Emerson announces loosened COVID-19 protocols starting Feb. 7

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Photo: Maximo Aguilar Lawlor

Snow fluttering down on Boylston Street.

By Vivi Smilgius, Editor-in-Chief

The college will update its protocols on Feb. 7, allowing non-Emerson guests inside non-residential spaces and requiring community members to get COVID tested just once a week, announced a community-wide email from “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp on Friday afternoon.

The change follows a significant decrease in the college’s COVID cases and weekly positivity rate, which sits at 0.60 percent as of Jan. 24. Emerson reached its all-time highest positivity rate of 5.33 earlier this semester between Jan. 3 and Jan. 10. The uptick in cases among the Emerson community reflected a statewide surge of the Omicron variant. 

Updated protocols allow non-Emerson guests to be signed in by an Emerson faculty or staff host via the college’s iVisitor system. Guests are required to present up-to-date COVID vaccine and booster documentation and must also complete an attestation prior to visiting campus. 

In addition to allowing guests in non-residential campus facilities, the college will also allow spectators to attend athletic events.

On-campus facilities will return to normal operations and capacities, but the grab-and-go option at the Dining Center will remain in place. Food will also be allowed for approved on-campus events.

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Muurisepp told community members that masks will continue to be required in all indoor spaces and encouraged practicing proper hand washing and sanitizing.

As always, these plans can be changed at any time the college sees fit, Muurisepp noted. 

“Emerson will continue to monitor conditions, public health guidance, and recommendations and requirements from local and national authorities,” he wrote. “Emerson may, in its discretion, alter its plans and protocols; access to facilities; and modalities of courses, services, and activities at any time.”

Additional announcements, including specific guidance regarding spring break, will follow.