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The university updates covid policy on campus

The university has announced new COVID-19 protocols for community members for the fall 2021 semester. New protocol includes more frequent testing appointments and no indoor distancing restrictions beyond the listed capacity of a given room, according to an email update sent to the community by Dan Kim, Senior Vice President, Communications, Marketing and External Relations. 


All students returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester will be required to submit a test upon arrival, according to the COVID-19 policies page. Fully vaccinated students returning to campus who are asymptomatic and awaiting their test results from their on-campus test must limit the indoor gatherings they attend. They are permitted to enter dining halls to collect food, submit tests at testing sites and visit the Health Center for appointments. Vaccinated individuals may still engage in outdoor activities while awaiting their results if they remain masked at all times, according to the page


Unvaccinated individuals returning to campus must remain in travel quarantine for seven days, according to the page. These individuals may still go collect food from the dining hall, get tested and visit the Health Center for appointments. They may not socialize with others face-to-face in indoor or outdoor settings, according to the page


For indoor gatherings, physical distancing rules have been dropped; however, unvaccinated individuals should try and maintain six feet of physical distancing when possible, according to the page. For outdoor events there are no capacity limits or distancing measures put in place. 


Beginning Aug. 16 vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will have to get tested twice a week, every 96 hours, according to the page. Faculty and staff will be required to get tested once a week, every 168 hours. 


The university no longer requires pre-approval for outside visitors and guests, according to the page, the individual will have to be masked at all times. The visitor will have to maintain six feet of physical distance when possible as well as receive a negative PCR COVID-19 test before arrival if possible, though it is not required. 


Vaccinated individuals no longer need permission from a Dean or Vice President to travel domestically on university-sponsored travel or personal travel, according to the page. Fully vaccinated individuals may also travel internationally, however, must receive permission from their Dean or Vice President. 


Unvaccinated individuals are allowed to travel domestically for personal reasons though they must follow CDC guidelines set for quarantining and testing after they travel, according to the page. Unvaccinated individuals must present two negative test results and quarantine for seven days after domestic travel. Travel outside of the six New England states or internationally requires the permission from their dean or vice president. 


Unvaccinated individuals are prohibited from participating in what the university has deemed “higher risk activities” including: singing, wind instrument playing, theater acting, group dance performance and university sponsored travel. 


The university began to lift COVID-19 restrictions on campus due to the decreasing rate of COVID-19 infection in Massachusetts as well as the high vaccination rate of community members, according to a previous Hoot article. The university’s on-campus community is now over 90 percent vaccinated, according to an email sent by Fierke, Uretsky and Ou.  


In the lifted restrictions, the university announced that fully vaccinated community members are no longer required to wear masks outdoors, but must continue to practice social distancing, according to Kim. Starting July 5, the social distancing guidelines changed from six feet of social distancing to three feet for both indoor and outdoor gatherings, according to the updated policies on the Summer 2021 page of the COVID-19 Response website. Masks must still be worn at all indoor university events, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status, according to the page


In a June 11 email sent to the community, the university will approve vaccination cards for community members who have received WHO-authorized or approved vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. 


Students who were unable to receive the vaccine will be able to make a vaccination appointment before they come to campus in August, according to a previous Hoot article. While the student waits to be fully vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine they will have to follow the guidelines of the unvaccinated community. 


Students applying for medical or religious exemption from receiving the vaccine must upload a request to the Campus Passport Portal which will then be reviewed by the university, according to the email. Students will be able to upload requests beginning July 19 and will be informed when the feature is made available to them. 

Updates regarding the university’s COVID-19 policies and restrictions will be posted on the  Summer 2021 page of the COVID-19 Response website. The university’s COVID-19 policy can be found on the COVID-19 Response page.

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