Emmanuel College continues to plan for a safe re-opening of its campus for living and learning in the Spring 2021 semester, with classes scheduled to begin January 27th. While COVID-19 infection rates in Massachusetts have increased, colleges and universities in the Commonwealth with sound testing and safety protocols have kept on-campus rates very low, and we are confident in the measures we have put in place at Emmanuel. With the exception of a mandate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the City of Boston, we will proceed with welcoming students back to 400 The Fenway.
On-Campus Testing Center: Over the past two months, the College has launched a pilot testing program on campus. To date, more than 600 tests have been successfully processed with results being received within an average of less than 24 hours. This pilot included opening the Testing Center to local students, as well as to faculty and staff, both prior to and following the Thanksgiving holiday. To further safeguard community health over the holidays, the College has offered testing to students, faculty and staff in the days leading up to the Christmas break.
When the semester begins, the center will initiate robust surveillance testing of all community members; testing for students and faculty will take place two times per week. The College has partnered with the world-renowned Broad Institute for testing, and results will be available within 24 hours. This frequency of testing has shown to be particularly effective in identifying and isolating asymptomatic cases.
Isolation and Quarantining: The College has designated isolation rooms for students who test positive for COVID-19, whether they are local or from out of state. Additionally, students who have been notified by the contact-tracing team that they have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who are exhibiting symptoms, will need to quarantine in accordance with the most current CDC guidelines. These students will quarantine in their assigned rooms.
Students in either isolation or quarantine will be provided meals three times per day and will be monitored by our Health Services staff using telehealth until they are medically cleared to return to campus activities. While in quarantine/isolation, students will continue to engage in classes 100% virtually.
Ongoing Monitoring: The College will be working closely with the Boston Public Health Commission, as well as with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to monitor any cases and conduct contact tracing. There is not a specific case number that would prompt a campus closure given that external factors would also influence this decision. We do know that adequate isolation space is key to remaining open.
Flu Shot Requirement: Based on a new mandate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, all students will be required to have received a flu shot by December 31, 2020. Health Services has contacted all students with information on obtaining a flu shot, well as instructions for submitting flu shot documentation. Additionally, the College will require all students to have had a COVID-19 test, administered within 72 hours of arriving on campus, per Massachusetts travel orders. Information on this will be shared in the coming weeks.
We are pleased to let you know that the College has been able to accommodate all students desiring to live on campus for the Spring 2021 semester, while also de-densifying the residence halls and allocating isolation and quarantine space. All resident students at this time have received a final housing assignment, as well as move-in dates based on building. A phased move-in to the residence halls will run from January 18th to January 24th. All students will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and asked to quarantine within their assigned room until a negative result has been received. Results can be expected within 24 hours, and meals will be provided.
Our next EmmanuelForward communication will include comprehensive guides for both residential and commuter students. These guides will include information on campus facilities and parking; dining; visitation and gathering policies; and community standards for behavior that prevents and minimizes the spread of COVID-19.