Return to Campus (RTC): COVID Related Updates
We are excited to welcome the entire Olin community back to the campus and to be together again as a community for the first time in a year and a half! The following principles have informed Olin’s planning for the 2021-22 academic year:
- Our plan to return to campus is based on science. Our protocols and could evolve as we learn more about COVID-19, the Delta variant and other variants throughout the year.
- Olin is designed as a living-learning-working environment that thrives best when we are together.
- The decisions we make must consider and promote equity for community members whenever possible.
- Our working environment should match the vibrancy of our learning environment.
- Olin must adhere to public health guidance.
Based on these principles, Olin is planning to be fully in person for the Fall 2021 semester and beyond.
Health and Safety Protocols
Olin is requiring all employees and students to be vaccinated for COVID-19. All students and employees (including those employed through our partners at Aramark and Rebecca’s Culinary Group) must provide proof to the college that they have received a vaccine approved for use by either the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO).
Below, you will find information about those vaccines and where people in the United States can find a vaccination appointment.
- Vaccines listed for use by WHO (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, CoviShield, CoronaVac)
- Vaccines listed for use by FDA (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen)
- COVID-19 vaccination in Massachusetts
- How to find a COVID-19 vaccine in the US
Employees. Employees must complete the secure COVID Vaccination Status Form for Employees on the web. You will need to upload an image of your vaccination card or documentation from your health provider that your vaccination is completed. We recognize that in rare instances there are valid reasons for an exemption to this requirement due to a medical need or sincerely held religious belief. Those requesting a medical or religious exemption must also complete the COVID Vaccination Exemption Request Form. Employees who begin work at Olin after 9/1/21 must be in compliance with this policy as of their start date.
Students. Students must log in to the Student Health Portal to confirm their vaccination status. Please upload an image of your vaccination card as an “Immunization Record” in the portal. Students who have not submitted their completed vaccination card or obtained an exemption will not be permitted to move into their residence hall room and may lose their housing eligibility. If you do not have access to vaccination for COVID-19 where you currently live, please contact Beth Grampetro at email@example.com to discuss your options. If you encounter problems uploading your vaccine card, or if you have questions about exemptions to this mandate, please contact Babson Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All members of the Olin community must participate in asymptomatic surveillance testing. Those who are fully vaccinated must test once per week. Those who are exempted or in the process of becoming fully vaccinated must test twice per week, preferably on Monday and Thursday.
We are using different software for testing this year. The first time you register for a test, please create an account using the appropriate link:
- STUDENTS: https://crsp-testing.broadinstitute.org/register/with-code?code=OLINCOVI...
- EMPLOYEES: https://crsp-testing.broadinstitute.org/register/with-code?code=OLINCOVIDTESTINGCONSENTEMPLOYEES
Once your account is created, please use the following link for future logins (e.g., scheduling tests, reviewing your profile, etc):
Please do not create multiple profiles within your account – if you have already tested even once since September 1, you are already registered and should not have to complete a new profile before testing again.
Because of our very high vaccination rate on campus, we have switched to pooled testing this year. Pooled testing means combining the same type of specimen from several people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of specimens to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Testing is available in the Campus Center (by the wooden waterfall) on the following schedule:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, between 9:10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Scheduling an appointment is always preferable, but if you must test that day, please go to the testing check-in desk and ask if a walk-up slot is available. Please note that individuals with appointments will have priority over walk-up requests.
If you have symptoms of illness or have been exposed to COVID-19, please do not go to the testing desk without specific directions to do so! Testing symptomatic or exposed individuals requires additional precautions for the testing staff. Students with symptoms of illness should contact Health Services at 781-239-6363. Employees should contact Krista Chavez, Nurse Practitioner, at email@example.com or pursue symptomatic testing through their healthcare provider.
If you test for COVID-19 at a site other than Milas Hall or Babson Health Services and your test result is positive, you are required to inform the College. Students must inform Health Services. Employees must inform Krista Chavez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Masks and Social Distancing
The CDC has recommended that those living in regions that have “substantial” or “high” coronavirus transmission should wear a mask when indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Currently, Norfolk County is at “substantial’ risk. Therefore, Olin College has implemented an indoor masking requirement on campus until the public health situation indicates that masking is no longer needed.
