Health, Safety, and Resources

EFFECTIVE DATE:  July 25, 2022

Vaccination Status

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 (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.

All students, faculty, and staff who are present on campus must be vaccinated and boostered, unless granted an exemption or accommodation by the College.

You are considered “vaccinated” at Colby if you have completed your primary vaccination series (two weeks after your second dose in a two-dose series—such as Pfizer, Novavax, or Moderna; or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine—such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine; or all of the recommended doses of a World Health Organization [WHO]-approved vaccine), AND:

  • You have received all booster doses which you are eligible to receive, OR
  • You have received a temporary exemption or extension to get the booster dose(s) you are eligible to receive, and you receive the booster(s) by the deadline in the exemption AND upload that information to CoVerified.

Because your eligibility for one or more boosters depends on when you completed your initial vaccine series, your age, your health, and other factors, please consult the CDC’s website to determine eligibility in your particular instance.

If you are not vaccinated and fully boostered, as noted above, or if you have received an exemption from the vaccination requirement, you are considered “unvaccinated” for purposes of this policy, and are strongly urged to mask and practice social distancing when indoors.

Students, faculty, and staff should 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.

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.

Face Coverings

Face coverings are not required on campus unless:

  • A faculty member requires them in a classroom or lab;
  • A faculty or staff member requires them in their private office;
  • The hosts of an event, meeting, or other gathering require them.

Face coverings remain required during the 10-day period following a positive Covid-19 test, regardless of your release from isolation.

Campus Access, Visitors, and Capacity/Group Size

Primary entrance doors to all academic and administrative buildings will be open during normal business hours. Students need to use their ID cards to obtain access to residence halls.

The College’s visitor policies now allow visitors to campus; and the College expects that visitors to campus are fully vaccinated, as described above. Unvaccinated visitors to campus are strongly urged to mask and practice social distancing when indoors.

There is no longer a capacity limit for official College events.

Testing

At the current time, the College will not conduct surveillance or screening testing on students, faculty, or staff. Students who are experiencing symptoms are encouraged to reach out to Health Services for Covid-19 testing. Faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms are encouraged to work with their primary care physician or conduct an at-home Covid-19 test.

Students and employees testing positive should report the positive result using the CoVerified app or web interface. Instructions on how to complete the process can be found in section 8 of the following guide. Students will isolate on campus. The Covid-19 Response Team ([email protected]) will provide students and employees with isolation instructions and guidance. As noted above, any student with a positive test will immediately isolate in place in their residence hall. 

For students who are in close contact with a Covid-positive roommate, it is likely they have already been exposed to the virus, therefore will not need to relocate to another room. Those close contact students will be permitted to attend class but should wear a mask and take a test if symptoms develop. If an immunocompromised student would like to be relocated during their roommate’s isolation, that student should contact [email protected] The College has a limited number of rooms for this purpose.

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).

Contact Tracing

In January 2022 the College stopped contacting students who test positive to identify their close contacts. This is consistent with Maine CDC guidance for schools. As of May 20, the College stopped contact tracing for faculty and staff.

Faculty/Staff Isolation Protocol

If employees have tested positive for Covid-19, they will be required to self-isolate at home for at least six days (the day of a positive test is Day 0.) Following six days of isolation, asymptomatic employees and employees whose symptoms are resolving and have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication may be medically cleared to return to work on campus and must wear a face covering for four additional days around others, whether on campus or off campus, to minimize the risk of infecting others. If employees are symptomatic after six days, they must isolate for up to 10 days or until 24 hours after symptoms have disappeared, whichever occurs first. For any employee cleared to return to work in less than 10 days, face coverings are required through the 10-day period. Isolation guidelines apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated faculty and staff.

Faculty/Staff Close Contact Protocols

If you are identified as a close contact of a test-positive individual, you are not required to quarantine unless you are exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms. But consistent with CDC guidance, you must wear a face covering when around others for 10 days (the day you receive notice is Day 0.) While on campus, you should not eat your meals in close proximity to others.

Overview of Student Isolation Protocols

If students have tested positive for Covid-19, they will typically isolate in their residence hall for a period of at least six days (the day of a positive test is Day 0, regardless of the day that the students developed symptoms). For students who are in close contact with a Covid-positive roommate, it is likely they have already been exposed to the virus, therefore will not need to relocate to another room. Those close contact students will be permitted to attend class but should wear a mask and take a test if symptoms develop. If an immunocompromised student would like to be relocated during their roommate’s isolation, that student should contact [email protected] The College has a limited number of rooms for this purpose. On the sixth day of isolation, asymptomatic students and students whose symptoms are resolving and have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication may be medically cleared from isolation and must wear a face covering for four additional days around others, whether on-campus or off-campus, to minimize the risk of infecting others. If students are symptomatic after six days, they must isolate for up to 10 days or until 24 hours after symptoms have disappeared, whichever occurs first. For any student cleared from isolation in less than 10 days, face coverings are required through the 10-day period.

Students isolating in their room may use the bathroom on their floor and are expected to wear a KN95 mask in the bathroom unless engaged in self-care that requires them to take off the mask momentarily (e.g., brushing teeth, showering, shaving). Students are also expected to use disinfectant wipes on any bathroom surfaces. These will be supplied by the covid response team.

Students with COVID-19 may enter the dining hall to select their food using eco-to-go boxes, but may not eat in the dining hall. Students must wear KN95 masks while in the space choosing their food.

While in isolation, students are allowed to go outdoors around campus. They are not permitted to enter any buildings on campus with the exception of a dining hall for eco-to-go meals and their own residence hall. Students will be asked to wear a mask if they can not socially distance outdoors.

Student Close Contact Protocols

If you are identified as a close contact of a test-positive individual, you are not required to quarantine unless you are exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms. But consistent with CDC guidance, you must wear a face covering when around others for 10 days (the day you receive notice is Day 0.) While on campus, you should not eat your meals in close proximity to others.

Types of “close contact” may 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

Health Services and/or the Covid-19 Response Team will follow up with individuals to coordinate symptom check-ins. Students will have access to support while in isolation. The Covid-19 Response Team provides assistance facilitating communications with college offices and is available to answer general questions about the isolation process.

Facility Protocols

Cleaning protocols are informed by guidance 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.

Events

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

  • Please follow room capacity limits.
  • Meeting and event organizers should 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. Organizers should not, however, request vaccination information or require vaccination for all attendees without first consulting the Office of General Counsel.

Employee and Student Travel

While the College is not restricting student or employee travel, please exercise good hygiene practices and protections (masking, distancing, and hand-washing) if you need to travel.

If the state reinstates 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.

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