The federal government and the state of Massachusetts have made the decision to end the COVID-19 public health emergency. Effective June 1, 2023, the college will no longer require COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters for members of our community. Rather, we strongly recommend that everyone stay up to date on their vaccinations, including boosters, as recommended by their health care provider.

While we will no longer require COVID-19 vaccinations, we strongly encourage members of our campus community to adhere to public health recommendations for vaccination to protect against COVID-19, as well as influenza and other diseases.

Masking

Masking is still optional for members of the community and campus visitors, including in academic spaces. Starting in August, the Counseling Center and Norton Medical Center will move to make masks optional for students. Please note that if a student has respiratory or other symptoms during an appointment at the Counseling Center and/or Norton Medical Center, staff may request that the student wear a mask, switch to a telehealth visit or reschedule their appointment for a later date and time. Norton Medical Center practitioners will still wear masks during student visits.

Symptom Monitoring

One of the most effective mitigation strategies has been and will continue to be symptom monitoring.  All community members are expected to personally monitor themselves for symptoms to protect the community.

If a student is experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, they must:

  • Not leave their room and should take a rapid test and/or consult with Norton Medical Center before resuming regular activities.
  • Rapid tests are available for purchase at the local Walgreens and CVS pharmacies within walking distance from the college.

If an employee is experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, they must:

  • Take a rapid test and/or consult with medical professionals before returning to work.  Employees who receive a negative test may return to work but are encouraged to test daily until symptoms begin to improve.
  • Notify their supervisor that they will be taking a sick day. If symptoms are mild, and your position allows, you may be able to coordinate a remote work arrangement with your supervisor. If symptoms inhibit your ability to work remotely, or your position does not accommodate an alternate work arrangement, paid sick leave or other paid time off must be used.

Positive Test Result

Any community members who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate for 5 full days, regardless of a subsequent negative test result, as stated by CDC guidelines.

More specifically, the timeline of isolation is as follows: The date of symptom onset is day 0 (if there are no symptoms, day 0 is the date of the test).  Community members are cleared to return to regular campus activities with a firm fitted mask on the morning of day 6 (days 0-5 are in isolation) as long as they are 24 hours fever free and all other symptoms are improving. Masking is required until 10 days after their positive test result.

If a residential student tests positive for COVID-19, they must:

  • Isolate off-campus or isolate in place (more information listed below)

If a student living off-campus tests positive for COVID-19, they must:

Students may contact deanofstudents@wheatoncollege.edu with any non-emergency questions or Campus Safety at 508-286-3333 with any urgent questions or concerns.

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they must:

  • Work with their supervisor as they normally would when having to take time off or work remotely due to illness.
  • Isolate off-campus following CDC guidelines for isolation.

Employees may consult with Human Resources if they have questions. 

Isolation in Place Protocol

Students will be required to isolate in place for their full isolation timeline following a positive test result.

  • Mask up: A positive student must wear a mask at all times unless they are in their room alone, or actively bathing and eating.
  • Physical distancing: In rooms where the positive student may have a roommate, try to reconfigure the room to allow for maximum space between beds and students.  Masks should be worn in the room during the isolation period.  Students are also encouraged to open the window for ventilation.
  • Limit time outside of the room: The positive student should only leave their room to use the communal bathroom, get food, or go for a quick walk outside by themselves.  Positive students should limit their interaction with others and limit their time outside of their room during the isolation period.
  • Please note: the college will not be delivering food or cleaning supplies to the residents in the rooms.  Students are responsible for coordinating their own meals and any other supplies that they may need during their stay in isolation.

Note: If the roommate of the positive student has a pre-existing condition, the positive student will be expected to isolate at permanent address within 200 miles from campus. If the positive student’s permanent residence is outside of the 200 miles from campus, may contact covidtesting@wheatoncollege.edu to discuss other options.