Health & Safety

Washington College’s Covid-19 policies and procedures universally apply to all members of our campus community (students, faculty, staff, and other workers). Individual departments, faculty, staff or students may not make their own Covid-19 rules or policies, unless approved by the President or their designee. Students can contact the Quarantine & Isolation Coordinators group at 443-480-1196.

Face Masks

For guidance on what is/isn't a proper mask and other tips, please refer to the CDC's information.

Currently, the mask policy from the fall semester remains in effect. This policy will be under regular review as we approach the spring semester and the return of the campus community. Until further notice, it remains as stated below:

  • Everyone on campus must be masked in all public indoor spaces; private offices and student rooms and suites are not considered public and therefore the requirement does not apply in these areas. 
  • Public spaces are all of those areas where you are likely to come in contact with individuals that you do not live with or share an office with. While not an exhaustive list, the following are examples of public indoor spaces: 
      • Classrooms and labs
      • Hallways, common spaces, open-floor plan workspaces and restrooms in academic and administrative buildings 
      • JFC and Cain Athletic Center 
      • Casey Academic Center (CAC) 
      • Miller Library 
      • Hodson Hall – in dining areas, masks are required except when eating or drinking 
      • Theatres and other large meeting areas 

Other Information:

  • Students are strongly encouraged to wear face masks within shared public spaces in their residence halls, particuarly in situations where students may be gathered in smaller spaces. This includes laundry rooms, lounges, kitchens and hallways.
  • Co-workers who are all vaccinated and who regularly occupy the same workspace may – by agreement – remove their masks indoors when no outside visitors are in that shared workspace. Masks must be worn anytime other individuals occupy that shared space. Unvaccinated individuals must remain masked indoors.
  • For vaccinated individuals in outdoor spaces, masks are optional. For unvaccinated individuals in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible, masks are required. 
  • We reserve the right to require masks be worn by all attendees at some large outdoor events. If this is a requirement, that information will be clearly communicated and posted. 
  • During gateway testing, masks will be required by everyone, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Any unvaccinated individuals who are required to participate in surveillance testing are required to be masked for that regular testing. 
  • There is more data to support the preferred use of KN-95 masks, so if you are able to secure one, we encourage you to do so. The next best option for masking is to double-mask, using a cloth mask on top of a paper surgical mask.

Pause on the Addendum to Indoor Mask Policy – 

An addendum was in effect for the fall semester that allowed for presenters/performers/speakers to temporarily remove masks, but at present, we are planning to begin the Spring 2022 semester without allowing this exception. We will continue to monitor and alert the community when conditions allow for this to resume.

Required Vaccines

Washington College continues to require that students receive vaccines against preventable diseases. This is to help mitigate risk to our campus community and to support public health efforts in disease containment. Required vaccines for the 2021-22 academic year include MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), TDAP (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis), Varicella (chickenpox), Polio, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, and COVID-19. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to be current on their vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine and as of 12/20/21, the COVID-19 booster shot.

In accordance with state and federal laws, Washington College will honor bona fide medical and religious exemptions for any or all of the required vaccines. For more details on how to request an exemption (and other FAQ's), click here.

We recognize that some international students may have difficulties in accessing the COVID-19 vaccine at home or may have questions about whether the vaccine they receive is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is Washington College’s standard for accepting the vaccine. Washington College will assist students in this situation in setting up vaccine appointments upon arrival.

Flu Shots

Flu shots are strongly recommended, but are not on the list of required vaccinations for the 2021-22 academic year. We do strongly encourage any student who has not yet received a flu vaccine to get one during the winter break and prior to the return to campus in January.

Social Distancing

We will be continuing with some level of social distancing, though we will no longer mandate a 6’ distance. In many areas around campus, removing the social distancing mandate also removes the need for restricting capacities, effectively restoring these areas to pre-COVID standards.

That being said, please be patient and kind with respect to physical distance. Everyone has a different level of comfort with the ongoing risks presented by COVID, and handshakes, hugs and chest bumps may very well be in the
category of “too soon” (or never!) for other members of our community. In short, if those around you prefer to continue to maintain a greater distance, the right thing to do is to be respectful of that.

Within those spaces that return to normal occupancy, we will also ensure, whenever possible, that there is space available for any members of our community who are unvaccinated and require physical distancing or for any other reasons wish tomaintain a greater distance from others. 

COVID Testing Protocols

Washington College COVID-19 testing protocols for the Spring 2022 semester are as follows:

Gateway Testing

Even with the majority of our campus vaccinated, the American College Health Association strongly recommends that institutes of higher learning implement gateway testing. With the highly transmissible Omicron variant, we know that there will be COVID cases on campus and the gateway testing will help us to manage the spread while focusing on mitigation strategies.

In accordance with this recommendation, gateway testing is required for all students living on or off-campus, regardless of vaccination status. There is no cost to students associated with the gateway antigen testing. 

For students living on campus, an appointment must be scheduled for Gateway Testing. Appointment date and time can be selected using the sign-up form in the Housing Portal. Health Services will administer a rapid antigen test. Rapid testing will again be managed through the NAVICA app. For any new/transfer students, information will be sent out by email prior to the start of the semester, with instructions for enrolling with NAVICA.

