CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFORMATION

 

INFORMATION ABOUT MCLA’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19

We look forward to welcoming students to campus for the Fall 2021 semester. All enrolled students are required to be vaccinated in order to attend classes or participate in activities on campus. See the FAQ regarding vaccination requirements here.

All members of our community, including visitors, are required to wear masks while on campus, especially inside College buildings. All students, regardless of vaccination status, are required to be masked in all indoor spaces, including classrooms, common spaces, and residence areas outside of their own rooms. This policy is necessary to begin the semester based on the latest data and information surrounding the Delta variant. As with all our COVID-19 protocols, this is subject to change, based on prevailing public health data and best practices. COVID-19 can be spread by vaccinated individuals, and a mask is the best tool available to help stop any potential spread of the virus. Please stay home if you are sick.

As usual, MCLA will continue to be vigilant about public health and safety for students, faculty, and staff. The College will continue to follow all guidelines set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and require all members of the campus community to follow these guidelines as they participate in campus life. MCLA will continue to monitor available public health data in order to make the best decisions regarding our campus population’s safety and accessibility.  

An archive of campus messages regarding COVID-19 can be found below. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions and links to helpful information from the Commonwealth. 

MCLA has set up a hotline phone number for questions related to COVID-19 at 413-662-5550. The hotline is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. You can also leave a message outside of these hours. 

 

MCLA COVID DASHBOARD

Testing Period Total Test  Total Cases % Positive Test
Last 7 Days 72 1 1.38%
Total Test 605 3 0.49%

Data as of 10/15/2021

The above dashboard reflects all tests conducted through MCLA's on-campus testing program in partnership with the Broad Institute, beginning August 16 for the Fall 2021 semester. The Community category tracks cases reported in the MCLA community through outside testing sources.

 

Total positive cases reported from
health agencies or other sources
Current Positive Cases
in Isolation
7 3

 

A COVID-19 vaccination requirement is now in place for all students, all three collective bargaining units (AFSCME, APA, MSCA Day Contract), and our non-unit employees.

Group  Vaccination Rate 
Employees 90%
Students 97%

 

 

Comparative Statistics

 MCLA (7-Day Positive Test Average)  1.38%
 Massachusetts (7-Day Positive Test)*  2.03%
 Pittsfield (Percent Positivity - Last 14 Days) *  1.96%
 North Adams (Percent Positivity - Last 14 Days) *  2.61%

*Source: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting

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Latest Updates

COVID-19 Updates (9/24/21)

Flu Vaccine Clinic Information (9/22/21)

Update for AFSCME Unit Members on Agreement for COVID-19 preventative measures (9/7/21)

Update for APA Unit Members on Agreement for COVID-19 preventative measures (8/30/21)

Employee COVID-19 testing this week (8/30/21)

Update for Day Contract MSCA Unit Members on Agreement for COVID-19 preventative measures (8/27/21)

Fall 2021 Student Update (8/18/21)

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for all Non-Union Employees (8/17/21)

COVID-19 Related Campus Updates (8/3/21)

Information for Students - Fall 2021 (6/23/21)

Employee Updates (6/3/21)

Vaccinations (4/26/21)

 

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Vaccine Requirements

Religious and medical exemptions will be reviewed and granted following the same exemption procedures MCLA utilizes for other vaccination exemptions as is consistent with Massachusetts state law. 

Students seeking a medical or religious exception will need to complete and submit the Health Services Vaccine Declination Form, which can be obtained by contacting HealthServices@mcla.edu.

Medical exceptions will be approved by Health Services and require a letter from a medical provider documenting the condition that prevents the administration of the vaccine.  Religious exceptions will be approved by the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office.

For questions, please contact the COVID Hotline at 413-662-5550

MCLA will work with unvaccinated students to meet their needs and enable them to continue their education in pursuit of their degree. MCLA requires all students attending in-person classes, living in campus housing, participating in on-campus activities, or accessing on-campus facilities to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus regardless of age or credit load.  

