Smith College A Culture of Care

January 3, 2022 Weekly CIRT Campus Update

Letters to the Community
January 3, 2022

Dear students, staff and faculty:

Below, please find important campus, regional and national updates from the COVID-19 Incident Response Team (CIRT). 

Campus Status

Over the past seven days, there have been seventeen positive cases of COVID-19 reported through the on-campus campus screening program.

We continue to contact trace all positive cases in consultation with the Northampton Health Department. For more data on the screening program, please visit Coronavirus Screening.

Expected Increase in Caseload

Given the prevalence of the Omicron variant, we expect (and have begun to see) a consistent stream of COVID-19 cases within our community. This is not surprising given the transmission of COVID-19 in the broader community. Hospitalization rates for the Omicron variant are lower than previous variants, and data has shown that vaccinated and boosted individuals have strong protections against severe illness. Our community’s vaccination rate is over 99%.

As a reminder, it is our hope that it will be safe for all Smith classes to be offered in person in the spring. Our approach to Interterm gives us the chance to monitor the spread of Omicron and respond accordingly before the start of the spring semester on January 24. 

Interterm Policy Changes

Please review critical Interterm policy changes for students, staff and faculty announced in December 20th’s all-campus email.

Importantly, students must reduce exposure to others as much as possible until they receive their second negative PCR test through the on-campus testing program. We cannot stress this enough. 

Booster Reminders and Guidance

  • Boosters are now required for the Smith community. This is especially critical given the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
  • Students must upload a copy of their updated vaccination card, reporting the date on which they received their booster shot, to the Schacht Center’s confidential patient portal by Friday, January 21, 2022 (or 30 days after becoming eligible for a booster if eligibility is after December 21, 2021). Uploading instructions can be found on the Schacht Center’s website.
  • Employees will receive guidance later this week on how to upload their vaccine and booster information. This information must be uploaded by Friday, January 21, 2022 (or 30 days after becoming eligible for a booster if eligibility is after December 21, 2021).
  • Individuals who have completed 10 days of isolation and are asymptomatic/fully recovered from COVID-19 can get their booster if they are two months out from the J&J shot or six months out from a mRNA vaccine (Moderna/Pfizer) or a WHO-approved vaccine.

Reminder: Next Community Meeting is January 12

The next all-community meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 12, at 12:30 p.m. at https://smith.zoom.us/j/93293837876.

covid19info@smith.edu