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 from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, and MaineGeneral Health. While there is no way to ensure zero risk, our approach to 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.

Health and Safety Protocols

Students, faculty, and staff on campus this summer will be required to participate in our health and safety protocols. These protocols will, however, look quite different for the summer, based in part on vaccination status. The revised protocols, described below, are effective beginning Monday, May 24, 2021.

Vaccinated student employees, faculty, and staff:

  • Consistent with CDC guidelines, vaccinated individuals on campus do not need to wear face coverings or socially distance outdoors or indoors. You are required to wear face coverings when riding the Jitney or Shuttle and when more than one person is riding in a College vehicle.
  • Covid-19 testing is no longer required; individuals may, however, voluntarily participate in the testing program if they choose to do so.

Unvaccinated student employees, faculty, and staff:

  • Unvaccinated individuals on campus are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing while indoors, when riding the Jitney or Shuttle, and when more than one person is riding in a College vehicle.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are not required to wear face coverings outdoors as long as social distance can be achieved, or if they are alone in a private space (such as an office or bedroom).
  • Regular Covid-19 testing is required, on a schedule to be determined by the College. Beginning May 24, testing frequency will be twice per week.

Testing

Covid-19 testing on campus this summer will likely include a mix of PCR and rapid-antigen tests. Testing frequency will be determined based on local, state, and national health conditions, vaccination rates, and CDC guidance. Participation in the program is required for all unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff working on campus this summer. Testing schedules will be communicated directly to participants.

The program includes a lower-nasal self-swab, 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. If a positive test is received, it is critically important 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 healthy. Maine CDC may provide additional direction and instructions to test-positive members of the Colby community.

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

Covid-19 Variants

There is limited information available regarding the multiple Covid-19 variants. Currently, there is no evidence that these variants pose an increased risk, but new information continues to emerge. The most effective means to protect yourself and the community is to get vaccinated; if you have not yet done so, the next best way to protect yourself is to fully participate in the testing program, wear a face covering, and practice physical distancing as well as good personal hygiene.

Dashboard

Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, the College’s Covid-19 dashboard data will switch from daily to weekly updates beginning May 24.

Contact Tracing

The effectiveness of our approach depends on our ability to identify and quarantine (or isolate) unvaccinated 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, 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.

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 for up to seven days.

Overview of Student Isolation Protocols

If students have tested positive for Covid-19 or if they are highly suspected of having Covid-19, 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. Any summer work may be conducted virtually based on the nature of the student’s summer position and supervisory approval. 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 remote work. While in isolation, students will continue to be tested.

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. A student 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, a student in quarantine will not be permitted to leave their room.

Depending on the nature of their summer employment, and with supervisor approval, students may be able to work virtually. 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 work. During quarantine, students will be provided with seven tests and instructions addressing the frequency and process to undertake such tests. At present, the typical quarantine period is seven days, if all test results are negative.

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 operates a twice-weekly telehealth check-in during summer months, and students may be referred to a local provider if care is needed. For urgent or emergency health care needs, Security can arrange transportation to a nearby urgent care provider or to an emergency room. A member of the administration will be available during business hours and on weekends to support students.

Facility Protocols

Consistent with Maine’s guidance, building occupancy limits return to normal capacity effective May 24. Meeting and event organizers should, however, consider that there will likely be a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated attendees, so allowance should be made for social distancing, as appropriate.

Cleaning protocols reflect best practices developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reduce potential exposure to Covid-19. These best practices include routine disinfection of high-touch surfaces and the use of hospital-grade cleaners. Hand sanitizing stations are available, and physical interventions such as partitions and plexiglass barriers have been installed where appropriate.

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 and Visitors

Given our experience, reduced density on campus during the summer, and increasing availability of vaccines, the College will begin opening the campus on a phased basis to visitors after commencement, subject to Maine’s Covid-19-related protocols.

Effective May 24, visitors may access Colby extensive grounds, trails, certain outdoor recreational facilities (e.g., tennis courts, track, walking trails), and gathering spaces (e.g., benches and picnic tables along Johnson Pond). Face coverings are not required.

Access to most campus buildings will be limited to student employees, faculty, staff, and some Special Programs guests through use of a Colby ID card or fob. Key exceptions include the Colby College Museum of Art and the lobby of the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, which will be open to certain visitors under special guidelines (see below).

  • The Colby College Museum of Art will be open to the public beginning June 4.
  • The Admissions Office will begin offering tours to prospective students and their families beginning June 14. These programs will operate out of the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center lobby to take advantage of that facility’s spaces and dedicated parking. Tours have been designed to minimize interaction with employees and residential program guests.
  • Cotter Union will also be open to visitors, however, please note that the Joseph Family Spa will be closed for renovations this summer.
  • Visitors on College-related business are permitted, subject to approval of the appropriate vice president or dean and in compliance with College health and safety protocols.
  • There will be a significant amount of construction activity on campus this summer. Contractors are required to maintain health and safety programs for their employees consistent with CDC guidelines.
  • Special Programs is exploring the possibility of hosting several sports-based day camps that would use both indoor and outdoor athletics facilities. If approved, day guests will be restricted to those facilities only and subject to Maine day-camp health requirements.

