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Univ. community reaches green COVID-19 status

The university announced that they have shifted from a Yellow to a Green COVID-19 status level effective Sept. 9, according to an email sent to community members by Carol Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration and Andrea Dine, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs. 

“Our community’s near-total vaccination rate and low rates of community transmission have given us the confidence to make this adjustment at this time,” reads the email. 

The Green status level indicates the transmission rate on campus is low and has a minimal impact on the community operations, according to the university’s COVID-19 Response page. As students came back to campus the university was in a Yellow status, which had an open campus status but a higher rate of transmission of the virus than in comparison to the Green status. 

The email notes the main differences in COVID-19 policies between the Green and Yellow statuses. In the Green status, masking on campus is optional with the exception being in certain areas including classrooms, university shuttles and administrative offices where there is a posting that masks are required.

If students arrive to classrooms without a mask, professors can ask the student to leave, though it is up to the discretion of the faculty member teaching to decide whether students have to mask or not. The email notes that community members should have masks “at the ready” in the event that masking is required in a location they intend on going to. 

Masking is required for community members who are identified as close contacts or who test positive for COVID-19. According to the email, in this situation, community members should follow the instructions provided by the Brandeis Community Tracing Program. 

In the email, the administrators included a note for community members that despite the relaxing of policies the university is in support of those “wishing to add a layer of protection for themselves.” According to the email, “many individuals feel more comfortable wearing a mask where risks are known to be higher, such as in large, enclosed group settings.”

In the Green status level, gathering size is at full capacity and there are no restrictions on visitors, according to the COVID-19 Response page. Travel is unrestricted for community members, though it is encouraged that if a community member travels overnight that they take a rapid antigen test three days after their return, according to the page. During that duration back from their trip students should also mask around others, according to the page

Testing is on a for-cause only basis, according to the page, meaning that it is only for students exhibiting symptoms or having been exposed. Students can receive PCR testing from the Health Center and staff, faculty and affiliates can also receive PCR and rapid testing. 

“We know that COVID transmission is likely to rise as the weather gets colder, and as many community members travel around upcoming holidays and school breaks. Our community should be prepared to see a return to more precautions if case rates follow previous trends,” the administrators noted in the email. 

For more information on the university’s COVID-19 policies, students can visit the university’s COVID-19 response page.

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