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2020-2021 COVID-19 Policy

Introduction

Colby College’s Mule Pledge asks students to agree to adhere to the protocols outlined below, which have been created to help ensure the safest possible environment for the entire Colby community. When we welcome each person to the community, we share our values and expectations including those embodied in the Pledge. With the heightened risk of COVID-19, and in the spirit of protecting the health and safety of the community and the opportunity for students to learn and thrive, Colby offers.

This COVID-19 Policy contains the necessary health and safety protocols as Colby College resumes on-campus activities in Jan Plan and the second semester. The policy will be updated throughout the 2020-21 academic year as we monitor the evolving COVID-19 health environment and adjustments to federal, state, and local regulations, public health guidance, and Colby community input. Similarly, Colby’s plans may need to be adjusted based on a changing health environment and/or government action.

General Expectations & Guidelines

We will begin Jan Plan with safety measures in place based on state and local regulations and our assessment of the public health status of our community. Any changes to these measures will be communicated through deans, College and student leaders, and others. We will closely monitor and assess the situation on our campus and locally, as well as the effectiveness of our policies and procedures to mitigate transmission. If localized outbreaks emerge and/or the protocols in this policy are not adhered to, tighter restrictions and more aggressive mitigation measures will likely need to be implemented.

All faculty, students and staff, are expected to fully comply with Colby’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Students who are not in the College’s testing regimen, including those on leave, taking a gap year/semester and those enrolled exclusively on-line, are not permitted on campus or in College facilities for any reason. Noncompliance will result in corrective and/or disciplinary action. Students are required to understand and abide by the provisions of this policy and ask questions of faculty, staff, student leaders, and other College leaders if clarification is needed. Failure to review or lack of awareness of policy provisions are not excuses for a violation.

Every member of the Colby community holds responsibility for safeguarding the emotional, physical, and mental health of ourselves and each other. To enjoy the privileges of being at Colby, students must:

Individual Health and Safety Protocols

  • Truthfully and timely complete daily wellness checks and symptom monitoring using CoVerified to keep track of the health and wellness of each individual on campus.
  • When experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, promptly follow and comply with all instructions from Colby COVID-19 health professionals.
  • Consent to and adhere strictly to the College’s testing protocols, including following proper test procedures, abiding by one’s testing schedule, and timely submission of tests.
  • Cooperate in good faith with the College’s contact tracing work by providing responsive, honest and complete information to contact tracers, and respond as quickly as possible to communications (text messages, emails, etc.) from the COVID-19 Response Team, as and when requested.
  • Abide by the College’s protocols on quarantine and isolation, including rules on the use and occupancy of quarantine or isolation facilities and limitations on activity while in quarantine or isolation, and provide regular health check information while in quarantine or isolation, as and when requested
  • Receive a flu shot in the absence of a documented medical condition or other extenuating circumstances.
  • Consent to the use and release, subject to Colby’s confidentiality and privacy policies, of personal health information gathered through testing, symptom tracking, and daily wellness checks, to assist in the College’s assessment of the campus health environment, as described in Colby’s health information consent forms.
  • Keep contact information and emergency contact information up to date, including current phone numbers.
  • Comply with and stay up to date on changes to this policy, changes to other Colby policies as a result of the pandemic, and applicable State orders and laws governing COVID-19 pandemic activity. Updates will typically be posted on covid-19.colby.edu and in ColbyNow, as well as in e-mails and other communications from the College.

Personal Efforts to Protect Others

  • Attend and participate in College-required health education programming, training, and classes on COVID-19 safety and virus mitigation and prevention measures.
  • Maintain six feet of physical distance from others whenever possible, especially indoors, such as in residence halls and common areas. (Except for one’s roommates, this also applies in residence hall bedrooms. See below.)
  • Wear a cloth face covering or disposable mask (fully covering mouth and nose):
    • In buildings, including classrooms (and outdoor tents that serve as classrooms), dining halls (except when eating), lounges, meeting rooms, the Colby libraries, the athletics center (except during strenuous exercise), the College’s downtown facilities, restrooms, hallways, stairwells, and elevators. Facial coverings are not required in residence hall rooms unless guests (non-roommates) are in the room.
    • In any location where physical distancing cannot be maintained or is likely to be difficult to maintain, including outdoors.
    • In accordance with the applicable tiered health code alert system (green, yellow, orange, red).
  • Abide by all of the applicable mitigation measures and restrictions based on the posted campus status (green, yellow, orange, red) in the tiered health code alert system and any instructions/modifications accompanying an alert.
  • Refrain from providing unauthorized access to residence halls or campus buildings, such as by propping open exterior entryways.
  • Refrain from bringing guests, including family members, friends, and partners, as well as Colby students or staff not authorized to be on campus (those who are not in the College’s testing regimen, including those on leave, taking a gap year/semester and those taking courses exclusively online or fully working remotely) to Colby.