Any exceptions require advance approval by the appropriate vice president, and visitors may need to supply information or test before coming to campus. This includes job applicants, vendors, suppliers, and any others scheduled to provide professional services to Colby.

Employee and Student Summer Travel

Employees may travel outside of Maine pursuant to the State of Maine’s travel guidelines. Effective May 24, domestic travel for College business is again permitted. Given the current alert levels, international travel will be limited and requires the advance approval of your vice president or dean. Due to the fact that students are in congregate living settings, travel outside of Maine is discouraged, but not prohibited, for students working or living on campus this summer.

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

Because Maine will no longer require quarantining or testing for visitors to the state, the College will not require employees or students to test or quarantine upon return. If, however, the state requires quarantine or testing for visitors from certain states 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

Why is it important for me to get vaccinated?
Vaccination is a key step to help bring the Covid-19 pandemic to an end. The vaccination not only helps to keep you safe from getting Covid-19, but it also protects others around you, especially those at higher risk for severe illness from Covid-19. Read information from the federal CDC about the benefits of getting a Covid-19 vaccine

When can I get vaccinated?
The State of Maine is using an age-based approach for vaccination eligibility for its residents. 

Starting April 7, 2021, all Maine residents over the age of 16 will become eligible. Information about eligibility can be found on this website

As a Colby student whose home is out of state, am I eligible to get vaccinated in Maine?
The College’s current understanding is that out-of-state students, including international students, who are living in Maine temporarily in order to attend college will be eligible to be vaccinated in Maine starting April 7, 2021. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses spaced three or four weeks apart; Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine. Students may want to consider their travel plans and consult with their local provider and/or family physician regarding obtaining a second dose. 

Is there a charge for the Covid-19 vaccine?
No, it’s free of charge to everyone living in the U.S., regardless of immigration or health insurance status.

Can I pre-register to be vaccinated?
Yes, if you are eligible or awaiting eligibility for vaccination in Maine, you can pre-register at VaccinateME.Maine.gov and you will be notified when appointments become available. Vaccination appointments can also be made through the following sites (note this is not a comprehensive list): 

Hannaford
MaineGeneral
Northern Light Health
Shaw’s
Walgreens
Walmart

If I can be vaccinated in my home state, should I go there?
In general, the CDC recommends that you get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible; If your home state allows you to get vaccinated now, you should consider taking advantage of that opportunity. The College’s Health, Safety, and Resources website has student vaccine travel guidelines. 

Will Colby become a vaccination site?
Colby has applied to host clinics to vaccinate our students, faculty, and staff. Unfortunately, Maine CDC has informed us that it is unlikely to supply vaccines to the College this semester. We remain ready to offer vaccination clinics if circumstances change. In the meantime, students, faculty, and staff should schedule appointments at existing vaccination sites.

What if I can’t get my second dose at the same place that I received my first?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses spaced three or four weeks apart; Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine. Per the Maine CDC website, ideally if you have received your first dose (Pfizer or Moderna) at a facility in Maine, you should be getting your second dose at the same facility, since the second dose will have already been allocated there. However, if you’re unable to, then you would need to reach out to the closest healthcare system.

Can I get vaccinated through the vaccine waste-prevention programs that exist at pharmacies and other distribution centers across the state?
Yes, these are programs designed to ensure that no vaccine is wasted when individuals cancel appointments at the last minute. Many of the distribution centers make these “extra” doses publicly available, or with some limited restrictions. If interested in these programs, please contact local distribution centers or pharmacies directly for their protocols and distribution guidelines.

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. 

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 – 

  • Log in 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.

Will Colby require its students and employees to have Covid-19 vaccination for the spring semester or next academic year?

Yes. Our ability to provide a safe living, learning, and working environment in the coming year requires that all members of our on-campus community be vaccinated. The latest scientific evidence about highly contagious and dangerous variants, in particular, demonstrates why everyone who needs to interact on campus with one another must be vaccinated (the vaccines continue to prove effective against variants). It is also critical that everyone on campus feel safe in this environment, and our educational and cocurricular programs rely on all students, faculty, and staff being vaccinated, unless they are exempted. For further information, click here.

After I get vaccinated, will I need to continue to participate in the College’s Covid-19 testing program?
For vaccinated student employees, faculty, and staff, Covid-19 testing is no longer required; individuals may, however, voluntarily participate in the testing program if they choose to do so.

Do I need to wear a face covering and avoid close contact if I’m fully vaccinated?
Consistent with CDC guidelines, vaccinated individuals on campus do not need to wear face coverings or socially distance outdoors or indoors. You are required to wear face coverings when riding the Jitney or Shuttle and when more than one person is riding in a College vehicle.

Do fully vaccinated people need to quarantine or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed Covid-19?
No, because the risk of infection for fully vaccinated people is low.

Other questions?
Feel free to call Health Services during routine 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. 

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