Planning Update for June 8, 2022

Campus Protocols Updated

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 1: Baseline COVID-19 Operations (corrected 6/9/22)

The following adjusted protocols will be in effect beginning Monday, June 13.

Testing

  • Everyone on campus tests once a week (no change from the current protocol).

  • Students who are working on campus or participating in campus programs but living off campus are required to participate in the testing program. Those students should complete this form

  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 and live in a single room will isolate in place; students who live in a double will complete their isolation period in Residence Hall A. As was the case earlier this semester, a bathroom in each residence hall will be designated for use exclusively by students in isolation. That information will be shared within residence halls as relevant.

  • Contractors, vendors, speakers and visitors who enter campus buildings for occasional, one-day visits on official College business will continue to be required to show documentation of up-to-date vaccination and booster, or a negative test result from a PCR test or antigen test taken within 72 hours preceding their visit.

Planning Update for May 25, 2022

Commencement Protocols, Last Week’s COVID Cases

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 2: Enhanced COVID-19 Operations

Commencement Protocols

  • As you are aware, the rates of COVID-19 on campus, across the state and country, and around the world are elevated. To try to reduce the risk of transmission for everyone at Amherst–graduates and their guests, as well as our faculty and staff, who have worked so hard to produce a successful and memorable Commencement experience for everyone–we will have a number of health and safety protocols in place through the weekend. 

  • All guests are expected to be fully vaccinated or have a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of coming to campus.

  • We ask that those spending time on campus during the next few days please respect and follow these protocols at all times:

Planning Update for May 12, 2022

Changes to Student Isolation Procedures and Campus Operating Status, Updated COVID Protocols, Last Week’s Cases

Changes in Student Isolation Procedures and Campus Operating Status

  • As described yesterday in an all-campus message, COVID-19 cases on campus have remained consistently high over the past couple of days, and we have now exceeded our limit for isolation housing at the Rodeway and Hampshire College.

  • As a result, we will begin to isolate some students who test positive for COVID in place in the residence halls. 

  • Guidelines for isolating in place are described in the email. 

  • In light of these factors, we are moving to Campus Operating Status Level 2: Enhanced COVID-19 Precautions.

Planning Update for May 4, 2022

Tightened COVID Protocols, Last Week’s Cases

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 1: Baseline COVID-19 Operations

In Case You Missed It: Increase in COVID Cases Prompts Tighter Protocol

  • An email sent today alerted the College community that we are currently experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. At present, 65 students, five faculty members and six staff members have tested positive in the past week.

  • The steady increase in cases is worrisome, and the implications are potentially quite serious, as the email articulates. 

  • As a result, we are expanding the current requirement that masks be worn at all indoor events with more than 10 people to also include student-only events with more than 10 students, effective immediately. (This category was previously excluded.) If cases continue to climb, we may need to reinstate the masking requirement and other protocols.

  • Please be sure to comply with all current masking protocols.

  • Anyone who is experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms should get a COVID-19 test immediately. Students can request an antigen test at the Testing Center; faculty and staff should take an at-home test if possible and contact their health care provider. They may also be tested at the Testing Center. The Testing Center will expand its hours to include Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until noon.

Planning Update for April 20, 2022

At-home Testing Guidance, Case Count, Protocol Reminder

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 1: Baseline COVID-19 Operations

At-home Test Results Guidance

  • If you receive a positive test result from an at-home antigen test, please email contacttracing@amherst.edu to speak with one of our contact tracers about next steps.

  • If someone in your household tests positive, please also contact our contact tracing team to make sure you are following appropriate protocols (which will depend on your particular situation).

Planning Update for April 6, 2022

Masking Clarity, Testing Schedule Update, COVID Cases

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 1: Baseline COVID-19 Operations

Clarity on Masking Protocols

  • Changes to the testing and masking policies were announced last week and went into effect April 4. Here we offer some clarifications.

  • KN95 masks remain the only acceptable mask at this time in any situation when a mask is required. Masks are available at a number of locations, including the Testing Center, the Campus Post Office and the Commissary at Schwemm’s.

  • Masks are required at all organized indoor events. This means any official College event, gathering or meeting with more than 10 people. (Events with fewer than 10 attendees can be maskless if/when everyone agrees to release the requirement.) Student-only events (with no other community members) are mask optional.

