BREAKING: Classes to be held remotely as Massachusetts COVID cases soar

Katie Cole, Editor-in-Chief

BREAKING: Simmons will hold classes remotely for the first week of the semester, according to an email by the COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce

Classes will be taught remotely from Tuesday, January 18 through Sunday, January 23. The current plan is to resume in-person classes on Monday, January 24, according to the email. The announcement of remote classes comes along with updated testing mandates, quarantine guidelines, and residence policies from the University.

On-campus students, faculty, or staff are now required to test for COVID twice per week. In the fall 2021 semester, Simmons required testing once per week

Following updated CDC guidelines, students who test positive need to quarantine for five days in Simmons residential isolation or at home if they live within 200 miles of campus.

If a student shows no symptoms of COVID-19, they may return to in-person classes on the sixth day after testing “with a proper, tight-fitting mask,” but must continue to live in Simmons residential isolation housing or commute from home until the tenth day after they initially test positive.

Students who cannot commute from home “should work with their faculty members individually, per the campus absence policy, to stay on track academically during the remaining isolation days,” stated the email.

Students who tested positive for COVID during winter break are to upload results to the CoVerified app and notify the Simmons Health Center. Those who tested positive over break are exempt from testing requirements for 90 days following the CDC guidance. 

Students living on-campus for spring semester are required to test negative via an at-home or PCR test within 72 hours before moving on campus and upload results to the CoVerified app. They are also required to take a COVID test on the day they arrive at residence campus. 

No guests are allowed in residence halls until further notice, including Simmons commuter students. Bartol Hall will be open only for grab and go meals, while Common Grounds and the Fens will be closed until January 24. 

The email also reminded students of a COVID booster vaccine mandate in effect for the spring semester and announced that Simmons will host a booster vaccine clinic on February 3. 

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts COVID seven-day positivity rate is at 21.65% as of January 5, 2022. One month ago on December 4, 2021, Massachusetts’ seven-day positivity rate was 4.85%.