Campus Health and Safety Updates

The purpose of this page is to keep the Mount Holyoke community updated on the status of the College’s preventive steps, policy decisions, plans and resources in light of the global pandemic. As we move towards the spring, our priority continues to be the health and safety of our campus community. We are monitoring the situation and are in ongoing contact with state and local public health officials, colleagues within the Five Colleges and other relevant parties.

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This page is updated regularly.  Last update: January 25

Latest Updates and Important Announcements

We have recently instituted operational changes for the safe start of the 2022 spring semester.

Key information includes:

  • Students’ return to residence halls will be spread out over 10 days. Students are invited to arrive as early as January 18 and no later than January 27, depending on their existing travel arrangements.
  • All students are expected to get a COVID-19 test as close to departure as possible and to receive the results of the test prior to arriving on campus. Students having extreme difficulty obtaining a test should contact dean-students@mtholyoke.edu for guidance.
  • There will be a booster clinic on campus on January 29. Any student who is eligible for a booster and not yet in compliance with the mandate should plan to attend this clinic.
  • Masking recommendations have been updated.  See below.

The January 13 letter explains these operational changes in full. Additional details can be found in the January 20 letter.

Questions? Contact covid19info@mtholyoke.edu.

  

Current Operating Level

Semester Launch: Student Move-in and Semester Launch

Description of operating level thresholds

  

General Guidelines

Vaccinations
  • All students and employees are expected to comply with our vaccination and booster requirements.
  • All employees and students should complete the “MHC COVID-19 Vaccination & Booster Attestation” form by January 24 by logging into my.mtholyoke.edu and following the link under “Self Service”. The form will collect all vaccination information and permit the secure upload of your vaccination card(s).
Testing
  • We will continue to require on-site PCR testing for students and employees working on campus regularly.
  • The testing center website is the best source for the Center’s most up to date operating hours.
Masking
  • Masks are required in indoor spaces.
    • We request that community members wear face coverings that consist of at least three layers (KN95 preferred).
    • Some individuals may be required to wear KN95 masks as a result of recent COVID-19 status and/or proximity of their work to others.
    • The College will provide KN95 masks to students and employees who need them via the testing center.
  • We encourage groups gathering outdoors to mask and distance as much as possible.

On-Campus Health & Safety

Download the self-service COVID-19 safety signs

  

Students and Employees

Living on Campus

Learning on Campus

  • Teaching and learning will be remote for the first two weeks of classes (January 24 — February 5)
  • In-person classes will begin on Monday, February 7
Learning off Campus
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst and Hampshire College are starting their semesters in person and Smith College will return to in-person classes January 31, a week before our scheduled return to in-person classes. While the current operating level does dictate that students should limit off-campus movement, students taking classes at these other campuses will be permitted and are expected to attend these classes in person.

Working on Campus

  • We encourage employees and managers to make prudent decisions regarding risk and benefits of travel.
  • Employees should refer to the Human Resources portal in my.mtholyoke for more information.

Dining on Campus

  • Students will take their meals to go and must eat in their rooms or outdoors.
  • The Dining Commons is closed to employees until further notice.
  • Generally, individuals should eat alone in a private space to avoid unmasked indoor interactions. Employees and students may not eat in public spaces as we launch the semester.
Visitors

Campus Buildings and Grounds

  • The campus grounds are open to the public. Masks are not required when walking outdoors on the Mount Holyoke College campus.
  • All campus buildings remain closed to the public with the exception of those on Admission tours and guests at Willits-Hallowell.
  • See our guest and visitor policy for further details.

Attending Events on Campus

  • No external spectators at indoor athletics events are permitted through at least the end of January.
  • Most campus events will continue to be held remotely.

 

What to do if you test positive or have symptoms

If you have symptoms

Symptoms include: Fever (100 or higher), chills, sore throat, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches, cough.

Students

  • Call Health Services for guidance.

Employees

  • Stay home and follow CDC guidance for isolation.
  • Refer to the HR information site for information.

Isolation protocols for students who test positive

Mount Holyoke’s vaccination and booster requirement/rates suggest that far fewer community members will need to quarantine than in the past. While we hope this is not the case, given omicron's high rates of transmission, it is reasonable to expect that our dedicated isolation space will be constrained at certain points, particularly as students arrive for the spring semester. Therefore, we have made important adjustments to prioritize those students who are most at risk and/or who do not have off-campus options for isolation.

Detailed instructions will be provided directly to students who need to isolate, including more information about bathroom use for those isolating in residence halls.

  • All students who test positive will be contacted to make isolation plans.
  • Students who currently live off campus will isolate off campus.
  • Students who live within a three-hour driving distance and can travel by private vehicle will be asked to isolate at home. If they cannot, there will be options for them to isolate on campus.
  • Students living in campus singles will isolate in their own rooms.
  • Students living in doubles, triples or quads will isolate in campus isolation spaces, depending on individual circumstances.
  • All students in isolation will get their food to go via the patio entrance to the Beacon room (where a special food set-up will be provided) and return to their isolation room to eat. Detailed instructions will be provided to students required to isolate.
  • Plans are in place to support sick students who are isolating and need assistance obtaining food.
  • Students in isolation are required to wear KN95 masks at all times, even if outside. KN95 masks will be provided by the College.
  • Students in isolation will need to communicate with their professors regarding their absence from class.