Due to the length of time it takes to become fully vaccinated, students are encouraged to schedule vaccine appointments as soon as possible. It is recommended students get their first dose of a two-dose vaccine by July 1st to be prepared for returning to campus in the fall. 

Resources for doing so include:

Students will be unenrolled or fall 2021 classes and will be unable to move into residence halls without presenting a copy of their official COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to Health Services by August 1, 2021. Please email a copy of your card to Health Services at healthservices@mcla.edu.

All visitors are welcome to campus and will be required to comply with all COVID health and safety protocols. Visitor policies will be updated based on public health guidelines.

Yes, all vendors and contracted employees working on campus will be required to be vaccinated. 

According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated: 

2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or

2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

All students engaging in on-campus life or activities must be vaccinated. 

Yes, in accordance with current CDC guidelines students need to be fully vaccinated. 

We will evaluate the need for surveillance testing in the fall and adapt the testing protocols according to the data and recommendations by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

Yes. All individuals who test positive for the virus are treated as active cases and will need to isolate immediately and regular contact tracing protocol will occur. 

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General

MCLA has once again engaged with the Broad Institute for a campus testing plan coordinated by our Health Services office.  MCLA’s opening testing plan is as follows: 

  • All resident students must provide proof at move-in of a negative PCR (molecular) COVID-19 test conducted in the previous 72 hours. This must be printed out with your name clearly indicated, date of the test, and result included. We cannot accept results from a phone screen. 
  • Resident students with an approved religious or medical exemption will need to bring a negative PCR test (explained above), receive a COVID-19 test upon arrival, and will quarantine in their room until a negative result is received from the Broad Institute. 
  • Commuter students with an approved medical or religious exemption will need to present a negative PCR test at Health Services before their first class, no later than Friday, September 3.  
  • All students with an approved medical or religious exemption will be surveillance tested on a weekly basis through Health Services.

After consulting with our local Department of Public Health (DPH) contact, MCLA has determined that at this time we will not conduct surveillance testing of vaccinated students. Health Services will continue to conduct symptomatic testing for students and contact tracing driven testing for any employee and student considered a close contact in a case of campus transmission. 

These testing guidelines follow MA Department of Public Health recommendations for symptomatic and asymptomatic complaints. Individuals will be triaged and referred to on or off-campus testing, as deemed medically necessary.  

Similar to last year, MCLA Health Services staff will lead the contact tracing efforts for any confirmed positive cases through our Broad Institute testing program. They partner with the necessary offices on campus to ensure close contacts are notified and work hand-in-hand with our local DPH contacts to ensure a swift response

The protocols below were developed in consultation with our local DPH contacts and MCLA’s Health Services staff, in alignment with the latest state and federal guidance. 

Vaccinated Individuals

  • If a vaccinated individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will need to isolate for 10 days.  
  • If a vaccinated individual has had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, the below applies:  
  • No initial test or quarantine needed 
  • Self-monitor for symptoms and test if symptoms develop.  
  • Testing should occur on the 5th day from the initial contact due to COVID-19 Delta variant incubation period
  • If there are no symptoms, the individual can be cleared but must monitor for symptoms until day 14.  

Unvaccinated Individuals

If an unvaccinated individual has close contact with any person who tests positive for COVID-19, they will need to do the following:

  • Day 1- take a test  
  • Day 5- take a test  
  • Day 8 - If both tests have returned negative results, and the student is still showing no symptoms, they are deemed cleared.  
  • Days 9-14- Continue to self-monitor for symptoms   
  • If an unvaccinated student has close contact with any person who tests positive for COVID-19 and develops symptoms, they need to do the following:  
  • Test on any day symptoms start and then again on day 5.   
  • If symptoms have resolved and the day 5 test is negative, they will continue to quarantine until day 8 as long no further symptoms occur. They would need to continue to monitor for 14 days for symptoms.
  • If symptoms are unresolved by day 8, and the student has had negative test results, they are to be tested one more time before they are cleared.  

