Return to campus for Winter Study

Dear Students,

We hope you’re enjoying your winter break thus far, and taking some much-deserved downtime to refresh and relax before returning to the Purple Valley. We are looking forward to seeing many of you back on campus for Winter Study.

The pandemic continues to present unexpected challenges, and students returning to campus for Winter Study or the spring semester should understand that our COVID policies may need to become more restrictive, as described in our community health commitment. We certainly hope this is not the case and will work to create the least restrictive environment we can to address public health needs.

Read on for additional important information about your return to campus.

Booster requirement

As you know from President Mandel’s December 20th email, all vaccinated students are required to upload documentation of a COVID booster by February 1. If you are not yet eligible for your booster by February 1, you must receive a booster within 30 days of becoming eligible. Students must be up to date with the booster requirement in order to be enrolled for the spring semester. Once again, please upload your documentation to your patient portal.

We hope to host another booster clinic in January.  If you will not be here during Winter Study or want to ensure that you get the booster as soon as possible, you should make arrangements to receive your booster while you are home over the holiday break.

Pre-arrival testing

Before returning to campus, all students will be expected to get a COVID test at home as close to departure as possible (ideally in the 48-72 hour range if you are taking a PCR test). If you are unsure where to get a pre-arrival test, you can use the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services nationwide testing locator to find the nearest testing site to your location. We encourage PCR tests whenever possible, but rapid tests are an acceptable option if need be.

If you test positive, you should not come to campus.  Please contact the Health Center to let them know, and we will work with you to schedule a delayed arrival date.

Housing

Student residences re-open as of Saturday, January 1, 2022 @ 8am ET.  Please note, however, that Dining Services will not be serving meals until brunch on Sunday, January 2.  Students who arrive prior to that time will be responsible for providing their own meals.

If you are living in the same room as you did during the fall semester, you can return to campus as of Saturday, January 1, 2022 @ 8am ET and head right to your room to settle back in. If you lost or misplaced your room key or forgot your room code, contact CSS for access to your room. There may be a lost key fee charged to your term bill.

If you are returning to campus after being away for the fall, or if you have changed rooms from the fall semester, you can retrieve your new room key/code from your Paresky mailbox as of Saturday, January 1, 2022 @ 8am ET, and then move into your new room.

Masking, Testing

All students are required to be masked indoors (except in your own bedrooms) at all times, until you receive two negative COVID PCR test results.

Please be aware that we may need to tighten our mask requirements in response to the changes in the local COVID landscape as we move forward. We will keep you posted via email and the COVID website if any changes are made.

COVID testing will begin on Monday, January 3, 2022 in a new location – the second floor of Greylock Hall.  Testing will be available Monday -Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm each day.  Be sure to sign up for your testing appointments via CoVerified.

We will return to testing twice a week for all students beginning on January 3rd. Stay tuned for further details about the cadence of ongoing twice a week testing soon.

Visitors

As was the case this fall, students may not allow non-Williams student visitors into residence halls under any circumstances.

Social gatherings

The Omicron variant is far more transmissible than previous COVID variants.  Unmasked social gatherings have consistently been a leading cause of infection, and appear to have driven the rapid increase of COVID cases at several other colleges and universities after Thanksgiving. We are committed to providing in person classes and co-curricular activities, but can only do so if all members of the community are vigilant about public health safety. Students are expected to be especially cautious during indoor social gatherings, and to be masked with people with whom you do not share a common residential space. Note that this means wearing a mask in residential spaces other than your own common room and bedroom.  Being especially cautious while engaging in indoor social gatherings (wearing masks and engaging in social distancing) can reduce the number of people impacted by a positive case.

Dining

Dining Services will begin serving meals as of brunch on Sunday, January 2, 2022. Dining will be take-out only through Sunday, January 9. Seating areas in the dining halls will be closed during this time period.

Please visit the dining website for Winter Study hours & venues.

I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in January and am wishing you and your close ones a healthy and happy new year.

All best,

Marlene

Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Williams College
Phone: (413) 597-4261
Fax: (413) 597-3507