COVID-19 Updates

May 5, 2022

Dear All,

I am writing to update you about the isolation process for students who test positive with COVID-19 as well as news about the norovirus on campus.

This week, still in accordance with CDC and NYS Department of Health guidance, we are implementing a symptom-based approach to clearing students to be out of isolation beginning on Day 5 after COVID-19 symptom onset. We will no longer require a negative test to be released on Day 5. Instead, students will be cleared from isolation on Day 5 if they are asymptomatic or if symptoms are resolving and they have not had a fever for 24 hours. Cleared students may return to their room if they have a single or if the roommate has tested positive within the last 90 days. Students with a roommate will be placed in singles on campus.

The CDC guidance and our extensive experience throughout the pandemic indicate that the symptom-based approach is safe, as the risk of transmission is significantly reduced after Day 5, especially when symptoms are minimal and resolving.

Students who have been cleared will continue to mask at all times (unless alone) and therefore will access take-out food from the Retreat and Express or from the Gordon Commons using a voucher system explained to each student when they are cleared from isolation. Students who have been cleared will mask in bathrooms as much as possible, as should all students.

For students who have tested positive for COVID-19, we will continue to seek to isolate them in a nearby hotel for 5 days or until their symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Nevertheless, in some cases, we have had to isolate students on campus, for instance this week when we faced a shortage of hotel beds. Also, some students in the TA or TH areas are allowed to isolate in place if everyone in their suite has recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Please note that on-campus testing at the Aula will end on Friday, May 13th. After that date, students may access Baldwin for testing or use the self-administered rapid tests that are available in the 24-hour vending machine in College Center.

In terms of norovirus, this has been largely contained after one week of cases. We expect the cases to continue to decrease based on the containment and mitigation strategies which we have implemented. Please continue to wash hands often with soap and water and seek Health Services if you have symptoms.

Thank you.

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604