A biweekly protocol to monitor the community and keep campus safe
During the fall 2020 semester, Hampshire College is conducting regular testing for asymptomatic COVID-19 infection through the Broad Institute Clinical Research Sequencing Platform Safe for School program. The test is a PCR viral assay and involves a quick and easy self-administered nasal swab, with results available within 36 hours. The on-campus testing site, testing procedures, and scheduling are designed to meet all COVID-19 infection control standards for safety.
Upon arrival, all new and returning students were given asymptomatic COVID-19 tests. All staff and faculty members working on campus and interacting closely with others are also tested. At the end of the first round of testing, we do not have any positive cases. We will update our testing dashboard weekly throughout the semester.
Hampshire is requiring ongoing testing of the community every other week throughout the semester, along with prompt contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. These are all part of a concerted approach to reduce and detect COVID-19 on campus. Our biweekly frequency and the 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.
The campus community has been reminded at every turn that testing is not a substitute for the behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19. Individuals should always act as though they are asymptomatically infected with the coronavirus. They are reminded to always wear a face covering over the mouth and nose, maintain at least six feet of physical distance when outside of personal residences, screen themselves daily for symptoms, and continually follow the practices outlined in our Community Care Agreement.
Hampshire is implementing this program as a way to monitor the campus regularly; living and working environments have already been designed to minimize potential exposure. The newly assembled Asymptomatic COVID Testing Team, led by Dean of Students Zauyah Waite and Health Services Director and onsite clinician Sara Aierstuck, has been coordinating these efforts.