MCLA is holding isolation space in the residence areas for COVID-19 positive cases. 

You can help by minimizing the spread of the disease through taking steps to protect yourself and others. Learn more about these steps via the Centers for Disease Control.

Yes. Students may fill out a form here to access emergency funds from the Charlotte Degen Student Aid Fund. This fund helps ease immediate needs for our students, including food insecurity, technology needs, and other unforeseen challenges.

The Center for Academic Technology has set up a resource for academic continuity at www.mcla.edu/remoteready. If you need a specific resource you don’t see listed there, please contact Ian Bergeron at ian.bergeron@mcla.edu.

MCLA's Help Desk is here for you. The IT staff and students who run the Help Desk are now using Teams, a live chat tool, as well as their usual ticketing system, to help students, faculty, and staff work remotely. Learn more about that here.

Check out MCLA IT Help Center's handy list of ISPs who have pledged to help.

As a reminder, MCLA’s Public Safety department remains open and staffed 24/7 to ensure the safety of the campus and our community as we move to remote instruction. Campus Police officers will continue to do regular rounds and respond to emergency situations. In an emergency, dial 413-662-5100 (911 from a campus phone); for non-emergency situations, call 413-662-5283 or 5284 (5283 or 5284 from a campus phone).

Counseling Services will reopen for in-person counseling sessions at the start of the fall 2021 semester. Counseling Services staff is eager to support students and will primarily be offering in-person services to vaccinated students, with teletherapy services continuing to be offered by special request. Unvaccinated students will be offered teletherapy only. To schedule an appointment, students are invited to call Counseling Services at (413) 662-5331 between the hours of 8:30 am-4:30 pm, Monday-Friday, or email Counseling Services at Marissa.Parker@mcla.edu. More information can be found here.

Health Services will be open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students who would like to be evaluated are encouraged to call 413-662-5421 during hours of operation to be triaged and provided an appointment either through the tele-medicine platform Doxy.me or in person as appropriate. This includes any complaint that a student would seek medical attention for, as well as COVID related complaints. Students experiencing a medical emergency, or when Health Services is closed, should contact MCLA Campus Police at 413-662-5100 or 911. For complete information on services, please visit Health Services on the MCLA website.

Freel Library's fall semester hours begin on Wednesday, September 1:

Sunday: noon - midnight
Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - midnight
Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday: noon - 4 p.m.

Visitors to the library are required to follow current campus COVID safety guidelines. For the latest information on library services and operations, please visit the library website.

The MCLA Bookstore is open 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk-in visits are welcome! However, ordering your Fall textbooks online is highly recommended. Email communications from the store manager (krystal.bartley@mcla.edu) went out with directions for purchasing required course materials at MCLASHOP.com as well as important information about text rental and order pick-up. 

To avoid long lines, online orders are to be picked-up at the mailroom. 

Questions? The preferred method of contact is emailing 0185mgr@follett.com. If your issue requires immediate attention feel free to call the store during normal business hours at 413-662-5240.

MCLA’s Writing Studio will be offering both face-to-face and asynchronous appointments this semester. For a face-to-face appointment, come to Murdock 120 with your written work and please wear your masks; if you’d prefer an asynchronous appointment, you can upload your essay through our scheduling software, WCOnline, and you’ll receive written feedback within 24 hours. Our hours are Sunday, from 5:00 pm-6:00 pm, and Monday through Thursday, from 12:00 pm-1:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged during midterms and finals. For more information and to make an appointment, go to the Writing Studio website at www.mcla.edu/writingstudio.

The Math Help Drop-In Center is now open virtually as the Math Help Drop-In Channel on Microsoft Teams! To get online help with any math question from any course, please sign into Portal and follow this link: From 4 – 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, there will be student Tutors live on the Channel, ready to help you with math. You can even post questions to the Channel after-hours, and the Tutoring team will try to get back to you as they are able. 

