Fall 2022 return-to-campus protocols
Dear Skidmore Community,
With our fall semester return fast approaching, we write to share important reminders about COVID-19 policies and procedures, specifically regarding testing, masking, and isolation, as well as actions that are required prior to your return to campus.
The College will closely monitor trends and cases, and will communicate any changes to policies and procedures in a clear and prompt manner. Our Campus Planning 2022-2023 webpage will be regularly updated and is intended to serve as a resource for COVID-related policies, FAQs, and other information. It is also where you will find the College’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which will be updated weekly throughout the semester.
Skidmore Health Services is also working closely with the Saratoga County Department of Health to monitor the prevalence of monkeypox in the area and to prepare for monkeypox testing and management on campus. While there are currently no cases in Saratoga County, cases have been confirmed in New York state and nearby counties. Therefore, Health Services will remain vigilant and continue to follow national guidelines and local health expert guidance to support students’ care in the event of monkeypox cases in the Skidmore community. Please review the monkeypox information outlined further down in this email. Health Services’ detailed testing and management plan is available on the Skidmore Health Services website.
- All students are expected to take a PCR or rapid test 48 to 72 hours prior to arriving on campus. If positive, students must remain off campus until they have completed their five-day isolation period. In compliance with CDC guidelines, individuals should continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others for five additional days or until they have had two negative COVID tests spaced at least 48 hours apart. (Rapid tests are acceptable). A KN95 (or equivalent) mask is strongly recommended.
- Effective during the fall semester, the campus will discontinue the use of PCR surveillance testing (both optional and mandatory) via the Broad Institute.
- Free rapid tests will be easily available from Campus Safety to all students and employees who are concerned about symptoms or exposure. We encourage individuals to monitor their symptoms and exposure status and to use rapid testing as a way of protecting themselves and others.
- Students who tested positive in the past 90 days, including all testing that has occurred 48 to 72 hours prior to arriving on campus, should report their positive test dates to Health Services by emailing email@example.com for record keeping.
- Employees who have tested positive in the past 90 days should notify Human Resources if they have not yet done so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students who test positive during the academic year must notify email@example.com so the College can provide appropriate individual support, notify key College staff and faculty on a need-to-know basis, and take steps to mitigate transmission.
- Skidmore will continue to follow CDC recommendations for masking on campus. When the Community Level is “low” (as it is currently) or “medium,” masking indoors will not be required on campus but will continue to be supported. When the Community Level is “high,” masking indoors will be required.
- The College will continue to make free KN95 masks available to all students and employees at Campus Safety.
- Skidmore continues to be a mask-supportive and mask-friendly community. Individuals should feel free and comfortable to wear a mask whenever and wherever they wish.
The College is committed to the health and well-being of its community members and will work to reasonably accommodate students, faculty, and staff with known disabilities. Employees in need of a reasonable accommodation due to a medical condition should contact the Assistant Director of Employment & Workforce Diversity. Students in need of a reasonable accommodation should contact Coordinator for Student Access Services Meg Hegener.
Isolation for students
Please note that effective this fall, a limited number of isolation spaces will be available on campus. Therefore, most students will be isolating in place. Exceptions include those outlined here.
Isolation for employees
Employees who test positive must isolate for at least five days and report their positive test to HR at firstname.lastname@example.org within 24 hours of testing positive. HR will then provide additional information regarding isolation.
Employees who feel well enough to work, and the nature of their work allows for remote work, may work from home with supervisor approval. If individuals are not feeling well, or the nature of their work does not allow for remote work, employees should contact HR regarding the availability of paid sick time to use during the isolation period.
Skidmore Health Services’ detailed testing and management plan for monkeypox can be viewed on the Health Services webpage. Anyone with symptoms should keep any lesions covered, wear a mask, and avoid direct contact with others until they can be evaluated by a medical provider.
Students who have questions or concerns about monkeypox, are showing symptoms consistent with monkeypox, or may have had close contact with someone with monkeypox should submit an appointment request through the Health Services Portal to speak with a member of the Health Services team, or call Health Services at 518-580-5550. Students will be evaluated in person by a clinician. Anyone with skin lesions consistent with monkeypox will be tested and isolated while awaiting test results, which currently take about three to five days to receive.
Employees with concerns or possible symptoms should contact their personal healthcare provider.
Some key things to know about monkeypox:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox is a rare viral infection caused by the monkeypox virus, a virus in the same family as the virus that causes smallpox. The symptoms are most often mild.
- Monkeypox can spread through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact. Infected individuals can spread monkeypox to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.
- Anyone can get monkeypox, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation. During the current outbreak, monkeypox has spread primarily through sexual contact. However, monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease and sexual contact is only one of many ways the virus can spread.
- Monkeypox symptoms usually start within six to 13 days of exposure, but can take up to 21 days to appear. Most people with monkeypox will get a rash or sores, but other symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, and respiratory symptoms (sore throat, nasal congestion, cough).
- Wearing a mask, particularly if you are feeling sick, will not only help prevent respiratory transmission of monkeypox, but it will also help prevent transmission of COVID-19, flu, and other common illnesses.
Please also refer to the following resources for the most up-to-date information about monkeypox:
We look forward to welcoming you back to Skidmore soon. As a reminder, all visitors to campus must be vaccinated, including booster. Families and friends are welcome to assist students with move-in but are asked to remain home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. Again, thank you in advance for your attention to these guidelines.
The COVID-19 Logistics Working Group
- Adrian Bautista, (Co-Chair), Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs
- Donna Ng, (Co-Chair), Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer
- Abigail Caldwell, Director of Health Services
- Jacqueline Conrad, Vice President for Communications and Marketing
- Pat Fehling, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor for Health and Human Physiological Sciences Department
- Julia Routbort, Associate Dean of Student Affairs for Health and Wellness
- Sarah Vero, Interim Human Resources Director