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Saturday, September 19, 2020
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One Emerson: COVID-19 Testing Protocol

Hi,

The official Back to Campus Guide for Students should be ready to share in the next week. In the meantime, I wanted to share preliminary information about our COVID-19 testing plan for this fall, as well as preparations students should plan to take in advance of returning to campus. Testing, symptom screening, and contact tracing will be three critical elements in keeping our community as safe and healthy as possible when we return to campus — along with, of course, consistent use of face coverings, social distancing, and proper hand hygiene.

Self-Quarantine Before Arriving

All students are asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days before traveling to and arriving on campus. Upon arrival, students will need to attest that they have completed a 14-day quarantine before arriving. Quarantining at home means:

  • Wearing a face covering when outside the home.
  • Limiting travel outside of home to required doctor’s visits, appointments, etc.
  • Maintaining at least six (6) feet of physical distance from others when outside the home.
  • Refraining from large gatherings and crowds.
  • Practicing good hand hygiene (wash hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizers when soap is not available.
  • Beginning to check your daily symptoms online.
  • You should not report for residence hall move-in or for the start of in-person classes if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

A Note About Residence Hall Move-In

Each students will be permitted one family member to assist with moving into the residence hall for a two-hour period. The assisting family member will need to register and their basic contact information will be collected. (Details will come later). The family member will also need to follow all guidelines and expectations related to face coverings and social distancing while in the residence hall. The Housing & Residential Education staff plan to share more information on room assignments beginning tomorrow.

What Do I Need to Know About COVID-19 Testing?

Emerson will participate in the Safe for School Testing Program and purchase COVID-19 PCR tests from the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, joining a number of other independent colleges and universities

  • Staff, faculty, and students returning to campus will be required to participate in our COVID-19 testing program and conduct a baseline COVID-19 PCR self-swab test prior to moving in or starting classes.
  • COVID-19 self-swab testing for Emerson community members will take place in partnership with Tufts Medical Center (very close to Emerson at the corner of Kneeland Street and Harrison Avenue).
  • Students living on campus will have a baseline test on the day of their move-in, prior to moving into their residence hall. A test time will be assigned that precedes the move-in time. Students cannot move in until they take their test and are cleared by Tufts Medical Center staff.
  • Students living off campus will need to complete their baseline test prior to attending their first in-person class session. Testing times will be available to off-campus residents beginning approximately August 21. Off-Campus Student Services will contact students to review their plans for arrival in Boston in preparation for planning their baseline test at Tufts Medical Center. Off-campus students who have not completed their baseline test and been cleared by Tufts Medical Center staff will not be able to access campus buildings.
  • Following the initial baseline test, all students will be required to conduct a weekly self-swab test through the end of the semester. These subsequent tests will be administered by Tufts Medical Center. Each student will be assigned a weekly time when they will need to take and submit their test.
  • Emerson will cover the costs of required baseline and weekly COVID-19 tests. Any tests required due to presentation of symptoms or possible exposure would be covered by each individual’s insurance. Please note that the Student Health Insurance Plan and many private insurance plans waive co-pays for COVID-related costs. It is important to check with your provider regarding your particular coverage.

In Addition…

  • All students will be required to complete an online training course outlining Emerson’s expectations for returning to campus this fall. As part of this course, students will be asked to acknowledge their role in maintaining public health and agree to expectations for attending classes during Fall 2020. More information on this course will be shared in early August.
  • Students must continue to wear a face covering, practice social distancing, and conduct proper hand hygiene at all times while on and off campus.
  • All members of the community will be required to complete a daily symptom monitoring form to confirm they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Failure to do so may result in limited access to campus buildings.

Please note: This protocol may be adjusted as new or updated guidance is received by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or other local officials. Any changes will be communicated as soon as possible. We know the situation is fluid and changing rapidly in many parts of the world. We will share updated requirements/changing guidance as it becomes available.

We will share more information on these measures as we have it. As always, please let us know if you have questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions.

Take care,
Jim Hoppe
Vice President & Dean for Campus Life

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