Spring 2021 Pre-Arrival Testing

January 20, 2021

Dear On-Campus Students, 

I hope that everyone is doing well and staying healthy.  There will be a couple of additional messages this week as we work to provide needed information.  The following message focuses on the pre-arrival testing expectations. 

As I mentioned in my message to you last week, all students 18 and older who will be traveling to campus from one of the 50 U.S. states or Washington, D.C. for the spring semester are required to self-administer an at-home test and receive their results prior to departing for campus. 

Spring 2021: On-Campus Health and Safety Protocols

January 13, 2021

Dear Students, 

As you prepare to return to campus, we want to provide information about the robust testing and assessment protocols designed to keep our campus community as healthy as possible that will be in effect for spring semester. This communication includes information about the following:  

Positive COVID-19 Test Result

January 9, 2021

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,

  • We received a positive test result this morning for a staff member, and they are now in isolation at home. One close contact who has been identified by our contact tracing staff is in quarantine at home.
  • The staff member will continue to be monitored by the College. The dashboard will be updated on Monday morning.
  • As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise across the country, we urge you to:

Spring 2021 Campus Arrival Process

January 6, 2021

Dear Students,

As you return to campus from different places around the globe, our goal is to create an arrival process focused on your health and the health of our community.  Whether you were on campus this fall or not, aspects of the process for spring will be different, so please read this message carefully and thoroughly in order to have a full understanding of what you need to do. This email details the following information:

Positive COVID Test Result, Arriving Student

January 5, 2021

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

This morning we received a positive COVID-19 test result for a student who, with permission, had arrived on campus this weekend. The individual is currently in College isolation housing, is feeling well and will continue to be cared for. Contact tracing is complete and has identified no close contacts in the College community. The result was received after this morning's regular update to the dashboard and will be reflected in tomorrow's update.

Forthcoming Spring 2021 Communications

January 4, 2020

Dear Students,

Happy January! I hope you all have been able to find ways to rejuvenate this break and that you are starting the new year healthy and rested.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sending messages on Wednesday afternoons with updated information for the Spring 2021 semester. These messages will provide information about a range of topics in order to best prepare you to have a successful semester whether you will be on campus or studying remotely.

Positive COVID-19 Test Result, Staff Member Inbox

December 30, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Today we received a positive COVID-19 test result for a staff member. The individual did not work on campus recently, and contact tracing has identified no close contacts in the College community. The staff member is in isolation at home, is feeling well and will continue to be monitored. The College’s dashboard has been updated.

Positive COVID-19 Test Result, Staff Member

December 29, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Today we received a positive COVID-19 test result for a staff member. The individual was on campus yesterday, but contact tracing has identified no close contacts in the College community. The staff member is in isolation at home, has mild symptoms and will continue to be monitored. The College’s dashboard has been updated.

Changes to J-Term Return to Campus

December 28, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you are doing well and getting some rest during the break. 

I am writing to share some important information that significantly changes our plans to bring students back to campus for J-Term and will alter your plans to return to campus next week.

On Thursday, December 24, as part of enhanced measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Education jointly issued new guidance (PDF) that prevents colleges and universities “from bringing any students back to campus until Monday, January 18.” The restriction does not apply to students who are currently residing on campus or to students who have no other housing options during this time period. However, those students with available off-campus housing who planned to return to campus to access facilities for research purposes or to have a better learning environment for J-Term will not be able to return to campus at this time. This change in guidance requires that we rethink the J-Term return-to-campus process and may require changes to which students will be approved to return to campus during the period of time between January 18th and the start of the spring semester.  We will communicate with you as quickly as possible in the coming week about our adjusted plans in order to allow you the most time to make your own plans. 

Positive COVID-19 Test Results

December 22, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Today we received positive COVID-19 test results for two staff members. Neither individual had been on campus for the time during which they would have been infectious, and both are in isolation at home. One reports no symptoms and one reports mild symptoms, but both are doing well. Contact tracing has identified no close contacts in the College community, and the two individuals had no contact with each other. Both will continue to be monitored. The College’s dashboard has been updated.

Spring Semester Update: New Start Date

December 16, 2020

Dear Students, Families, Faculty, and Staff,

Congratulations—fall semester 2020 is now officially complete and we made it through, which is a testament to your cooperation, hard work, and community-mindedness. Thank you.

Our conversations over the past several weeks have been focused on what lies ahead. As I’m sure you know, public health experts are predicting a very difficult winter. I write today to tell you that we have moved the start date of the spring 2020 semester to Monday, February 15, from the previously communicated Wednesday, February 3.

Positive COVID-19 Test Result

November 21, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Late last night we received a positive COVID-19 test result for a staff member. The individual is in isolation and is currently asymptomatic and feeling well. Contact tracing has identified three close contacts, who will need to quarantine for 10 days, per the new Massachusetts guidance on length of quarantine period, while continuing to be tested. 

Slight Delay in COVID-19 Test Results

November 20, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We have been notified by the Broad Institute that turnaround times for receiving test results will be longer than usual. They have indicated that you can expect to receive your results within 36-48 hours of their receipt of the test. (Samples are generally delivered to the lab within 4-6 hours of being administered.) Turnaround times should return to the normal approximately 14 hours by early next week. Please note that the delays do not affect the accuracy of the tests.

Positive COVID-19 Test Result

November 18, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

This evening we received a positive COVID-19 test result for a student. The student is in isolation, is being cared for and is currently asymptomatic and feeling well. Contact tracing has identified four close contacts, who will need to quarantine for 14 days while continuing to be tested. The dashboard will be updated tomorrow morning.