All individuals on campus must wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth in all indoor areas where other people may be present. If you have questions about particular situations, please review the FAQ. If the question is not answered there, please contact OlinAhead@olin.edu.
Please select masks made of two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, that completely cover your nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of your face, and have a nose wire. Please note that Olin does not allow neck gaiters or face shields in lieu of a mask. In some situations, a face shield may be appropriate in addition to a mask. You can find information about why upgrading your mask is important here and here.
Olin provides disposable masks for people who work in certain higher risk activities. The college may be able to supply a cloth mask to you if you need one. Please contact OlinAhead@olin.edu.
Even in some situations where a mask is not required, some individuals may feel more comfortable wearing a mask. Olin respects and supports this choice. We suggest that groups
Olin does not currently have a social distancing requirement in place, but individuals are encouraged to maintain appropriate distancing in any situation in which it would make them feel more comfortable.
Quarantine and Isolation
Regardless of vaccination status, Olin may require quarantine for individuals exposed to COVID-19 depending on the circumstances. Students who have been exposed should notify Health Services at 781-239-6363 and follow all guidance received. Employees should contact Krista Chavez, Nurse Practitioner, at email@example.com for direction.
For any individual who tests positive for COVID-19, isolation is required regardless of vaccination status. Students must follow any isolation instructions given to them by Health Services, Student Affairs, and/or the Needham Board of Health. Employees must follow any isolation instructions given to them by Krista Chavez and/or their local Board of Health.
All individual visitors and guess at Olin must be registered using the Visitor/Vendor Form. Visitors must comply with all of Olin’s required protocols, including masking, at all times.
If you are hosting a large group of visitors, Olin Ahead may recommend different protocols. Please email OlinAhead@olin.edu with specifics of your plans in advance of any events or large gatherings that include visitors or guests from off campus.
RTC Messages to the Community
Dear Olin community,
We are writing to follow up on President Barabino’s email from January 6, which explained our adapted plans for the beginning of the spring semester.
Those plans included beginning the semester with one week of remote work and classes to allow us to complete a first round of testing, limit any viral spread and reduce the possibility of an increase in COVID cases. In addition to the planned PCR testing, we were also able to provide rapid antigen testing for all students returning to campus.
We are pleased to report that based on test results from this week—during which most students returned to campus and many faculty and staff tested on campus as well—we are continuing with our plan to return to in-person learning on January 27.
The rapid antigen tests for students revealed nine positive cases, with two more student cases discovered through PCR testing. We have also identified seven COVID cases among employees. Overall, this is a positivity rate of 3% based on those who have returned to campus. This is considered a low positivity rate by the CDC and in line with the current average for higher ed reported on the state dashboard.
The decision to return to in-person learning is based on this testing pattern continuing—or improving—next week. You have shown us repeatedly that our isolation protocols work effectively to prevent spread on campus.
Over the past 17 months, we have all done our part to help stop the spread of COVID on campus. We are urging everyone to continue to help keep the Olin community safe by maintaining good masking practices, testing on a regular schedule, maintaining social distancing when needed and washing your hands. These health practices apply across campus—whether in the MAC or in a residence hall or anywhere in between—and beyond.
If the situation changes and we see a significant increase in positive COVID cases on campus, we may have to reassess the return to in-person learning. If that happens, we will communicate with you as quickly as possible.
Employees may continue to teach and work virtually through January 26 as their duties permit. Some faculty may choose to extend remote learning in their classes for a brief time (up to one additional week) for a variety of reasons. They will communicate directly to students in their classes about when they will resume in-person learning. Employees who choose to work on campus next week may do so.
Thank you all for your patience, teamwork, good humor and flexibility as we continue to navigate and adapt to changing circumstances together.
The Olin Ahead Team
Dear Olin community,
I am writing to share with you how Olin is planning to adapt the beginning of the spring 2022 semester in response to the current omicron surge. I had hoped one of my first communications to you in the New Year would be different, but as with so many things during this pandemic, our plans must adjust to reflect changing conditions.
If we think back to March 2020 and all we have endured together since then, it’s clear that change and adaptability will continue to be constants for the foreseeable future. I, along with College leadership and the Olin Ahead working group, am committed to making the best possible choices for Olin’s students, faculty and staff.
Fortunately, at Olin, we are able to make these small adjustments to our plans now because of our size, the deep level of care and commitment we have for each other, and our collective desire to do what is best for our students amid the seemingly never ending challenges of the pandemic.
