Update to COVID-19 Protocols

Dear Wheaton Community,

In January, we had implemented intentional onboarding protocols to prioritize the safe and phased return of our faculty, staff, and students. As we began in-person teaching and learning, we were able to lift many of those safety protocols as of the first day of in-person classes. 

This approach has helped us manage the recent surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. We had 90 community members test positive through the on-campus testing center during the onboarding process, compared to 19 who have tested positive since the first day of in-person classes.  

Based on testing data and in adherence to evolving guidance from the CDC and the state of Massachusetts, the COVID-19 Task Force and President’s Council are adjusting the following protocols:

Guest Policy in Residence Halls and Theme Houses

Effective on Saturday, February 12, students may host the number of guests in their room that adhere to the typical room capacity limit and are no longer restricted to only one Wheaton visitor per resident per room. At this time, only students in our testing cadence may continue to enter the Residence Halls and Theme Houses. Students are still expected to be masked when visiting other rooms and houses. Non-student visitors to the residence hall are not yet permitted at this time. 

Athletic, Performance, and Campus Events

Effective on Saturday, February 12, external visitors may return to campus to attend in-person academic settings, athletic and performance activities, and college-sponsored campus events. These visitors are expected to remain masked at all times when indoors. Program and event managers must adhere to the current capacity limits for programming and event spaces. Non-Wheaton visitors are not permitted in the residence halls and theme houses and are not permitted to stay overnight on campus.

Testing Requirement

Effective on Monday, February 21, community members who are up-to-date on their vaccinations (defined by fully vaccinated and boosted) will be reduced to a required testing cadence of ONCE per week. Community members who do not meet this definition of up-to-date on vaccinations will continue to be required to test on campus TWICE per week. As a result of this change in testing cadence, the testing center’s operating hours starting February 21 will be Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., closed 12 – 1 p.m.

Booster Compliance Needed to Adjust Additional Protocols

The college is committed to adapting policies that prioritize the health and safety of all of our community members as we prepare to enter the endemic stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force is prepared to lift additional restrictions at the end of the month as the conditions on and off-campus allow. One contributing factor that would help our community move forward into endemic operations sooner is compliance with the Booster Requirement.  

If you have not yet submitted your CDC card to comply with the Booster Requirement, please do so as soon as possible. As a reminder, students should email a picture of their updated CDC vaccination card to [email protected]. Faculty and Staff should log in to Window on InsideWheaton to update their COVID-19 vaccination information.

Through the many challenges of this pandemic, our community has bonded together to persist and preserve those traditions and experiences that make our community unique. As the likelihood of an endemic phase is stronger now than at any point throughout the last 24 months, we are confident that our community will continue to support each other as we look to get back to better!

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