Fall 2022 COVID Testing and Protocols

All students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate. Residential students will isolate in place when they test positive for COVID-19 and Off-Campus Students should isolate off-campus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) no longer considers college residence halls as high-risk areas because this age group is unlikely to get severe COVID if vaccinated.

The policy and protocols are subject to change, any changes will be updated on this site and communicated directly to students as soon as possible.

When a Student Tests Positive for COVID

When a student tests positive for COVID through a home test or from a third party testing site, they should immediately begin isolation in place and notify Health Services by submitting the Positive COVID Test Form.

You should not expect an immediate response from the Positive COVID Test form. If you indicated that you need to speak with College Health Services (CHS), you can expect a call within one day (unless reporting on the weekend, in which case a Clinician will contact you on the Monday following your submission). If you did not indicate that you needed to speak to Health Services at the time of your submission, Health Services will schedule a phone appointment with you on Day 5 (or 6) following the date of your positive test. You must remain isolating in place until cleared by a CHS Clinical Staff Member.

  • Isolation Time Frame

    Because the infectious period lasts for up to 10 days following infection, students who test positive will be required to follow a minimum of 10 day isolation protocol. This is typically 5 days of isolation-in-place (days 0-5) followed by another 5 days of heightened safety precautions (days 6-10).

    • Day 0 = date of positive test result
    • Day 6 = earliest possible day of discharge from isolation-in-place
    • Day 11 = earliest possible day to end isolation protocol (isolation &/or heightened safety precautions).
    • In some cases, a student may need to isolate in place longer; rarely would a student need to be required to follow an isolation protocol longer than 10 days.

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    Health Services will make the determination for each individual student’s isolation protocol timeline. Students may NOT shift from isolating in place to following heightened safety precautions until cleared to do so by a Health Services clinician.

    Health Services will respond to initial reports of a positive COVID test the same day, or if after hours, by the next business day. They will also schedule a phone/virtual appointment on day 5 to assess the appropriateness of discharging from isolating-in-place to completing the isolation protocol following heightened safety precautions.

Off-Campus Students Isolate-in-Place

When an off-campus student tests positive for COVID, you must follow the isolation protocols for off-campus students. If you have any urgent medical concerns such as shortness of breath, please contact Health Services via phone at 413-538-2121 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm). After hours, the On-Call Clinician can be reached by calling 413-538-2242 and following the prompts. If you have your own off campus medical provider, you may also reach out to that office for clinical needs. For medical emergencies, call 911 or go to a local emergency room.

In general, we recommend following the CDC guidance for isolating at home, with the exception of counting the isolation time frame. MHC uses the date the positive test was collected as day 0, even if you had some symptoms prior. You may not come to campus or attend classes until you are “cleared” by Health Services to end strict isolation and shift to heightened safety precautions to complete the isolation protocol.

Residential Students Isolate-in-Place

When a residential student tests positive for COVID, you must follow the isolation protocols for residential students, which are outlined below. If you have any urgent medical concerns such as shortness of breath, please contact Health Services via phone at 413-538-2121 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm). After hours, the On-Call Clinician can be reached by calling 413-538-2242 and following the prompts. You may also message our triage nurse via the MyHealthConnection portal for a response within 2 business days. For medical emergencies, call Public Safety & Service at 413-538-2304 (or 1-911 from a campus phone), or go to a local emergency room.

Residential students who test positive for COVID may opt to isolate themselves at home or off campus, provided they can travel there by private vehicle (do not use public transportation).

Isolation in Place Protocol for Residential Students:

You must remain in your own assigned residence hall room until you are cleared by Health Services staff to be discharged from isolating-in-place. Please follow emergency procedures should the residence hall experience an emergency.

  • During isolation you may only leave your room to pick up meals and to use the bathroom.
  • You must wear a KN95 mask (or better quality mask) every time you leave your room.
  • If you have a roommate, we encourage you to wear your mask when you are not sleeping but your roommate is present. Please discuss this with your roommate(s) ahead of time, as you are discussing your Roommate Agreement at the start of the semester, what your plan will be.
  • No one – other than any assigned roommate(s) – is permitted to enter your room or visit for the 10 days following your positive test. This applies even if your isolation-in-place period ends prior to day 11.
  • KN95 Masks and Cold Care Kits

    If you need a KN95 mask or a cold care kit, they will be available in the Q&I Nook where you pick up your food. Email your request to qimeals-g@mtholyoke.edu and the items will be set aside for you.

  • Use of Residential Hall Bathrooms

    You may use the toilets and sinks in communal bathrooms at any time, while masked with a KN95.

    You may use your floor’s bathroom(s) for unmasked activities during designated times only, which are posted on the bathroom door.

    • This applies to communal bathrooms.
    • Unmasked activities include showering, face washing, brushing your teeth.
    • Designated time slots are posted outside each bathroom and alternate on every floor.
    • Cleaning supplies will be stocked in every bathroom for you to wipe down after any unmasked use.

