FITCHBURG — Fitchburg State University will hold the first week of spring classes remotely to allow time for all students to be tested for COVID-19, according to a university announcement.
The operational change was announced to the campus community on January 7.
“Preserving the health and safety of our campus community is our primary concern, and we must continue to be vigilant and flexible as we respond to changing conditions,” said university president Richard S. .Lapidus. “With over 90% of our campus community vaccinated against the virus and with on-campus booster clinics scheduled for the weeks and months ahead, we are in a strong position to meet these challenges.”
Classes will start on Tuesday, January 18, using their originally scheduled times, but will run entirely online until Friday, January 21, to allow for testing. In-person classes are scheduled to resume on Monday, January 24.
All students will be tested for COVID-19 to start the semester, and employees are also strongly encouraged to participate in testing.
Residential students will be tested for COVID-19 on Monday, January 17, as part of registration using a rapid test. Those who test positive will be asked to return home for the five to 10 day isolation period recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The university’s Office of Housing and Residential Services will work with students who test positive but cannot return home to self-isolate.
Commuter students taking classes on campus must also be tested the first week of classes. Testing for shuttle students (as well as university faculty and staff) will be available by appointment the week of January 18.
The university recommends that students in residence be tested before returning to campus, either at home or on campus.
In addition to the universal testing required to begin the semester, the university’s COVID-19 response for the spring semester includes the following measures:
Face coverings will continue to be mandatory in all public indoor spaces. The university will once again provide disposable face coverings to members of the campus community. The CDC recommends face coverings that have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. The face covering should completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face with no gaps. A nose wire will keep air from escaping from the top.
As previously announced, all Fitchburg State community members who have not received exemptions must provide documentation of a COVID-19 booster shot within 30 days of eligibility.
Recall clinics have been scheduled throughout the semester.
Members of the campus community must follow isolation and quarantine guidelines. The CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have adopted new guidelines regarding the length of isolation and quarantine for those exposed to COVID-19.
Isolation: Those who test positive can end isolation after five full days if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of anti-fever medication and if other symptoms have improved. They must continue to wear a properly fitted face covering around others at home and in public for an additional five days.
Quarantine: Those who have been exposed, but have not tested positive, can end quarantine after five full days of their last contact with someone with COVID-19, unless symptoms develop. Those who develop symptoms should get tested immediately off campus. Those who do not develop symptoms should get tested at least five days after their last close contact with someone with COVID-19. If the test is negative, they should continue to wear a well-fitting face covering around others until 10 days after last contact. Those who test positive should follow isolation guidelines.
“As always, we appreciate your support for our shared goal of keeping our community healthy while maintaining the college experience we all desire,” Lapidus said.
For more information on the university’s COVID-19 response, visit fitchburgstate.edu/coronavirus.