This link will give you locations of hand sanitizer on campus.

All members of our community are encouraged to wear masks while on campus, especially inside College buildings. All students, regardless of vaccination status, are required to be masked in all indoor spaces, including classrooms, common spaces, and residence areas outside of their own rooms. This policy is necessary to begin the semester based on the latest data and information surrounding the Delta variant. As with all our COVID-19 protocols, this is subject to change, based on prevailing public health data and best practices. COVID-19 can be spread by vaccinated individuals, and a mask is the best tool available to help stop any potential spread of the virus. 

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For Students

Athletics is planning on competing in full schedules for this year.  We are following NCAA and MASCAC guidelines related to COVID. At this time fans are welcome to attend both indoor and outdoor sporting events and must follow the campus masking policies that are in place. If you are interested in participating in a sport please reach out to the coach via email https://athletics.mcla.edu/information/directory/index.

The Trailblazer Fitness Center will be open once classes begin and will follow any campus masking policies in place. All updates can be found here: https://athletics.mcla.edu/information/facilities/TFC 

All students, including those who have completed their on-campus residency requirement, will be required to have a meal plan in the coming year. These are the meal plans:

  • The first, required for all those with a residency requirement, is the Every Meal plan, which provides a meal during all 19 scheduled meals per week, plus $100 in declining balance and $25 in Blazer bucks. This plan will cost $2,140 for the fall.
  • The second plan, required for all those who have fulfilled their residency requirement but opt to live in campus residence this fall, includes 65 meals, $100 in declining balance and $25 in Blazer bucks. This plan will cost $700 for the fall. If you have fulfilled your residency requirement, you may opt up to the Every Meal plan.

Dining plans are still being developed, but there will be two dining areas with limited seating to meet state guidelines. Students will be required to reserve a spot in either the Centennial Room or Venable Gym during meal times, and there will be several seating times per meal. Most items will be prepackaged and take out will also be available. The retail dining operations will likely provide a limited choice meal at lunch and dinner on the meal plan to help ensure adequate availability of meals.  

The bookstore is open 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, if you can’t make it to campus, you can still return your rentals and sell your books back online. 

You can ship your rentals to the store, using the shipping carrier of your choice.  Follow the steps below to process your rental return. Due date reminders will be sent to the email you used for setting up your account. 

  1. Sign in to your account using the same email address you provided at the register in-store or entered when you rented online. Note: If you don’t know your password, that’s OK – just click “Forgot Password” to reset.  
  2. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be navigated to the Rentals page to view your Rental Account Information and Rental History.  
  3. Click “Return all Rentals by Mail” and follow the steps to print your packing slip. 
  4. Print your packing slip and include in your rental shipment. It is crucial to include the packing slip in your box – it identifies you, what you’re returning, and where to send your rentals. 

Note: Shipping is at your expense. 

If the store is closed you can sell your books online at Valore Books on our website Sell Your books here.  The process is easy 

  • Simply find your ISBN to get started 
  • Enter your info and send in your book(s) within 14 days of receiving your sell back quote 
  • Score FREE shipping and receive payment via check or PayPal 

As always, questions can be directed to 0185mgr@follett.com or you can call the store at 413-662-5240 during normal business hours. 

Yes! Please see this page for information about Student Financial Services and COVID-19.

The Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) remains committed to providing academic support to MCLA students. For students seeking tutorial support, please submit requests online through the MCLA portal as follows: Portal > Student Academics > Request a Tutorial

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For Prospective Students

View our tour page for more details.

You can also explore our virtual tour!

Yes! The Office of Admission is hosting virtual tours and information sessions Monday through Friday. Visit the tour page for more information and the registration link.

You can also view the following information sessions:

Abbreviated Information Session (6 minutes) - Learn about the Admission & Financial Aid process.

