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Friday, March 1, 2024
The Observer

Holy Cross outlines safety precautions for fall semester

In a Thursday email to the student body, Holy Cross dean of students Andrew Polaniecki outlined procedures and protocols for the safe return of students to campus this fall, including COVID-19 testing and residential life expectations.

All students will be required to take a COVID-19 test within 10 days prior to returning to campus, according to the email. While students can request a test be mailed to their homes, Polaniecki said students are encouraged to find a testing site in their local community. Students with positive test results will be asked to stay home and quarantine for 2 weeks before being approved to return to campus.

“The job for all of us is to look out for one another,” Polaniecki said in the email. “Be smart in the two weeks prior to the semester’s start.”

Polaniecki said residence hall staff have been approved to move in July 30 while other students eligible for early arrival — including international students — have been contacted individually. First-year students will move in Aug. 7-8 while upperclassmen will move in Aug. 9. First-year room assignments are scheduled to be released July 10. Face coverings and social distancing will be mandated during the move-in period.

All students will receive a welcome package with hand disinfectant, a thermometer and at least two masks upon arrival, according to the email.

Residence halls will operate at standard capacity with every room considered a “household” for contact tracing purposes. Besides their own rooms, students are expected to follow health precautions.

“Students will not need to wear masks when they are in their assigned rooms, but they must wear masks in all other rooms and common spaces, including hallways, lounges and visiting other dormmates,” Polaniecki said in the email.

In regard to dining options, the email said Grab and Go and outside dining would be available in addition to indoor dining, where social distancing will be enforced.

“In the dining hall, disposable ware will be used, self-service buffets will be replaced with individually portioned, served buffets and other modifications to the space will be made to ensure that we can dine together safely,” Polaniecki said in the email.

To ensure the safety of the entire Holy Cross community, Polaniecki said every student and staff member will be required to complete a daily self-screen so that medical personnel can identify students that need to be tested.

The email said off-campus students would be asked to complete any quarantine or isolate time in their own housing, and the College has partnered with off-campus housing to isolate students who live on campus.

“Isolation rooms on campus and University Edge have been identified for any on-campus infected student,” Polaniecki said. “These students will also be checked on daily and will be provided food and other essentials.”

Polaniecki said students will be encouraged to utilize outdoor space for activities and recreation in group settings given the nature of the transmission of the virus.

“Student activities, Campus Ministry, hall staff and others that help provide campus programming are eager to meet with students for conversation, pastoral support and program planning,” Polaniecki said.