Welcome back to Emerson! We hope that your time away has been beneficial. We look forward to your arrival back on the Boston campus for the Spring 2021 semester.
As you can imagine, campus looks and feels different these days due to COVID-19. There are a number of important details you’ll need to pay attention to starting now in order to be prepared for your arrival back on campus. This is a long message (apologies!) because we’re sharing those details all in one place. Please read this message carefully. We’ll send reminders about specific portions of this information over the next few weeks as well.
First Thing to Do
The first thing you’ll want to be sure of is that you have confirmed your specific arrival date and time. If you are living on campus, you’ll do this through the student housing portal. If you’re living off campus, you’ll need to sign up for your baseline testing time. If you haven’t received it already, be on the lookout for a message from Off-Campus Student Services for instructions.
Massachusetts Travel Guidelines
Massachusetts COVID travel guidelines remain in effect. All visitors entering Massachusetts (including new and returning students and their families) who do not meet an exemption are required to do the following:
- Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health. As of this writing, only those individuals arriving from Hawaii are exempt from completing this form. The list of exempted states changes frequently, however, so be sure to check the link above before you depart.
- If you are planning to arrive in Massachusetts before you are scheduled to take your baseline test, you are required to:
Quarantine for 14 days or provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result administered within 72 hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts, or
Take a COVID test upon arrival and quarantine until receiving a negative test result.
Please note that it is the area you are traveling from that determines your need to complete the Mass. Travel Form, not your state of residence or country of citizenship. For example, a resident of Hawaii who will be traveling to Boston after spending winter break in California would not be exempt from the travel requirements. In contrast, a citizen of another country who has spent two weeks in Hawaii immediately prior to move-in would be exempt.
It is important for each traveler to complete this form. The College cannot complete the form for you.
Mass. Flu Shot Requirement Due December 31
This year, the state of Massachusetts requires ALL students who will be attending class in person in the spring semester to provide proof of a recent flu shot by December 31, 2020. You should have received information in a separate email that outlines the steps for fulfilling this requirement. (In short, you will need to upload a copy of the verification in the student health portal or complete the exemption form in the portal.)
The verification form or exemption request must be loaded into the health portal at least 72 hours before you enter the Emerson Testing Center at Tufts University Medical Campus (TMC). Anyone who has not submitted the required flu shot documentation or exemption request will not be allowed to enter the testing center or take their initial baseline test. On-campus residents who arrive at the testing center without completing the flu shot requirements will not be permitted to move into their on-campus housing assignment, and will need to find alternative lodgings at their own expense.
Per the state of Mass. guidelines, there will be no exceptions. Emerson will not be offering spring flu shot clinics; you must get the shot or file an exemption request before you arrive.
If you need assistance completing the flu shot requirement, please contact the Center for Health and Wellness (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Campus Life Office (email@example.com). Please note that all Emerson offices will close for winter break on Thursday, December 24, and reopen on Monday, January 4.
Emerson Pre-Arrival Requirements
The College’s requirements prior to arrival for all students returning to study on the Boston campus are as follows:
- All students should self-quarantine at home for 14 days prior to their arrival in Boston/on campus. Self-quarantine is defined as staying in your residence except for essential travel (work, medical appointments, and 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 in the location where you will be for the two weeks prior to your arrival on campus. For example, if the first time you will set foot on campus is January 11, you would need to start self-quarantining at home on December 29.
- Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you meet the requirements for exemption. Students should select one of the first two options in the COVID-19 Test and Quarantine section of the form (i.e., “I have completed negative test within the last 72 hours,” (if true) or “I plan to get a test and will remain in quarantine until results are received.”). The cost of all COVID-19 testing done at the Emerson Testing Center at TMC will be covered by the College and not charged to students. You will, however, be responsible for the cost of any tests taken at a site other than the Emerson Testing Center.
- Complete the online training course Back to Emerson II: Spring Edition in Canvas (Emerson’s learning management system). You will be notified when the course is available. As part of the online training course, review and agree to the Emerson College Community Compact outlining the expectations and responsibilities of attending the Boston campus.
- Make sure you have signed up for an arrival/test time in advance. For students living on campus, your arrival time IS your test time.
- Make sure you have completed the flu shot requirement.
- Do not come to campus if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or are currently under a health department-assigned period of quarantine or isolation as a result of being identified as a close contact or receiving a positive test result.
