With the reduction of positive cases on campus, the university has decided to ease its COVID-19 protocols on campus, according to an email sent to community members on April 11. The university’s new guidelines are structured similarly to the Center for Disease COntrol and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines, wrote Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs.
“We are continuing to see a reduction in COVID-19 rates on campus after our mid-semester peak: the measures we took to contain the spread are working. Brandeis’ positivity rate, at around one percent, is at or below statewide rates for the general population and other local college campuses,” wrote the administrators to community members.
According to the email, in the new COVID-19 guidelines,the university has made changes for community members identified as close contacts who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19 and are in their 90 day exemption window.
These individuals are expected to be in a “soft quarantine” for the 10 days after exposure to COVID-19. During this time, community members are not confined to their room but are allowed to participate in campus activities as long as they follow the “soft quarantine” guidelines, according to the email. In the revised guidelines, close contacted community members are expected to be: masked at all times, monitor for symptoms, use the takeout meal option test as instructed by the Brandeis Contact Tracing Team, notify the health center if there is an onset of symptoms and begin isolation if they test positive.
“Should Brandeis experience a surge in cases, or if a high-risk cluster of cases are identified, all close contacts may be required to quarantine per clinical guidance to mitigate COVID spread,” according to the email.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and identified as a close contact must continue to adhere to the previous isolation and quarantine policies. According to the email, unvaccinated individuals are required to remain in their residence hall, isolation housing or off-campus housing if they are identified as a close contact or if they test positive. If a student tests positive for COVID-19 they are also expected to follow the university’s previous isolation protocol.
The administrators also noted the importance of masking on campus. According to the email, “masking is a well-documented, simple way to protect yourself from the risk of contracting COVID.” The administrators encourage community members to take a “risk assessment” of the activities they participate in and the likelihood of developing COVID-19.
“Our revised practices emphasize making good individual choices, employing common sense, and using what we’ve learned in the past two years to keep ourselves and our community safe,” reads the email.
The new protocols went into effect on April 12, according to the email. The administrators noted that they will continue to watch the COVID-19 data in the community and make adjustments to protocols as they see necessary.