Fall 2021 Students

Williams' COVID-19 vaccine requirements for students and for faculty and staff are designed to help us safely provide the core aspects of a Williams education: in-person learning, chances to socialize with friends and classmates, and opportunities to engage with your local community and the world.

Unfortunately, vaccination is not a panacea. We may need to shift our plans or policies in response to emerging concerns. If a change is necessary the college will let you know promptly and explain our reasons.

For complete information about Fall 2021 check-in, visit the Campus Life website.

  • To study at Williams this fall you must either a) be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have uploaded your vaccine documentation; b) have received a formal vaccine exemption; or c) made a plan with our Health Center team to be vaccinated upon arrival.

    If you have not yet done any of these things, please reach out to the Health Center immediately. Otherwise you will not be permitted to return for the fall or to participate in study away via the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford or Williams-Mystic. (Other study away programs will establish rules of their own.)

    If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days, please reach out to the Health Center to discuss your status right away.

    See the Covid dashboard for the latest data on vaccination rates in our community.

  • To inform our pandemic measures, the college monitors guidance from the CDC, state officials and our local health board, and consults with national public health experts. So far we are optimistic that the vaccine, masking and testing requirements will allow everyone to socialize and enjoy community in ways that were not possible last year. Please understand, however, that we may need to shift to more restrictive policies for public health reasons at any time.

    As was the case last year, the college can and will take steps to create a safe environment. But no one can guarantee a risk-free campus. Students need to also take steps to protect your own health and safety.

    By enrolling at Williams for the fall, you are agreeing that you will do your part, avoid endangering yourself or others and comply with the college’s rules and protective measures. Like last year, enrolled students will be required to sign a Public Health Commitment and Acknowledgement attesting to this promise. Signing is being handled digitally via the StarRez Housing Portal. If you wish to review the agreement, a read-only copy is available on the Campus Life website.

  • If you are traveling to Williams from inside the U.S. we strongly recommend that you get a Covid test 48 to 72 hours prior to your campus arrival if you can.

    Students arriving from international locations are required to secure such a test.

    If your test is positive for Covid, do not come to campus. Instead, contact the Health Center immediately for help setting up a later arrival date.

  • All students (whether living on or off campus) are required to take an arrival test. This includes students who have been on campus this summer. Students arriving from international locations will be required to take a second test 3-5 days after arrival.

    Arrival testing is being conducted in the parking garage behind the ’62 Center, which is also the check-in site. If driving, please travel down Whitman Street and turn onto Adams Memorial Theater Drive, where you will be greeted and guided through the rest of the route. The Main Street driveway will not be available.

    If you need an accommodation, please notify your greeter and they will be happy to help you check in without having to exit your vehicle.

    Every student, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask on campus until receiving your first negative test result. After that you will have to mask during the term in accordance with the college’s newly announced masking requirement. For details, see the section on Masks below.

    International arrivals

    Students arriving directly from an international location—regardless of country of citizenship—should check the U.S. Department of State information page for the travel country of origin to understand entry requirements and restrictions.

    In order to board a flight to the U.S., you will be required by the CDC to present a negative result from a Covid test taken no more than three days before travel, or to provide documentation of recovery from Covid in the preceding three months.

    Upon arrival at Williams, you will take the same Covid test as other arriving students. We will also require that you take a second Covid test on campus three to five days later. You will have to wear a mask at all times until you receive two successive negative test results.

    If you are fully vaccinated when you arrive at Williams from outside the U.S. you will not be required to quarantine upon arrival.

    If you are unvaccinated or have not completed vaccination you will quarantine until you receive the first of your two required negative results.

    Off-campus students

    Students approved to live off campus this year must still sign up for check-in and arrival testing.

    Students who were at Williams this summer

    Students who have been at Williams during the summer of 2021 (living either on or off campus) must also sign up for arrival testing.

  • Mandatory testing during the semester

    Fully vaccinated students are required to test weekly, as are vaccinated faculty and staff.

    Students who have received an exemption or have not yet completed vaccination are required to test twice weekly. If you are in the process of vaccination you may shift to once-weekly testing starting two weeks after receiving your last dose of vaccine.

    Testing schedule, location and process

    • Through Thursday, September 9, student testing is at the college parking garage, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Accessible testing during this period is available at the faculty/staff drive-through site at Towne Field House.
    • Starting Monday, September 13, all campus tests will be administered at the Field House, Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
      • Last names beginning with A through L will test every Tuesday
      • Last names beginning with M through Z will test every Wednesday
      • Students who are exempt or not fully vaccinated will test twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays, regardless of last name

    You will schedule all tests and receive results via CoVerified. Download the CoVerified app from Apple App Store or Google Play Store and use the college’s instructions to log in. Or use the web version if you prefer to work through your browser.

    If you have CoVerified login issues on a web browser or smartphone:

    1. Log out of and quit all Google apps (Gmail, Gcal, etc.) that you have open in your browser or on your phone.
    2. Open Gmail or another Google app and select your Williams account to log in.
    3. Open CoVerified and enter your short (unix) Williams email address.
    4. Proceed as normal, logging back into other apps as needed.
    5. If you have further issues with the app, please email [email protected]

    To make the testing process run smoothly we request that you test only on your assigned days. However, if you forget to test, please schedule a makeup appointment on the next available testing day.

    Students on study away are not required to test while off campus.

