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UMass Dartmouth continues to follow all guidance from the Massachusetts Board of Health and the Dartmouth Board of Health to promote a safe and healthy living, learning and working environment on our campus. All of our actions will be guided by, and meet or exceed local, state and federal public health guidelines, with particular attention to factors specific to the UMass Dartmouth campus.

In addition to local, state and federal guidance, the university’s operating posture will take into account a variety of both regional and campus-based factors, such as current positive case numbers, the severity and outcomes of cases and trends, state and federal guidance, and the campus’s continuing ability to manage contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation through the pandemic.

In consultation with the Director of Health Services and the appropriate PERT subcommittee, the university has developed the following campus conditions matrix, that factors in both regional metrics (such as Bristol County positive test rates) along with campus-based factors (such as campus-based vaccination rates). This campus conditions matrix will help inform the campus response to the evolving conditions of the pandemic. There are three very important factors to be aware of and that guided the creation of this matrix.

  • First, the very high rate of vaccination among the campus community significantly reduces our vulnerability to the most severe impacts of COVID-19. The current campus vaccination rate is posted on the UMassD Dashboard.
  • Second, the campus condition levels illustrated below (and their affiliated regional indicators) that allow us to assess our campus safety, take into account both “transmission” and “vulnerability” metrics. Given that our campus vulnerability is reduced because our campus is over 90% vaccinated, our campus condition level is superior to Bristol County which shows high transmission, and moderate vulnerability given its 63% vaccination rate.
  • Third, while these key regional indicators reflect the current context in Bristol County, with everyone’s cooperation on campus in following safety measures, the university has consistently maintained a much lower COVID-19 positivity rate than the surrounding communities throughout the pandemic.

The campus conditions matrix below is intended to demonstrate the inflection points (as we move from one condition level to another) at which the Chancellor, in consultation with university leadership, the Director of Health Services and other experts, will engage in evidence-based discussions of these conditions along with campus-based factors (including metrics shown on the UMassD Dashboard), and will assess whether any changes to campus safety protocols should be made.

Unless otherwise noted, the data related to these key regional indicators will be drawn from the COVID Act Now database for Massachusetts, which you will also find embedded on this website below. The university will typically characterize the campus condition as the level at which three or more of the key regional indicators are aligned.

Current Condition Level = Green

Green

Key Regional Indicators:

  • Positive test rate in MA or Bristol County < 5%  
  • Daily new cases in MA or Bristol County < 20/100,000
  • New COVID-19 hospitalizations/day in MA < 50*
  • Bristol County Hospital ICU occupancy < 90% 

Yellow

Key Regional Indicators:

  • Positive test rate in MA or Bristol County = 5-10% 
  • Daily new cases in MA or Bristol County = 20-50/100,000
  • New COVID-19 hospitalizations/day in MA = 50-100*
  • Bristol County Hospital ICU occupancy = 90-95% 

Orange

Key Regional Indicators:

  • Positive test rate in MA or Bristol County > 10% 
  • Daily new cases in MA or Bristol County > 50/100,000
  • New COVID-19 hospitalizations/day in MA > 100*
  • Bristol County Hospital ICU occupancy > 95%

Red

Majority of Key Regional Indicators persist for more than 3 consecutive weeks:

  • Positive test rate in MA or Bristol County > 10% 
  • Daily new cases in MA or Bristol County > 50/100,000
  • New COVID-19 hospitalizations/day in MA > 100*
  • Bristol County Hospital ICU occupancy > 95%

*This data comes from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Interactive Data Dashboard and is identified within the raw data used to create the dashboard.

Mitigation Steps

While the key regional indicators determine the external risks to our campus, data collected from our internal testing of unvaccinated students and employees and from the surveillance testing across campus will have the biggest influence on campus-wide interventions.

Mitigation steps the university has already taken include:

  • Instituting a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students, staff and faculty;
  • Enhancing airflow and filtration in classrooms (learn more here);
  • Surveillance testing of non-vaccinated students, staff and faculty;
  • Readying a pool of on-campus isolation and quarantine housing;
  • Instituting an indoor mask requirement for all members of the campus community;
  • Limiting off-campus student guests at some higher-risk social events.

Possible additional actions as regional and campus conditions change include:

  • Random surveillance testing;
  • Limiting the size of all indoor events;
  • Limiting classroom capacity;
  • Restricting events and employee travel;
  • Limiting extra-curricular activities;
  • Partial transition to remote instruction;
  • Transition to fully remote instruction.
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