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COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Information

UMass Dartmouth requires COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccination boosters for faculty, staff, and all students who wish to live, learn, or physically come to campus for the Spring 2022 semester. Visit our Vaccination Information website to learn more. Visit VaxFinder.mass.gov to find an appointment near you.

Faculty & Staff Frequently Asked Questions

UMass Dartmouth is excited to have all students, faculty, and staff on campus. As always, the University will continue to follow safety guidelines and monitor and adjust to evolving public health conditions. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions to help keep our campus community healthy and safe. Have more questions? Send them to corona.virus@umassd.edu.

Students should follow the information on the Student FAQ website.

Positive Tests & Potential Exposure

  • Immediately isolate and then inform your Department Chair/Supervisor.
  • If your job can be performed remotely and you feel well enough to work, work remotely until you get tested.
  • If your job cannot be performed remotely or you feel too ill to work, use your accrued sick time.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
  • Visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s testing locator website to find an appointment near you.

According to the CDC, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Immediately isolate at home for 5 days.
  • Contact Human Resources, and your supervisor/department chair.
  • If your job can be performed remotely and you feel able to work, work remotely.
  • If your job cannot be performed remotely or you feel too ill to work, use your accrued sick time or the COVID sick leave bank.
  • You may return to work after 5 days if you have no symptoms.
  • If you have a fever—continue to stay home and isolate until your fever resolves for 24 hours without using fever reducing medication.
  • After isolation ends, wear a well fitted, medical-grade mask around others for 5 days.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you continue to have symptoms.

If your job can be performed remotely and you feel able to work, work remotely.

If your job cannot be performed remotely or you feel too ill to work, use your accrued sick time or the COVID sick leave bank. Depending on your union affiliation, there may be other provisions available to employees—please check with your union leadership for more details.

Remember:

  • You must isolate for 5 days if you test positive.
  • If you are boosted you do not need to quarantine after a potential exposure.
  • If you are unvaccinated, or received 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna more the 6 months ago or received a J&J dose more than 2 months ago but haven’t had a booster shot you should quarantine for 5 days.

Advise them to immediately isolate, contact their primary care provider and Human Resources. Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible in allowing employees who are well enough to work remotely to do so when the nature of their work and institutional needs allow.

The contact tracing process will identify any individuals who meet the definition of “close contact” with the employee during the medically relevant period of time. For this reason, as well as to preserve the confidentiality of employee health information and ensure consistency of information, you should let the contact tracing process handle any employee notifications related to positive tests. There is no need to shift the work modality for other employees in the office, and supervisors are not permitted to do so without the authorization of their manager and Human Resources. If you have questions about how to respond to a positive COVID case among your staff, feel free to contact your business partner in Human Resources, who will be glad to assist you.

Immediately isolate and re-test. Anyone with symptoms should not be on campus, at work, or in public.

If you are fully vaccinated and boosted or received 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna within the last 5 months or received a J&J dose within the last 2 months:

  • You do not need to quarantine.
  • You must wear a well fitted, medical grade mask around others for 10 days.
  • Get tested on day 5—testing earlier won’t be accurate

If you are unvaccinated or received 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna more the 5 months ago or received a J&J dose more than 2 months ago but haven’t had a booster shot:

  • Quarantine at home for 5 days. After that, continue to wear a well fitted, medical-grade mask around others for 5 more days.
  • Inform your supervisor. Work remotely if your job permits. If your job cannot be performed remotely, use your accrued sick time.
  • Get tested on day 5—testing earlier won’t be accurate.

If you develop symptoms, whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated, you should immediately isolate and get tested.

  • Tell them to immediately isolate.
  • Tell them to message Health Services through the Health Services Patient Portal.
  • Don’t cancel or postpone classes or shift to a different modality of teaching. Faculty must have approval from their Department Chair and Dean to shift the modality of their course.
  • Don’t announce the student’s positive case to others.
  • Allow Health Services to handle the contact tracing process notification related to positive tests.

No. The contact tracing process will notify any individuals who meet the definition of “close contact” with the student during the medically relevant window of time. For this reason, as well as to preserve the confidentiality of student health information and ensure consistency of information, faculty should let the contact tracing process handle any classroom or student notification related to positive tests. There is no need to cancel or postpone classes or shift to a different modality of teaching.

COVID-19 Vaccination & Booster Shot

As of January 24, 94.92% of students and 96.71% of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated.

Yes. UMass Dartmouth will require all faculty, staff and students who will live, learn and work on our campus in 2022 to obtain a COVID-19 booster shot when they are eligible to do so as well as the initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. Approved vaccination exemptions will remain in force.

No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.

Please visit the link provided in the December 20 Human Resources email and fill in your information in the attestation form. Please do not upload a photo of your vaccination card to the Health Services Portal. Using the attestation form will keep the portal free to process the high volume of student vaccination documentation we expect to receive.

According to the CDC, everyone ages 16 and older can get a booster shot.

