Our COVID-19 Plans for Fall 2022
Letters to the Community
August 1, 2022
Dear students, staff and faculty:
Since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, our goal has been to manage how we live, teach, learn and work together while caring for our community’s health and wellbeing. We have been remarkably successful in managing the pandemic on campus, thanks to the commitment and resolve of everyone in our community.
We continue to track health data, as we have from the start of the pandemic. It is clear that we are in a stronger position now than we have been since the start of the pandemic. Even with new variants of the virus, vaccines and boosters offer significant protection, and antiviral and antibody treatments lessen the severity of symptoms. Our current plan for the fall takes this context into account as we learn to live with the virus. In the remainder of this letter, we outline our plans for the fall; further detail is provided on Smith’s COVID-19 site.
Start of the semester
- All students will be given a rapid antigen test to take on arrival. Students are required to take a PCR test 48 to 72 hours later at the Testing Center on the first floor of the Campus Center. At this time, we are not planning to require mandatory asymptomatic testing after these arrival tests. Further details will be sent to students by the student affairs team in mid-August.
- Employees are encouraged, but not required, to get a PCR test at the Testing Center in the days leading up to Thursday, September 1.
Throughout the semester
- Optional once-per-week asymptomatic testing will be available for students and employees at the Testing Center. We know that many members of the community appreciate that the college makes testing readily available on campus.
- Students, staff and faculty who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should take a rapid test and a PCR test at the self-service testing kiosk located at the back entrance of the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness.
- If you receive a positive rapid test, please inform email@example.com and follow the instructions you receive in response.
- Masks will be required during classes held indoors; presenters and lecturers will be exempt from this requirement. Masks will also be required at indoor gatherings of 30 or more. We expect to end these requirements on Friday, September 16, subject to conditions at the time.
- Everyone is welcome to wear a mask in all settings on campus at all times. An individual’s choice to wear a mask should be respected.
- Please wear well-fitting masks. Both KN-95 and surgical masks are available at the Testing Center.
Testing positive for COVID-19
- Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated in place with support from staff at the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness and the Office of Student Affairs.
- Employees should follow the guidance provided on Smith’s COVID-19 site.
We continue to require students and employees to be fully vaccinated. Medical and religious exemptions will continue to be granted to those who qualify; those who have already received an exemption need not reapply.
We should all exercise good judgment to help protect the Smith community. We ask everyone to follow best practices, such as masking after travel and avoiding crowded indoor spaces in areas with high transmission rates. As always, if you are experiencing symptoms or do not feel well, please stay home or in your room.
Since March 2020, we have carefully monitored campus and public health conditions, and we have adapted our protocols as needed. Accordingly, the plans described in this letter may change before or after students begin arriving on campus. Should that be the case, we will notify you via email and eDigest, and we will update our COVID-19 website. We will also have an all-community meeting to review these protocols and answer questions on Wednesday, August 17, from 12:30 to 1 p.m. In the meantime, please direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We owe our success in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic to date—and in the days ahead—to our shared work and commitment to keeping ourselves and one another safe. We look forward to seeing you all on campus as we begin another academic year together.
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
Interim Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life
Provost and Dean of the Faculty