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First week of spring semester to be held remotely

January 13, 2022

The first week of the spring semester — Feb. 2 through Feb. 9 — will be held remotely, President Maud S. Mandel announced in an all-campus email today. Barring significant changes to the on-campus COVID-19 outlook, in-person instruction will resume on Feb. 10, Mandel wrote. Claiming Williams Day, which is scheduled for Feb. 3, will also occur remotely.

Students who are currently on campus and do not travel off campus overnight before the start of the spring semester will not be required to complete an arrival quarantine in February, according to Mandel’s email. These students will instead continue with the normal twice-weekly testing protocol.

Students who take any personal overnight trips between now and the start of the spring semester must go through the arrival quarantine process again, Mandel wrote. This requirement does not apply to students who travel overnight for any supervised, college-sponsored trips — such as faculty-led Winter Study field trips, career treks, or varsity athletic travel. Students who have tested positive for COVID in the past 90 days will also be exempt from the quarantine process if they travel off-campus overnight, Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom told the Record in a Jan. 10 email.

Students who are spending Winter Study away from campus should return by Feb. 1, as long as they receive a negative result from a pre-arrival COVID test, Mandel wrote, noting that students who receive a positive test result should delay their arrival to campus. 

According to Mandel, students returning to campus for the spring semester who were not on campus during Winter Study must move into their dorms on Feb. 1. Students must not move in prior to Feb. 1, as College staff will be cleaning their rooms before then, Mandel wrote. She added that students should not move in after Feb. 1, as a later move-in date may not provide enough time for them to receive two negative results from COVID tests spaced 48 to 72 hours apart, which they must have before attending in-person classes.

The Broad Institute currently returns test results to the College within approximately 48 hours, according to Mandel’s email. “Thus, if you return later than February 1 you will likely have to miss the first days of in-person classes while completing your required arrival quarantine,” she wrote.

Once students arrive on campus for the spring semester, they will be expected to schedule a COVID test through CoVerified as soon as possible. These students must remain in their rooms until they receive their first negative test — though they will be permitted to leave to pick up to-go meals from the dining halls (as long as they are masked) and to “get outside for fresh air,” according to Mandel’s email. 

After receiving their first negative test result, students may leave their rooms as long as they remain masked in all indoor spaces. Students with one negative test result are permitted to be in all indoor spaces around campus except for classrooms. Once students receive their second negative, they will be permitted to attend class in person and may unmask in their “private common room,” if they have one, Mandel wrote. These students are still expected to be masked in all other indoor spaces.

The College will not allow students to consume food or drinks at meetings of Registered Student Organizations or other student groups and will discourage large gatherings, Mandel wrote. She noted that these changes to COVID rules follow “current data and lessons learned from on-boarding students during Winter Study,” but are subject to change. 

“As in the fall, we will relax stricter guidelines once we are convinced that case numbers are decreasing to a manageable level,” Mandel wrote.

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