Testing, Health and Safety
Are students required to be vaccinated to attend Hobart and William Smith?
Yes. Per the Colleges’ December 2021 message, all students, faculty and staff (including all Sodexo employees) are 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.
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 5 months or 6 months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, respectively, 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.
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. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will need to comply with weekly testing and alternate quarantine/isolation procedures should they be exposed to someone with COVID-19 or test positive.
Can you explain how student testing will work at the beginning of the semester?
All students are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival to campus. This allows the student to isolate at home, monitor symptoms, reduce the risk of transmission, and return to campus ready to engage in academics. This may be a PCR or an antigen test. You may use an at-home test and submit an image of the result as long as your HWS student ID is included in the image. Students should submit their test result to the COVID-19 Vaccination site to the “Pre-Arrival Test” section of the site. Tests should be administered no more than 5 days prior to arrival. Students who are positive should isolate at home and the Deans’ offices will work individually with each student and their faculty.
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. 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.
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?
Yes. All unvaccinated students need to be tested weekly. The Colleges will pay for and administer routine COVID-19 tests through our health center for students.
There is a nominal fee for any faculty and staff members who are required to be tested.
Will there be regular surveillance testing of students?
All unvaccinated and/or students who are vaccinated but did not receive a booster shot will be tested weekly, which is the same approach the Colleges used last semester. Information will be emailed to students with details on the testing schedule. The Colleges will evaluate whether it is necessary to expand surveillance testing to vaccinated individuals.
If students who attended class are diagnosed with COVID-19 later that day, does the class need to quarantine?
Not necessarily. If students are concerned about close contact with a student diagnosed positive, they may come in for testing.
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?
In 2020, the Colleges added more than 300 hand sanitation stations across campus.
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 10 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 daily symptom and well-being checks, delivery of meals and supplies, 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.
Parents and families will be notified on the consent of the student.