Clarifying Some Spring Semester Policies and Procedures

January 19, 2021

Dear Students,

I am writing again to provide some clarification on the letter I sent at the end of last week. Many of you wrote with questions along common themes.

  • If you are a student who is currently on campus (or has permission to return on an emergency basis prior to Feb 10th) you do not need to obtain pre-arrival testing.  You will already be part of our regular testing protocol.  The pre-arrival testing is required for all students returning for the spring semester beginning on February 10th.

  • Your pre-arrival test should be completed no more than 7 days prior to your arrival date.  Please get your test as close to your arrival date as possible, but within a time framework that will allow you to submit your test prior to arrival. We are intentionally providing a wider window for pre-arrival testing because we know that the turn-around time varies quite widely across the country.  Please contact your testing site to learn about turn-around times in your locality, and plan accordingly

  • We will provide you with instructions about how to submit your pre-arrival test in a subsequent communication; please do not send any medical information to us before you receive these instructions.

  • The PCR test is the gold standard for asymptomatic screening purposes.  When scheduling your pre-arrival test, please arrange to get a PCR test whenever possible.  Rapid tests are less accurate and should only be used as a last resort if a PCR test is not an option.

  • If your pre-arrival test reveals a positive result for COVID, do not come to campus as scheduled.  Stay home until you have recovered, and then we will help you make arrangements for a later arrival date. Please contact Deb Flynn to let her know about your positive test result.

  • If you have tested positive for COVID in the past, you will likely have been instructed by your medical professional not to be tested again within 90 days of your positive test.  If this is the case for you, please contact Deb Flynn as soon as possible to provide documentation of your positive test.  She will exempt you from pre-arrival testing, as well as from routine testing for the 90 day period starting on the date of your positive test.

  • If you have already received the COVID vaccine, you still need to provide a pre-arrival test.  While the vaccine is highly effective in reducing risk of moderate to severe illness, it is not yet clear whether it prevents you from transmitting the virus to others. Thus vaccinated students will be asked to follow all of the same requirements and practices as non-vaccinated students

  • When you arrive on campus for your initial in-room quarantine, you will be allowed to leave your room to pick up take-away meals from the dining hall.  Note that these will not be pre-packaged meals; you will be able to make selections based on your specific preferences and dietary restrictions. Dining will have our retail spaces open for mobile ordering only through the Get app as well. Please visit the dining web page for hours and venue schedule https://dining.williams.edu/hours-venues/ .

I will be in touch again as we get closer to the arrival dates to provide more specific information about drop-off locations and more.

All best wishes,

Marlene