Fall 2021 Health & Safety Protocols

October 19, 2021

stickers saying I got my covid-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccination

All students, faculty, and staff must be fully vaccinated in order to return to campus. The only exceptions are those granted on medical or religious grounds. 

Students who have not yet verified their vaccination should submit documentation through our patient portal by logging in and clicking on the “Upload” tab and selecting “COVID vaccine documentation” to upload the paperwork immediately.

Students who arrive on campus without a vaccination record, or who have not already arranged for an exemption or communicated to the College the need to be vaccinated while on campus, will not receive their room key and will not be enrolled for the semester.

Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna), a single dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or following the protocol for other WHO-approved vaccines for students living outside the United States.

A person’s vaccination status is a personal medical matter and, as a result, individuals must not ask others about their vaccination status. Choices that people make to protect themselves, their family, or the community are theirs to make and one should not assume that simply because a person chooses to take certain precautions (e.g. wear a mask, distance, get tested), it communicates anything about their vaccination status.

Please reach out to Health Services at healthservice@amherst.edu (students) or Human Resources at hr@amherst.edu (employees) if you have questions. 


test tube with sample to be tested for covid

Testing

Student Testing

After the initial testing protocol upon arrival, all students will be tested two times a week. They will be assigned two testing days (the first day will be either Sunday or Monday and the second day will be either Wednesday or Thursday) and will be responsible for signing up for a time on those days. 

Faculty and Staff Testing

Faculty and staff who work the better part of three or more days will be tested two times per week, with at least one full day between tests; others will be tested one time per week. 


Contact Tracing

The College will continue to conduct contact tracing when we identify a positive COVID-19 case, which helps to identify close contacts who may need to be quarantined or follow other precautions, depending on their vaccination status. A person is considered a close contact if they have been within six feet of a COVID-19 positive person for 15 minutes or more during what is considered the infectious period, which starts 48 hours prior to positive diagnosis or onset of symptoms. If you are identified as a close contact, a College contact tracer will reach out to you via phone to discuss details.


Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days.

For students:

  • If you are in isolation, you must stay in isolation housing and may not go into other spaces on campus. You will receive information about how and where you may be outside in the immediate vicinity of your isolation housing.
  • Student Health Services will regularly check in with you and food will be delivered to you.
  • If you need to be in isolation, you will work with your class dean to communicate with your faculty members about how you will continue with your coursework when you cannot be in class during the estimated 10-day isolation period.
Quarantine

A vaccinated and asymptomatic individual identified as a close contact through contact tracing does not need to quarantine, but will be required to wear a mask at all times and take meals to-go only for eight days with a negative test on day seven. These individuals must also monitor their health and be in touch with Health Services (students) or their College contact tracer and personal doctor (employees) if they begin to have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and identified as a close contact of a person who is positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine for a minimum of eight days, per public health guidance.

For students:

  • If you are in quarantine, you must stay in quarantine housing and may not go into other spaces on campus. You will receive information about how and where you may be outside in the immediate vicinity of your quarantine location.
  • Health Services will regularly check in with you and food will be delivered to you.
  • If you need to be in quarantine, you will work with your class dean to communicate with your faculty members about how you will continue with your coursework when you cannot be in class during the estimated 7-day quarantine period.

Staff and faculty will isolate or quarantine at home.


mask

Masking

Amherst updated its mask requirements for the beginning of the fall semester and will continue to update the requirements in response to the evolving impact of COVID-19. See our latest mask requirements and related information.


Capacity Limits, Events, and Building Access

Updated November 5, 2021

  • Amherst College IDs must be worn at all times while on campus. Lanyards are available at the Testing Center.
  • Valentine will expand its occupancy to 100% for students. Students may dine in or get meals to go. Faculty and staff may get meals to go.
  • Campus gatherings and events will no longer be limited to 50% capacity, but cannot exceed 100% of space occupancy. In the case of pre-approved indoor events where some participants may be unmasked (some dance, theater and music performances, as well as athletic competitions), capacity limits will continue to be observed. Student Activities will provide guidance on how to schedule or register organizational and social events.
  • Buildings are generally accessible only to members of our community (and students in the Five College exchange program) who are part of our testing program. The exterior doors to general academic and administrative buildings will be accessible by your AC OneCard between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Non-College community members welcomeon campus and are allowed to attend official indoor events at the discretion of the Amherst departments or programs hosting them. The guidelines are:
      • All external visitors must show proof of full vaccination before they will be allowed entrance into the event. 

      • Those with medical or religious exemptions must show proof of a negative test result from a PCR test or an antigen test taken within 72 hours preceding the event.

      • Organizers of gatherings are responsible for ensuring compliance using a simple guide for verifying vaccination status and recent test results. 

      • Event organizations will also need to coordinate with the Amherst College Police Department to manage building access. 

  • Spectators are allowed at outdoor sporting events, but must comply with these guidelines.

washing hands under a faucet

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette 

All community members, regardless of vaccination status, should follow good hand hygiene. This includes washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands BEFORE and AFTER:

  • Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Touching your mask
  • Touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens  

All community members, regardless of vaccination status, should follow good respiratory etiquette. This includes covering coughs and sneezes and keeping hands clean. To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Throw used tissues in the trash
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands

Travel

 Effective October 20, 2021

STUDENTS
  • There will no longer be any restrictions on student travel.
  • We urge students to comply with COVID-19 protocols when they are off campus, including wearing a mask indoors, and continue to strongly discourage eating in restaurants/bars/cafes; the CDC offers guidance on the relative risks in restaurant and bar settings.
  • Students are asked to register their travel if traveling will result in missing their scheduled testing day. Missed tests must be made up immediately upon return. 
FACULTY AND STAFF
  • There will no longer be any restrictions on College-sponsored travel.
  • Anyone traveling on College business must follow CDC guidance.

student wearing masks at an outdoor event

Information for Students

Find information about dining, residential life, and more.

close-up of someone opening a swab package to take a covid test

COVID-19 Dashboard

See the results of testing of Amherst College faculty, staff, and students who are being tested routinely on campus. The data are updated every weekday.

Archive of Emails to the Community

Find messages emailed to students and families, Planning Updates for faculty and staff, and messages from Biddy Martin in our Community Messages section.


Amherst College is anticipating and responding to the impact of COVID-19. We continue to monitor the situation and are in contact with state and local public health officials, colleagues at the Five Colleges, and other relevant parties. This site is updated regularly and includes information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted sources. If you have questions, please email: covid19-info@amherst.edu