On August 10, we started our initial asymptomatic COVID-19 testing of arriving students and the employees who work on campus and interact closely with others. It has been going very well, and we are continually refining the process to make it as smooth as possible. Thank you to the students and employees who have participated thus far, and a huge thank you to the staff who have organized and worked the testing site!
Testing for new and returning students, as well as other staff and faculty who work on campus and interact closely with others, will continue this week.
Observational staff and a medical provider will be on site observing the entire process, and can answer your questions. Results will be emailed to you within 24-36 hours. For more information on how you will receive your onboarding test results and what happens if your result is positive, please visit the Community Cares Standards part of the Fall 2020 FAQ.
Once all students have completed initial testing, we will commence with our regular biweekly screening.
Regular biweekly testing ("Testing Tuesday!") will begin on Tuesday, August 25. Another communication will be sent to you shortly before this day.
Appointment scheduling and results notification for Testing Tuesdays will occur through the CoVerified App. The next communication will explain how to download and register with the CoVerified App, how to schedule your appointment, what to expect on your Testing Tuesday, and how you will receive results for the rest of the semester. Check out the CoVerified app guide for more information on what to expect. There is also a guide for parents available.
Students have been split into two groups based on housing arrangements (which we are calling "family units"). Half of each family unit will be tested each week as part of the regular screening. Commuter students will also be assigned to a group.
Testing is not a substitution for the behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19. We each should always behave as though we are asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. Remember to always cover your mouth and nose and maintain at least six feet of physical distance when outside of your personal residence, screen yourself daily for symptoms of COVID-19, and continually implement the practices outlined in the Community Care Agreement (which all students must sign).
If you have any questions related to COVID-19 testing, please email email@example.com.
As part of a concerted approach to reduce and detect COVID-19 on campus in the fall, Hampshire is requiring on-boarding asymptomatic testing on the day of arrival for all students, biweekly testing of all students throughout the fall 2020 semester, and prompt contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine for any individuals who receive a positive symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 result. Employees who work on campus and interact closely with others will also be enrolled in the testing program.
Hampshire will provide testing through the Broad Institute Clinical Research Sequencing Platform Safe for School program. The test to be used is a PCR viral assay and involves a quick and easy self-administered nasal swab, with results available within 12-36 hours. The on-campus testing site, testing procedures, and scheduling are designed to meet all COVID-19 infection control standards for safety.
We are aware that some colleges and universities are choosing to test more or less frequently. Our biweekly frequency and sampling approach are based on an extensive review of guidelines and recommendations from a variety of public health and higher education organizations and expert panels.
Asymptomatic testing is used for ongoing monitoring and detection of asymptomatic COVID cases only; it does not serve as a substitute for preventative measures such as face coverings, physical distancing, daily symptom checks, and limiting close contacts. Asymptomatic testing, even if conducted daily, is imperfect and unable to detect every case of COVID-19. Hampshire has created this fall 2020 program as a way to monitor the campus regularly, while also having designed living and working environments to minimize potential exposures.
Individuals should always act as though they are potentially asymptomatically infected with COVID-19, and must be diligent about always wearing face coverings, physical distancing, and other preventative personal hygiene measures. If our community adheres to these measures, the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 is significantly decreased. If everyone in a classroom wears face coverings and maintains at least six feet of distance from others at all times, then no one will be designated as a close contact for contact tracing purposes. (Less than six feet of distance for 15 minutes or more, regardless of mask usage = close contact.)
It is of the utmost importance that everyone completes a daily symptom check (http://hamp.it/dailyselfcheck) and does not leave their on-campus residence (or come to campus) if they have any symptom of COVID-19, including a milder symptom such as headache, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, and nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. It is extremely important that you call Health Services to schedule same day symptomatic testing (Monday-Friday; at UMass on the weekends) if you exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild they might be.
If anyone in our community has a positive COVID-19 result through the Broad asymptomatic testing program or through symptomatic testing at another location, they will be required to isolate at home or in campus isolation housing for at least 10 days and to cooperate with public health officials in contact tracing.
Participating in the asymptomatic testing program includes registering with an application called CoVerified that allows for scheduling of tests and reporting of results. The app can be installed on a smartphone or accessed using a web browser. The app does not track the location of users. More information about the app, registration, and test scheduling will be sent to everyone in the asymptomatic testing program soon.
Asymptomatic testing will occur at the Robert Crown Center (RCC) beginning the week of August 10. Students will be required to report to the RCC for their initial test on a schedule based on where they are traveling from: see the New Massachusetts Travel Order message. Remember: a negative test result is never a substitution for face coverings or physical distancing. If a student receives a positive result, they will be required to report to one of our designated isolation areas.
All students must consent to testing prior to their first test. Please fill out this consent form prior to arriving at the RCC on your first testing day.
The testing process will take no more than 5-10 minutes. You will be asked to blow your nose prior to coming to the test site (and sanitize or wash your hands afterward), either at home or outside of the RCC. You will then arrive at your scheduled time, check in, receive a test kit, and self-administer the swab q-tip while being observed by a trained testing support staff member. The swabbing process involves pulling your mask down from your nose (but still covering your mouth), and gently rotating the swab in each nostril three times.
Regular biweekly testing will begin on August 25 and continue until Thanksgiving break.
Our student population will be split into two groups, divided within living areas. This will allow us to monitor all living areas weekly as each mod or dorm floor will have half of its residents tested each week.
An Asymptomatic COVID Testing Team has been assembled, which will be coordinating these efforts. The team is led by Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Zauyah Waite with Health Services liaison and onsite clinician Sara Aierstuck. Please contact the Dean of Students Office with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhode Island and Hawaii have been removed from the list of lower-risk states. Find updates to the Travel Order here.
On Friday Massachusetts Governor Baker announced a new travel order that will apply to all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts, effective August 1, 2020. Unlike the previous travel instruction, the new policy is mandatory. The new order will require modification of arrival policies for some students. The rest of this letter discusses these changes in more detail, but here is a summary:
The State order applies to all people entering Massachusetts from areas other than those states designated as lower-risk. That list currently includes New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Hawaii; the list may change as conditions evolve. The order requires that travelers to Massachusetts from any other state either produce a negative COVID-19 test result from a test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival in the state, or quarantine for 14 days. The order allows for testing after arrival in Massachusetts, but requires quarantine until a negative result is obtained.
To conform to the new travel order, Hampshire has made the following changes to the arrival process for new and returning students. Because the travel order has different requirements based on point of origin, our policies also need to distinguish between students arriving from lower-risk states, and all others. Every student will be tested for COVID-19 on the day of arrival, regardless of where their travel originated.
If you have further questions about the details of moving into campus residences, please contact email@example.com.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students