Important Updates to COVID Protocols
Letters to the Community
September 13, 2022
Dear students, staff and faculty,
We write with updates to our COVID protocols and guidelines, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and existing research findings.
MASK MANDATE EXTENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Given the persistence of cases on campus to begin the academic term, we are extending the requirement to wear masks indoors during classes and at gatherings of 30 or more until further notice. Individuals delivering presentations or lectures are exempt from this requirement. All members of the community are welcome to wear masks in all settings. Both KN-95 and surgical masks are available at the test site in the Campus Center. We will continue to monitor conditions and revise the masking guidelines as appropriate.
As in the past, all members of the Smith College community will be required to receive all COVID-19 vaccine doses in the primary series as well as one booster. In addition, students are now required —and staff and faculty are strongly encouraged—to be up to date with subsequent COVID-19 boosters, as described more fully below.
UPDATED BOOSTER REQUIREMENT FOR STUDENTS
New guidance from the CDC recommends that people 12 years and older should receive one updated Pfizer or Moderna (bivalent) booster as an important additional layer of protection against the omicron variant and against severe disease.
Because we are a residential campus, Smith College has updated its vaccination policy to require that all eligible students receive the new bivalent COVID-19 booster. All students will be required to upload proof of their updated booster to the Schacht Center patient portal by December 1, 2022. Uploading instructions can be found on the Schacht Center’s website. Individuals who have already received an approved exemption from COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be exempt from this requirement. Those vaccinated with an FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine outside the United States should follow CDC guidance for booster doses. Individuals should consult the CDC website to determine their timeline for eligibility. Students who still have questions about their eligibility after reviewing this information may contact the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness (firstname.lastname@example.org). To assist students in meeting this requirement, the college will hold booster clinics. Please see details below.
BOOSTERS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED FOR STAFF AND FACULTY
Smith College’s vaccination policy strongly recommends that all staff and faculty receive the new bivalent booster. Individuals should consult the CDC website to determine their timeline for eligibility. Staff and faculty who have questions about their eligibility should contact their medical provider.
On Thursday and Friday, September 22 and 23, and again on Thursday and Friday, October 6 and 7, the Schacht Center will host free clinics to administer the newly approved bivalent COVID booster. These clinics will be open first to students; we hope to expand access to staff and faculty based on availability. In order to gauge community interest in receiving a booster on campus, please submit this brief survey by noon on Thursday, September 15.
Thank you for your partnership as we navigate the changing landscape of the pandemic. We continue to be proud of our shared work and commitment to keeping one another healthy.
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration