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Covid-19 Policy 2021-22

Introduction

As we begin the 2021-22 academic year, students have committed to protect the health and safety of others through the Colby College Mule Pledge. In doing so, every student has pledged 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. The commitment to the Mule Pledge allowed Colby to open for a largely in-person Colby experience in the 2020-21 academic year. With the persistent risk of Covid-19 and its variants, and in the spirit of continuing to protect the health and safety of the community and the opportunity for students to learn and thrive in 2021-22 academic year, Colby has developed a Covid-19 policy that reflects the current public health environment. 

 

This policy contains the necessary health and safety protocols as students return to Colby for the 2021 fall semester. The policy will be updated throughout the 2021-22 academic year as the College monitors the changing Covid-19 health environment and adjustments to federal, state, and local regulations, public health guidance, vaccination updates, and Colby community input. 

 

General Expectations and Guidelines

We will begin the 2021 fall semester with a requirement that all students (as well as faculty and staff) who are present on campus must be vaccinated, unless granted an exemption or accommodation by the College. Safety measures have been established, or will be put in place, based on federal, state, and local regulations and our assessment of the public health status of our community. Many safety measures apply to those who are not vaccinated for Covid-19 but who are permitted to be on campus as a result of an exemption. If localized outbreaks emerge, new governmental orders or guidance are issued, or compliance with protocols in this policy is low, tighter restrictions and more aggressive mitigation measures will likely need to be implemented. A section addressing changes to this policy and the Covid-19 protocols is set forth below.

 

All faculty, staff, and students who come to campus are expected to fully comply with Colby’s Covid-19 health and safety guidelines. Noncompliance can result in corrective and/or disciplinary action. Students are required to understand and adhere to 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 or failure to stay up to date on changes to the policy or Colby’s health and safety measures are not excuses for a violation. Every member of the Colby community holds responsibility for safeguarding the health of ourselves and each other. 

To enjoy the privileges of being at Colby, students must:

Generally

Vaccinated students:

  • Consistent with CDC guidelines, vaccinated students present on campus will not need to wear face coverings or socially distance outdoors or in buildings that require card access to enter them. In indoor spaces open to the public without card access (e.g. – the museum, Lunder House), face coverings are required. The College may require face coverings, social distancing, or other measures by vaccinated students in additional locations and in additional situations if health conditions suggest such measures are needed to protect the community. You are still required to wear face coverings when riding the Jitney or shuttle and when more than one person is riding in a College vehicle.
  • Covid-19 testing will include arrival testing and twice-weekly tests through September 12. The College may require additional testing of vaccinated students if health conditions suggest it is needed to protect the community or to understand whether the virus is present based on the reporting of symptoms by students.

Unvaccinated students:

  • Unvaccinated students present on campus are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing while indoors whether card access is required or not. Face coverings can be removed once alone in a private space (such as an office or residence hall bedroom). Face coverings and social distancing are also required when riding the Jitney or shuttle, and when more than one person is riding in a College vehicle.
  • Unvaccinated students are not required to wear face coverings outdoors as long as social distance can be achieved.
  • Regular Covid-19 testing is required on a schedule to be determined by the College. Testing frequency is currently twice per week, but may be subject to change.

Individual Health and Safety Requirements  

  • When experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, or when coming in close contact or caring for someone with Covid-19, promptly report the situation to the Health Center. 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.
  • Cooperate in good faith with the College’s contact-tracing work by providing responsive, honest, and complete information to contact tracers. 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. Provide regular health-check information while in quarantine or isolation, as and when requested.
  • Receive a flu shot in the absence of an approved exemption/accommodation 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.

Personal Efforts to Protect Others

  • For unvaccinated students, maintain six feet of physical distance from others indoors, such as in residence halls and common areas. (Except for one’s roommates, this also applies in residence hall bedrooms. See below.)
  • For unvaccinated students, wear a face covering or disposable mask (fully covering mouth and nose): 
    • In buildings, including classrooms (and any outdoor spaces that serve as classrooms), dining halls (except when eating), lounges, meeting rooms, the Colby libraries, the athletics and recreation center (except during strenuous exercise), the College’s downtown facilities, restrooms, hallways, stairwells, and elevators. Face 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, red):
      • Abide by all applicable mitigation measures and restrictions based on the posted campus status (green, yellow, red) in the tiered health-code alert system and any instructions/modifications accompanying an alert. 
  • Abide by the visitor policy.
  • For vaccinated students, wear a face covering in indoor spaces open to the public without card access.

 

Travel

  • Follow rules for travel in Colby shuttles or other Colby vehicles by wearing face coverings, maintaining appropriate distancing, and abiding by passenger limits. Follow any other restrictions or directions posted in the vehicles.
  • Undertake any domestic travel—personal or as part of a Colby program/educational undertaking—pursuant to the State of Maine’s travel guidelines. 
  • Obtain approval from the Dean of Studies office for any international travel.
  • For unvaccinated students, maintain your regular testing schedule or test on your first day following your return to campus.
  • Honor requests to wear a face covering, socially distance, and follow any other health and safety instructions when visiting Maine businesses or other establishments.

 

Residence Hall Life; Social Life and Recreation

  • 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 if public health conditions warrant changes in social life activity. Examples of such activity include:
    • gatherings in numbers in excess of state orders or Colby policy (as determined by the health code level);
    • attending, organizing, or hosting such activities in violation of this or any other College policy, health-code alert levels, 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;
    • 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 those 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 present on the Colby campus (such as those living nearby or on leave and visiting fellow students) but 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.

 

Changes to Policy and Covid-19 Protocols

It is critically important to 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. Changes may include requirements for face coverings, capacity limitations, vaccine booster shots, or social distancing, among others. Updates will typically be posted on covid19.colby.edu and in ColbyNow, as well as in emails and other communications from the College, including through deans, College and student leaders, and others.

 

Exceptions and Accommodations

There may be circumstances in which a student may need a temporary or permanent exemption 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 exemption 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:

  • Office of the Dean of the College (assistant director of the Office of Community Values, Conflict Resolution, and Restorative Practice)
  • Campus Safety and Security

(Contact information appears below)

 

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 or failing to socially distance in compliance with this policy, 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 testing compliance policy);
    • contact tracing;
    • quarantining/isolation protocols;
    • travel requirements;
    • mitigation and prevention guidelines and measures under the applicable Colby health code (green, yellow, red) for the campus;
    • the requirement to be vaccinated against Covid-19 unless granted an exemption/accommodation.
  • 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:
    • misrepresenting your vaccination status or that of others;
    • hosting, organizing, or attending gatherings or events that do not comply with the then-current social life activities permitted under Colby’s health-code level;
    • 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;
    • violating the College’s visitor policy.

 

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 are 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 such that individuals may appreciate the risk their infraction caused to them and the community. Athletic teams may also have their own sanctions.

For general guidance:

  • Sanctions with less serious consequences can include warnings, probation, restorative justice measures, campus or community service, loss of 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, loss of student employment or off-campus study opportunities, or 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. 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, especially risky or reckless conduct, that can jeopardize Colby’s commitment to deliver the highest quality education aligned with cocurricular 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
  •     Associate Dean of Students for Leadership & Residential Experience
  •     Jess.manno@colby.edu
  •     207-859-4280
  •  
  •     Dan Cline
  •     Director of Residential Education
  •     dcline@colby.edu
  •     207-859-4280
  • Dean’s Office 
  •     Jon-Mark Olivier
  •     Assistant Director of the Office of Community Values, Conflict Resolution, and Restorative Practice
  •     jolivier@colby.edu
  •     207-859-4256 
  • Health Center
  •     Garrison-Foster Building
  •     Room 205
  •     healthservices@colby.edu
  •     P: 207-859-4460
  •     F: 207-859-4475
  • Campus Safety and Security