Before I explain these measures, I want to make sure you understand the guiding principles I am using to make these decisions:
- We have a transformative educational model and we value deep connections above all else, and believe that face to face instruction best facilitates this.
- We care about the health and welfare of our community.
The following plans for the start of the spring semester have been made with input and guidance from the Olin Ahead team:
- Students will arrive on campus on January 18 (and no later than January 20) and must take a COVID test on January 18, 19 or 20.
- Classes will be virtual from January 20-26.
- Employees should teach and work virtually from January 18-26 as their duties permit to avoid the potential of exposure as more of our community returns to campus. Employees who choose to work from campus may do so.
Beginning the semester with one week of remote classes and work will allow Olin to complete a first round of asymptomatic PCR testing and give our on-campus community a chance to avoid viral spread and case surge. Should further adjustment be necessary we will advise you at the earliest opportunity.
I invite you to keep reading below for more comprehensive details and answers to the questions I’m sure you have. This information will also be posted to Olin.edu. The Olin Ahead team will share further guidance as it becomes available. As always if you have questions please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your patience and teamwork as we prepare to start the spring semester safely.
Background on omicron and the latest guidance:
- The omicron variant has become the dominant strain in circulation in our area (see the Broad Institute’s sequencing dashboard https://covid-19-sequencing.broadinstitute.org/ if interested)
- Initial data are suggesting that omicron both spreads more easily (up to 3x) and causes less severe symptoms than delta and other previous variants and that vaccination plus a booster appears effective against omicron (https://www.nytimes.com/article/omicron-coronavirus-variant.html)
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has implemented the new CDC isolation and quarantine guidance (https://www.mass.gov/info-details/isolation-and-quarantine-guidance-for-the-general-public)
- The masks that have been in wide use may be less effective against omicron and higher grade masks are being recommended (https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/24/health/cloth-mask-omicron-variant-wellness/index.html)
Before arrival on / return to campus:
We ask that all community members test prior to arrival if possible so that you are aware of your own COVID status. PCR or antigen tests are both acceptable, although we recognize that both testing appointments and home testing kits are currently in short supply.
If you are sick or have tested positive without symptoms, please do not come to campus.
Students, if you are symptomatic and cannot return to campus before January 20th, please contact Alisha Sarang-Sieminski. Employees, if you are sick, please inform Krista Chavez.
Arrival period and beginning of classes:
With move-in beginning on January 18, students are required to arrive on campus no later than January 20 and must test on January 18, 19 or 20. Students must take a “hardened bubble” approach upon arrival. Students are asked to remain on campus during this period and to limit their contact with others. Meals from the Dining Hall will be available for takeout only. Please stay tuned for additional communication from Student Affairs and Resources and Olin Ahead for details.
All classes from January 20 through January 26 will be virtual. (Faculty may provide supplies that students can pick up at an appropriate location.)
In order for this approach to be effective, students must arrive on campus by January 20. A student may apply to the Dean of the College, Alisha Sarang-Sieminski, for a late arrival in extenuating circumstances. Examples of extenuating circumstances include documented flight cancellations or required isolation after testing positive.
The asymptomatic testing program will continue for Spring 2022 in a new location. Testing will now take place in the Campus Center lower level near the Wooden Waterfall. Fully vaccinated community members will continue to test once weekly and the small number of individuals exempt from vaccination in our community will continue to test twice a week.
College-sponsored testing will resume on January 11 for employees and January 18 for students. We will conduct individual tests (not pooled) through January 20. Pooled testing will resume the following week.
More information about the testing schedule, making appointments and logistics will follow in a separate email.
Olin’s masking policy remains in effect with changes in the requirements for the masks themselves. Masks must continue to be worn in shared spaces. All individuals are required to wear one of the following options:
- A double mask (a cloth mask over a disposable mask)
- A disposable surgical/medical-grade mask
- A higher rated disposable mask, such as N95, KN95, or KF94
Cloth masks or disposable masks that are not surgical grade or better are no longer allowed until further notice, unless used as part of double masking. Olin has a limited supply of appropriate masks that we will make available to community members who need them and do not have access to them. Please complete this form to request a supply.
Employees sharing workspaces should mask through at least January 26. In the residence halls, students rooming together are strongly encouraged to mask as much as possible. Visitors to rooms should mask through at least January 26th.
