COVID Protocols for Fall 2021
We follow the National Centers for Disease Control Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education and the CDC Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People as well as local and state health authorities and experts.
- The current scientific consensus is that widespread vaccination is the best way to curb potential outbreaks of COVID-19. In accordance with guidelines from the CDC and the state of North Carolina, we continue to strongly encourage all community members to get vaccinated.
- All students are required to get the vaccination before the start of school. Students who have received a vaccination waiver for health or religious reasons were required to provide proof of a negative COVID PCR test conducted at least 48 hours before arrival on campus.
- All employees are required to be vaccinated before September 30. With FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine and pending approval of the Moderna vaccine, more businesses, including colleges, are requiring employees to be vaccinated. In the next two weeks, employees will receive more information from Human Resources about how to find a vaccine if you haven’t received one, how to provide proof of vaccination, and how to apply for a religious or medical exemption. This is consistent with what we are requiring for all students.
- Warren Wilson College has implemented an indoor mask requirement for all persons on campus, regardless of vaccination status.
- Physical distancing at a distance of three feet indoors is highly encouraged in all settings. This is consistent with the CDC guidelines for schools.
- Limitations on large group gatherings: At least through Saturday, October 16 (the end of Fall Break), we are limiting all gatherings to fewer than 60 people, and they must be outdoors, masked, and only events that are central to our mission. Campus rentals will be curtailed with the exception of previously signed contracts. In rare circumstances, we may permit an outside group to gather on campus outdoors when no one from our community will be exposed to the group, and they must follow all protocols. In keeping with this change, Homecoming will be virtual except for small award ceremonies outdoors that will be recorded or live streamed for presentation during the virtual weekend. Family Weekend will be held during the week of September 20 virtually, with no large gatherings on campus. Individual visitors will be allowed on campus; however, we encourage visitor interaction to be limited to outdoor spaces through October 16.
- We allow visitors on campus individually and in small groups. All visitors must adhere to our indoor mask mandate. Family members of employees may be on campus without restriction as allowed pre-pandemic but must also adhere to these guidelines.
- NO off campus guests, after move-in, are allowed in the residence halls.
- Masks must be worn by all persons on campus indoors regardless of vaccination status.
- We will test vaccinated and unvaccinated students who have COVID-like symptoms.
- We will conduct testing for non-vaccinated students who have had documented exposure to COVID-19 through contact tracing even if asymptomatic.
- Symptomatic employees regardless of vaccination status should be tested and should quarantine at home. All test results should be reported to Human Resources for documentation purposes.
- Vaccinated asymptomatic employees who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID needs to be tested within 3 -5 days of exposure and wear a mask at all times until receiving a negative test. You do not have to quarantine unless you receive a positive COVID test. All test results should be reported to Human Resources for documentation purposes.
- All unvaccinated students who have been approved for an exemption will be required to undergo regular background (antigen) testing. If they test positive, they will be required to get a PCR test to confirm the positive antigen test. Additional information will be provided soon.
In accordance with CDC and Buncombe County guidelines, we adhere to the following protocols in response to a positive or presumptive positive case:
- Close contacts with a known positive individual need to quarantine and be given a PCR test. Once a negative test result is in, the Health Center or Human Resources staff will advise.
- People who were in close contact with a close contact (and NOT the COVID-19 positive individual) do NOT meet this definition and won’t be asked to quarantine.
- Contact tracing is being conducted by employees who use the most recent CDC guidelines as a reference. If you are a close contact, a Health Center Nurse or a member of the Campus COVID-19 contact tracing team will be in contact with you.
QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION SPACE AT BLUE RIDGE ASSEMBLY
- We will maintain limited off-campus quarantine and isolation space for residential students who (1) are symptomatic and/or test positive for COVID-19; (2) are unvaccinated but have had documented exposure to COVID-19 through contact tracing. Again this year we are using YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly campus in Black Mountain. Students needing to utilize this facility will be given single, air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and WiFi. A support team will provide consistent health monitoring, case management, and meal deliveries. We will have transport available for the students as we did last year.
- Students are given the choice to quarantine at an off campus location of their choice or in our quarantine and isolation facility at Blue Ridge Assembly.
OTHER GUIDELINES AND POLICIES
- In accordance with CDC guidelines, the College will continue to provide hand sanitizer stations on campus and use enhanced cleaning protocols in residence halls and classrooms/offices. This practice also helps prevent colds and regular flu.
- REMEMBER, following the 3Ws [Waiting (six or more feet apart when possible), Washing (your hands and using hand sanitizer) and Wearing a proper face mask. Choose masks that have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric and contain a nose wire. The mask should fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps and completely cover your nose and mouth. Please review the CDC guide to masks.
- Students need to strictly adhere to their COVID “bubble,” especially now that more contagious strains of coronavirus have been identified.
These guidelines are subject to change if national or state guidance changes.