Fall 2022 COVID Mitigation Guidelines

Updated on Aug. 1, 2022

Contents:


Framing Assumptions

  • The College will operate fully in person (e.g., for classes, services, athletics, events, etc.) unless a change in circumstances dictates otherwise.  The policy for staff remote work remains in place.
  • Bryn Mawr is a community of mutual care where community members place others’ physical health and emotional well-being on par with their own.
  • The College will continue to maintain certain policies to help mitigate the impacts of the virus. Individuals have agency to manage their personal risk as they already do beyond the Bryn Mawr campus.
  • With very few exceptions, all students, faculty, and staff are vaccinated and have received at least one booster, and effective treatments are available. 
  • The focus during this new phase of the virus will be less on the number of cases on campus and more on mitigating against serious illness. 
  • The impact of illness on campus and risk levels in the surrounding community will be monitored by the Operations Planning Group.  Policy changes will be made when necessary in response to changing conditions and in reliance on the expertise of medical experts and guidance from the Montgomery County Health Department.
  • Students should contact the Health and Wellness Center for guidance, care, and follow-up; employees should contact their personal health care provider.

Vaccines

Vaccines are required for all BMC students, faculty, and staff.  The current College requirement includes the original vaccine series plus one booster for all who are eligible. 

  • Individuals can apply for exemptions for medical reasons or for sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Acceptable vaccinations include those on the FDA’s Authorized Use List and those on the approved list of the World Health Organization.  Those who have been vaccinated with a vaccine not on these lists will be required to be revaccinated with an approved vaccine.

Masking

Starting Monday, Aug. 15, the campus will be an entirely mask-friendly campus (meaning masks are welcome, but not required), including in classrooms, labs, public spaces, and most gatherings.   Part of being mask-friendly means that hosts of gatherings may set expectations for masking at events, inclusive of faculty in their classrooms and other learning spaces.  We encourage hosts (including faculty) to reach out to establish expectations collaboratively.

Properly wearing a high-quality mask (KN95 or KF94) is an effective strategy to help protect oneself from contracting COVID.  The College will continue to support individuals’ choices to mask. Faculty and staff who need support in getting high quality masks should reach out to their department and masks will be available in the Dean’s Office for those students who need assistance in obtaining them.

The Operations Planning Group will monitor the risk levels in Montgomery and Delaware County as measured by the CDC. The College will pivot to required masking if the risk levels indicate a pattern of, or rapidly trending toward, high risk.

For certain large, indoor events where people are required to be close together (e.g. a full auditorium) for a prolonged period of time, please contact an Operations Planning Group member well in advance to determine if masking will be required.  These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. 

Symptom Checking

All community members should symptom-check every day before coming to campus.  Currently the CDC lists COVID-19 symptoms as:  fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea. Anyone who shows pronounced symptoms should stay home, wear a mask around others and seek medical guidance. 

Testing

All undergraduate students must take a COVID test before leaving home to return to campus.  Students who test negative do not need to report their test results.  Students who test positive should isolate in place (do not return to campus until the end of the isolation period) and contact the BMC Health and Wellness Center and Residential Life so that they can support a later arrival.

Undergraduate students must also symptom-check before returning to campus.  Any student who is experiencing symptoms must have a negative PCR test or two negative antigen tests (24 hours apart) before returning to campus.

Consistent with the CDC and recommendations from the Montgomery Department of Health, the Health and Wellness Center will test symptomatic students.   

At this time, the College will not be offering asymptomatic PCR COVID testing on campus. 

Undergraduate and graduate students who come to/ reside on campus who are symptomatic should contact the Health and Wellness Center for triage and support whenever possible (rather than an off-campus site).  To protect others, symptomatic students should wear a mask until they receive testing, and are assured of a negative result.

Treatment

Effective treatments are more readily available, and many are more effective in the early stages of COVID.  Immunocompromised individuals and others at higher risk are strongly encouraged to seek medical guidance from their health care provider as soon as they become symptomatic.  If an individual is treated with Paxlovid, they may need to isolate beyond the 5-10 day window.

Isolation and Quarantine

 Any individual who tests positive (regardless of vaccination status):