Activities When in Campus Buildings and Gathering Spaces

  • Maintain classroom configurations established to encourage physical distancing.
  • Occupy those seats designated and clearly marked as available in classrooms and other campus buildings.
  • Abide by occupancy or group-size limits posted, designated, or marked on rooms or in buildings, safety instructions on signage in such areas, or group-size limits as designated in State law or Colby’s code alert system.
  • In dining halls, in addition to general College protocols, abide by directions and instructions for use including dining room/dining table and chair configurations, not sharing food or utensils, and following protocols on the distribution, dispensing, and handling of food and drink.

Travel

  • Follow rules for travel in Colby shuttles or other Colby vehicles by wearing face coverings, maintaining appropriate distancing, abiding by passenger limits, and follow any other restrictions or directions posted in the vehicles.
  • Limit all personal travel to travel according to College policy. Generally, personal travel is limited to the State of Maine. For essential out-of-state travel, obtain any required approvals and adhere to return policies and instructions, such as quarantining and testing requirements.
  • Honor requests to wear a face covering, physically distance, and follow any other health and safety instructions when visiting Maine businesses.

Residence Hall Life; Social Life and Recreation

  • Reside in the College housing assigned to each student.
  • Limit the number of persons in private residence hall bedrooms and if applicable, the common living area adjoining the bedrooms, based on physical distancing guidelines. Typically this means no more than 2-3 persons (including roommates) in a residence hall bedroom. Capacity in a suite or apartment with bedrooms and a common living area is based on how many persons can be in that combined space and maintain six feet of physical distancing, with a maximum of no more than 10 persons total (including roommates) in the bedrooms and suite/apartment common areas combined.
  • Limit the number of persons in residence hall common areas, hallways and lounges located outside of apartments and suites based on physical distancing guidelines, with a maximum of no more than 10 persons total.  Because there are some lounges and common areas that can safely accommodate more than 10 persons based on physical distancing guidelines, permission for larger gatherings may be approved by Campus Life, subject to State guidelines
  • Adhere to all health and safety protocols, directions, and guidelines adopted for activities such as student clubs, performing arts groups, varsity, intramural and club sports, and other student life activity. These may include pre-approval and coordination with Colby’s professional staff, as well as instructions on equipment use, restrictions/conditions on use of shared facilities (ex: shared computer or lab facilities, strength and conditioning facilities), hours of operation to accommodate cleaning, and different types of COVID-19 testing.
  • Refrain from organizing, hosting, or attending events, parties, or other social gatherings on or off campus that are likely to create an increased risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. Examples of such activity include:
    • gatherings in numbers in excess of State orders or Colby policy;
    • attending, organizing, or hosting such activities in violation of this or any other College policy, or instructions and guidelines from Colby’s staff or COVID-19 health professionals;
    • attending, hosting, or organizing such activities with other individuals who are in violation of such instructions; or
    • allowing one’s room, apartment or residence (including off-campus residences) to be used for activities in violation of this or any other College policy.
  • Refrain from engaging in activities that an informed Colby College student knows or should know constitutes risky, careless, or reckless conduct that exposes others in the community, including persons in the College and greater Waterville community, to health and safety risks associated with COVID-19. This and the previous measure also apply to students not in the College’s testing regimen, including those on leave, taking a gap year/semester and those enrolled exclusively on-line and who encourage or enable students attending Colby in-person to violate these measures.
  • Understand that alcohol consumption and recreational drug use will not be considered an excuse for behaviors that could increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Exceptions and Accommodations

There may be circumstances in which a student may need a temporary or permanent exception or accommodation from the requirements of this policy, including the possibility of a reasonable accommodation based on a disability. Students should consult the Dean of Students Office before undertaking an activity or engaging in conduct requiring an exception or accommodation.

Noncompliance with Policy

Noncompliance with this policy places our community’s health at risk and could substantially disrupt Colby’s educational activities. The College has the authority to cease activities and regulate the actions of those who do not comply with this policy. Moreover, every member of the Colby community is empowered to request reasonable compliance with this policy. Those who encounter noncompliance with the policy may notify the College through:

  • Campus/Residential Life Staff (ARD/CA)
  • Dean’s Office (assistant dean for conduct and accountability)
  • Campus Safety and Security

Violations

It is not possible to identify every conceivable violation of this policy. But as a general rule, violations that create an unreasonable risk of harm to the person committing the violation and/or to those in our community, especially to those at high risk of severe illness, are taken more seriously. Even then, the context of each violation matters, including the community that was exposed, the flagrant nature of the violation, the potential for serious and imminent harm, and other health and safety factors.

