Campus Operations and Business Continuity Update

Williams students, staff and faculty,

Welcome back. Or, if you’re new, just… welcome.

It’s great to see everyone arriving, and to think we might have a year that offers most of what we want out of Williams, minus most of the stuff we don’t want (e.g., virus). It will hopefully work out that way as long as we’re careful. So, please, let’s be careful.

For the new folks: These Ops Update emails summarize the latest news from the college on Covid policies, along with any emerging data or future plans. They’ve been sent weekly in the past, but hopefully this year will be less frequent. We’ll find out (cf. my earlier comment about being careful).

FYI, the same information is posted to the Student and Faculty/Staff guides on our Covid website, too.

Following are the updates for the start of this semester. Questions? I’m just the writer. You should direct medical concerns to your healthcare provider (students, for you that’s generally Health Services). Questions about college rules can go to your JA, Res Life team or class dean (for students); to your manager or Human Resources (for staff); or to the Dean of Faculty (for, well… faculty).

Now here are the details, in hopefully-concise form:


Mask requirement

We’ve said students are required to mask in all courses for the start of the semester. But what does the “start” mean?

  • Students: you must be masked for the first meeting of all classes and labs (including organizational meetings). You should continue to mask in those places unless your faculty members specifically announce that they’re allowing unmasking.
  • Faculty and staff: Your students will show up masked, as noted above. We recommend that you announce rules for the rest of the semester at the first session if you’re ready, or whenever after that you feel prepared.

Mask availability

Need KN95s? We have plenty.

  • Students: you can get a fresh supply from the Jessica Park Mailroom in Paresky.
  • Faculty and staff: you can get yours from the Mailroom, Human Resources or the stockroom of the Facilities Service Building.
  • Everyone: Please reuse your masks responsibly. Then recycle them in one of the various designated bins around campus. More than 3000 masks have been recycled through the program so far—keep up the good work.
  • Offices that need a supply of surgical masks to keep on hand for visitors, please request them through your area custodian.

Masking at events

There’s no way around it, we’re going to have varied masking rules at campus events this fall. Why? It’s by design: we established basic rules and then gave event organizers and venue managers the discretion to impose stricter requirements if they felt it necessary based on their particular circumstances.

So, please, everyone, carry a mask at all times. It’s understandable that some folks are falling out of the habit, but this is an important time to get back into the habit.

  • Event organizers and venue managers, if you decide to require masking, please clearly announce that fact in all event promotions and have a supply of surgical masks on hand at the door.


Faculty and staff

Here’s my reminder that we’ve all been asked to self-test once this week, before the beginning of classes on Thursday, to establish some baseline data for the fall.

  • If you’re negative, you don’t need to report it to anyone.
  • If you’re positive, report your result using our new faculty/staff form. You’ll get an auto-reply with instructions and a list of contacts for any questions.
    • Please don’t email results to the covid-info-fac-staff email anymore.
  • If you’ve had Covid, you don’t need to produce a negative test result in order to return to work. For full details of our return protocol, see the Fac/Staff guide.


  • As Dean Schiazza told you in his email yesterday, if you test positive please report your result using the new student form. You’ll receive an email response with instructions on what to do next.
  • You might want to bookmark the form for future access.
  • If you’re negative, you don’t need to report the result to anyone.

Test kits

Need antigen test kits? We’ve got those, too.

  • Anyone can pick up two free kits at the Jessica Park Mailroom in Paresky, at Human Resources or in the stockroom of the Facilities Service Building.
  • Faculty and staff on the college’s insurance plan can also obtain eight free tests per month from local pharmacies.
  • Dining staff: Tests will continue to be provided at your place of work.
  • The antigen tests are for symptomatic testing, or if you believe you’re a close contact. They’re not intended for asymptomatic surveillance testing.


There’s a new booster out and the CDC recently recommended it for many people. Williams hasn’t yet decided whether to require it on campus. In practical terms it would be premature anyway, since the first supplies of the booster just arrived in the state this Monday. It’s not yet known who will dispense it locally, or how much they’ll have.

In the meantime we’re considering the data and the advice from agencies and experts. We’ll be in touch soon with news about booster availability and our thinking about a campus requirement.

CoVerified and vaccine attestation

Now that our required campus testing program is discontinued, Williams has ended our contract with CoVerified. Per the privacy provisions in that contract, CoVerified has deleted testing information and other personal data from their system, for all Williams users.

For vaccination tracking, we’re instead relying on an attestation process:

Teaching tents

The seven class tents that were set up around campus this week are reserved for teaching use only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. If you have questions about tent usage, please contact Director of Commencement and Academic Events Carrie Greene.

Isolation dining

Students, if you wind up in isolation due to Covid you’re permitted to leave your room to pick up food from Paresky as long as you go straight there, take your food to go, and carry it straight back to your room to eat. You must stay fully masked with a KN95 the whole time you’re out of your room.

  • You can get your food from Whitman’s or any of the GET Mobile app locations: The ’82 Grill, Fresh ’n Go, and Lee Snack Bar.
  • If you’re at Whitman’s you can go through the buffet as long as you take the food back to your room.

Also, remember to bring your Williams ID so that you don’t get locked out of your building!

For dining-related questions, please email [email protected].


That’s plenty of updates for one update, if you know what I mean.

We’re at an important moment in the return. It’s inevitable that we’ll get some Covid in our community. But if we do what’s needed to protect ourselves and others, we can get off to a safe start on the new year. I plan to wear a mask in public until we get past the arrival period, and I imagine others may, too. Please consider your safety, and make the choices that feel right for you and the people around you.

Looking forward to seeing you all around campus,