Today, the Baker-Polito Administration released updated travel guidance to colleges and universities in advance of the approaching holiday season. These updated guidelines are focused on a robust testing initiative to reduce the risk of college students bringing COVID-19 home to their families and communities before Thanksgiving.
Students who leave campuses for the holidays should first receive a negative COVID-19 test administered by the college within 72 hours of their planned departure. Residential colleges should also offer COVID-19 tests to students living off campus that plan on returning home for the holidays.
Prior to sending students home for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season, colleges and universities are urged to inform all students of the serious risks associated with going home before first receiving a negative COVID-19 test result.
Students who receive a positive test result before they are scheduled to leave campus should instead immediately isolate in campus housing designated for COVID-positive students.
Students in Isolation:
Students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and are already isolating in campus housing should remain in place until they have completed the 10-day isolation period.
Students in Quarantine:
Students who are quarantined on campus housing due to close contact with someone who tested positive should remain in place until they complete the 14-day quarantine period, as prescribed by the Department of Public Health.
Quarantined students may leave campus housing after 10 days if they do not have any symptoms and they receive a negative result from a molecular diagnostic test administered at least 8 days after exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Return to Campus:
Students returning to campus from either within Massachusetts or from other states must produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered within 72 hours of their return to campus. Colleges should administer tests immediately to any student who returns to campus that has not been tested within 72 hours. Testing should apply to all students loving both on and off campus.