Planning Update for November 24, 2020

Thanksgiving Week Planning Update: Quarantine Period and Lower-Risk State Changes, Broad Institute Virtual Tour

Level 2: Heightened Awareness

New Length of Quarantine Rule Adopted by Amherst

Updated state quarantine guidelines issued this week regarding those identified as “close contacts” of COVID-19-positive individuals have been adopted by the College. The length of quarantine for a close contact is now 10 days (reduced from the previously mandated period of 14 days), provided that the person:

  • has no symptoms,
  • tests negative at day eight or later (using a molecular diagnostic test, which is the test the College uses), and 
    continues to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

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.

Planning Update for November 19, 2020

Thanksgiving Holiday, Frost Library Closure, All-Staff Town Hall

Level 2: Heightened Awareness

Travel Reminders and Thanksgiving Celebrations

  • As a result of the rapid growth in the number of COVID-19 infections across the country in recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted on its website today that any travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19, and suggested that “postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.” 
  • We remind those who do choose to travel to be especially vigilant and safe in doing so, and to review the College’s COVID-19 Travel Policy (which requires you to register any travel in advance), as well as the Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Order
  • Travelling or not, we urge everyone to be attentive to follow some new holiday-specific recommendations, tips and guidance published by the CDC.
  • In addition, we implore you to do your part to keep our community and yours healthy by continuing to practice physical distancing of at least six feet, to wear masks in public, to wash hands frequently, to clean and disinfect surfaces, to respect group-size limits and to avoid crowded indoor spaces.

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. 

Positive COVID-19 Test Result

November 18, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

We have received one additional positive COVID-19 test result for a staff member, who is in isolation at home and is currently asymptomatic. Anyone who is determined to have been in close contact with this individual by our contact tracing team will need to quarantine for 14 days and will continue to be tested throughout their quarantine period.The dashboard reflects this change. 

Positive COVID-19 Test Results

November 17, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

The purpose of this note is to inform you that we received positive COVID-19 test results today for two staff members. They are both currently isolating at home and are asymptomatic. Our contact tracing team is working to identify the individuals who were in close contact with the staff members—currently one student and six staff. Those individuals will now quarantine for 14 days and will be tested during that period. 

Positive COVID-19 Test Results

November 16, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

I’m writing to let you know that we received three positive COVID-19 test results today for two students and one faculty member. We are in communication with each of them about their test results, their well-being, and their contacts. The students are being moved to isolation, and the faculty member will remain in isolation at home. Anyone who is determined to have been in close contact with any of these three individuals will need to quarantine for 14 days and will continue to be tested throughout their quarantine period. The dashboard has been updated, as it is each business day morning.

Planning Update for November 12, 2020

Celebrating Thanksgiving, November 30 Closure, Continued COVID-19 Testing, Employee Resources and More

Level 2: Heightened Awareness

Thanksgiving Celebrations and Travel

  • As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase significantly across Massachusetts, New England and the country, we urge everyone to be vigilant and safe in celebrating Thanksgiving by following some new holiday-specific recommendations, tips and guidance published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • We also remind those who choose to travel to be vigilant and safe in doing so, and to review the College’s COVID-19 Travel Policy (which requires you to register any travel in advance), as well as the Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Order.
    In addition, please do your part to keep our community healthy by continuing to practice physical distancing of at least six feet, wearing masks in public, washing hands frequently, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, respecting group-size limits and avoiding crowded indoor spaces.

Student Positive COVID Test

November 11, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, and Faculty,

I’m writing to let you know that we received a positive COVID-19 test result for a student today. They are now being moved to isolation on campus. Per our protocol, we are conducting contact tracing and will move to quarantine any individuals who are determined to have been in close contact with the student -- three students are being moved to quarantine so far; they will continue to be tested throughout their quarantine period. The dashboard has been updated, as it is each weekday morning.

Planning Update for November 6, 2020

Personal Travel Reminder; Staff Survey Results and Presentation Online

Level 2: Heightened Awareness

Reminder about Personal Travel

Travel increases the risk of exposure to and transmission of the coronavirus. Please refamiliarize yourself with and adhere to, whenever possible, the College’s travel restrictions, which are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of State and State of Massachusetts guidelines.

Planning Update for November 3, 2020

New Statewide COVID-19 Rules; Town Halls and Video Forums Now Online

 Level 2: Heightened Awareness

New Statewide Measures To Curb Rising COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker announced a series of targeted regulations aimed at stemming the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Massachusetts. Among the new rules for residents: wearing a face mask at all times in all public places—even where individuals are able to maintain six feet of distance from others—and limiting private gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 outside. Read the announcement for more information.   

Planning Update for October 30, 2020

Preliminary Spring Plans, Winter COVID-19 Testing, CDC “Close Contact” Definition

Current Campus Operating Status:

 Level 2: Heightened Awareness

 Preliminary Spring Plans Announced

Based on the College’s experiences this fall and our community’s general adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols, Amherst plans to bring approximately 1,200 students in the spring (versus the 970 or so who arrived at the beginning of the fall semester) back to campus, President Biddy Martin announced on Wednesday. Barring unforeseen developments in the course of the pandemic that could necessitate a shift, all seniors, juniors, first-years, and transfer students, as well as those students in the sophomore class whose home circumstances impede their academic progress, will be invited to return. 

Planning Update for October 27, 2020

Child Care Survey, CDC “Close Contact” Definition, Town of Amherst Status Change

Child Care Survey

Last week, the Office of Human Resources emailed a Child Care Survey aimed at gathering feedback from staff and faculty who are parents of or caregivers to young children. Surveys, which should take about three to five minutes to complete, are due by 5 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 30. Please visit the Support for Caregivers page on the HR website for information on the family, work and self-care services Amherst already provides, including many through Care.com

Planning Update for October 23, 2020

Child Care Survey, College Closures, Health Survey Changes, Campus IDs

Child Care Survey

Today, the Office of Human Resources emailed a Child Care Survey aimed at gathering feedback from staff and faculty who are parents of or caregivers to young children. Surveys, which should take about three to five minutes to complete, are due by 5 p.m. next Friday, October 30, Please visit the Support for Caregivers page on the HR website for information on the family, work and self-care services Amherst already provides, including many through Care.com