Health, Safety, and Resources

Colby’s number one priority is the health and safety of the community. Robust testing and extensive safety measures have been implemented with consultation from leading health experts. While there is no way to ensure zero risk, our plan for ensuring the health and safety of our community involves multiple elements and an integrated approach. Active health management strategies, support systems, prevention, and mitigation tools will provide integrated layers of protection for community members.

The most effective means to protect yourself and the community is to get vaccinated, which is why the College has mandated vaccinations for students, faculty, and staff on campus this fall (with limited exemptions). We will continue to monitor Covid-19 developments, including the evolution of different strains of the virus, testing and treatment options, and mitigation strategies.

Students, faculty, and staff should pay attention to the Health Code designation and cooperate with mitigation steps (e.g., testing, wearing a face covering, social distancing), as required by the guidelines. Flexibility and adaptation will be key as we navigate the evolving challenges presented by Covid-19 during the fall semester.

Health and Safety Protocols 

Students, faculty, and staff on campus are required to participate in our health and safety protocols. The revised protocols, described below, will be in place until further notice and will continue to be assessed.

  • The College’s indoor mask requirement will be in place until further notice.
    • Facial coverings are required:
      • In classrooms, labs, studios, and meeting rooms
      • In lounges, the libraries, hallways, and residential common spaces
      • While picking up food in the servery areas of dining halls and the Spa
      • Masks are required in the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center when in common areas, locker rooms, and the weight room.
      • In the Colby Museum and the downtown arts collaborative
      • While riding on the Jitney, Colby Shuttle, and in other vehicles with more than one person
    • Facial coverings are not required:
      • When alone in a private office
      • In your private residence hall room alone or with assigned roommate(s)
      • While eating or drinking
      • In tents or cabins during COOT, unless there are extenuating circumstances
      • Outside, but please make effort to maintain distance
      • Masks are not required inside the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center during cardio related training, including practices and competitions. Outside of those activities, masks are required in common areas, locker rooms and the weight room.
  • The College’s visitor policies will be in place until further notice.
    • Access to campus buildings will continue to be limited to students, faculty, and staff using the ColbyCard.
    • Visitors are permitted to the Museum of Art, admissions, and the downtown arts collaborative. Visitors, students, and employees in these public spaces should wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status. Visiting teams, families of Colby students, and spectators are permitted in the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center and must wear masks. Other visitors require approval of a vice president or dean.
  • All students, faculty, and staff on campus need to participate in twice-weekly testing for the remainder of the semester, as it is clearly a fundamental tool for monitoring the health of our community. It is very important that you test on your assigned dates; these dates are determined based on the incubation period of the virus, and testing on time allows the College to detect it early—ideally early enough to prevent community transmission. Delays of even one day can result in other community members being infected.
    • If you have any symptoms at all, please contact Health Services (students) or your primary care physician (faculty/staff) immediately so you can receive an antigen test outside of the surveillance testing schedule. Please contact [email protected] to schedule an appointment. Early detection is critical to containing the spread.
  • One of the riskiest activities to engage in right now is spending time unmasked in restaurants and bars, where a smaller percentage of those present are likely to be vaccinated. We urge our students not to participate in those activities, and we ask all members of the community to exercise caution when off campus. 
  • Please socialize safely by limiting the size of gatherings; aim to be outdoors as much as possible.
  • While we are not restricting student or employee travel, roughly half of our cases thus far have been arrival or travel-related. If you need to travel, please be vigilant about masking, distancing, and handwashing. And if you travel out of state, we can offer a rapid antigen test upon return. Please contact [email protected] to schedule an appointment.

Testing

Covid-19 testing on campus will include a mix of PCR and rapid antigen tests.  Twice-weekly testing will continue for the remainder of the semester, as it is clearly a fundamental tool for monitoring the health of our community. It is very important that you test on your assigned dates; these dates are determined based on the incubation period of the virus, and testing on time allows the College to detect it early—ideally early enough to prevent community transmission. Delays of even one day can result in other community members being infected.

The current program includes a lower-nasal, self-swab test, provided by the College, that is collected at a central campus location. Response time for results depends on the type of test, but typically within 24 hours or less for PCR tests and within 30 minutes for antigen tests. If a positive test is received, it is critically important that participants respond promptly when contacted by Colby’s Covid-19 team.

Any student with a positive test will be immediately isolated in designated spaces and will receive ongoing medical and dining support. Staff and faculty with a positive test will be required to self-isolate at home and will not be permitted to come to campus until medically cleared (details below). Maine CDC may provide additional direction and instructions to test-positive members of the Colby community.

Throughout the year, the College may employ other testing techniques as the accuracy and reliability of various techniques evolve.

Face Coverings

The College’s indoor mask requirement will be in place until further notice. The College will closely monitor public health guidance, new developments, and infection rates and make adjustments to campus guidelines as appropriate.