For students living off-campus, please log into the Housing Portal and use the sign-up form to select a gateway test appointment prior to the first day of classes (Jan. 24). Off-campus students are strongly encouraged to complete their gateway test prior to Jan. 22, as we anticipate higher traffic to the testing site over the weekend.  Testing is available Mon-Fri 9 AM to 4 PM.

The gateway testing process is as follows:

  • If the gateway antigen test is negative, students will proceed with move-in.
  • If the gateway antigen test returns a positive result, the student will be considered positive for COVID and will be required to isolate. Unlike last semester, no confirmatory PCR test will be administered. Currently, the lengthy delays in getting results from these send-out test do not allow for timely action and communication around positive results, so we will be foregoing this step in Spring 2022.
  • Gateway Testing Costs:
    • There is no cost to students for gateway antigen tests.

Surveillance Testing

Vaccinated students, staff or faculty will not be required to participate in surveillance testing. For the spring 2022 semester, both the COVID vaccine and the booster are required in order to be exempt from this regular testing.

Students who received vaccine excemptions, and/or booster exemptions will be required to participate in regular surveillance testing, which will be weekly at minimum. Testing will be administered in Kirby Stadium. Anyone who is required to particiate in surveillance testing will sign up for a weekly timeslot. There is no cost for surveillance testing, which will be done with a rapid antigen test. As with the gateway testing, any student who tests positive with the rapid antigen during surveillance testing will be considered COVID-positive.

For staff, faculty or other workers, surveillance testing will be required for anyone who does not have a vaccine record on file with Health Services.

Symptomatic Testing

Any student who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID will be tested by the Health Services Team using the rapid antigen test. Due to the lengthy delays in receiving results of send-out PCR tests, they will no longer do the 2nd confirmatory PCR test to confirm the initial result. A positive rapid antigen will be accepted as COVID-positive and the student will be required to move into isolation housing (or go home to isolate).

Health Services is available during normal business hours Mon-Fri. The testing site is also open Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

If a student becomes symptomatic during evening hours or over the weekend, the Q&I Coordinators will be able to assist with an at-home test kit. Any student who begins to exhibit symptoms outside of normal business hours should call 443-480-1196 and speak with the Q&I Coordinator on duty.

Testing App

Both Gateway and Surveillance Testing will be managed using the NAVICA app. All students will must enroll with NAVICA and complete the app set-up prior to arrival. Any Washington College worker who does not have a vaccine card that includes the booster on file will need to enroll in NAVICA in order to meet the requirement for regular surveillance testing.

NAVICA information will be emailed from Health Services to any new/transfer students. Please carefully review that email and take the steps to get set up with NAVICA before you return to campus.

 

What to do if you show symptoms of COVID-19

 

NOTE: If a student who is ill is able to safely travel home to recover, they are encouraged to do so. For students with symptoms, clearance to return will only be granted once it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, it has been at least 24 hours with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and all symptoms have improved. Return to campus is only permitted once you have been sent an email confirmation from either health services or the Q&I coordinator confirming the date that you may return to campus.

Contact Tracing

Washington College will work closely with the Kent County Health Department to conduct contact notification and training in the event of a positive or presumed case of COVID-19 or if someone is symptomatic. The process of contact notification will include outreach to anybody that the person identifies as a potential contact both on campus and off- campus.

Contact notification will begin when an individual either becomes symptomatic and/or is found to be COVID positive. Washington College has several employees who are trained as contact tracers and will begin the process of notifying those who may have had close contact with the individual. Contact tracers will contact individuals by phone using the primary student contact number supplied to the College. They may also use other methods to contact individuals. All students, faculty, and staff who are contacted are expected to comply with the contact notification or tracing requests. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, the case triggers a contact tracing investigation which will be taken over by the Kent County Health Department.

All students are expected to comply when contacted by a contact tracer. Failure to do so may be considered a violation of College policy. If you are unsure about whether someone contacting you is a legitimate contact tracer, please call Health Services at 410-778-7261.

it is important to understand the difference between "close contact" and "community contact" as it relates to contact tracing.

 

Close contact is when someone was closer than 6' to a person who tested positive or is suspected to be positive. This contact had to last more than 15 minutes, masked or unmasked.

Community contact is similar to what you experience in going to a grocery store or other retail outlet. Passing someone in the hall or speaking for a few minutes while maintaining proper social distance represent community contact.

Contact tracers will make direct notification ONLY to those who are identified as having had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID or is suspected to be positive. All other contacts are considered community contact. In some cases, it will be possible for the College to also notify those who fall into the community contact criteria, but not always. The notification to close contacts will always be the first priority.

Symptom Checking

We are no longer requiring that students, staff or faculty utilize the emocha app or any other type of daily attestation. There may be instances where you are asked to complete a paper attestation form or receive a temperature check during entry to a particular facility.

All members of our community are expected to continue to self-monitor for any COVID (or other illness) symptoms, and take steps to seek testing and/or treatment right away should you become ill.

Know What to Do If You Show Symptoms of COVID-19

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms that seem like allergies or a slight cold to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Students who believe they have contracted COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate in their room and call Health Services (410-778-7261) during normal office hours (or the Q&I Coordinator on duty after hours - 443-480-1196)
for further instructions. Students will be advised about how and where to get tested and next steps.

Seek medical care immediately if you are experiencing any Emergency Warning Signs, which include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake and bluish lips or face.