Health, Safety, and Resources

Special Jan Plan 2022 Return to Campus Guidelines and Requirements

In an effort to keep our community safe and healthy and due to the challenges posed by the Omicron variant and the public health environment in the Waterville area and Maine, there are a set of guidelines and requirements for students returning to campus for Jan Plan 2022. These guidelines and requirements will remain in place for the first two weeks of Jan Plan and may be altered or modified thereafter based on conditions in our own community and those in the Waterville area and Maine. If these guidelines and requirements contradict those in the COVID-19 policy, below, these will take precedence.

JAN PLAN PRECAUTIONS (first two weeks unless it is necessary to extend or modify):

Students must follow the measures below:

  • The indoor mask requirement will be in place throughout the campus, including residence halls, except while eating and while alone or with roommate(s) in residence halls.
  • Limit travel with others by car, but when travel is necessary, wear face coverings.
  • Social and informal gatherings will be limited to ten (10) persons, both on campus and off-campus
  • Avoid off-campus venues and unmasked or over-sized gatherings on campus.
  • Only official visitors will be allowed on campus; do not invite visitors without prior approval from the Office of the Dean of Students.
  • After check in, each student will need to quarantine in their room until the College receives a negative PCR result for the student (typically the next day.)
  • Dining will be grab-and-go through lunch on Tuesday, January 4. Dining Services will deliver meals to the Lockwood Hotel and Alfond Commons residents during this time.
  • Classes will begin on Tuesday, January 4, instead of Monday, January 3, to allow time for return of PCR results.
  • All members of the community will be required to test three times per week.

Vaccination Status

Both in Jan Plan 2022 and the second semester, Colby will adhere to its ongoing requirement that all students (as well as faculty and staff) who are present on campus must be vaccinated, unless granted an exemption or accommodation by the College.

Beginning on February 1, 2022, you will be considered “vaccinated” at Colby if you have completed your primary vaccination series (two weeks after your second dose in a 2 dose series – such as Pfizer 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 your booster dose, OR
  • You are eligible to receive the booster dose by February 1, 2022, and you receive that booster within thirty (30) days following eligibility and upload that information to Co-Verified.

You are eligible to receive a booster at least 5 months after receiving a final dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or WHO-approved vaccine, or 2 months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Any vaccine authorized in the US can serve as a booster; however, the CDC recommends receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html.

After February 1, 2022 and where applicable, the 30-day grace period, you will be considered “unvaccinated” for purposes of this policy, and must adhere to the College’s guidelines and restrictions for unvaccinated persons. Previously approved medical and religious exemptions from the vaccination requirement will be honored for Jan Plan 2022 and the 2022 spring semester. In the absence of an exemption, unvaccinated persons are not permitted on campus.

Individual adjustments will be made if you are not eligible for a booster dose given when you completed your primary vaccination series. Students in this category should contact the health center at [email protected] or 207-859-4460.; faculty and staff should contact the COVID-19 response team at [email protected]

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. The College has also updated its isolation and quarantine guidelines (see below). 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.

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, and hallways of non-residential buildings
      • 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.
      • At indoor events open to the public (e.g., the museum, Lunder House, Greene Block + Studios, athletic contests)
      • While riding on the Jitney, Colby Shuttle, and in other vehicles with more than one person
    • Facial coverings are not required:
      • For participants in certain performance groups (e.g., dance, music, theater) faculty and event sponsors may allow exceptions to the masking policy for performers taking appropriate mitigation steps (e.g., seating arrangements, distancing from the audience)
      • When alone in a private office
      • In residence halls
      • While eating or drinking
      • Outside, but please make effort to maintain distance
      • Except as may be announced on the Athletics Department website, 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 fitness center.
  • 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 in the Museum of Art, Lunder House (admissions), and Greene Block + Studios. 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. See the Atheltics Department website for other guidelines and restrictions. Other visitors require approval of a vice president or dean.
  • 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, 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

Effective January 22, 2022, the College will no longer contact students who test positive to identify their close contacts. This is consistent with Maine CDC guidance for schools that have strict masking policies.

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 for at least 5 days (the day of a positive test is Day 0.) Following 5 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, and who receive a negative antigen test, may be medically cleared to return to work on campus, and must wear a face covering for 5 additional days around others, whether on-campus or off-campus, to minimize the risk of infecting others. If employees are symptomatic after 5 days, they must isolate for up to 10 days or until 24 hours after symptoms have disappeared, whichever occurs first, followed by a negative antigen test. 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.

If you are unvaccinated or you are more than 5 months from your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna (or more than 2 months from your dose of Johnson & Johnson) and not yet boosted, and you are identified as a close contact of a test-positive individual, you will be required to quarantine at home for 5 days (the day you receive notice of exposure is Day 0) followed by 5 more days of strict mask use. The College will also require a negative antigen test at the end of the 5-day quarantine period. While quarantined, 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. 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.) You should continue to follow your testing schedule 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 the College’s 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 for a period of at least 5 days (the day of a positive test is Day 0.)  Following 5 days 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, and who receive a negative antigen test, may be medically cleared from isolation, and must wear a face covering for 5 additional days around others, whether on-campus or off-campus, to minimize the risk of infecting others. If students are symptomatic after 5 days, they must isolate for up to 10 days or until 24 hours after symptoms have disappeared, whichever occurs first, followed by a negative antigen test. For any student cleared from isolation in less than 10 days, face coverings are required through the 10-day period.

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.)

Overview of Student Quarantine

Unvaccinated students and students who are more than 5 months from their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna (or more than 2 months from their dose of Johnson & Johnson) and not yet boosted, and with known exposure to someone with Covid-19 or identified through contact tracing as a close contact of a test-positive individual, will be required to quarantine for 5 days (the day of notice of exposure is Day 0) followed by 5 more days of strict mask use. The College will also require a negative antigen test at the end of the 5-day quarantine period.

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. But consistent with CDC guidance, a vaccinated student identified as a close contact must wear a face covering when around others for 10 days (the day of notice is Day 0.) They should continue to follow their testing schedule 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. If the student tests positive, then the student must isolate per the College’s guidelines.

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, 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. 

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?

For everyone’s safety, Colby will be requiring a Covid-19 booster shot for all students, faculty, and staff enrolled or working on campus effective February 1 (for the small number of individuals who will not be eligible by February 1, the booster is required within 30 days of eligibility). Individuals with approved exemptions for the fall will be exempt for the spring semester as well.

As a reminder, individuals with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are eligible for a booster five months from the date of their second dose. Those who received a Johnson & Johnson / Jansen vaccine are eligible two months after their initial dose. Additional information about vaccine boosters may be found here and through your primary care physician.

We will be offering additional booster clinics during Jan Plan, however, we strongly encourage all members of our community to get a booster shot as soon as possible.

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

All of us will be required to submit proof of vaccination to the College no later than February 1. CoVerified is now able to accept booster record uploads from Apple and Android devices and through the web interface. Instructions are outlined in section 4 of the following guide. If you are using your phone, you may need to delete the app and reinstall it to access the functionality. Section 2 of the guide includes app installation instructions. We would appreciate you uploading your booster records at your earliest convenience to assist our health management efforts. If you have questions or need assistance, please email [email protected]

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 per the College’s testing policy. 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, especially when 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.

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