Dear Olin Students and Families,
Our spring semester is on the horizon and we are excited to see our Oliners again, both in person and online.
We are expecting to welcome over 160 students to campus this spring. While this represents a substantial increase over the number of students on campus in the fall, all of our plans this year have been geared toward having as many as 200 students on campus. This community update contains especially important information for those preparing to join us in Needham later this month.
There is a lot going on around the country and around the world at this moment, and for some of you this means that your situation has changed. If you would like to live on campus, but have not requested such, please reach out to Student Affairs.
Massachusetts has experienced a marked increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, but we currently remain confident that Olin can successfully reopen, given our shared success as a community in the fall. We continue to monitor the state of public health locally, regionally, and broadly, and we weigh risks on behalf of our community. Taking all of this into account, we have decided to proceed with opening the campus, allowing individual students and their families to make their own best decisions. We are prepared to pivot away from our present plans if a residential spring semester cannot be safely achieved.
We are so grateful for the ways in which you supported community safety in the fall and will be asking for similar — or in some cases, enhanced — collaboration in this semester. The following updates contain information for student arrival, quarantine and use of campus spaces. As public health guidance continues to evolve, we will continue to update you if there are further changes.
Student Arrival and Quarantine
Students will arrive between Monday, January 25th - Wednesday, January 27th and will remain in their rooms in quarantine during a testing period. For those returning to campus, please consider how you can reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the likelihood of bringing it to campus over the next two weeks by creating your own personal “bubble” of limited contacts and closely adhering to social distancing and health guidelines. Please refer to the CDC’s COVID-19 travel guide for additional advice.
Students should anticipate quarantine lasting for approximately a week. During this period, we’ll be providing food delivery and we are asking individuals to remain physically isolated. During quarantine, students may not leave their rooms, except for COVID-19 testing, so please plan ahead and bring whatever you may need during that period with you.
Students should sign up for a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arriving at Olin. Once a student receives their first test result, they should schedule their second test to take place at least four days later. If the second test is negative, the student will be released from quarantining in their room. (Please note that this is a change from the 48 hours originally published.)
Even after the release of quarantine, we will be maintaining a high level of caution for at least the first two weeks of the semester, with shared spaces opening in a carefully staged fashion.
After quarantine is over, students will continue to test twice weekly. This semester, we will be dividing students into testing cohorts to facilitate test scheduling. More information about testing protocols for students will be coming from Beth Grampetro before the semester starts.
We will not be surprised if there are a few positive results during this period. In the fall, we were completely successful at containing the few positive cases we experienced among the Olin community as a whole – we had no spread within the community — and we’d like to maintain that record with your help. This is the reason behind the initial quarantine and a key motivation for the masking, distancing, and other protective measures we’re all observing on campus.
Shared Spaces, Including MAC and Dining Hall
The planned opening of the MAC is Friday, February 5th. This means that classes meeting in-person (fully or in hybrid) can start meeting in their classrooms and using the 3-D printers beginning on Friday, February 5th.
The planned opening of the dining hall is Monday, February 8th. All meals will be delivered directly to students in the residence halls prior to this point.
Lastly, according to MA guidelines, gatherings outdoors are currently limited to 25 people and gatherings indoors are limited to 10 people. As state guidance changes, the College will revise these as appropriate.
We feel incredibly grateful for the ways our entire community continue to commit to our collective safety and to double down on those efforts.
We will continue to update you as the start of the spring semester draws closer. In the meantime, please continue to send your questions to OlinAhead@olin.edu.
Jeremy Goodman and Lynn Andrea Stein