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    Covid-19 and Other Infectious Diseases Health & Safety Information

    Policy Statement:

    Washington College’s COVID-19 and Other Infectious Diseases policies and procedures universally apply to all members of our campus community (student, faculty, staff, visitors, vendors, other workers). Individual departments, faculty, staff or students may not make their own COVID-19 rules or policies, unless approved by the President or their designee.


    Based on information provided by the American College Health Association (ACHA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and our peers, the College strongly recommends that all students, faculty and staff are up-to-date (as described by the CDC) with the COVID-19 vaccination as well as other infectious diseases like influenza.

    Face Masks: 

    The current policy and practice for campus is that masks are optional.

    However, the College, in accordance with CDC guidance strongly recommends the use of face masks in indoor public settings in the following scenarios: 

    • You are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms at all, even if mild;
    • You have had a close contact exposure to someone who tested positive and additionally; 
    • You are unvaccinated 
    • You have underlying health concerns that increase your personal risk factors. 

    Wearing a face mask is always an option and will remain so unless the college deems it to be necessary based on public health matters. As a community, we should be sensitive to the fact that some classmates and colleagues will prefer  to wear a mask indoors and be supportive and respectful of that decision. N95 and KN95 masks have been proven to be effective in safeguarding the wearer, even when others around them are unmasked.

    Individuals should not be overriding this policy with mask requirements in their own classes, groups, etc. That does not mean that we cannot have conversations with our peers and students about what's best for us and our groups. There are many avenues for those who are anxious about the removal of the requirement to take personal action to protect themselves.

    While mask-optional means that no one will be required to wear a mask in any learning spaces (classes, labs, etc.) we do know that there are some physical spaces where groups may be working in close proximity for extended periods of time. We encourage anyone in this setting to consider if it might be appropriate to continue with personal mask-wearing.

    Face masks will continue to be a requirement for anyone who is visiting Health Services or the Counseling Center, as well as anyone who has an appointment for COVID testing.  Face masks are strongly recommended for any Housekeeping worker who is entering spaces (i.e. common areas and bathrooms) on campus that may have had students or workers present that may have been ill.

    The College reserves the right to institute an indoor mask mandate should it be either recommended by the CDC or the campus experiences a significant outbreak in which public health guidance is to require masks indoors. Any changes will be announced campus-wide.

    What if I get sick?:

    The CDC Recommends the following if you become sick and test positive for Covid or RSV:

    Even if you practice core prevention strategies like being vaccinated and wearing masks, you may still catch a virus and develop respiratory symptoms. If that happens, the updated Guidance recommends two actions:

    • Step 1: Stay at home. As much as possible, you should stay home and away from others until at least 24 hours after both:
    1. Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
    2. You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication).

    This advice is similar to what has been recommended for flu for decades and will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses during the most contagious period after infection. Not all respiratory virus infections result in a fever, so paying attention to other symptoms (cough, muscle aches, etc.) is important as you determine when you are well enough to leave home. If your symptoms are getting better, and stay better for 24 hours, you are less likely to pass your infection to others and you can start getting back to your daily routine and move on to step 2.

    • Step 2: Resume normal activities, and use added prevention strategies over the next five days, such as taking more steps for cleaner air, enhancing your hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitting mask, keeping a distance from others, and/or getting tested for respiratory viruses. People can choose to use these prevention strategies at any time. Since some people remain contagious beyond the “stay-at-home” period, taking added precautions can lower the chance of spreading respiratory viruses to others.

    People who are at higher risk for severe illness who start to feel sick should seek health care right away so that they can access testing and/or treatment. Early treatment for COVID-19 or flu may prevent severe disease in people at higher risk, even if they are up to date with their vaccines.

    COVID Testing: 

    Students and employees should be prepared to provide their own supply of at-home COVID test kits as Health Services will have limited testing capacity. Test kits are traditionally available at local pharmacies or grocery stores.  The college will provide tests kits when able.

    Contact Tracing:

    Students and workers who test positive will be responsible for notifying their close contacts directly and letting them know they can contact Health Services ([email protected] or 410-778-7261) with questions or additional instructions. 

    Close contact is when an individual was closer than 6' to a person who tested positive or is suspected to be positive. This contact had to last more than 15 minutes, masked or unmasked.

    Community contact is similar to what one experiences going to a grocery store or other retail outlet. Passing an individual in the hall or speaking for a few minutes while maintaining proper social distance represents community contact.

    Visitor Policy:

    Visitors are permitted on campus and the College strongly recommends that they are up-to-date on their COVID vaccine. If any visitor begins experiencing any flu-like symptoms, they should wear a mask, isolate from others, and depart campus as soon as possible.

    Conferences Services, Campus Events and individual departments hosting multiple day programs are required to request and obtain a COVID plan from clients/guests hosting (or co-hosting) an event on College property/facilities.

    This policy is subject to change should we experience an uptick in COVID cases on campus.  

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