Updates to Masking and Testing Protocols

Letters to the Community
October 17, 2022

Dear students, staff and faculty:

To balance both the health and well-being of our community, it has been Smith’s practice to adjust its COVID-19 protocols based on caseloads and other data. When we noticed through the symptomatic testing program that cases on campus began to increase, we instituted masking in houses and required testing. Now, thanks to your vigilance, weekly case numbers have declined from a high of 125 during the week of September 11 to 21 this past week. Our campus is highly vaccinated, which limits both the spread and severity of disease; in addition, more than 2,000 doses of the bivalent booster were distributed during our recent booster clinics, protecting our community even further.

Effective immediately, we will return to the protocols in place prior to the beginning of semester surge:

Masking: Masking is required in class and at events of 30 or more individuals. Masking is optional and welcomed in all settings, including office spaces and student residences. Please remember to be supportive of those who choose to wear a mask, and avoid asking why someone is masking.

Testing: If you feel sick, please stay home and get tested. Symptomatic testing is available and strongly encouraged for all members of the Smith community through the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness (please see the COVID-19 Information website for how to access symptomatic testing). Optional asymptomatic testing will remain available for current students, staff and faculty at the testing site in the Campus Center. Additionally, rapid antigen and PCR test kits are available from the vending machine located in the lower level of the Campus Center.

We will continue to carefully monitor local, regional and national health conditions and adjust our policies when needed. If conditions remain stable, we expect to end masking requirements soon, except in places where state regulations require masking. If you have questions, please direct them to covid19info@smith.edu. As always, we extend our deepest gratitude to the community for your cooperation in following our protocols.

Thank you,

COVID-19 Incident Response Team (CIRT)