For general guidance:

  • Violations involving inadvertence, such as forgetting one’s face covering, moving pre-set furniture/equipment configurations, not complying with wayfinding signage, exceeding designated hours for an activity in a facility when staff need to clean the facility, minimally exceeding capacity limits, comprise one level. 
  • Violations involving behavior or conduct that creates a greater risk of harm, including repeated violations described above, or violations that hinder the College from identifying a person who is infectious or could permit a contagious person to infect multiple members of the community, are more serious. Violations in this category include not complying with:
    • Scheduled testing on a repeated basis (see missed testing policy);
    • contact tracing;
    • quarantining/isolation protocols;
    • travel requirements;
    • required health education/COVID-19 programming without a pre-approved exemption.
  • Violations that are committed recklessly or with knowledge and disregard of their importance in preventing the spread of the virus are the most serious. These include:
    • bringing unpermitted guests to campus;
    • coming to campus or entering a Colby facility if not permitted to be on campus;
    • hosting, organizing or attending gatherings or events that are not in compliance with this policy;
    • engaging in conduct that is not only careless, but reckless or worse, that exposes others in the community, including the local community, to serious health and/or safety risks.

Sanctions

Similarly, it is not possible to identify every type of sanction and which sanction applies to what violation.  However, because the health and safety of every member of the Colby community—and ultimately our ability to maintain an on-campus learning environment—is at stake, violations of this policy will be taken seriously, and levels of sanction ranging from less to more consequential can be imposed. Moreover, the sanction levels are not automatically progressive based on the number of violations. For example, a person who recklessly commits a violation can receive a severe sanction even if the person has no previous violations. Likewise, a person with a record of other disciplinary violations may receive a more serious sanction for an infraction than a person who commits the same infraction, but has no prior conduct record. Other violations may result in non-disciplinary sanctions such as mandated health/COVID-19 education to appreciate the risk their infraction caused to them and the community.

For general guidance:

  • Sanctions with less serious consequences can include warnings, probation, restorative justice measures, campus or community service, loss or restrictions upon social or travel privileges, or loss of the opportunity to attend College activities or events in person.
  • Sanctions of a more serious nature may include removal from College housing with a requirement to learn remotely if possible, loss of student employment or off-campus study opportunities, loss of opportunities to attend College activities or events, whether in person or virtual.
  • Of course, the most serious of sanctions are suspension and expulsion. Students who are suspended or expelled for violations of this policy will not receive credit for their coursework, but will receive a pro-rated billing refund/credit.

Because of the special circumstances created by the pandemic, the College has established a COVID-19 panel to hear major violations on an expedited basis. Major violations are those which could result in suspension or expulsion from the College. More information on the panel process can be found here. Beginning on January 1, 2021, violations and sanctions related to repeated failure to comply with scheduled testing will be adjudicated on an expedited basis, and will not go to the COVID-19 panel.

In determining sanctions, the College will consider the importance of educating students about the responsibility every member of the community bears in ensuring the health and safety of one another and the need to protect the community from conduct that jeopardizes Colby’s commitment to deliver the highest quality education aligned with co-curricular opportunities that define the Colby experience.

Amnesty

To encourage students to seek help in situations where a person is facing a medical emergency or subjected to an imminent threat of harm or injury, the College has an amnesty policy. Under this policy, students who, in good faith, seek medical assistance, as part of an incident involving a minor violation of this policy or the Code of Conduct will not be subjected to disciplinary action by the Office of the Dean of the College for that first-time, minor violation.

Conflicts with Policy

To the extent that the provisions of this policy are in conflict with other College policies, the provisions of this policy take precedence.

Contact Information

  • Campus/Residential Life Staff

Jess Manno
Assoc. Dean of Students for Leadership & Residential Experience
Jess.manno@colby.edu
207-859-4280

Dan Cline
Director of Residential Experience
dcline@colby.edu
207-859-4280

Area Resident Directors
Bia Malaspina – Roberts – bomala21@colby.edu 
Jackie Lermond – Dana – jalerm21@colby.edu 
Alex Heisler – Alfond Commons – arheis21@colby.edu 
Avery Munns – Foss – acmunn21@colby.edu
Nick Ho – Woodman – njho21@colby.edu
Carissa Yang – Anthony – chyang21@colby.edu

  • Dean’s Office

Cameron Cox
Asst. Dean of Students for Conduct & Accountability
Cameron.cox@colby.edu
207-859-4256

  • Campus Safety and Security

Bob Williams
Director of Security
Robert.williams@colby.edu 
207- 859-5530