We have decided to limit outside visitors to our campus until February 7.
Quarantine and Isolation:
The Olin Ahead team is evaluating the state’s new quarantine and isolation guidance and will share any changes to Olin’s requirements in that regard in a future communication.
Dear Olin Community,
As we head into the holiday break, the Olin Ahead team remains focused on the health and wellness of our campus community.
Throughout the fall semester, thanks to the high level of vaccinations in our community, and adherence to our masking and testing guidelines we have had very low levels of COVID infection in our community—and no community transmission.
We continue to closely monitor local, national and Olin community public health conditions, including the latest data and concerns related to the new omicron variant.
To support a healthier return to campus in January we are taking several proactive steps:
- We are requiring all members of the Olin community to get a booster shot by January 31 or within two weeks of eligibility if later. A COVID booster has been shown to be effective against the omicron variant. You can find additional details about this requirement here. We have tentatively planned a second on-campus clinic for January 21. If you are interested in an on-campus booster clinic in January, please complete this quick form as soon as possible so we can plan appropriately.
- In January we will reinstitute individual testing for arrival for all members of the community, after which we will resume pooled testing. Individual testing will allow us to quickly respond to any COVID infections resulting from the holiday break.
The Olin Ahead team will meet regularly in the New Year and continue to communicate regularly with the Olin community about what, if any, new actions need to be taken to safeguard the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.
We also plan to hold an information session on Zoom in January, so please stay tuned for the day and time. This session will be recorded for those unable to attend.
We also want to share with you that testing nurse Isa Sánchez has informed us she will not be returning to Olin this spring. When she informed us of her decision, Isa emphasized that she has been grateful to have been a part of the Olin community, as we are immensely grateful to have had her good humor and deep caring to help us through the ups and downs of testing. We know that many of you would have liked an opportunity to thank Isa for the important role that she has played at Olin during the past 16 months and to have an opportunity to say goodbye. We will collect any notes you would like to share with Isa here.
We are looking forward to returning in 2022 and enjoying a strong and healthy start to the year.
The Olin Ahead team (Alisha, Beth, Jeremy, Joanne, Linda, and Meg)
Dear Olin Community,
In response to the continuing spread of COVID-19, the rise of new variants, and the availability of booster vaccinations to our entire community, Olin has determined that all community members are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster by January 31st or within two weeks of becoming eligible for a booster, whichever is later. Community members with an approved medical or religious exemption will retain their exemptions.
Scientific evidence has shown that immunity to COVID-19 wanes over time. Early data suggest that the Omicron variant is more transmissible than Delta, but that booster shots have been shown to restore and strengthen immunity. Adding a booster to the original dose will help slow the spread of COVID in the spring semester. It’s important for all those who are eligible to get a booster to protect themselves and each other. You can read more about why boosters are important here.
Some important points for you to know:
- We know that some community members were not able to be vaccinated before the fall semester and are not yet eligible for a booster. Once someone becomes eligible for the booster – six months after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine – they will have two weeks to provide documentation of their booster vaccination.
- If you received a WHO-authorized vaccine (that’s not been approved by the FDA), you will need to get a booster 6 months after your last dose. According to CDC guidance, individuals 16 years of age and older who have received a non-FDA approved vaccine should receive a Pfizer booster dose. Contact your healthcare provider for additional guidance.
- Students should upload booster documentation to the Student Health Portal.
- Employees should upload their booster documentation to the Employee Vaccination Status Form.
- We strongly recommend that you obtain a booster over the break if possible. Booster appointments are available at pharmacies, clinics and hospitals throughout the U.S., so please get the shot as soon as you can. We know that might not be possible everywhere, so we are looking into the possibility of a second booster clinic on campus in late January. If interested in an on-campus clinic, please complete this quick form to help us plan.
- Remember, you do not need to get the same vaccine as you did the first time. You can receive any vaccine booster that is available.
As stated above, approved religious or medical exemptions will carry over to this requirement; those with existing exemptions do not need to reapply.
We wish you a successful end to the semester and a restorative, enjoyable and safe break.
-The Olin Ahead team (Alisha, Beth, Jeremy, Joanne, Linda, and Meg)
Dear Olin Community,
As we approach the Thanksgiving break and end of the semester Olin Ahead would like to provide some updates on the Olin Ahead team, Thanksgiving Break, and a policy change at Babson College.
