- McKenna Pomory
COVID-19 Protocols for Fall Semester
As the Mount kicks off the fall semester amid the pandemic, students and staff must follow several COVID-19 protocols to ensure a healthy learning environment. Under CDC guidelines and the growing number of transmission cases in the area, the university requires that all people on campus, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask indoors except when they are in their offices and dorm rooms, while eating and drinking, alone in a room or during vigorous exercise.
To limit large gatherings, the reservation system for Patriot Hall is still in place and allows no more than 85 people to be in there at a time. However, there can be more than three people sitting at one table this year. Likewise, there are no more occupancy limits in the dorm rooms. Housing accommodations were much more limited last year. Marissa Lawson (C’22) stated, “We never had any quads. For the most part, almost every quad was made into a triple and some triples into a double.”
The current Mount Safe Initiative guidelines state that all undergraduate students and seminarians who wish to take classes on campus have to be vaccinated. Graduate students, continuing education students and employees were strongly encouraged to receive a vaccine as soon as it was made available to them.
Any person who was not fully vaccinated before arriving on campus was tested upon their arrival and will be subject to regular testing until they can get their second dose. Additionally, all unvaccinated individuals must monitor their temperature daily and be aware of any sign of potential COVID-19 symptoms.
With 90% of the Mount community being vaccinated, classes can be held in person for the first time in over a year. Returning students had spent the prior two semesters either attending classes fully remotely or in a hybrid format. Hybrid learning comprised students being assigned to blue and gold groups, which indicated days of in person vs. remote attendance.
As a science student, Lawson said, “The labs were super weird because you couldn’t have everyone in the lab. There was normally one person on Zoom reading the procedure and there was one person in the lab doing it.”
In addition to the new Mount policies for COVID-19, the NCAA came out with new guidelines on student-athletes. Justine Miller, the Assistant Athletic Director of Academics and Student-Athlete Support, explained that last year every sport was categorized in one of three categories, usually based on contact level. For example, “women’s rugby and basketball would be high contact, so they were high risk, whereas other sports such as tennis and golf would be considered low risk because they’re more individualized.”
For this year, the NCAA is no longer categorizing each sport by risk level. Miller added that the NCAA is now looking at each student-athlete in terms of being vaccinated versus unvaccinated and the protocols exist around that distinction. Alongside following Mount’s guidelines, the Athletic Department will continue to follow guidelines from the NCAA and the NEC conferences.
The university will continue to monitor the campus and update its policies for COVID-19 when necessary to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the community.