For Students Living On Campus
- Students will not be permitted inside College-managed residential facilities (or any other campus facilities) until they have completed initial screening and testing at the Emerson Testing Center, located at 116 Harrison Avenue in Boston. Please pay attention to the street address. Our testing center is specifically for the students, staff, and faculty of Emerson and Tufts Medical. It is NOT the public COVID test center at Tufts Medical Center (located at a different address).
- Upon arrival in Boston, residential students must proceed directly to the Emerson Testing Center at TMC at their scheduled time to receive a baseline PCR COVID test.
- Once cleared by TMC staff, students will then proceed to campus to move into their assigned residence hall room. Upon move-in, all students need to self-quarantine in their room until the results of their test have been received (24-48 hours). During this period, food will be provided to consume in residential rooms. We recommend you bring any specific/preferred food items with you when you arrive. You may only leave your room to attend medical appointments or as directed in the event of an emergency. Students in the Little Building who do not live in suites with bathrooms may also leave their room to use the restroom.
- If a student is not cleared to move in by TMC staff, they will receive further instructions about how to proceed.
- Once a negative test result is received, students may move about the campus, while still observing all face covering and social distancing policies.
- If a positive test result is received, the student and any Emerson community member(s) they have had close contact with will be relocated to an isolation/quarantine space.
- Regular testing will begin within four days of the initial baseline test. Tests will take place every four days.
- 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 received a negative test result.
For Students Living Off Campus
- Students living off campus will be asked to schedule an initial testing appointment within seven days prior to the start of in-person classes on January 19. You will receive outreach via email from Off-Campus Student Services to coordinate your testing timeframe.
- Test times will be available starting January 11.
- Students must receive confirmation of a negative result from their test taken at TMC before accessing any campus facilities. Test results may take up to 24-48 hours to receive. Tests taken at other sites may not be substituted for tests at Emerson’s testing center.
- Regular testing will begin within four days of the initial baseline test and will proceed on a four-day schedule thereafter.
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.
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.
Now: On-campus students will receive their testing/move-in time. Students living off campus will receive directions for signing up for a baseline testing time via email from Off-Campus Student Services.
Late December/Early January: Start your self-quarantine at home 14 days before you will first arrive at Emerson’s COVID testing site at TMC. We also recommend that you start to check your daily symptoms using the symptom checker on the Emerson App to get in the habit of making this a part of your daily routine. (The free Emerson App is available on the Apple Store and Google Store.)
Early January: Complete the online training course Back to Emerson II: Spring Edition in Canvas (Emerson’s learning management system). You will be notified when the course is available. 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.
Prior to Your Arrival: Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form unless you meet the exemption criteria. Make sure you have a reliable thermometer, 7-10 reusable face coverings or a supply of disposable face coverings, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes for your items, a 30-day supply of any medication you take, and a supply of fever-reducing medication (ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
Once in Boston:
- Residential Students: Go to TMC at your assigned time for your baseline COVID test and attestation that you have self-quarantined for 14 days prior to your arrival. After the 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: To to TMC at your assigned time for your baseline COVID test and attestation that you have self-quarantined for 14 days prior to your arrival. You will then be asked to self-quarantine in your Boston residence until you have received a negative test result. 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.
Please note that all travelers accompanying students who enter Massachusetts are subject to the same Mass. requirements and will need to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival. These 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 possible.
College policy allows one family member/caregiver designated by the student to help with on-campus move-in on January 13. This individual must be registered in advance on the student housing portal. Students will receive instructions on how to do so shortly.
If you or your family members/caregivers have questions, please feel free to contact me or Maureen Hurley, Director of Student Transitions and Family Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-824-8561. Please also note that this information can always be found at the One Emerson site.
Please be sure to pay close attention to your emerson.edu email, as we will keep you updated on the current situation in the Boston area over the next few weeks. As noted above, all Emerson offices will close for winter break on Thursday, December 24, and reopen on Monday, January 4.
Emerson’s community did an excellent job of observing the policies and practices that helped keep our case rate very low in the Fall. As you rejoin the campus community, we have every confidence that you, too, will take seriously the commitment to keeping yourself and others safe. We look forward to welcoming you back and to working together to make the Spring semester a safe and productive one for all of us at Emerson!
Take good care,
Vice President and Dean for Campus Life