We are pleased to welcome Megan Ku to Olin Ahead as our student representative. Meg was selected by CORe and joined the Olin Ahead team on November 2nd. Students are encouraged to share questions and suggestions for Olin Ahead with Meg or any other member of the Olin Ahead team.
There will be no classes from November 22nd-26th, and the College will be closed on Thursday and Friday of that week for Thanksgiving. Please remember that the Dining Hall will close after brunch on November 20th and will reopen for dinner on November 28th.
Testing during Thanksgiving Break
Because we are expecting a low campus population during break week, asymptomatic, pooled COVID testing will take place on Monday, November 22nd ONLY during the holiday week, from 10AM-2:45PM. If you are not able to test on Monday, simply resume testing the following week. Although this may extend your testing interval beyond the typical weekly testing, you will not be considered in violation of our testing protocols as long as you test both the week prior to Thanksgiving break and the week after.
Testing after the Break
Because many members of our community plan to travel and spend time with family and friends for the holiday, we will conduct individual PCR testing the week after Thanksgiving, from November 29th-December 2nd. Appointments for testing November 29th-December 2nd are required- select “Olin - Reflex PCR Testing” for Students or Employees to make an individual testing appointment.
Please plan accordingly. Note that all pooled testing appointments for that week will be cancelled.
We will resume all pooled testing on Monday, December 6th.
Babson Mask Policy Update
Effective Monday, November 8th, Babson College has designated “Mask Optional” zones where fully vaccinated community members can choose whether to wear a mask. In addition to their residence halls, these designated larger open spaces are Reynolds Campus Center, Olin Hall’s Markey Commons on the ground floor, Trim Dining Room, Babson Commons, Horn Library, and BRAC. Note: administrative offices, conference rooms, study rooms and private workspaces in these spaces are excluded from this new policy and masks remain mandatory.
Masks remain required in all other indoor campus spaces. Non-vaccinated individuals and all visitors must continue to be masked at all times indoors when on a Babson campus. Additional information about this update can be found here. Olin is not making any changes to our mask policy at this time.
Winter (Break) is Coming
Additional information about asymptomatic COVID testing at the end of the semester will be forthcoming. Students are asked to complete the Thanksgiving and Winter Break Plans Survey by Friday, November 12th to assist us in our planning.
-- The Olin Ahead team (Alisha, Beth, Jeremy, Joanne, Linda, and Meg)
Dear Olin Community,
The semester is well and truly underway, and we are pleased at how successful the transition has been from an Olin Ahead perspective. There are currently no known cases of COVID-19 on the Olin campus – something very few other colleges can say right now.
Community Forum. We hope you will join us on Zoom on Tuesday, September 21 at 11:00-11:45 a.m. (iCal attached) for an Olin Ahead community forum. The meeting will be recorded for those who are unable to attend. The panel will include the Olin Ahead team (Linda Canavan, Jeremy Goodman, Beth Grampetro, Joanne Pratt, and Alisha Sarang-Sieminski) and nurse practitioner Krista Chavez. We look forward to your questions – if you would like to submit a question in advance you may do so here.
Finding Information. We have received many questions, both to the Olin Ahead email or to Olin Ahead team members individually. We are happy to answer them, but we ask that you please start with the Return to Campus section of the Olin website, where many of them are already answered. We add and update content on the site as needed; we will also continue to send community emails should there be any major changes in policy or practice.
Community Concerns. A comment we have heard frequently in the last two weeks has been “I would behave differently if I heard there were positive cases on campus.” For the time being, we ask all community members to behave as if there are positive cases on campus (even when there are not). Each of us must embrace the responsibility for our role in keeping the Olin campus safer in order to continue our success in preventing on-campus transmission.
Testing Dashboard. We are pleased to share that the dashboard is back! You can find it here. Please note that the dashboard only includes results from the asymptomatic testing program. It does not include symptomatic testing conducted at Health Services or elsewhere. The dashboard will typically be updated twice per week.
Classroom Air Exchange. Please do not forget to promptly exit classrooms after the end of a class and to come to class no more than five minutes ahead of the scheduled start time. This break allows for a full air exchange in classrooms.
If you have questions that weren’t answered here and aren’t answered on the website, please reach out to OlinAhead@olin.edu, as always.