    Symptomatic testing

    If you have Covid-like symptoms you should not test at the college site. You should immediately contact the Health Center so they can arrange a test in safe circumstances.

  • In vaccinated people, the Delta variant can cause a sore throat, congestion, sniffles and other upper respiratory symptoms. This means it can easily be confused for a common cold. So please, do not take chances by assuming you have a cold: if you develop symptoms, put on a mask right away and contact the Health Center immediately to arrange a test. Please avoid in-person interactions until you have been tested and know the results.

    Do not go to the college testing site, which is for testing asymptomatic people only.

  • Any student who tests positive for Covid, regardless of vaccination status, will be moved to a designated isolation space for ten days. The Student Health Services team will stay in regular contact with you to monitor your health, and meals will be delivered to your building. Your professors can help you make arrangements to stay on track academically during your absence from the classroom.

  • Williams already requires campus-wide masking and routine testing for everyone, as would also be required for close contacts. That said, the following  describes the identification process and response for close contacts:

    Whenever a student tests positive, the Student Health Services team will review their known interactions from the previous 48 hours and identify close contacts as follows:

    Fully vaccinated students will be considered close contacts if you have been unmasked within six feet of a known positive for at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.

    Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students will be considered close contacts if you have been within six feet of a known positive for at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour period, regardless of whether you were wearing a mask.

    Informing close contacts

    If you are determined to be a close contact a medical professional will reach out to inform you.

    If you become concerned about your status for any reason, even if you do not meet the criteria, you are welcome to schedule a test at the campus testing site as long as you have no symptoms. For accuracy, try to test three to five days after the known contact if possible.

    If you have symptoms of any kind you may not go to the testing site. Instead, contact the Health Center right away to arrange a test.

    Quarantine and isolation protocols

    If you are vaccinated and become a close contact but are asymptomatic, you will remain in your usual room. You will have to wear a mask at all times and take all of your meals to go (via mobile ordering or Whitman’s takeout) until you receive a negative result from a test administered three to five days after exposure.

    If you are unvaccinated and become a close contact but are asymptomatic, you will be moved into a designated quarantine room for eight days. In order to complete your quarantine you will have to receive a negative result from a test administered seven days after exposure, per CDC guidance.

    During quarantine you will be restricted to your room, bathroom and a designated outdoor space. Your meals will be delivered to you, and you will need to work with your professors to agree on an academic plan for this period.

  • In keeping with Maud’s announcement, all students, regardless of vaccination status or test results, are required to mask indoors, including classrooms and throughout academic buildings, administrative buildings and other college facilities.

    In order to allow a sense of community and personal space, vaccinated students may unmask in residence halls and while eating in dining halls after you receive a negative result from your arrival test.

    Students who have not completed vaccination must wear masks everywhere, indoors and out, except in your bedroom, until your vaccination is complete. After that, please follow the rules for vaccinated students.

    Students who have exemptions must wear masks everywhere, indoors and out, except in your bedroom, throughout the term.

  • For now we are not imposing any limits on the size of social gatherings beyond pre-Covid capacity limits and rules. We hope not to have to regulate gatherings, but will do so if the public health outlook worsens.

    To help avoid that outcome, please be cautious about your social interactions. Avoid unmanaged crowds, especially indoors. If you are in such a setting please mask up for your own protection, regardless of your vaccination status.

    Official college events for the fall, including orientation, are being carefully planned with everyone’s safety in mind. You will be informed of any necessary precautions through the communications about each program.

  • Williams is not limiting student travel this fall, but we ask you to keep travel to a minimum to protect yourself and the community. Berkshire County has had a relatively low rate of COVID compared to elsewhere in the state and country. So leaving the county likely increases your risk of exposure.

    For public health reasons, any student who travels outside Berkshire County must:

    • Before leaving campus
      • Complete a travel form
      • Notify roommates or suitemates that you will be traveling outside the county
      • If you will miss a required Covid test during your trip, change your CoVerified setting to "Go Remote": this will ensure that you are not flagged as skipping a test. If you have a Covid vaccine exemption and will miss a test, you must also inform the Health Center directly.
    • During your trip
    • After you return from your trip:
      • Get tested ASAP
        • If you were out of the county for four or fewer days, you must test 1-2 days after returning to campus and again 72 hours later (or as close as possible, given hours at the testing site)
        • If you were out of the county for more than four days, you must test immediately after returning to campus and again 72 hours later (or as close as possible given hours at the testing site)
      • Wear a mask everywhere indoors (including residence halls, except your own bedroom) and outdoors when you cannot maintain six feet of distance from others, until you receive two negative tests 72 hours apart
      • Eat all meals outside the dining halls until you receive the two negative test results. Before that you may not eat or unmask in the dining halls. Use mobile ordering or Whitman's for takeout. Driscoll and Mission do not offer takeout.

  • Family or friends who accompany you to campus will be allowed to help you move in as long as they wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, and spend no more than an hour in the building.

    Once move-in ends, off-campus guests not enrolled at Williams for the fall will be prohibited from entering residence halls for the remainder of the term, unless the college announces otherwise.

    During the term you will have swipe access to all residence halls unless you are in quarantine, and may visit your friends in their living spaces.

    Co-ops will be set to residents-only card access as they were prior to COVID.

  • Students are allowed to eat together in the dining halls this fall. Please see the Dining website for a list of locations and hours.