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One Emerson: Entering MA and Initial Quarantine


On Friday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued an executive order instituting new and more specific requirements for travelers entering the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from other states within the U.S. This order replaces the previous recommendations and will be a requirement as of August 1. We were pleased that the governor’s order supported our original directives on initial testing and quarantine for students shared last week.

Please note that anyone arriving from another country (whether U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or citizens of other countries) should refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for current guidance.

This is a long message, but important, so please review thoroughly!

Massachusetts Travel Guidelines as of August 1

Per the new Massachusetts travel guidelines: All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, who do not meet an exemption, are required to do the following:

  • Quarantine for 14 days or provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered within 72 hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.
  • If a COVID-19 test result has not been received within 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts, visitors and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health.

Please click the exemption link for information about who is exempt from submitting the Massachusetts Travel Form. This includes individuals traveling from the following states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii.

Please note that it is the area you are traveling from that determines your need to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form and quarantine, not your state of residence or country of citizenship. For example, a resident of New Jersey who will be traveling to Boston from California is not exempt from the travel requirements. In contrast, a citizen of another country who has spent two weeks in New Jersey immediately prior to move-in is exempt.

It is important for each traveler to complete this form. The College will not be able to complete this form for you.

Emerson Requirements

The College’s requirements prior to arrival for all students returning to the Boston campus are as follows:

  • All students are asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days prior to their arrival in Boston/to campus. Self-quarantine is defined as staying in your residence except for essential travel (work, medical appointments, preparations for your return to campus). Note that this does not mean that you need to travel to Boston or campus early in order to quarantine; we are asking you to self-quarantine wherever you will be for the two weeks before your arrival back on campus. For example, if the first time you will set foot on campus will be August 25, you should start quarantining at home on August 11.
  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health. Students should select one of the first two options in the COVID-19 Test and Quarantine Status section of the form (i.e., “a completed negative test within the last 72 hours” or “I plan to get a test and will remain in quarantine until results are received.” As indicated previously, Emerson will cover the cost of the required baseline and subsequent weekly self-swab PCR COVID tests.)

For Students Living On Campus

  • Upon arrival in Boston, residential students will proceed directly to Tufts Medical Center (TMC) at their scheduled test time to receive a baseline PCR COVIlD test.
  • Once cleared to do so by TMC staff, students will then proceed to campus to move into their assigned residence hall room. Upon move-in, they will need to self-quarantine in their room until the results of their test are back (24-48 hours). During this period, food will be provided to students to eat in their rooms.
  • If a student is not cleared to move in my TMC staff, they will be given further instruction about how to proceed.
  • Once a negative test result is received, students may move about campus (while still following face covering and social distancing policies).
  • If a positive test is received, the student and anyone they have had close contact with, such as their roommate, will be relocated to an isolation space.
  • Regular weekly testing will begin within four (4) days after the initial baseline test.
  • These guidelines are in effect for all residential students, regardless of prior negative test results or where they are traveling from. This means that even if you have received a negative test result within 72 hours of your arrival in Massachusetts, you will still need to take the baseline test at TMC and self-quarantine until you have a negative test result from TMC.
  • Students will not be permitted to move into College-managed residential facilities until they have completed initial screening and testing at Tufts.

For Students Living Off Campus

  • Students living off campus will be asked to schedule an initial testing appointment within seven (7) days prior to the start of in-person classes on September 2. You will receive outreach via email from staff in Off-Campus Student Services shortly to coordinate your testing timeframe.
  • Test times will be available starting Wednesday, August 26.
  • Every effort will be made to assist those students who are not able to arrive until September 1 to receive appointments closer to the start of classes.
  • Students will need to receive a confirmation of a negative test result from their test at Tufts before attending class in person. Test results may take up to 24-48 hours.
  • Students not able to attend their initial class(es) while waiting for a negative test result should coordinate with their faculty members, who have been asked to be flexible with criteria and alternative delivery of information.
  • Regular weekly testing will begin within four (4) days after the initial baseline test.

The above protocols were designed in consultation with public health experts, and are instituted with the goal of maintaining the health and safety of the College community. We realize that these requirements may pose an inconvenience for some students, and we will work closely with students to assist them as they satisfy these requirements.

Please note that the baseline and weekly tests will be self-swab, minimally invasive PCR COVID tests.

Step-by-Step Guide to Returning

Now: Review the Return to Campus Guide on the One Emerson site.

Late July/early August: On-campus students have received their testing/move-in time. Students living off campus will be contacted by Off-Campus Student Services to discuss the timing of their arrival back in Boston and set up a testing timeframe.

Early August: Complete the online training course, Back to Emerson: What to Expect Fall 2020 COVID-19 in Canvas (Emerson’s learning management system). You will be notified when the course is available, which should be on or shortly after August 3.

As part of the online training course, review and agree to the Emerson College Community Compact outlining the expectations and responsibilities of returning to campus.

Mid-August: Start your self-quarantine at home 14 days before you will first arrive on Emerson’s campus. We also recommend that you start to check your daily symptoms online to get in the habit of making this a part of your daily routine.

Late August: Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form, unless you meet the exemption criteria. Travel to Boston (with a reliable thermometer, 7-10 face coverings, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes for your items, and a 30-day supply of any medication you take, plus a fever reducer).

Once in Boston:

  • On-campus students: Go to Tufts Medical Center at your assigned time for your baseline COVID test and attestation that you have self-quarantine for 14 days before arrival. After TMC staff has cleared you to move in, proceed to your residence hall. If TMC does not clear you, you will be instructed about how to proceed.
  • Off-campus students: Go to Tufts Medical Center at your assigned time for your baseline COVID test and attestation that you have self-quarantine for 14 days before arrival. You must receive a negative test result before you can enter Emerson facilities. If you receive a positive baseline test result, you will be instructed to isolate in your off-campus residence.

For Families/Caregivers

Please note that all travelers accompanying students who enter Massachusetts are subject to the same requirements and will need to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival.

These new guidelines could have implications for individuals who plan to stay in Massachusetts, particularly if your stay is longer than 24 hours. Please refer to Massachusetts’ guidelines for Potential Other Traveler Scenarios.

That being the case, we suggest travelers accompanying students consider getting a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts, if they are able.

There has been no change to our policy to allow one family member/caregiver designated by the student to help with on-campus move-in.

If you or your family members/caregivers have questions, please feel free to contact me, or your family members/caregivers can reach out to Maureen Hurley, Director of Parent and Family Programs, at or 617-824-8561. Please also note that our One Emerson webpages containing information about this fall at Emerson are now available.

Take good care,
Jim Hoppe
Vice President & Dean of Campus Life

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