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Univ. updates COVID-19 policies as students move off campus

The university announced that it will be ending its asymptomatic testing of students beginning on May 20, according to an email sent to community members on May 4. After the 20th, community members will be able to test for COVID-19 if they are symptomatic. 

“Thank you for your attention to our COVID-19 guidelines throughout the semester and year. We are writing today with updates about how we will transition as the Spring 2022 semester concludes,” wrote senior administrators 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 for Student Affairs. 

The university’s testing hours at the Shapiro Science Center (SSC) will be shortened from May 16-20, during the finals period, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. instead of closing at 4 p.m. which is its current closing time. Beginning on May 21, students who are symptomatic or who are contact traced can receive testing from the Health Center by appointment, according to the email. For faculty and staff, they can receive testing through Occupational Health if they begin having COVID-19 symptoms or are identified as a close contact. Occupational Health will arrange testing through their primary care provider, according to the email. 

For community members who test positive after May 20, they should self-isolate and contact the Brandeis Contact Tracing program. According to the email, the contact tracers can be reached via email at bctp@brandeis.edu for instructions on how to return to campus activities. 

For community members who test positive, they are required to isolate themselves in their homes and not come to campus, which follows the guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the email. For students living on campus, they will be expected to isolate in their residence halls, rather than in isolation housing which was previously used. 

The university will maintain its current “soft quarantine” policy for vaccinated individuals which they updated earlier this semester, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. However, unvaccinated individuals will have to observe a full quarantine and will not be allowed to resume campus activities until after their quarantine period has ended. 

“We thank you all for your participation in our COVID-19 guidelines and requirements this year, and for your flexibility, as restrictions were tightened and loosened as the Delta and Omicron variants called for frequent adjustments to our approaches,” reads the email. 

The university will also be retiring its colored Campus Passport program which designates what individuals are allowed in public spaces on campus. The passport portal will still be usable, however, there will be no, “color-coded status for our community members,” reads the email. Community members may access their passports in order to review their testing history and to connect to the Daily Health Assessment tool in order to attend an event on campus which requires it. 

The university also intends to retire its COVID-19 dashboard on May 19. Masking policies however will remain in place through the end of finals, according to the email. 

We would also like to thank the staff members who were involved with our COVID-19 response planning, testing and tracing, who worked so hard to keep our community as healthy and safe as possible,” reads the email. 

Community members will receive further updates on COVID-19 protocols and procedures as the university begins to welcome guests to commencement at the end of May, according to the email.

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