UMass Dartmouth is excited to have all students, faculty, and staff back on campus. As always, we 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 email@example.com.
Positive Tests & Potential Exposure
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they should immediately isolate themselves and message Health Services through the secure messaging feature in the Health Services Patient Portal or by calling 508.999.8982 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. Students should notify their professors that they have tested positive and will be absent from classes until released from isolation. The date of release from isolation will be confirmed by Health Services. Students cannot attend in-person classes or any on-campus events or locations until released from isolation, and if they live with a roommate, the Office of Housing and Residential Education will ensure that they are moved to temporary isolation housing and supported during that time.
The contact tracing process will help the individual identify those that may have been exposed to COVID-19 as a close contact. 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.
Advise the student to contact Health Services through the secure messaging feature in the Health Services Patient Portal. If there is a concern the student will not notify Health Services, please email Director of Health Services Marianne Sullivan. If the student has been diagnosed, 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.
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.
If you are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms, you are not required to quarantine. You must wear a mask, social distance when possible, and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. It is highly recommended you schedule a COVID test 3-5 days after the exposure.
Immediately isolate and re-test. Anyone with symptoms should not be on campus, at work, or in public.
If you have been exposed and have not been vaccinated (through an approved exemption) or are not yet fully vaccinated, you are required to quarantine for 7-10 days and test on day 5 or later. Unvaccinated individuals must show proof of a negative test to return to campus.
Do not leave your home, immediately isolate yourself, and contact your primary care provider.
If you have COVID-related symptoms, it is recommended you get tested. 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
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
You should immediately isolate yourself, contact your primary care provider, and Human Resources. Your healthcare provider and the local board of health will confirm your release date from isolation. Employees cannot return to campus in person until cleared from isolation. Employees who test positive should also contact their Department Chair/Supervisor as soon as possible so appropriate measures can be taken to ensure instructional/work continuity.
Employees who are required to isolate or quarantine and cannot work remotely can use their personal sick leave or vacation time. Depending on your union affiliation, there may be other provisions available to employees—please check with your union leadership for more details.
The university, in partnership with our labor unions, has also established a COVID-19 sick leave bank, which covers time away for being vaccinated, recovering from the side effects of vaccination, or if an employee tests positive for COVID. Employees who contributed to the COVID-19 sick leave bank may access it to cover time away from work-related to COVID-19.
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.
As of September 21, 94.18% of faculty and staff and 94.14% of students are fully vaccinated.
UMass Dartmouth will require that all employees, both unit and non-unit, are fully vaccinated by September 27 or by the date specified in their unit MOA, whichever is later. The university will accommodate medical and religious exemptions pursuant to federal law.
From a public health perspective, the vaccine is the most important and powerful tool we have against COVID-19 and is the best way to prioritize the safety of our community.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and widely available in many locations through VaxFinder.mass.gov.
Employees are required to submit an attestation form to Human Resources confirming their vaccination status, and to upload a photo of their vaccination card to the Health Services Portal between September 8-30. This sequencing will allow our colleagues in Health Services to complete verification of student vaccination status prior to move-in day and the start of classes. All employees should submit their attestation form to HR.
Employees who are not fully vaccinated or who do not have an approved exemption will not be permitted to work on campus and will be placed on leave. Employees placed on leave will be able to use accrued personal or vacation or one week of compensatory/DLE time (sick time is not permitted) or will be placed on an involuntary leave of absence.
Yes. The University will accommodate medical or religious exemptions pursuant to state and federal law. Please note that any request for religious or medical exemptions to the vaccination requirement must be made directly to the Office of Human Resources.
- Religious exemptions require a personal statement as to why receiving this vaccine is against your religious beliefs.
- Medical exemptions require documentation provided by a healthcare provider and will follow the University’s process for ADA requests.
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.
Masks & Face Coverings
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.
Yes. This mandate applies to everyone, including individuals who are fully vaccinated.
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.
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.
All full-time faculty are expected to schedule regular office hours. Due to current and expected health conditions, virtual office hours are authorized for the fall semester of 2021 where the Department Chair and the Dean determine it to be appropriate. Faculty should make every effort to accommodate students’ preferences when setting the time and mode for their office hours consistent with the guidance received from Department and College leadership. Additionally, virtual office hours are authorized for professional advising appointments in cases where the Dean determines it to be appropriate.
If an individual is alone in a private office, masks can be removed. Masks must be worn if another individual enters the private office. In shared office areas or other public indoor areas - hallways, conference rooms, library, classrooms, etc., masks are to be worn by all individuals at all times.
Testing, Isolation/Quaratine, & Contact Tracing
Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s testing locator website to find an appointment near you.
The on-campus Testing Center will conduct weekly testing for students, faculty, and staff that 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 that are nearing fully vaccinated status as required. Only individuals required to be tested can participate 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.
Yes. Residential students would be assigned to on campus isolation or quarantine housing if they were not able to isolate or quarantine safely at their primary residence. Students should be prepared to bring any items (Go Kit) needed during the isolation/quarantine period. Health Services will check in regularly with the student and arrange for support as needed. Housing, Dining Services, and Student Affairs will provide resources as well.
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).
Yes, through MassNotify. This feature on your phone will notify individuals that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Visit the MassNotify website to learn more.
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.
A total of 88 classroom and teaching spaces in LARTS, CVPA, DION, the Auditorium, the Library, and Modular Trailers 2, 3, and 4 have been tested as of September 8. Of these 88 spaces, 84, or 95%, sustained the CDC-recommended four or more total exchanges of air per hour, as follows:
|Exchanges per Hour||Number of Rooms|
|2.0 - 3.99||4|
|4.0 - 5.99||21|
|6.0 - 9.99||45|
Adjustments were immediately made in the four rooms with fewer than four total air exchanges per hour, and those rooms will be retested soon.
Yes, we plan to post a table showing the total air exchanges per hour in each classroom, along with the percentage of fresh air that is being brought in. It’s important to note that data will not be immediately available for every teaching space. Some classrooms are being retested after adjustments were made to the system. In other buildings where there were multiple classrooms very close in size and volume in one part of a building, we tested just one classroom to use as a proxy for several similar rooms. This strategy enabled us to test the majority of classrooms and buildings expeditiously so that we could make any necessary adjustments to airflow across the whole campus promptly. We have proactively used the air exchange readings from those proxy classrooms to adjust airflow in similar classrooms not yet tested. Our consultant is now in the process of testing those remaining spaces.
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.
Yes. Testing of air quality and airflow will continue across campus throughout the fall semester.