Health & Safety
Face masks are no longer required outdoors.
The overall indoor face mask requirement remains under review and depends on our overall vaccination rate. The two primary areas that could be impacted are indoor public areas (those locations where you could encounter visitors or other individuals that you don’t typically spend time with) and classrooms. We will provide updated guidance on face masks by the end of July.
Face masks are not required in the following spaces:
- When students are in their own room or suite in the residence hall
- When students are attending small group meetings and the entire group agrees that masks are not required (mostly because the members of the group are vaccinated, in line with CDC guidance)
- Student-athletes playing or practicing under the supervision of their coach when NCAA guidance permits doing so without masks
- When workers are in their own individual offices or in small groups where the entire group agrees that masks are not required (again, if the co-workers are all vaccinated, CDC guidance indicates masks are not necessary)
Washington College continues to require that students receive vaccines against preventable diseases. This is to help mitigate risk to our campus community and to support public health efforts in disease containment. Required vaccines for the 2021-22 academic year include MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), TDAP (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis), Varicella (chickenpox), Polio, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, and COVID-19. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to be current on their vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
In accordance with state and federal laws, Washington College will honor bona fide medical and religious exemptions for any or all of the required vaccines. For more details on how to request an exemption (and other FAQ's), click here.
We recognize that some international students may have difficulties in accessing the COVID-19 vaccine at home or may have questions about whether the vaccine they receive is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is Washington College’s standard for accepting the vaccine. Washington College will assist students in this situation in setting up vaccine appointments upon arrival.
Flu shots are strongly recommended, but are not on the list of required vaccinations for Fall 2021. Washington College typically offers a fall flu clinic for students for easy access. So any student who wishes to get a flu shot can wait until after they arrive on campus, which will extend their protection from this vaccine further into flu season. Details about any onsite or local flu shot clinics will be shared with students once avaialble.
We will be continuing with some level of social distancing, though we will no longermandate a 6’ distance. In many areas around campus, removing the social distancing mandatealso removes the need for restricting capacities, effectively restoring these areas to preCOVID standards.
That being said, please be patient and kind with respect to physical distance. Everyone
has a different level ofcomfort with the “re-entry” to post-COVID normal and handshakes,
hugs and chest bumps may very well be in the
category of “too soon” (or never!) for other members of our community. In short, if those around you prefer tocontinue to maintain a greater distance, the right thing to do is to be respectful of that.
Within those spaces that return to normal occupancy, we will also ensure that there is space available for anymembers of our community who are unvaccinated and require physical distancing or for any other reasons wish tomaintain a greater distance from others. And those who are unvaccinated and/or choose to wear a mask in these spaces for personal reasons, they are encouraged to do so.
COVID Testing Protocols
Washington College COVID-19 testing protocols for the Fall 2021 semester are as follows:
Even with the majority of our campus vaccinated, the American College Health Association strongly recommends that institutes of higher learning implement gateway testing. With students traveling from all over to come to Chestertown, this will catch any breakthrough cases and help to provide assurances that we are coming together as a COVID-free community.
In accordance with this recommendation, gateway testing is required for all students living on or off-campus, regardless of vaccination status. There is no cost to students associated with the gateway antigen testing.
For students living on campus, Kirby Stadium should be your first stop upon arrival. Health Services will administer a rapid antigen test. You will need to be enrolled in the NAVICA app for this, and information will be sent out by email prior to the start of the semester, with instructions for that.
The gateway testing process is as follows:
- If the gateway antigen test is negative, students will receive their key and proceed with move-in.
- If the gateway antigen test returns a positive result, then a confirmatory COVID test
is required. (see below for associated costs)
- If the confirmatory COVID test is negative, students will proceed with move-in.
- If a students opts for a LabCorp test, they will be required to quarantine until the results are returned. Rapid tests are available for the confirmatory test.
- If the confirmatory COVID test is positive, students will be placed in Isolation and will follow those protocols.
- If the confirmatory COVID test is negative, students will proceed with move-in.
- Gateway Testing Costs:
- There is no cost to students for gateway antigen tests.
- If a gateway antigen test returns a positive result, a confirmatory PCR test is required.
This test is billable. The two options are:
- Rapid PCR Tests - cost is $75 when administered by the College, and the cost will be billed to the student's account. Results are returned in approximately 15 mins.
