Emerson will require two baseline COVID-19 tests for arriving students moving into on-campus housing in the fall semester, according to college officials.
The Aug. 4 announcement provides more details about what a fully in-person fall semester will look like with the pandemic still a lingering threat. Students will no longer have to register overnight travel with the college, see their campus access restricted due to a daily symptom tracker or face quarantine upon arrival, the email from Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp said.
The two baseline tests, a standard PCR and a BINAX Now rapid test, will be completed upon arrival to campus. Students who are fully vaccinated and produce a negative rapid test result will be exempt from quarantining, however all unvaccinated students with approved medical and religious exemptions will be required to quarantine for seven days following their arrival.
Individuals who have been participating in weekly testing over the summer are not required to participate in baseline testing, Muurisepp said.
Along with the changes to college COVID-19 policy, The Broad Institute, which Emerson and other Boston-area institutions partner with for COVID-19 testing, will implement a system of “pooled testing”, which “pools together” various individual test samples, as opposed to testing each sample individually. The new method will increase efficiency in testing, according to Muurisepp.
The new policies come during a surge in case numbers in Massachusetts, largely a result of the Delta variant. Muurisepp briefly mentioned the variant, but largely reiterated the college’s previously-announced guidelines and its plans to host a fully in-person semester.
“We continue to work closely with our colleagues at Tufts Medical Center and with local and state public health officials to ensure a successful opening and fall term,” he wrote.