You’re eligible for a booster if:

  • Pfizer: It’s been at least 5 months since your second dose
  • Moderna: It’s been at least 6 months since your second dose
  • Johnson & Johnson: It’s been at least 2 months since your first dose 

Please note that you can mix and match vaccines. You do not need to get the same vaccine brand for your booster as your original COVID-19 vaccination.

If you are eligible but have not received your booster shot yet, please make an appointment as soon as possible.

Use VaxFinder to find a pharmacy or other location to get your booster.

No. CDC recommendations allow for mixing and matching of different COVID-19 booster doses, and eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose.

Yes, people who have previously had COVID-19 should be vaccinated. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19 that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.

No, your exemption remains in force. Further, any individual who has a medical contraindication for receiving a booster should submit documentation from their healthcare provider within the Health Services Patient Portal.

Employees exempted from the vaccination requirement will be required to wear masks in public areas indoors on campus regardless of whether a campus-wide indoor mask mandate is not in force, and to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result each week. Employees who do not present a weekly negative test result will not be permitted to work on campus until a negative test result is obtained. Individuals required to be tested will receive instructions from Health Services on how to complete their testing requirement.

Health & Safety

Yes, the university is requiring that all faculty, staff and students wear face coverings in public areas indoors on campus. We will monitor public health conditions on campus and in our region, and will continually evaluate whether it is necessary to continue this indoor mask requirement. Your mask should be wearing a well fitted and medical-grade mask.

Fully vaccinated faculty may unmask while speaking in their classrooms provided they maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from their closest students. Anyone who has received a vaccination exemption must remain masked while indoors and is required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result each week. A fully vaccinated instructor who chooses not to wear a mask in the classroom should explain why they are doing so, but students and any visitors should remain masked while indoors. Any instructor may, of course, opt to wear a mask while teaching.

If a gentle reminder about the temporary masking requirement is not sufficient, community members are encouraged to contact Human Resources in cases where faculty and staff non-compliance is an issue. In the classroom, instructors who find themselves encountering student non-compliance are advised to handle these cases as they would any classroom disruption and are empowered to ask non-compliant students to leave the classroom. If necessary, students who fail to comply with the indoor masking mandate may also be reported to the Student Affairs Office of Community Standards and to your Dean’s Office where further action will be taken to ensure compliance.

You can download the official indoor mask requirement signage or the newly designed Masked Arnie signage, print them out, and hang them in your area.

Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s testing locator website to find an appointment near you.

Only individuals required to be tested can participate in the on-campus testing program and will receive instructions from Health Services on how to complete their testing requirement.

Yes. The University is publishing data from the targeted testing program that is used by students, faculty, and staff who are required to be tested due to receiving an approved religious or medical exemption to the vaccination requirement. The Center will also test students, faculty, and staff who are nearing fully vaccinated status as required. Please note that the reported numbers are representative of the populations mentioned previously and not the overall campus community.

If the individual tests positive off campus, they will be contacted by a state contact tracer or representative of their local board of health who will help the individual identify those that may have been exposed to COVID-19 as a close contact. The person who tested positive will be encouraged to contact people themselves, and the team will also contact these individuals to let them know that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

If the individual tests positive within the on-campus testing program, Health Services will help the individual identify those that may have been exposed to COVID-19 as a close contact.

According to the CDC, a close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

Air Quality & Airflow

We’ve done three important things to ensure good airflow in our teaching spaces. First, in accordance with CDC recommendations, in most of our academic buildings, we’ve upgraded the air filters from MERV-8 to MERV-13. In the handful of modular buildings we have, which use different HVAC systems where the use of MERV-13 filters are not appropriate, we have upgraded to MERV-9 filters.

Second, we brought in professional airflow consultants to test our classroom spaces to ensure that our systems are providing at least the CDC-recommended four complete air exchanges per hour. We were very heartened by their report showing that the overwhelming majority of our classrooms meet or substantially exceed these standards. Where a few classrooms were found to be slightly under four exchanges per hour, we have investigated the HVAC units to ensure they are working properly and will be retesting those spaces.

Third, we have been systematically checking the current course enrollments scheduled in each space to ensure that we are providing the percentage of fresh air recommended by ASHRAE for that number of people. Where necessary, we are opening fresh air dampers to increase the percentage of outdoor fresh airflow to individual classrooms. The amount of fresh air that our HVAC systems are bringing into each space is being calibrated to ensure we meet or exceed these ASHRAE standards.

Please be assured that air handling units that circulate air are working in all our buildings. Air conditioning systems are separate units that chill the air being circulated. Proper airflow is being maintained in all our buildings, even if the temperature of that air is warmer than one might wish

Yes, you may notice temperature differences. Fresh, outside air that is brought into the ventilation systems is neither heated nor cooled. Therefore, in classrooms and buildings where a higher percentage of fresh air is being brought in to promote a safe and healthy environment, the temperature may be warmer than usual on hot days in the early fall, and cooler than usual in the winter. At the onset of winter weather, we will check the ambient temperature in campus buildings, and will strive to ensure that we have comfortable temperatures for faculty, staff, and students in which to work and learn.

The University is currently working on a plan for additional testing during the Spring 2022 Semester.

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