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.
For guidance on what is/isn't a proper mask and other tips, please refer to the CDC's information.
The campus-wide policy is currently mask-optional.
While there is no current mask mandate, we strongly recommend the continued use of face masks in indoor public settings in the following scenarios:
- You are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms at all, even if mild. Those who become symptomatic should seek a COVID test ASAP as well.
- You have had a close contact exposure to someone who tested positive.
- You are unvaccinated or are not yet fully vaccinated, to include the booster shot.
- You have underlying health concerns that increase your personal risk factors.
Wearing a face mask is always an option and will remain so. As a community, we should be sensitive to the fact that some classmates and colleagues will prefer to continue to wear a mask indoors and be supportive and respectful of that decision. N95 and KN95 masks have been proven to be effective in safeguarding the wearer, even when others around them are unmasked.
This is a campus-wide policy which means that individuals should not be overriding this policy with mask requirements in their own classes, groups, etc. That does not mean that we can't have conversations with our peers and students about what's best for us and our groups. There are many avenues for those who are anxious about the removal of the requirement to take personal action to protect themselves.
While mask-optional means that no one will be required to wear a mask in any learning spaces (classes, labs, etc.) we do know that there are some physical spaces where groups may be working in close proximity for extended periods of time. We encourage anyone in this setting to consider if this might be cause to continue with personal mask-wearing.
Face masks will continue to be a requirement for anyone who is visiting Health Services or the Counseling Center, as well as anyone who has an appointment for COVID testing.
This mask-optional setting is based on several key indicators, to include the Community Transmission rate, positive cases on campus and capacity within quarantine & isolation housing. It is subject to change and the College reserves the right to institute an indoor mask mandate based on fluctuations within those criteria. Any changes will be announced campus-wide.
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 2022-23 academic year include MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), TDAP (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis), Varicella (chickenpox), Polio, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, and COVID-19, to include the COVID-19 Booster Shot. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to be current on their vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine the 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.
COVID Testing for the fall semester will include two components – Gateway testing upon arrival and symptomatic testing throughout. The College will not be conducting regular surveillance testing.
COVID testing will be administered using the NAVICA app. Any new students who are not yet registered with NAVICA will be receiving information from Health Services with further details on how to sign up for the app on August 1, 2022.
- Gateway Testing
- Gateway testing (testing upon arrival) will be 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.
- Students will be required to sign up for a testing time. More details on how to register for a testing appointment will be provided at a later date.
- 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 required to isolate.
- The expectation is that any student within a 5-hour drive of their primary residence return home to isolate. We recognize that there may be extenuating circumstances and those will be reviewed in these instances to determine the best course of action for the student. If they cannot travel home, they will be required to move into the designated isolation housing on campus and comply with all isolation procedures.
- Symptomatic Testing
- Any student who is exhibiting any symptom of COVID should schedule a test via the student health portal. If the rapid test returns a positive result, the student will be required isolate.
- As noted above, the expectation is that any student who lives within a 5-hour drive travel home to isolate. If there is a compelling reason that a student cannot return home, they will be required to isolate in the designated on-campus housing and comply with all isolation procedures.
- If the rapid test is negative, the student should schedule a follow-up sick visit with Health Services by calling the office. Sick students should wear a mask in all indoor settings and should abstain from classes pending their visit with Health Services.
- Health Services is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mon-Fri.
- The testing site will operate on a limited basis and will be located at Kirby Stadium. Specific days and hours of operation will be communicated in August.
- 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.
- NAVICA Testing App
- Both Gateway and Symptomatic Testing will be managed using the NAVICA app. All students must enroll with NAVICA and complete the app set-up prior to arrival.
- Any Washington College employee who needs to be tested through the College, will also be required to enroll in the NAVICA app. New employees need to contact Health Services directly to get enrollment information. Employees who cannot or choose not to enroll in the NAVICA app will be given an at home test kit if available and will not be tested with the college NAVICA system.
- NAVICA information will be emailed from Health Services to any new/transfer students on August 1. Please carefully review that email and take the steps to get set up with NAVICA before your arrival.
The nature of contact tracing has evolved. Currently, students or workers who test positive will be responsible for notifying their close contacts directly and letting them know they can contact Health Services (Health_Services@washcoll.edu or 410-778-7261) with questions or additional instructions.
It is still important to understand the difference between close contact and community contact:
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.