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COVID Update: Case Rates and Health Precautions

Hello students, faculty and staff, 

I am writing today to provide you an update on our continued response to the COVID-19 virus, and to ask for your help in remaining diligent in regard to your personal health and safety and that of our community as the positivity rate within the City of Boston and surrounding communities begins to slowly rise.

At Emerson, our current one-week COVID positivity rate within the community remains very low, 0.24%, as of today. As expected, we have continued to see reports of positive cases through our weekly required testing, but it is important to note that, as of this email, we only have 14 active cases. We want to remind you that this is a relatively low number of positive tests, and it remains within a range where we can safely maintain operations on campus. In addition, to date, we are not aware of any confirmed transmission within our classroom environment. This is in part due to the strategic efforts we have made to create distancing in classrooms and requiring masking in all College spaces.

There are some actions that you can take to help ensure we can finish the semester together as planned:

  • Symptom Checking: If at any time you experience ANY COVID like symptoms please DO NOT come to campus or leave your residence hall. You must call the Center for Health and Wellness (617-824-8666) or the TMC Test Center (617-636-3686) for further instructions. 
  • Precautions: As you may gather with friends or family In the coming week, please also remember to take necessary precautions to limit exposure to flu and COVID. Information and suggestions can be found here
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Booster: On Thursday, November 18, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that everyone 18 years old and older is now eligible to receive their COVID-19 Booster Shot six months after their initial vaccine (for Pfizer and Moderna) or two months after Johnson & Johnson. Tufts Medical Center has an ongoing COVID Vaccine Clinic that is open to all members of the community.  Please visit their website for more information. We encourage you to receive your booster shot when eligible, in consultation with your physician, and retain a copy of your booster shot information for your records. 
  • Flu Shot: We also encourage you, if you have not already, to get your flu shot. While not required, it is important to keep you and our community safe and healthy as we enter cold and flu season. Note: The Center for Health and Wellness will hold a Flu Clinic for students on December 10, from 2:00-4:00pm.
  • Thanksgiving Rapid Testing for Students: As a reminder, we are requiring that every student complete a COVID-19 rapid test within 48 hours of their return to campus after Thanksgiving break. One rapid test per student is being provided by the College. More information on picking up a rapid test for students and additional instructions can be found on the Emerson website.

Testing Center: Please note that testing is still required for those on campus next week. The hours are: Monday and Tuesday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm and Wednesday, 8:00 – 10:00 am. The testing center will utilize all individual PCR tests next week to limit the need for any reflex pooled testing. The testing center will reopen on Monday, November 29, at 8:00 am for our regular testing program. 

Update on Non-Emerson Guests and Visitors: We thank everyone for their cooperation with the restriction of non-Emerson guests and visitors this year. Throughout the semester we have been making limited exceptions to this process for academic-, athletic-, and performance-related activities, all with strict COVID safety protocols in place. While we don’t have a set date when the guest restrictions will be eased, please know that we will continue to closely monitor the situation and will keep you informed of any significant updates. 

I am thankful for your continued support and dedication to keeping the Emerson community safe. I wish you and those close to you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Erik  Muurisepp
COVID Lead
AVP, Campus Life

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