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COVID-19 Update/Policy Reminders: August

Dear Emerson Community, 

Since our last communication, we have seen increases in positive case counts in the region and across the country. Emerson remains committed to an in-person campus experience and as the Delta variant continues to evolve around the country and the world, we continue to work closely with our colleagues at Tufts Medical Center and with local and state public health officials to ensure a successful opening and fall term. We write today to remind you of some policies as we return to campus throughout this month and to inform you about some new items for this term.  

  • Individuals who are currently working and studying on the Boston campus (through August 16), and are fully vaccinated are still recommended to wear a mask while in campus spaces (except for in private offices or private rooms with one occupant). Emerson Los Angeles (ELA) is under a county mandate where masks ARE required indoors. 
  • It is still required that individuals who are not fully vaccinated remain masked at all times while on campus, except for in your private room or office. More information on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health mask guidance can be found here
  • As we approach the fall term and look forward to welcoming back our full Emerson community from around the country and the globe, and work to rebuild our “Emerson Bubble,” the College will require all members of the campus community who are on campus beginning August 16, 2021 through at least September 17, 2021 to be masked regardless of vaccination status. It is our goal to return to a mask-optional policy for a majority of the Boston campus (i.e. with the exception of Center for Health and Wellness and ECAPS) for fully vaccinated individuals and a mask recommendation for unvaccinated individuals after that time period. Masks will continue to be required anytime you enter the TMC test site at 116 Harrison Ave.  Students studying at the LA Center and Kasteel Well will receive information from their programs directly. 
  • The College will require all members of the community (faculty, staff, students, and vendors) working and studying in person on the Boston campus this fall to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing in partnership with the Tufts Medical Center. Individuals on campus for one day or more per week will be required to adhere to this testing cadence. 
    • The College continues to partner with the Broad Institute to conduct our COVID testing.  This year they have introduced a new “pooled testing” method which will increase efficiency in testing.  More information on pooled testing and that process will be shared prior to arrival to campus.
    • Upon arrival to campus / prior to the start of the term, all members of the Emerson community on campus will need to take two baseline tests their first time back on campus. One is a rapid BINAX Now test and one is a traditional PCR test. Use of these two tests will allow us to avoid quarantining vaccinated individuals upon arrival—as long as the rapid BINAX Now test is negative. 
      • If you have been testing weekly over the summer months, you will not need to complete this baseline test program and must continue your weekly testing.
    • Unvaccinated students with religious and medical exemptions arriving back to Boston (residential or off-campus) are required to quarantine / stay in room for seven days after their baseline test and test again between day 3 and 5.  This is to remain in compliance with CDC guidance.
    • Weekly, ongoing testing will be required and will again be scheduled through the Emerson App.
  • As a reminder, as of June 1 all meeting spaces, function rooms, elevators and common spaces have returned to their original capacity limits. 
    • Classrooms are scheduled to have 3 feet of distancing for the fall term and appropriate signage will be posted in each space with adjusted capacities.  
    • To help rebuild the Emerson bubble, we will not allow non-Emerson guests on-campus from August 30 through at least September 17.  This is to limit exposure to the greater Emerson community.  
  • Reminder: Students are required to be fully vaccinated prior to their arrival to campus. Unvaccinated individuals (without an approved exemption) will not be able to move into the residence halls or attend in-person classes.Their documentation needed to have been uploaded in their student health record by July 15, 2021. Questions about exemptions or needs for extensions should be directed to healthservices@emerson.edu
    • The College will accept all FDA-EUA and WHO-EUL approved vaccines for the start of the fall term.
  • Policy Updates from the 2020/2021 Academic Year:
    • Students and employees will no longer need to pre-register any personal overnight travel that will take place out of the Boston metro area.  We ask that all members of the Emerson community who choose to travel, check on and adhere to all local, state and federal guidance for their destination, as it relates to COVID. 
    • Completion of the Daily Symptom Check is still required for this year, however it will not be linked to your campus access. 
    • The College will once again hold open forums for faculty and staff with our colleagues from the Tufts Medical Center.  More information on dates and times will be sent. 

Emerson is providing this information based on its current plans and in accordance with health and safety information currently available.  Emerson may, in its discretion, or under direction of government or health authorities, change plans regarding modalities of courses or activities, and physical access to any facilities.

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.  Please let us know if you have any questions. 

Be well,

Erik
Erik Muurisepp
COVID Lead
AVP, Campus Life
erik_muurisepp@emerson.edu

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