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.

  • To study at Williams in fall 2021 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.

    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 have agreed that you will do your part, avoid endangering yourself or others and comply with the college’s rules and protective measures. As a reminder, all enrolled students have signed the Public Health Commitment and Acknowledgement attesting to this promise.

  • 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.

    All campus tests are administered at the Field House, Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

    • Last names beginning with A through L should test every Tuesday
    • Last names beginning with M through Z should test every Wednesday
    • Students who are exempt or not fully vaccinated should test twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays, regardless of last name

    Students 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.

  • If you need a copy of your test result for travel or other reasons, you can display and print a PDF via the CoVerified app and website.

    • On the app: Choose the Records tab and tap on the latest test result to access the PDF.
    • On the web: Choose the View Records tab, click the 3 vertical dots at the right of your most recent test, and select View.

  • 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. Even so, the college still works to identify close contacts, help manage their health and limit potential contagion. Whenever a student tests positive, the Student Health Services team reviews their known interactions from the previous 48 hours and identifies close contacts as follows:

    Fully vaccinated students are 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 are 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.

    Masking restrictions for RSOs and Club Sports have been somewhat relaxed as of November 15.

    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

    • 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.

    November Break

    • Yu're welcome to leave campus if you choose to and travel anywhere you wish. We simply urge you to follow CDC travel guidelines carefully.
    • Williams will only require you to complete one negative Covid test after you return and before you can go back to the dining halls and unmask in residence halls. (This is a change from the past requirement of two tests required after travel.)
    • To avoid the risk of community spread if someone unknowingly returns to campus with Covid, we’ll ask that you wear a mask everywhere indoors, except for in your own bedroom, and that you take all your meals to go until you receive a negative test result.

  • Off-campus guests not enrolled at Williams for the fall may not enter any residence hall this term, unless the college has granted an exception.

    In response to issues with unregistered parties, students currently have swipe access only to their own residence hall or co-op and to the Mission dining hall entrance. You may visit friends in their living spaces unless they are in quarantine, but must be granted entry by your host.

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