Q: Why are we not following the same requirements we were following last year?
A: The public health situation is very different than it was last year. We have over 95% vaccination in the Olin community, which will protect the vast majority from severe illness or hospitalization with COVID, and we know much more about the way that COVID-19 spreads than we did a year ago.
Q: Will Olin be implementing regular on campus testing?
A: Yes, testing began August 23rd. Several testing days will be scheduled to coincide with student arrivals, and students are required to test as soon as possible after they arrive on campus. Ongoing asymptomatic testing for both students and employees will begin September 1st. Vaccinated people will be tested weekly and unvaccinated people will be tested 2 times per week. If someone isn't on campus at least once per week, they will test when they come to campus.
Q: Will there be arrival testing for students? What will that look like?
A: Yes. The arrival testing schedule is as follows:
- Monday 8/23 10 am-2 pm
- Tuesday 8/24 10 am-3 pm
- Saturday 8/28 1 pm-6 pm
- Monday 8/30 1 pm-6 pm
- Tuesday 8/31 1 pm-6 pm
Arrival testing will take place in the Milas Hall Lobby and will be walk-in (no appointments needed) for the arrival testing period.
Students wanting additional peace of mind upon arrival may wish to purchase rapid tests for home use, which can be found at Hudson News at Logan Airport and many drugstores and pharmacies (i.e. Walgreens, CVS, etc.).
Q: Will there be arrival quarantine?
A: No. We will rely on masking and testing.
Q: What are we doing if someone doesn’t provide vaccination status?
A: Students will need to provide proof of vaccination, have an appointment for vaccination, or have an approved exemption before they move into the residence halls. As of August 23rd, 97% of students and 95% of employees are in compliance with the vaccine requirement.
Q: What are the requirements for masking in the residence halls?
A: Masks are not required for students within rooms or suites if all occupants agree to this. Masks are required in all common areas. In the event that a staff member needs to enter a room or suite, all occupants will need to mask.
Q: How do the masking requirements impact classes and use of shared spaces like shops, LPB, etc.?
A: The mask requirement applies to all indoor public campus spaces, including classrooms, shops, and the LPB. Classes will be in-person as planned, with faculty and students all masked. Class sizes will remain unchanged. All members of the community are encouraged to discuss how they organize themselves within shared space to meet a shared comfort level. Similarly, fabrication, shop, and LPB spaces will be open for use; as these are common spaces, all users are required to mask.
Q: Will there be reduced occupancy limits or will we resume social distancing indoors?
A: All shared spaces (such as classrooms and conference rooms) have been returned to their pre-COVID occupancy limits this year. There is no requirement for distancing if you are fully vaccinated, although it is always a good idea to socially distance if you can. Unvaccinated individuals, even those with approved exemptions, should continue to distance as possible. Groups should communicate about how to arrange themselves to create desired distance as needed. In the residence halls, there is an occupancy limit of 2, 4, and 6 people for singles, doubles, and triples, respectively.
Q: How should I find faculty and staff? Will people be on or off campus?
A: Faculty and staff will be returning to campus beginning the week of August 30. Olin is encouraging a new level of flexibility for employees based on the needs of their roles and responsibilities. Therefore, some employees may not be on campus five days a week. All employees should 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.
Q: What if a student or faculty member needs to miss class because of illness or quarantine?
A: In the event that faculty are not able to attend class in-person, in having gone remote, we have developed practices that they can utilize to make this less disruptive to classes. In the event that a student needs to miss class, they should reach out to their professor(s) to ask about appropriate options for engagement or make-up, as each class will have different options and needs. Neither students nor employees will be penalized for missing work or class because of illness. Instructors will be anticipating (and planning for) an increase in student absences this fall due to COVID-related test results and symptoms.
Q: Can students leave campus?
A: There are no restrictions on leaving campus. However, out of consideration for the rest of the Olin community, especially those who are immunocompromised, unable to get vaccinated, or have loved ones at home who are unable to get vaccinated (many employees have children under 12, for example), we ask that you mask when indoors off campus and avoid crowded indoor spaces.
Q: Can we have guests on campus?