  1. Must Isolate
    • Isolation for faculty, staff, and non-resident students means remaining off-campus and having no in-person contact with members of the BMC community unless they are living in the same household. 
    • Isolation for BMC students residing on campus (with or without roommates) means remaining in your room with the exception that you may leave to pick up food in the dining halls (you must be masked at all times when outside your room) or to spend time outdoors. There will be a very limited number of isolation rooms available for students who are immunocompromised.  Resident students who are positive for COVID should use the designated bathroom in the dorm and should not attend class or attend in-person work or events while isolating.
    • Asymptomatic individuals who test positive (faculty, all students, and staff) may return to campus after five days of isolation. Symptomatic individuals may also return to campus after five days of isolation (or anytime between Day 6 and Day 10), provided they have sustained improvement of symptoms day-to-day and have been fever-free for more than 24 hours. A negative test is NOT required to return to campus.  If symptoms persist or worsen at any time during this period, the individual should contact their healthcare provider.  Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or, if asymptomatic, the day the specimen was collected for the positive test.
    • If someone is allowed to return to on-campus activities in accordance with the policies above prior to Day 11, they must wear a well-fitted, high-quality mask AT ALL TIMES when indoors. The two exceptions are
    • When eating a meal.  Eating outside is preferable, but if weather or schedules do not allow for that, eating indoors in a private space (dorm room, office, conference room, empty classroom, etc.) alone with the door closed is allowed. 
    • When in your dorm room (for students).
    • On Day 11, the person can resume “normal” campus protocols, which allow for unmasking indoors in most circumstances.
  2. Must Notify BMC
    • Employees must inform their supervisor or department chair if they are isolating.  If they are well enough, staff should contact their supervisor to see if there is work they can accomplish remotely if feeling well enough.  Employees’ health is the College’s top priority. Rest is an important component of recovery from illness, and no one is required to work remotely. Faculty members who may need assistance in continuing the progression of their classes while they are recovering should contact their department head and/or the Provost’s Office so that appropriate support is provided.
    • All students should notify the Health and Wellness Center of a positive COVID test during normal business hours and call Team Health after hours.  If notifying Team Health, students should follow up with the Health and Wellness Center once it is open.  Students should alert their faculty members and work supervisors if they will miss class or work. 
  3. Should Identify and Reach Out to All “Close Contacts”
    • “Close contacts” are defined as those people who were within 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes within a 24-hour period, regardless of location (e.g., indoor or outdoor) or whether masks were worn. The 15 minutes can be non-consecutive (e.g., two 10-minute close interactions over the course of a 24-hour period).
    • As soon as practical, the COVID-positive person should reach out to BMC students, faculty, and staff who were “close contacts” over the 2 days prior to a positive test to let them know that they need to follow the College’s protocols for “close contacts.”  See below for close contact protocols.
  4. Must Record Their Time Appropriately
    • Staff members should record any unworked time as “sick” on their time sheet/attendance record.  Through September 1, 2023 the College will continue the temporary practice of advancing sick hours to staff members with COVID.
    • Students who are paid on an hourly basis and who work on campus for the College may be eligible for paid sick time if they are ill. 
  5. Can Reach Out for Assistance. 
    • Students who have questions about COVID protocol may reach out to the BMC Health and Wellness Center.
    • Faculty and staff who have questions about the COVID protocols should contact Kari Fazio, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, but reporting a positive test result to her is not required.

If you have been identified as a Close Contact:

Be particularly vigilant about checking yourself for symptoms daily and remain off campus (or in your room if you are residential BMC student) if you exhibit any potential symptoms.

Optimally vaccinated individuals (those who have received at least one booster dose) do NOT need to quarantine if they are a close contact unless they are, or become, symptomatic; they can continue to work on campus, attend classes and events, etc. They must wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask when indoors around others for 10 days from the last time of exposure to the COVID-19 positive individual. Unmasking outdoors or in private spaces alone with the door closed is allowed.  The CDC recommends getting tested five days after exposure. 

Optimally vaccinated people living in a household or dorm room with a COVID-positive individual do NOT need to quarantine; they can continue to work on campus, attend classes and events, etc.  Students can call Team Health if they want guidance about testing recommendations.

Unvaccinated individuals or those that have not yet received their first booster dose, are required to quarantine, which means staying home (or for resident students in their dorm room) and away from other people for at least 5 days (Day 0 through Day 5) after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered Day 0. The CDC recommends getting tested five days after exposure.  Even if you test negative for COVID, continue to wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask when around others indoors until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.  Staff who are required to quarantine because of being a “close contact” and are unable to work remotely should record their time in the appropriate category or categories of available accrued leave time (“sick” or “vacation” or “personal”). 

Assuming no symptoms have developed and tests have been negative for COVID-19, “close contacts” can resume “normal” campus protocols on Day 11.

Missed Classes Due to Illness

As is the case for all illnesses, students who are unable to attend class are responsible for making up missed work or class time.  Students should notify their instructor in a timely manner and work out a plan to make up any missed classwork.  Faculty are not expected to offer hybrid classes or replace missed classes with individualized instruction.  Faculty should be clear in their syllabi about their course policies for absences due to illness. 

Visitors

The campus is open to visitors.  Visitors must abide by the College’s rules for masking.

Guests are permitted in the dorms provided the guest is vaccinated.  It is the responsibility of the host to check vaccination status and the guest must abide by all dorm rules.

Dining

Dining Halls are open at full capacity. 

The College encourages outdoor dining.  Outdoor tables, umbrellas, and tents are available for this purpose.

Visitors are permitted to eat in the Dining Halls.

Food is permitted at indoor events, including those events hosted by external groups who rent campus facilities.

Fitness Center

The Fitness Center and Pool are open to students, faculty, staff — as well as the partners/spouses of Bryn Mawr faculty and staff, Bryn Mawr/Haverford emeriti professors and retired Bryn Mawr staff.