Symptom Monitoring

While the vast majority of the Colby community is vaccinated, it is still important to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms. Vaccines provide strong protection against infection and especially against serious illness. While infrequent, a small percentage of vaccinated individuals may become infected, and preliminary analysis suggests that symptomatic breakthrough individuals can develop viral loads sufficient to transmit the virus to others. If you experience symptoms, contact a healthcare provider immediately (students may contact Health Services; faculty and staff should consult their primary care physician). The CoVerified app has an easy-to-use symptom-tracking feature, and the app remains available for use by students, faculty, and staff.

Covid-19 Variants

Information regarding the multiple Covid-19 variants is evolving. The College will continue to closely monitor developments and adjust its operating procedures as appropriate. For now, the most effective means to protect yourself and the community is to get vaccinated. The CDC provides guidance about how fully vaccinated individuals can protect themselves and others. 

Contact Tracing

The effectiveness of our approach depends on our ability to identify and quarantine individuals who may have come in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19-positive patient. The College will conduct its own contact-tracing work using trained staff to assist with notification of those who may have come in close contact with a test-positive individual. Individuals may also be contacted by Maine CDC as part of its case investigation and monitoring efforts. Individual privacy will be maintained in accordance with state regulations.

Faculty/Staff Isolation and Quarantine Protocols

If employees have tested positive for Covid-19, or if they are highly suspected of having Covid-19 (e.g. close contact with a test-positive individual, Covid-19 symptoms), they will be required to self-isolate at home. Following 10 days of isolation and 24 hours without symptoms, employees may be medically cleared to return to work on campus. Isolation guidelines apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated faculty and staff.

If you are unvaccinated and identified as a close contact of a test-positive individual, you will be required to quarantine at home. You will need to either work remotely, if your circumstances allow, or take accrued  leave (e.g., sick, vacation) for the quarantine period.

If you are vaccinated and identified as a close contact of a test-positive individual, you are not required to quarantine unless you are exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms. You should continue to follow your testing schedule during the five days following your exposure and will be tested if you become symptomatic. While on campus, you should not eat your meals in close proximity to others. If you test positive, you will need to isolate per CDC guidelines.

Overview of Student Isolation Protocols

If students have tested positive for Covid-19, or if they are highly suspected of having Covid-19 (e.g. close contact with a test-positive individual, Covid-19 symptoms), they will be moved into isolation housing. Following 10 days of isolation and 24 hours without symptoms, students may be medically cleared. While in isolation, students must remain in their private rooms at all times. Meals will be delivered three times a day, and students will be monitored by medical staff using telehealth until they are medically cleared. Students should plan to pack necessities: clothing, medication for 10 days, personal hygiene items, comfort items, face coverings, thermometer, and all items needed to continue with academic work. (Please note that courses will not be offered remotely this year.) The student will be antigen tested on day 10, and Health Services will conduct an assessment to determine if the student is cleared to return to campus.

Overview of Student Quarantine

Unvaccinated students with known exposure to someone with Covid-19 or identified through contact tracing may be moved into quarantine housing. Students living in single occupancy residence hall rooms will quarantine in place. Students sharing a bedroom with roommates will be moved to designated quarantine locations on campus. Students quarantining on campus will be allowed to leave their quarantine room wearing a face covering to pick up grab-and-go meals from a designated dining location, to use the bathroom, to get tested at the testing center, and to exercise outdoors alone. Otherwise,  students in quarantine will not be permitted to leave their room.

Students who must be moved into quarantine housing should plan to pack their necessities: clothing, medication for seven days, personal hygiene items, comfort items, face coverings, thermometer, and all items needed to continue coursework. (Please note that courses will not be offered remotely this year.) During quarantine, students will be tested daily at the testing center. At present, the typical quarantine period is seven days, if all test results are negative.

Vaccinated students identified as a close contact of a test-positive individual are not required to quarantine unless they are exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms. They should continue to follow their testing schedule during the five days following their exposure. Their meals should be taken to go through the Spa Take-4 program or the Eco-to-Go program. They should not eat their meals in close proximity to others.

Types of “close contact” that lead to quarantining include:

  • Being within six feet of someone who has Covid-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more within the last 48 hours;
  • Providing care at home to someone who is sick with Covid-19;
  • Having direct physical contact with the infected person (hugged or kissed them);
  • Sharing eating or drinking utensils with the infected person;
  • Being touched by respiratory droplets from a sneeze, cough, or other transmission by the infected person.

Student Support During Isolation and Quarantine

Health Services will follow up with individuals on a daily basis to coordinate symptom check-ins. Students will have access to support while in isolation and quarantine. The Covid-19 Response Team provides assistance facilitating communications with faculty or administrative staff, personal needs, and deliveries of materials needed for academic work, as well as to answer general questions about the isolation and quarantine process.

Facility Protocols

Cleaning protocols reflect best practices developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reduce potential exposure to Covid-19.

All of Colby’s ventilation systems have been inspected, cleaned, and enhanced over the last year. Our systems follow the national industry standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which specifies air supply rates are based on space type/application, occupancy level, and floor area, making the required ventilation rate space-specific rather than building-specific. Overriding energy-saving settings, Colby’s ventilation systems have been adjusted to ensure the flow of outside air to meet or exceed ASHRAE’s Covid-19 guidelines. Air handling unit filters are inspected at twice the specified frequency to minimize risk.