A: There are no restrictions on visitors or guests on campus, other than a requirement that all guests are registered using this form. This includes guests to the residence halls. All guests and visitors are required to follow masking requirements. Larger all-campus events (i.e. Alumni weekend, family weekend, etc.) will hold gatherings outdoors as the weather and scheduling permits.
Q: Can people from outside Olin (i.e. family) help us with move-in?
A: We are asking students to limit their guests to 2 people. All people entering residence halls must be masked the whole time, regardless of vaccination status.
Q: Where can students hang out on campus?
A: All of the public spaces that were previously available are open. In the residence halls this includes common rooms on each floor of the dorms, kitchens, fitness rooms, team rooms, music practice rooms, study annexes, antelounges. Of course, the Library and the Dining Hall are available as well.
Q: Will the dining hall be affected by these policies?
A: While unmasking will be necessary during mealtimes, we ask that community members sit as distanced as is practical 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.
Q: Can we offer refreshments at events?
A: If you are planning an event and want to serve refreshments and food you can. As with the dining hall, participants at an event offering refreshments should only unmask while eating and drinking and create physical space between each other. Creating options to eat/drink outside or offering to-go options should be considered. Unvaccinated individuals should distance when eating indoors. Each individual can choose whether they feel comfortable attending the event and/or partaking in refreshments.
Q: Can we eat lunch in common spaces? (i.e. the Library)
A: As with the dining hall, people can unmask while eating and should try to maintain distance from others.
Q: Can we go to Wellesley and Babson? How will any of this impact BOW interactions such as cross-registration, events, and the shuttle?
A: Currently, all typical cross-BOW activities are resuming. As of this writing (08-24), all three colleges have similar requirements for masking. Where there are variations, the local institution’s guidance should be followed (i.e., if you are on the Wellesley campus, follow their guidance). Details from Wellesley are here and from Babson are here. Masks are required on the shuttle. Dining at Trim and use of Babson fitness facilities will be available for use September 13. If you have questions, reference the BOW email from August 20th.
Q: How long will the masking requirement be in effect?
A: While we cannot offer a date, Olin Ahead will continue to monitor the public health situation and all relevant guidance and regulations. We will modify the requirements and guidance as indicated and hope that conditions allow us to reduce masking relatively soon. The safety and well-being of our whole community is always the highest priority.
Q: If I am an employee who shares an office, do we need to mask?
A: You should discuss your comfort level with your office mate(s) and can choose to unmask within your office if you are all comfortable doing so. All parties should still be masked if someone who is not your office mate(s) enters your office.
Q: The Olin Ahead email mentioned 30 minutes between class blocks but I don’t have 30 minutes between my classes.
A: The 30 minutes has to do with spaces not people. There are 30 minutes between classes in each classroom to allow for air exchange. If you have a quick transition between classes, please be in touch with your professors.
Q: What can I do to follow the mask requirements if I am a musician with a wind instrument or singer?
A: Students participating in Olin Conductorless Orchestra (OCO) or Wired Ensemble will be provided with specialized PPE if they are playing a woodwind instrument. Students participating in other musical clubs and activities should purchase their own PPE. Options recommended by Diana Dabby are:
- Flute: instrument bag + Black mask (includes a special flute mask since the flute embouchure is different from other instruments) https://www.mccormicksnet.com/Flute-Cover-p/3070017.htm $40 each
- Clarinet or oboe instrument bag https://www.mccormicksnet.com/Clarinet-Cover-p/3070015.htm $28
- Alto/tenor sax instrument bag https://www.mccormicksnet.com/Saxophone-Instrument-Cover-p/3070016.htm $30
- Bell covers for brass instruments https://www.mccormicksnet.com/Instrument-Bell-Cover-p/3070010.htm $20
- Wind/brass musician masks https://www.mccormicksnet.com/Musicians-Mask-p/3070020.htm minimum order 12 masks at $10/mask
- Resonance Singers Masks $30 Vendor: https://www.mymusicfolders.com/product-category/covid-19-supplies/
Q: Will Olin Ahead be resuming the Zoom Q&A sessions that they had last summer?
A: We will hold community check-in sessions for employees and students once we return to campus and get settled. This will help us evaluate how things are going, and identify any adjustments or clarifications needed to our procedures.
Q: What is considered a COVID symptom?
A: 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 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.