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    You must wipe down all used bathroom surfaces after unmasked use in both single user and communal bathrooms.

    • Cleaning supplies are in the bathroom.
    • Email your Area Coordinator if bathroom cleaning supplies need to be restocked.
      • Kelly Bernatzky: 1837, Abbey, Buckland, Creighton, MacGregor, and Ham
      • Mae Inge: Mead, Porter, Prospect, Rockefeller, and Wilder
      • Sarah Garijo-Garde: Brigham, Dickinson, Mandelle, Pearsons, Pearsons Annex, Safford, and Torrey
  • Meals During Isolation

    Students in isolation will pick up meals twice daily (during designated times only) at the Q&I Meals Nook of Dining Services. Please utilize the exterior side door, across from Wilder Hall, located off the patio to access this space - DO NOT ENTER THE MAIN DINING COMMONS ENTRANCE.

    There is currently a buffet style pickup in the Q&I Nook. Options are available for those with food allergies. The pick up times are:

    • LUNCH: 11:00AM-2:00PM
    • DINNER: 5:00PM-7:00PM
    • Please be sure to take non-perishable items for your breakfast the next day - we do not serve breakfast in the Q&I Nook

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    Pick up your Q&I meals during the designated times, then return directly to your residence hall room. You must wear your KN95 mask at all times outside of your room.

    If you have accommodations regarding food, please email qimeals-g@mtholyoke.edu. Use the detailed subject line 'Food Accomodation for Q&I Meal'.

    If you are too ill to go to the Q&I Nook, identify a friend to be your “meal buddy”. Submit your food order from the daily menu to qimeals-g@mtholyoke.edu and have your meal buddy pick up your order and drop your food off outside your room. Use the detailed subject line 'Q&I Order - sending Meal Buddy for Pickup'. Lunch orders must be submitted by 10:00AM and your buddy can pick it up at 12:00PM. Dinner orders must be submitted by 3:00PM and your buddy can pick it up at 5:00PM. Be sure to list non-perishable items for your breakfast the next day. Those who are unable to use the 'meal buddy' system should call Dining Services at 413-538-3090 for alternative arrangements.

  • Academics During Isolation

    During your isolation-in-place period, you may not attend class.

    • Please reach out to your professors directly to get assignments, notes, etc. during your absence. If you have difficulty, notify your Academic Dean to help support you in getting class materials.
      • Academic Dean's Office: 413-538-3610 oracademic-deans@mtholyoke.edu
      • Kim Parent – Assistant Dean of Studies and Class Dean for New Students
      • Alison Hopkins - Assistant Dean of Studies and Class Dean for Sophomores & Juniors
      • Amy Rodgers –  Class Dean for the Seniors
    • As your health allows, we encourage you to do some academic work while you are following isolation protocols. If you are too ill to keep up, please be proactive in sharing this with your professors and or Academic Dean. They can help coordinate a plan to stay as up to date as possible, and adjust deadlines as appropriate.
  • Mail During Isolation

    Because the infectious period lasts for up to 10 days following infection, students who test positive will be required to follow a minimum of 10 day isolation protocol. This is typically 5 days of isolation-in-place (days 0-5) followed by another 5 days of heightened safety precautions (days 6-10).

    If you need your mail picked up, use the buddy system – identify a friend or a residence hall mate who can pick up your mail and drop it outside of your door.

    You must email mailandcopycenter@mtholyoke.edu to inform them of the name of the student that you are authorizing to pick up your mail; include your mailbox number in the email. Please note that these requests take time to process and we take mail security seriously. Your Mail Buddy should not attempt to pick up your mail until they receive a new package pickup notice from the Mail & Copy Center.

    If you cannot identify someone to assist you, email covidhousing-g@mtholyoke.edu and a staff member will help you make arrangements.

Heightened Safety Protocols Once Approved to Exit Isolation

If you are discharged from isolation by Health Services prior to the full 10 days of infection risk you will be required to follow the College’s heightened safety precautions to complete your 10 day isolation protocol. You must:

  • Wear a KN95 mask at all times when outside your own residence hall room, including while outdoors.
  • You will no longer get meals from the Dining Commons Isolation Nook. You can enter the main Dining Commons to get to-go food. You MUST get to-go food and continue to eat alone in your residence hall room, or a private room with a closed door. You cannot eat in common spaces or the Dining Commons until your Day 11.
  • Not participate in congregate or group exercise. This means you can take walks or jog outside but should not exercise at Kendall, and cannot participate in team sport activities until day 11 following your positive test.
  • Not travel off campus except to attend 5 College classes or health related appointments.

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You may attend class. You may attend group activities or 1:1 meetings. Remember to wear your KN95 mask and whenever possible, arrange to physically distance yourself from others.

  • If you have a class with a student or faculty member who has approved COVID-related accommodations, you may be required to remain absent from that class until the full 10 days infection risk period has ended. Health Services will let you know if this is the case.

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After the full 10 days following your positive COVID test, you may resume MHC’s current health & safety behavioral expectations.