Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff Members,
We hope you are enjoying a restful and rejuvenating summer. With the start of the fall semester approaching, we are writing to share some updates to the College’s COVID-19 policies.
Fortunately, the pandemic is in a much different state than it was at the start of the last academic year. Virtually everyone in our campus community is fully vaccinated with at least one booster shot, as required; tests and treatments for those who contract the virus are readily available; and, in the majority of cases, the dominant strains of COVID-19 appear to cause mild symptoms, if any at all. We’ve also learned a tremendous amount during the past two years about how the virus behaves.
Given all of this, and based on guidance from our medical and public health professionals, we intend to continue a shift in our approach to dealing with COVID-19 that began last spring by further easing some requirements while also maintaining measures to help keep the community healthy and safe. The following updates are effective Aug. 15.
This past spring, the College moved to optional masking for most indoor settings with some exceptions, including for those attending class. Effective Aug. 15, masks will be optional in all indoor campus spaces, including classroom settings.
That said, wearing proper masks continues to be an effective way to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, and we encourage you to continue masking indoors, particularly those of you who are immunocompromised or live with individuals who are at a higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19. We recognize that individuals have varying levels of comfort when it comes to masking. We urge all members of our community to respect the individual choices of your friends, peers, and colleagues.
The College is not requiring individuals to perform regular COVID-19 tests. Individuals must test if you (A) are experiencing symptoms or (B) have been identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 (see additional details below).
Students must perform a test within 48 hours prior to their arrival on campus, regardless of symptoms. Students who test positive must immediately notify the Worth Health Center and will have to delay their arrival in keeping with the isolation protocols detailed below. Worth Health Center staff will provide more information. Students are required to schedule a move-in reservation. Registration information and additional details are available on the Office of Student Engagement Fall 2022 Arrival site.
Given the widespread availability of test kits, many of which are either free or covered by insurance, the College will no longer provide an unlimited number of tests to students and employees. Instead, we will provide you with up to 10 rapid tests (five kits each containing two tests) for the fall semester. Tests will be available for pickup at the College Post Office and the OneCard Office beginning Aug. 15. Please remember that you’ll need your OneCard to pick up test kits. We encourage you to keep a rapid test kit at home or in your dorm room so you have one on hand if you develop symptoms and need to test.
Isolation Housing and Protocols
Last spring, students who tested positive for COVID-19 isolated in place rather than relocating to designated isolation housing. We will continue that practice this fall; the College is not maintaining separate isolation housing for those who test positive for COVID-19. Students who test positive must immediately report the results to the Worth Health Center, at which point Health and Wellness staff members will provide further instructions.
Isolation in place will last for a minimum of five days, with the first day being the first full day after either (A) you tested positive for COVID-19, or (B) your symptoms developed, whichever came first. Roommates will be considered a “close contact” and will need to test immediately upon being notified as well as on day five from their roommate’s positive test result. Roommates who are close contacts must also immediately test if they develop symptoms. Students who live a reasonable distance from campus will be encouraged to isolate at home if that is a viable option. If the student is not feverish and feeling better, they can leave isolation after day five, but they must wear a mask indoors from days 6-10.
- Additional information on students isolation protocols
Faculty and Staff Members
Isolation protocols for faculty and staff members remain the same. Those who test positive must not come to campus and are required to isolate for at least five days, with the first day being the first full day after either (A) you tested positive for COVID-19, or (B) your symptoms developed, whichever came first. All employees who test positive for COVID-19 are required to notify the COVID-19 Employee Test Team (CETT) at CETT@swarthmore.edu and Theresa Maguire in Human Resources at email@example.com.
- Additional information on faculty and staff isolation protocols
Please note that, at this time, the College continues to offer eligible employees up to 10 days of special COVID-19 leave time. For information on eligibility, please refer to the COVID-19 Paid Leave policy.
Large Gatherings and Events
Generally, large gatherings and events may take place without restrictions. Organizers of College-sponsored events may, in consultation with Events Management, require additional COVID-19 protocols, depending on the nature of the event. Students with questions about social gatherings and other student events should continue to consult with the Office of Student Engagement.
This is a summary of some of the more substantive changes to our COVID-19 policies. We encourage you to visit the College’s COVID-19 Information website for more details and guidelines. As a reminder, we continually monitor changing circumstances and will adjust our policies and protocols accordingly.
Thank you for your ongoing patience. If you have questions about these or other aspects of our COVID-19 policies and practices, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the COVID-19 Planning Group