Student COVID Testing and Protocols

All students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate. On this site you will find information for COVID positive students and students who have been exposed to COVID (close contacts, roommates).

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 you test positive for COVID you must begin to isolate immediately, and notify Health Services within 2 days of your positive test using the COVID positive reporting form. Review all of the protocols and information about what to do -- you will find on this page information for off-campus and residential students. For residential students you will find all of the details about how to isolate, including about meals, bathrooms, mail, cold kits, and academics as well as what the timeline of isolation is and when/how you can exit isolation.

If you are experiencing symptoms and awaiting a test result, you should also isolate until you receive a negative test, even if you have not been directly exposed to COVID.

When a Student is Exposed to COVID / Close Contact

If your roommate tests positive for COVID19 or you were informed that you are a close contact of someone with COVID19, you are considered exposed. If you have are a close contact there are procedures you must follow, review all of the information about what to do.

COVID Testing and Duration of Infectiousness

COVID Testing

Students who have symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19 can receive a PCR test via appointment at College Health Services, this is a diagnostic test not a screening test (for full details). 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.

For those students Health Services deems necessary to receive a PCR test it is important to know that there is no upfront cost to students, however, you may need to take additional action to cover the cost of the PCR test. Specifically:

  • If you have the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), the PCR fee is covered.
  • If you have private insurance and the prepaid plan, the PCR fee is covered.
  • If you have only private insurance (health insurance from home), the cost of the PCR test is posted to your student bursar account.You can then get a receipt from the patient portal and submit this to your insurance company, seeking reimbursement, and then pay your bill with the College.
    • (1) You can then get a receipt from the patient portal and submit this to your insurance company, seeking reimbursement, and then pay your bill with the College.
      • (2) If you cannot collect this refund or have a high deductible insurance plan, you can seek financial reimbursement via the College’s Safety Net Fund, and then pay your bill with the College.

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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. Students can pick-up rapid COVID test kits from the Division of Student Life in Blanchard Hall 205 Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm, while the College is open. During closed days/times, students can pick up a kit from Public Safety and Service.

  • 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.