Testing, Health and Safety
Are students required to be vaccinated to attend Hobart and William Smith?
Yes. On Aug. 23, the FDA granted full authorization to the Pfizer vaccine. In anticipation that New York State will soon require COVID-19 vaccination of all college students within its borders, HWS will now mandate COVID-19 vaccination for students, which means that all unvaccinated students who have not filed for an exemption are required to begin their vaccine sequence no later than our Sept. 7 Pfizer on-campus clinic. Students may still update their vaccination information and file for an exemption if they have not yet done so using the Student COVID-19 Vaccination Portal.
HWS community members needing to start or complete their vaccination sequence, including Sodexo employees, are encouraged to participate in the next vaccine clinic:
- September 7 from 1pm-5pm in the Bristol Field House. Please use this link to register. Note that while the link may state that this is open only to those individuals who received their first dose on 8/16, this clinic is open for both first and second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
- Other local options are available, such as Wegmans, Walgreens and Rite Aid pharmacies, and the Office of Campus Life can assist with travel.
Can you explain how student testing will work at the beginning of the semester?
- All unvaccinated students will be tested twice within their first week on campus.
- The Colleges will pay for and administer routine COVID-19 tests through our health center.
- The Colleges have contracted for testing with The Broad Institute, which will process the tests generally within 24 hours. Test results are conveyed directly to each student with negative results delivered via email and positive results via a phone call to determine next steps regarding isolation and contact tracing.
- The Colleges also have acquired the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 test that will be used for students who present at the health center with symptoms. These tests return results in 15 minutes or less.
Do unvaccinated students who live off campus need to be tested?
Will there be regular surveillance testing of students?
Yes. Beginning Aug. 30, all vaccinated students will be tested bi-weekly, the approach the Colleges used last year. Each student will be assigned a testing week and will be expected to visit the testing center during their assigned week. Information will be emailed to students with details on the testing schedule.
If students who attended class are diagnosed with COVID-19 later that day, does the class need to quarantine?
Not necessarily. As part of contact tracing, trained professionals consider the past movements of positive students to determine who must receive testing, potential quarantining and/or isolation. Contact tracers consider the location of the class, the square footage of the room, the number of people in the room, and the length of the class. As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, a contact tracer will reach out to you if you need to be tested.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, there were New York State guidelines that determined when colleges and universities should move to remote learning with students staying in place on campuses. Are those still in place?
No. Those guidelines have expired. We are monitoring the on-campus infection situation at all times to determine whether or not to pivot to remote learning for a period of time based on an assessment of local community infection levels and hospitalization rates, number of students in isolation or quarantine, and spread patterns.
Will there be an increase in staff at Hubbs Health Center?
Health care professionals have been increased at Hubbs through our provider, Finger Lakes Health. Hours can be expanded if needed. In addition, students have access to FLH urgent care at times when the Hubbs Health Center is closed.
Do students have to wear a mask at the Counseling Center or Hubbs?
Yes, individuals visiting medical offices, such as the counseling center or Hubbs, are required to wear face masks regardless of vaccination status.
How will the use of face coverings be enforced on campus in public areas and in classrooms?
- Faculty, staff or students who notice that someone is not using a face covering when required can call Campus Safety. In addition, reports can be submitted anonymously online.
- Please keep in mind that it’s possible that someone has an accommodation that does not allow them to wear a face covering or that the person may have simply forgotten it.
- Flagrant and consistent lack of compliance with the use of face coverings could result in the person being asked to leave campus.
Will there be disinfectant stations on campus?
Last summer, the Colleges added more than 300 additional hand sanitation stations across campus.
Have you trained contact tracers?
The Ontario County Department of Public Health will perform any necessary contact tracing. In addition, multiple professionals across campus have taken the Johns Hopkins contact tracing course and can assist Ontario County as necessary. The Colleges work very closely with Ontario County Public Health staff to ensure rapid contact tracing and testing.
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
A quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Isolation separates people who are sick and contagious from people who are not sick.
What is a “light quarantine”?
Although the CDC and Ontario County Public Health do not require vaccinated individuals who are close contacts of someone who recently tested positive to quarantine, the Colleges are taking additional safeguards for those individuals – what we are calling a “light quarantine.” We ask that these students do not attend class on the date of notification so that we can ensure a COVID test occurs. We require these individuals to mask in all places for 14 days, use grab-and-go meal service, and be re-tested 3-5 days after their initial test. We also require these students to monitor their symptoms.
Can students quarantine in their residence halls? If so, do they have to stay in their room the entire time? Who will deliver meals and other essentials to them?
Students can go outside for a limited period for purposes of fresh air and movement, but must avoid going near other persons during that time, maintain strict social distancing, and wear a mask whenever outside or in contact with other people. Meals will be delivered to their quarantine or isolation location. Quarantine and Isolation locations are determined based on bathroom access and ability to be distant from other occupants.
Where are the isolation facilities located?
We will use both on- and off-campus isolation facilities depending on the level of need, for example in a dedicated building on campus or a local hotel.
If a student has to go into isolation, how will the Colleges care for them?
The Colleges have developed plans with Ontario County Public Health Department and Finger Lakes Health for isolation of students testing positive for COVID-19 (both students living on and off campus in Geneva), including multiple daily symptom and well-being checks, delivery of meals and supplies, laundry pickup and delivery, and notification of family and/or emergency contacts.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, can they return to their home to recover?
Yes, so long as the student does not use public transportation to get there. Students can also isolate on campus.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and returns home to recuperate, would they be able to return to campus after they have recovered and been allowed to leave isolation by their home health provider?
How will the campus community and parents be made aware of a positive COVID-19 case on campus?
- During the academic year, members of the Colleges’ administration will send messages to campus as necessary updating the campus community on the Colleges’ progress regarding COVID-19 and other issues. In addition, during the academic year, the Colleges’ COVID-19 Dashboard is updated every day.
- Contact tracing protocols will determine who should be notified, and contact tracing will be performed by the County Health Department rather than by HWS directly. The County Health Department will let us know if we need to make a community-wide announcement regarding a case.
- Parents and families will be notified on the consent of the student.