December 28, 2021
Dear Members of the HWS Community,
As we plan for students, faculty and staff to return to Geneva and rejoin the HWS campus community in late January, we recognize the increased caution the Omicron variant has caused. With reports that Omicron may be more contagious than previous variants, we are committed to actively monitoring the health of our community. We have put into place precautions that will maintain the well-being of our community, while also enabling students, faculty and staff to engage in a robust learning environment that is lively and vibrant. We have much to look forward to in the spring semester – the Hobart Bicentennial, courses taught by exceptional faculty, special guest lectures and performances, and winter and spring sports, among many other activities. It is our hope the precautions we are establishing will reduce the risk of transmission and therefore minimize any disruptions to the flow of the semester.
We are proud of the HWS community for taking good care of each other by following our fall protocols. For the spring semester, many of those protocols will continue to be in effect, along with the following reentry plan:
- All students, faculty and staff (including all Sodexo employees) will be required to be fully vaccinated with a booster(unless otherwise having an approved exemption).Boosters will be required on a rolling basis, based on the vaccination you received, the date of administration, and any previous COVID-19 diagnosis. Directions to upload your proof of vaccination will be e-mailed separately. The Colleges will host a booster clinic for all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen/J&J) on Wednesday, Jan. 26 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. To register, please visit this registration link. There are defined lengths of time required between original series and booster dose administration:
- You must wait 6 months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine before you can receive the booster dose.
- You must wait 2 months after receiving the first dose of the Janssen (J&J) vaccine before you can receive the booster dose.
- The small number of individuals with a vaccination exemption will be required to be tested on a weekly basis. A new monitoring system will be used to ensure compliance as this requirement extends to all members of the community including students, faculty, staff and Sodexo employees. We will provide details closer to the beginning of the semester.
- We encourage students to get a COVID-19 test prior to returning to the Colleges, and isolate at home should they test positive. As always, our Deans Offices will work with students and their faculty on any complications that may arise.
- We will be limiting approvals of early arrivals. Those students who are approved for arrival prior to January 21 are required to have evidence of a negative test prior to arrival. This may be a PCR or antigen test.
- All students must be tested, regardless of vaccination status, on Jan. 21, 22 or 23 at Bristol Field House. The testing site will administer PCR tests from 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day. Prior to attending their first class, students will need to receive their negative test results. Because results typically take 24 hours from the test arriving at the lab in Boston, we highly encourage students to return to campus on Friday or Saturday. In addition, students may provide their own negative PCR test results (tests must have been administered within 72 hours of arrival) when arriving on campus. If students need to arrive on Sunday, we recommend they provide a copy of a negative PCR test. The COVID-19 Resource and Testing Center at Hubbs will be open Monday, Jan. 24 through Friday, Jan. 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for students arriving late or for asymptomatic walk-in testing.
- As in the fall, we may administer PCR testing for vaccinated students as needed for surveillance purposes; all unvaccinated students will continue to participate in weekly testing. Student athlete testing will also be conducted in compliance with NCAA regulations.
- Testing for asymptomatic students, faculty and staff who have reason to believe they have been exposed will continue to be available at the COVID-19 Resource and Testing Center at Hubbs. Symptomatic students should schedule an appointment with Hubbs Health Center and symptomatic faculty and staff should visit their primary care physician or urgent care.
- We will require masks in residence, administrative and academic buildings as we begin the spring semester. Beyond that, we will evaluate the need for masks based on local and state guidance (such as the NY HERO Act which was extended through January 15), and the prevalence of cases on campus. After the first few weeks, we anticipate that masks will not be required in residences for vaccinated individuals, although we encourage those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask to do so.
- Recognizing that our spring may be impacted by a higher case count, the Colleges will evaluate when to limit co-curricular, in-person activities based on prevalence and will always notify the community at any point if and when some limitations are deemed necessary to limit spread.
- Finally, we will continue to follow the guidance of Ontario County Public Health on our COVID-19 protocols, including whether or not isolation and quarantine periods can be shortened.
With masking, maintaining physical distancing when possible, and your active participation in arrival testing, the Colleges hope COVID-19 transmission can be contained, allowing us to maintain all in-person learning and co-curricular activities. Your commitment to keeping HWS healthy this past semester is commendable, and together our community will remain strong. We will continue to evaluate our COVID-19 policies throughout the semester with the goal of reducing restrictions when we feel it is safe to do so.
We wish you a safe and restful remainder of winter break.
Joyce P. Jacobsen
Provost and Dean of Faculty
Becca B. Barile
Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students