Campus Access, Visitors, and Events

Colby facilities will continue to be restricted to students, faculty, and staff with a limited number of exceptions. Academic and administrative buildings will generally be open during regular business hours for those with approved card access. Most residence halls will be card-access only for all students during daytime and evening hours; access outside of these hours will be restricted to residents only (students may not host guests in residence halls at any time). General information about building access may be found here. Colby’s visitor policy, which is in place until further notice, is available here.

When planning events for the fall, sponsors should keep several things in mind. 

  • Consistent with Maine CDC guidance, most building occupancy limits returned to normal capacity in May. 
  • Meeting and event organizers should, however, consider that there may be unvaccinated attendees, so allowance should be made for social distancing, as appropriate. 
  • There may be times when event organizers will want to implement mitigation strategies. These might include reduced occupancy, providing distance between seats, or requesting all attendees or participants wear face coverings. 
  • For now, guest speakers, lecturers, or performers should be informed of the College’s vaccination requirement for access to campus facilities. Organizers should not, however, request vaccination information or require vaccination for all attendees without first consulting the Office of General Counsel. 
  • We will be assessing fall guidelines following Labor Day. 

Employee and Student Travel

Employees and students may travel outside of Maine pursuant to the State of Maine’s travel guidelines. Given the current alert levels, international travel by employees will require the advance approval of your vice president or dean; international travel by students will require advance approval by the Dean of Students Office.

Unvaccinated employees and students are expected to maintain their regular testing schedule or test on their first day returning to campus.

Because Maine no longer requires quarantining or testing for visitors to the state, the College will not require vaccinated employees or students to test or quarantine upon return. If, however, the state requires quarantine or testing for visitors from certain states or international travel based on virus conditions, testing or quarantining may be required for employees or students returning from those states. For more information click here.

Accommodations and Special Requirements

Based on individual circumstances, Colby will work to provide reasonable accommodations and appropriate adjustments for students, faculty, and staff who face serious challenges and risks due to Covid-19.

Privacy

The health information the College receives from students, faculty, and staff is confidential and will only be used, shared with those who need to know, and retained in accordance with federal and state laws. If a member of the College community contracts the Covid-19 virus, the College will take significant measures to protect that information

Covid-19 Vaccination FAQ

If I already had Covid-19 and recovered, do I still need to be vaccinated?

Yes, according to the CDC, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had Covid-19.

If you were treated for Covid-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a Covid-19 vaccine. For more information, please visit the CDC’s Covid-19 page or talk to your medical provider. 

Will Covid-19 vaccine boosters be required if/when they become available?

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated do not require a vaccine booster at this time. Colby will continue to review new evidence as it becomes available regarding the need for additional Covid-19 immunizations.

How do I submit documentation to the College that I received the vaccine?

Employees: Instructions on how to submit vaccination information and documentation can be found here

Students: Below please find instructions on how to upload vaccination information and documentation into the Student Health Portal.  

  • Login to the online Student Health Portal using your Colby username and password. 
  • Click the Upload tab and follow the instructions provided to complete the submission process. 
  • From the “Choose document you are uploading” dropdown, select COVID VACCINE DOCUMENTATION.

After I get vaccinated, will I need to continue to participate in the College’s Covid-19 testing program?

All members of the on-campus community will be tested twice weekly for the remainder of the semester. Colby reserves the right to require additional testing to protect the health and safety of our community.

Do I need to wear a face covering and avoid close contact if I’m not vaccinated?

Consistent with CDC guidelines, unvaccinated individuals on campus need to wear face coverings indoors, when riding the Jitney or shuttle, and when riding in a College vehicle with another person. Unvaccinated individuals are not required to wear face coverings outdoors as long as social distancing can be achieved.

If someone is wearing a face covering, does that mean they are not vaccinated?

Not necessarily. While some students, faculty, and staff may not be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will need to wear a face covering, some vaccinated individuals have been advised by their physician to continue masking and social distancing due to underlying health conditions that they, or a family member, may have. In addition, some individuals have expressed a desire to voluntarily continue masking as a preventive health measure. Because masking may be related to medical or religious information, Colby community members are discouraged from inquiring about an individual’s decision to mask. 

I still have concerns about transmission risk. Can students in a class (or participants in a meeting) be required to wear face coverings?

Yes. Faculty and staff have the ability to require the wearing of face coverings by those in their classrooms or meeting spaces. We should all respect the health and safety concerns of those in our community. Student requests for masking will be considered for approval based on medical accommodations; students may reach out to the Dean of Students Office regarding the approval process.

Other questions?

Feel free to call Health Services during business hours (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday noon-5 p.m.) at 207-859-4460 with questions or concerns relating to Covid-19 and your health in general. For medical emergencies on campus, call 207-859-5911. For medical care when Colby Health Services is closed, please visit an area hospital or medical clinic.twic 

Policies, guidelines, and procedures are subject to change based on the latest health information, government guidelines, and best practices.