COVID-19 Health and Safety Information
Washington College’s COVID-19 policies and procedures universally apply to all members of our campus community (student, faculty, staff, visitors, vendors, 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.
Based on information provided by the American College Health Association (ACHA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and our peers, the College strongly recommends that all students, faculty and staff are up-to-date (as described by the CDC) with the COVID-19 vaccination as described by the CDC.
The current policy and practice for campus is that masks are optional.
However, the College requires the 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;
- You have had a close contact exposure to someone who tested positive; and additionally,
- Sick employees should not report to work. Those who feel well enough and are able are encouraged to work from home.
The College strongly recommends the continued use of face masks in indoor public settings in the following scenarios:
- You are unvaccinated or are not yet fully vaccinated, to include the booster shot; and
- You have underlying health concerns that increase your personal risk factors.
Wearing a face mask is always an option and will remain so unless the college deems it to be necessary based on public health matters. 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 cannot 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 it might be appropriate 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. Face masks are strongly recommended for any Housekeeping worker who is entering spaces (i.e. common areas and bathrooms) on campus that may have had students or workers present that may have been ill.
The mask-optional setting is based on several key indicators, to include the Community Transmission rate and positive cases on campus. 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.
The College will no longer have designated isolation space and a Covid Care Team available for students beginning in the summer of 2023. Consequently, students who test positive will need to either return home (highly recommended) or isolate in place in their residence hall. Regardless of vaccination status, students and workers should isolate from others when they have COVID-19. Students and workers should also isolate if they are sick and suspect they have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results. If you test positive, follow the full isolation recommendations below. If you test negative, the isolation can end.
If you test positive for COVID, stay home at least 5 full days and nights (from symptom onset or date of positive test if asymptomatic) and isolate from others in your home. Students are still expected to go home if possible if they test positive. The following action items are to be implemented:
- Wear a high-quality mask (N95 or KN95) if you must be around others at home and in public;
- Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask;
- Do not travel; (except for travel to home or a location where one isolates);
- Stay in place and separate from others as much as possible;
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible;
- Improve ventilation, if possible;
- Don’t share personal items like cups, towels, and utensils; and
- Monitor your symptoms – if you have an emergency warning sign, like trouble breathing, seek emergency care immediately.
If the student is isolating in place, roommates that are concerned of being exposed can contact Residence Life to seek alternative housing, if available.
Students who are isolating during the semester should work closely with their faculty members to make up any work missed because of their absence. In-person classes will not be accessible virtually, therefore, students should communicate with their professors to determine the appropriate steps to ensure their continued participation in their courses.
Ending Isolation: if you have had no symptoms, isolation may end after 5 full days and nights after testing positive. If you have had symptoms and they are improving you may end isolation after 5 full days and nights if:
- You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication)
If symptoms are not improving, continue to isolate until:
- You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication); and
- Symptoms are improving.
Students and employees should be prepared to provide their own supply of at-home COVID test kits as Health Services will have limited testing capacity. Test kits are traditionally available at local pharmacies or grocery stores. The college will provide tests kits when able.
Students and 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.
Close contact is when an individual 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 one experiences going to a grocery store or other retail outlet. Passing an individual in the hall or speaking for a few minutes while maintaining proper social distance represents community contact.
Visitors are permitted on campus and the College strongly recommends that they are up-to-date on their COVID vaccine. If any visitor begins experiencing any flu-like symptoms, they should wear a mask, isolate from others, and depart campus as soon as possible.
Conferences Services, Campus Events and individual departments hosting multiple day programs are required to request and obtain a COVID plan from clients/guests hosting (or co-hosting) an event on College property/facilities.
This policy is subject to change should we experience an uptick in COVID cases on campus.