Below, we have indicated when questions and answers were last updated.
Clark’s dashboard was designed to track the positivity rate on campus in relation to the number of tests given at the University’s testing center. As the effects of the virus’ variants became less severe over time, rates of positivity became a less valuable metric. Now that campus operations have been normalized and the testing center discontinued, positivity data is no longer available. The dashboard has been replaced with a list of sources regarding COVID-related data.
We have adopted the CDC’s recommendation that individuals test for COVID when they are symptomatic or believe they have been exposed to someone who is positive — an approach supported by Massachusetts health officials and adopted by colleges and K-12 schools across the state. We have made free rapid tests available at the University Center Help Desk (for students and employees) and at Health Services (for students), and tests can be obtained at local pharmacies with the cost reimbursed through insurance.
As the COVID picture has changed over time, so has the guidance from the CDC, state and local public health officials, and our own Health Advisory Committee. Strategies have been adapted in response to new coronavirus variants, which are highly transmissible but which produce less severe health effects in most people, particularly those who are fully vaccinated. Testing everyone or smaller random groups within these populations is no longer seen as an effective way to control spread, and sustaining such programs requires a significant burden on the community and institutional resources. Clark’s 98% vaccination rate continues to be the best protection against serious COVID-related illness among our community members.
The data we continue to track include area hospitalizations and wastewater testing in Central Massachusetts and Boston — an early indicator of COVID spread. Occasional bumps in positivity throughout the year are inevitable, and we will remain watchful and prepared to adjust our mitigation strategies if COVID-related developments warrant a response.
While the CDC is no longer recommending quarantine procedures, it remains good practice for anyone who tests positive to notify any individual with whom they believe they’ve been in close contact of their positive status.
Rapid antigen tests are readily available at local pharmacies (e.g. Walgreens and CVS) and should be either free upfront or reimbursed through your health insurance provider. Clarkies should utilize these sources to obtain a rapid test if they are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, believe they have been in close contact with someone who is positive, or if they feel the need to test prior to visiting someone facing a higher risk of illness. Limited test supplies are available at the Information Desk in the Higgins University Center (for students and employees) and at Clark Health Services (for students only) with urgent testing needs.
Quarantine and Isolation
With few exceptions, students will need to quarantine or isolate in their rooms or at home, following best CDC practices for masking and distancing. This semester, the University has reserved a handful of private isolation spaces for students who are severely ill and have an acute health situation. Health Services will make the determination regarding students who may need one of these spaces.
Clark Health Services is available for all students to contact Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 508-793-7467, for any medical questions for concerns during the academic year. If students have an urgent medical need on the weekend or another time of the day, Hahnemann Family Health Center provides an on-call service that can be reached through the Health Services number. Students are encouraged to try to wait to call between Monday and Friday unless they are experiencing urgent symptoms.
Clark employees are expected to follow CDC guidelines for quarantine if identified as a close contact. Anyone who tests positive should advise close contacts both on campus and in your personal life. The CDC defines “Close Contact” as close contact through proximity and duration of exposure: Someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person 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. Students are encouraged to isolate or quarantine at home.
As with any certified absence, students should work directly with their professor to develop an appropriate plan to keep current with the material or to catch up when they are well enough. Faculty members have been sensitive to the fluidity of health-related absences due to COVID and will be mindful of providing clear policies and contingencies for such cases. Contact the Dean of the College office with any questions, email@example.com.