Planning Update for April 1, 2022

Testing & Masking Protocol Changes, Visits from Non-Campus Community Members, COVID Cases

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 1: Baseline COVID-19 Operations

Planning Update Snafu

  • It was brought to our attention this week that, due to unforeseen and recently discovered technical issues, students have not been receiving Planning Updates since January, when the distribution list was expanded to include students.  

  • We apologize for the error, and thank the eagle-eyed member of the class of 2025 who brought this to our attention.

  • Now that the issue has been rectified, Planning Updates should appear in student inboxes every Wednesday, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. 

  • To read previous Planning Updates, go to the COVID-19 website.

Planning Update for March 30, 2022

Testing & Masking Protocol Changes, Visits from Non-Campus Community Members, COVID Cases

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 1: Baseline COVID-19 Operations

Changes to Testing and Masking Protocols

  • Updates to the College’s testing and masking protocols were announced this morning.

  • Effective April 4, testing for students, faculty and staff will occur once a week.

  • Also as of April 4*, in addition to outdoors and in residence halls (which were already designated as non-masked), wearing a mask is optional in all buildings with several notable exceptions, including:

Planning Update for March 23, 2022

COVID-19 Cases Spring Break Report

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 1: Baseline COVID-19 Operations

COVID-19 Cases Spring Break Report

Following the return of many members of the College community to campus after spring break, we are providing an enhanced update on COVID-19 cases from the past week.

  • March 13-19 (i.e., the regular weekly report): 4 students (no staff, faculty or vendors/contractors)

  • “Re-entry” testing on March 20-21: 7 students and 1 staff member

Planning Update for March 16, 2022

Spring Break Testing & Return to Campus, Change in Operating Status, COVID Cases

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 1: Baseline COVID-19 Operations

Spring Break Antigen Testing and Return to Campus

  • In a March 3 email to students, Dean of Students Liz Agosto outlined spring break COVID-19 protocols for students.

  • The message contained guidance for those who will be traveling over break, as well as information about how to obtain and take self-administered antigen tests and what to do if individuals test positive.

  • Students who remained on campus tested on March 13 and will do so again today (if they haven’t already). All students must test on March 20; any student who misses a test that day due to travel will not be able to attend classes, eat in the dining hall or participate in athletics until they receive a negative test result.

  • Testing schedules for faculty and staff remain unchanged this week. Any faculty or staff member who did not test this week due to the break will need to have both a rapid antigen and PCR test on the day of your return to campus. A negative antigen test that day will clear you to enter campus buildings while awaiting the results of your PCR test.

Planning Update for March 9, 2022

Spring Break Protocols; Updated Policy for Speakers, Contractors and Vendors; Admission Tours; Weekly COVID Cases

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 2: Enhanced Covid-19 Precautions

Spring Break Antigen Testing and Return to Campus

  • In a March 3 email to students, Dean of Students Liz Agosto outlined spring break COVID-19 protocols for students.

  • The message contained guidance for those who will be traveling over break, and included information about how to obtain and take self-administered antigen tests and what to do if individuals test positive.

  • Students who remain on campus will test two times–March 13 and 16. All students must test on March 20; any student who misses a test that day due to travel will not be able to attend classes, eat in the dining hall or participate in athletics until they receive a negative test result.

  • Testing schedules for faculty and staff will not change during that time.

Planning Update for March 2, 2022

COVID-19 Protocol Changes, Case Notifications

CURRENT CAMPUS OPERATING STATUS: Level 2: Enhanced Covid-19 Precautions

COVID-19 Cases and Lifting Protocols

  • As described in a special Planning Update sent on Feb. 25, Amherst saw the single highest number of COVID-19 cases on one date since the beginning of the pandemic. In response to that sudden spike, Dean of Students Liz Agosto shared updated, temporary protocols designed to slow down continued spread and subsequently enable the College to assess if that spike would continue over additional testing cycles.

  • Thankfully, while the number of cases remains high, we have not seen a continued spike at that level, so we will be lifting the increased protocols communicated last Friday. (Note: This morning’s Daily Mammoth still contained the information from last week’s message and did not reflect the changes announced in Dean Agosto’s message from yesterday. Please disregard that.)