masking is required until 10 days after their positive test result.

Contact Tracing

Community members who test positive are encouraged to inform their close contacts of their positive test. Any person deemed a close contact should monitor for symptoms for 14 days. As long as the close contact is up-to-date with vaccinations and asymptomatic, no quarantine is required.  The CDC recommends close contacts test five days after potential exposure.  

We will use the summer as an opportunity to pilot potential long-term strategies. We are confident that, with more than two years of experience under quite variable conditions, we have the understanding and processes to allow for a flexible approach moving forward. 

We are grateful for our entire community’s response throughout the past fifty months as well as how we adapt moving forward. Thank you!

Stay safe and be well,

Darnell Parker
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Zachary Irish
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force