As many students return to campus for the fall semester, they will face travel restrictions and quarantine requirements implemented by Brandeis University and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Failing to comply can result in fines of up to $500 per day.
Any travelers entering Massachusetts, including returning Massachusetts residents, from outside of the designated “lower risk states” are required to fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and quarantine for two weeks or until they receive a negative result from a test taken within Massachusetts, according to the state government’s website.
There are limited exceptions for people who commute out of state for work or school, people travelling to MA for medical treatment, anyone travelling on federal or state military business, people travelling through the state without stopping, and workers entering to perform “critical infrastructure functions” as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a sub agency of the Federal Department of Homeland Security.
As defined by Massachusetts, lower risk states include Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey. Massachusetts does not require travelers from those states to quarantine or fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form. These states are seen as having the virus sufficiently under control so that there is a minimal risk of spreading it to Massachusetts—the reason for the exemption. Rhode Island and Hawai’i were formerly on that list, but due to an increase in cases in both states they were removed on August 7 and August 14 respectively.
In addition to Massachusetts law, students must follow Brandeis’ additional protocols for returning to campus. Firstly, all students who will be required to quarantine by Massachusetts will be instructed to quarantine in their dorm rooms until they receive a negative result from a test that will be administered to them upon arrival at Brandeis. Brandeis is not requiring students from the low risk states to quarantine in their rooms, although all students are required to fill out the Brandeis Daily Health Assessment upon arrival.
Although Brandeis’ Fall 2020 Health and Safety Plan was updated August 19, the travel section incorrectly lists Hawai’i as a low risk state at time of writing.
Once on campus, all students are required to get tested twice a week. This mandatory testing is provided for free, and in an Aug. 14 email, President Ron Liebowitz said that the university will be able to process “between 1,000 and 1,200 tests each day for faculty staff, and students.” Anyone on campus will be required to fill out the Daily Health Assessment, as the name implies, on a daily basis.