COVID Testing and Duration of Infectiousness
For the fall semester, students who have symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19 can receive a test via appointment at College Health Services. You should contact Health Services by calling 413-538-2121. They will help determine the proper time for an evaluation and or testing. Health Services will make the final determination whether a student is tested for COVID.
Students who are asymptomatic and wish to test may do so either through a home test or at a clinic or pharmacy in the area. The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and many other public and private insurance carriers offer rapid antigen tests for enrollees at no out-of-pocket cost. Students enrolled in SHIP can find more information about how to obtain these tests.
Duration of Infectiousness
People with COVID-19 can possibly be contagious for up to 10 days following their test; that risk decreases with time and markedly drops after day 5. This is the basis for the CDC’s’ and Mount Holyoke College’s isolation protocol reflecting strict isolation for the 5 days following a positive COVID-19 test, but adhering to extra precautions for the full infectious period.
People can continue to test positive on a PCR test in the three months following infection, even though they are no longer contagious. So we recommend not testing for recurrent COVID-19 with a PCR test for at least 90 days. If you need medical documentation to submit as a waiver for a required PCR test, please notify Health Services and they can supply that for you.
People who have had a recent COVID 19 infection are themselves well-protected from catching COVID again in the first month; this protection decreases over time but likely lasts for 2-3 months. Please do not retest yourself during the isolation protocol or for the first 30 days following your positive test. Rapid antigen tests may be positive or negative and are not solely a marker of transmission risk.