The Olin Ahead team
Hello Olin Community,
As part of our ongoing COVID-19 prevention efforts, we will be continuing to require asymptomatic COVID testing on campus this semester. Many of you participated in testing during the last academic year and/or in the last week as you returned to campus. This year’s testing program will be similar in some ways to last year’s, and there will also be some differences. Please read this message carefully for details.
How does the testing work?
Olin is continuing to work with the Broad Institute’s Safe for School Program to provide testing this year. A change from last year is that we will be utilizing their pooled testing program. Pooled testing means combining the same type of specimen from several people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of specimens to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The process will be the same for the person being tested – you will come to the testing site and will self-administer an anterior nasal swab (just inside your nostrils, no uncomfortable deep swabs!). The difference is that your swab will be placed in a tube with up to 9 others, and all will be tested together. If the tube is negative, everyone whose sample was in that tube has a negative result. If the tube is positive, everyone whose sample was in that tube will be contacted and have an individual follow-up test administered.
We have made the decision to switch to this type of testing given our high vaccination rate, small community size, and successful history of low transmission rates. This strategy was used successfully in K-12 schools across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during the 2020-21 academic year and is now available to colleges as well.
When and where do I get tested?
Asymptomatic testing is currently scheduled for the Milas Hall Lobby. The schedule will be as follows:
There will be no testing on Labor Day (9/6) or Indigenous People’s Day (10/11). Information about the testing schedule during Thanksgiving week and at semester’s end will be forthcoming.
How often should I get tested?
If you are fully vaccinated (two weeks have passed since your dose of a single-dose vaccine or since your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine) you must test once per week. If you are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated or you have an approved exemption from vaccination, you must test twice per week, preferably on Monday and Thursday. Community members who are on campus less than once per week must test when they come to campus.
How do I make an appointment to be tested? Where can I view my test results?
Before your first test, you will need to register in our new testing software and agree to the online consent form (even if you’ve already completed a paper consent form). To do so, please go to:
- STUDENTS: https://crsp-testing.broadinstitute.org/register/with-code?code=OLINCOVIDTESTINGCONSENTSTUDENTS
- EMPLOYEES: https://crsp-testing.broadinstitute.org/register/with-code?code=OLINCOVIDTESTINGCONSENTEMPLOYEES
Once your account is created, you will be able to sign in and schedule your tests at https://crsp-testing.broadinstitute.org/login. Scheduling tests is critical to helping us manage the flow of people through the testing center. However, if no appointments are available on the day you need to test, you may request a walk-in test if there is not a line at the check-in desk.
When you schedule your test, you will see several options.
- Students should choose Olin College of Engineering – Pooled Testing (Students)
- Employees should choose Olin College of Engineering – Pooled Testing (Employees)
Similar to individual testing, pooled testing usually takes about 24 hours to process. There is one significant difference – with pooled testing, no news is good news. You will not receive a notification by email. If a pool comes back with a positive result, you will be contacted with directions for follow-up testing.
Whose samples will be in a “pool” together?
Samples will be pooled based on when people arrive at the testing center. Employees and students will be pooled separately- tubes will either contain all employee samples or all student samples.
If a pool tests positive, those in the pool will be re-tested individually. Re-testing will happen as soon as possible after pooled results are received (the next day). If your pool tests positive, you will be expected to report for a re-test immediately. Because this may take you out of work or class for some time (usually one day or less), we recommend that employees from the same departments/teaching teams do NOT go to the testing center together so that they can avoid being in a pool together.
What if I develop symptoms of COVID-19?
A list of common symptoms of COVID-19 can be found here. Some of these symptoms are also common signs of other illnesses, such as the common cold, influenza, etc. It is important to stay home and call a healthcare provider for advice if you experience any of these symptoms and they are new to you (e.g., you do not recognize the symptom as a sign of a chronic/non-communicable condition such as migraines or allergies) so that COVID-19 can either be confirmed or ruled out as the cause of your symptoms. Students should call Babson Health Services at 781-239-6363. If Health Services is closed, after-hours care options can be found here. Employees should consult their healthcare provider.
In what situations will people be expected to quarantine or isolate?
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
- Per current CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19. If you are fully vaccinated and are exposed, you will be expected to monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days and wear a mask around others as a precaution. If you develop symptoms during this time, you should notify your healthcare provider immediately.