- LabCorp Test - this type of COVID-19 test will be billed to the student's health insurance, so
the associated billing will be determined based on the family's plan. Nothing will
be billed to the student or family by Washington College when using the LabCorp option.
- If a student chooses the LabCorp option for the confirmatory test, they will be required to quarantine until the results are returned, which is 2-3 days.
Vaccinated students, staff or faculty will not be required to participate in surveillance testing.
Unvaccinated students, staff or faculty will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing. Testing will be administered in Kirby Stadium. Anyone who is enrolled in weekly testing will sign up for a weekly timeslot. There is no cost for weekly surveillance testing, which will be done with a rapid antigen test. As with the gateway testing, any student who tests positive with the rapid antigen surveillance testing will need to have a confirmatory PCR test administered.
For staff and faculty, surveillance testing will be required for anyone who does not have a vaccine record on file with Health Services.
Any student who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID will be tested by the Health Services Team, using one of two options (see below). Symptomatic students should assume they are positive and follow all guidance for quarantine or isolation while they await test results. Symptomatic testing is available Mon-Fri during regular business hours only, but if a student does become ill over a weekend, all other support and resources will be available.
With the recent addition of a PCR machine that can be used to adminster rapid tests, there are now two options for symptomatic tests:
- LabCorp Test - We can adminster a LabCorp test, which gets sent out to their facility and returns results in about 2-3 days (not guaranteed). When this type of test is sent, we include the student's health insurance information and then the associated billing (if any) will be determined based on the family's plan type. Nothing will be billed to the student or family by Washington College.
- Rapid Test - We can administer a Rapid Test using the PCR machine, which returns results in about 15 minutes. This test costs $75 when administered by Washington College and will be billed to the student's account. We will not require a rapid test, it is a choice for students if they wish to know the results immediately. The expense can possibly be submitted to the family's insurance plan after the fact.
Medical tests for ill students will result in additional expenses. The billing for symptomatic tests is the same as it is for things like a flu test or rapid strep test.
NOTE: If a student who is ill is able to safely travel home to recover, they are encouraged to do so. For students with symptoms, clearance to return will only be granted once it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, it has been at least 24 hours with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and all symptoms have improved. Return to campus is only permitted once you have been sent an email confirmation from either health services or the Q&I coordinator confirming the date that you may return to campus.
Washington College will work closely with the Kent County Health Department to conduct contact notification and training in the event of a positive or presumed case of COVID-19 or if someone is symptomatic. The process of contact notification will include outreach to anybody that the person identifies as a potential contact both on campus and off- campus.
Contact notification will begin when an individual either becomes symptomatic and/or is found to be COVID positive. Washington College has several employees who are trained as contact tracers and will begin the process of notifying those who may have had close contact with the individual. Contact tracers will contact individuals by phone using the primary student contact number supplied to the College. They may also use other methods to contact individuals. All students, faculty, and staff who are contacted are expected to comply with the contact notification or tracing requests. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, the case triggers a contact tracing investigation which will be taken over by the Kent County Health Department.
All students are expected to comply when contacted by a contact tracer. Failure to do so may be considered a violation of College policy. If you are unsure about whether someone contacting you is a legitimate contact tracer, please call Health Services at 410-778-7261.
it is important to understand the difference between "close contact" and "community contact" as it relates to contact tracing.
Close contact is when someone was closer than 6' to a person who tested positive or is suspected to be positive. This contact had to last more than 15 minutes, masked or unmasked.
Community contact is similar to what you experience in going to a grocery store or other retail outlet. Passing someone in the hall or speaking for a few minutes while maintaining proper social distance represent community contact.
Contact tracers will make direct notification ONLY to those who are identified as having had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID or is suspected to be positive.
Symptom Checking & Attestation
We are no longer requiring that students, staff or faculty utilize the emocha app or any other type of daily attestation. There may be instances where you are asked to complete a paper attestation form or receive a temperature check during entry to a particular facility.
All members of our community are expected to continue to self-monitor for any COVID (or other illness) symptoms, and take steps to seek testing and/or treatment right away should you become ill.
Know What to Do If You Show Symptoms of COVID-19
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Fatigue
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Students who believe they have contracted COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate
in their room and call Health Services (410-778-7261) during normal office hours (or
the Q&I Coordinator on duty after hours)
for further instructions. Students will be advised about how and where to get tested and next steps.
Seek medical care immediately if you are experiencing any Emergency Warning Signs, which include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake and bluish lips or face.