An indoor mask mandate will be in effect on campus for all students, faculty, staff and visitors beginning Tuesday, August 24, President Clayton Rose announced in an email to the College community Monday morning. There are three exceptions to the indoor mask mandate: face coverings are not required for individuals while actively eating, for students in their own residence halls or for faculty and staff in their own offices.
“This is a precautionary measure given the high rates of infection in many places around the country, and because we have students—and some faculty and staff—traveling through airports and arriving from many locations,” Rose wrote in the email.
The mandate, Rose wrote, will hopefully be temporary. The College hopes to lift the face-covering requirement for vaccinated individuals on Saturday, September 4 if the series of rapid antigen and PCR tests administered during the arrival period for students to campus shows low levels of infection.
First-year students will arrive on campus Tuesday and are required to have a rapid antigen test upon arrival and a PCR test Saturday, August 28. Upperclass students will also be required to have an antigen test upon arrival between August 29 and 31 and a PCR test on September 2 and 3.
Beginning September 2, the College will test samples of individuals on campus twice weekly as part of a program with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. The testing schedule, however, is subject to change as needed.
On Monday afternoon, COVID-19 Resources Coordinator Mike Ranen sent an email informing the campus community that two fully vaccinated students on campus tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. The students had both experienced mild symptoms and are now in isolation.
“It is likely that SARS-COV-2 will be with us for some time,” Rose wrote, “and so we will need to learn how to manage it, both to protect the health and safety of our community and to operate in ways that are as close to normal as possible.”