- If you are unvaccinated and are exposed to COVID-19, you will be expected to quarantine. Student quarantine will be managed by Babson Health Services. Employees should consult their healthcare provider for guidelines.
Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate for ten days, regardless of vaccination status or whether you have symptoms.
The Needham Board of Health has primary responsibility for contact tracing for Olin. You may be contacted by any of the following parties for contact tracing and related purposes:
- Needham Board of Health
- Babson Health Services
- Krista Chavez
- Beth Grampetro
- Jeremy Goodman
Please be responsive to communication from any of these parties. A limited number of spaces on campus have been set aside for the purpose of student quarantine/isolation. You can find more information about quarantine and isolation here. Employees who are directed to quarantine or isolate should do so from home and will receive instructions from Krista Chavez.
Will there be a testing dashboard this year?
We hope to bring the testing dashboard back once we have a better understanding of the data that will be produced through the new testing method. Please stay tuned. We are pleased to share, though, that all test results so far have been negative.
Should you have questions about any of this information, please reach out to Beth (students) or Jeremy (employees). Please keep in mind that this is a new process, so changes could be made as we settle into the semester. We will keep the community informed as things develop.
Jeremy and Beth, for Olin Ahead
Dear Olin Community,
As you may know, the CDC has recently recommended that those living in regions that have “substantial” or “high” coronavirus transmission should wear a mask when indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Currently, Norfolk County is at “substantial’ risk. Therefore, Olin College will implement an indoor masking requirement on campus until the public health situation indicates that masking is no longer needed.
Some special cases for consideration are below. Stay tuned for more detailed information and please share any questions you have with OlinAhead@olin.edu.
Preliminary Guidance for Specific Cases (additional details will be shared soon)
Alone in a room
If you are the sole occupant of an office, classroom, etc. you may choose to unmask. Please note that it takes 20 minutes for complete air exchange in a typical Olin room. You are always welcome to mask even when it’s not required (in a room alone, outdoors when distant, etc.).
While masks are not required outdoors, we encourage masking if you are not able to socially distance. A tent will be up in the Oval through the end of November to extend our outdoor gathering space.
Students living in shared rooms or suites can be unmasked when in their assigned room; if a guest is present, everyone needs to mask. Occupancy of rooms is limited to no more than twice the assigned occupancy of a room including the assigned student(s) (i.e. 2 people in a single, 4 people in a double, and 6 people in a triple). Of course, if you wish to gather with larger groups, the lounges on each floor of both East and West Hall as well as the tent in the Oval are available. Team rooms will also be available; occupancy in team rooms will be limited as a result of the size of rooms and the speed of air exchange compared to other spaces on campus. Individuals will need to determine their comfort level with gathering in team rooms. Masks are required in all residential common areas at all times including hallways, music practice rooms, laundry rooms, lounges, team rooms, the fitness room, kitchens, and study spaces.
While unmasking will be necessary during mealtimes, we ask that community members who do not share rooms/suites sit as distanced as possible and re-mask when finished. Masks are required while picking up food and walking to and from seating. Use of the first floor, mezzanine, and Crescent rooms, as well as outdoor spaces when the weather is favorable for seating during meals will allow people to find adequate space. Reusable to-go boxes will be available for those wishing to eat outside the dining hall.
Masking is required for students gathering to play music. Specialized PPE will be provided to students participating in OCO and Wired Ensemble whose instruments are not amenable to typical masking (i.e. wind instruments). Students otherwise engaging in musical activities requiring specialized PPE can contact Diana Dabby for ordering information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Find Olin Ahead Frequently Asked Questions here.
COVID-19 Testing Dashboard Individual + Pooled Tests
For the current data/dashboard please visit this page.
Flexible Work for Employees
We have developed ways to work remotely and effectively. We have also shown each other that we can do our work from remote locations and in ways that allow for greater work-life flexibility. At the same time, we have learned that an awful lot of what makes Olin Olin does not translate well to Zoom.
Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work, in the fall Olin is instead encouraging a new level of flexibility for employees based on the needs of their roles and responsibilities. Additional information was shared in a community meeting on August 4. You can find a link to the recording on the Olin portal.
Olin encourages all community members to clearly communicate about in person and virtual availability. If you cannot find someone on campus whose assistance you need, please contact them via email or chat, as they may be working remotely.