Full Information Session (24 minutes) - Learn about the Admission & Financial Aid process, academics, and life on and off-campus.

You can connect with a current Trailblazer through the Office of Admission.

Also be on the lookout for virtual events where you will have the opportunity to speak with current students.

MCLA is waiving the SAT/ACT testing requirement for applicants for fall 2022, and we will be piloting a test-blind (test-free) policy for fall 2022 applicants. National and institutional data point to high school work being indicative of student success in college and a more equitable means of assessment. Additionally, as an institution we have a staunch commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the use of SAT/ACT scores in admission decisions is posing a significant barrier in carrying out that tenet of our mission

Changes to your grades due to COVID-19 will not affect your application negatively. MCLA evaluates first year applicants based on high school academic performance, strength of curriculum, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay in accordance with guidelines established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE). E-mail your admission counselor if you have additional questions.

At a residential liberal arts campus like MCLA, a highlight is the interaction we have with one another in spaces where we live and learn. We expect to be able to return to fuller capacity, back to offering double rooms occupancy. Information about the housing process for students is forthcoming.

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Archive Communications

Message to Students About Move-out Procedure and Protocols and Related Information (4/1/21)

Lost Wages Fund Request (3/29/21)

Looking Ahead to Fall 2021 (3/15/21)

Student Message: Updated Information for Spring and Vaccine Guidance (3/10/21)

Reminder to out of state students: MA Travel Order is required when returning to Massachusetts this week (1/19/21)

Student Spring '21 Return (1/11/21)

Message to Students: Spring 2021 Semester Updates (12/14/20)

Communication to Students re: Early Move-Out (11/16/20)

Students Spring 2021 Updates (11/13/20)

Ready for Remote Checklist (11/13/20)

Student COVID-19 Updates: Executive Orders, Travel, End of Semester Move-Out (11/5/20)

Resident Student Fall Move-Out Appointment Scheduling (10/30/20)

Important new protocol for travel from and return to campus (10/29/20)

End of semester move-out and process for limited exceptions (10/21/20)

Student Message Regarding Off-Campus Gatherings (9/3/20)

Return to Campus Student Guide (8/26/20)

Early Add/Drop Period for Returning and Transfer Students (8/25/20)

Important: Trailblazer Agreement (8/19/20)

Important Information for Resident Students about Move-in (8/17/20)

COVID Testing Broad COVID-19 Testing Consent Form (8/17/20)

Fall 2020 Student Update (8/6/20)

MCLA Return to Campus Final Report July 2020 (8/6/20)

Trailblazers Keep Going Initiative (4/27/2020)

Explore. Create. Connect! A new place for community connections (4/6/2020)

Student Communication Update (4/2/2020)

Student update regarding remote instruction resources and other resources (3/26/2020)

Billing adjustments due to COVID (3/23/2020)

Stay-At-Home Advisory (3/23/2020)

Resident Student Update: Retrieving Your Belongings and Waiver Request To Live on Campus (3/18/2020)

Important COVID Related Updates for Students (3/17/2020)

Message to Students: COVID-19 Updates and Spring Break Travel Planning (3/10/2020)

Employee Communication and Travel Updates (4/22/21)

Spring 2021 Pivot to Remote Learning Employee Follow-up (4/1/21)

Faculty and Staff Semester Opening COVID-19 Updates (1/25/21)

Employee Spring 2021 Return to Campus (1/12/21)

Employee Update: Extending Remote Work Until 1/17/2021 (1/8/21)

MCLA Return to Work Guide for all employees

Employee Update: Extending Remote Work Until 1/10/2021 (12/23/20)

Message to Employees: Spring 2021 Semester Updates (12/18/20)

Faculty and Staff Updates: Remote Work, Holiday Schedule, Travel, Testing (11/16/20)

Interim Telecommuting Guide

Faculty and Staff Spring 2021 Updates (11/13/20)

Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Updates: Executive Orders, Travel, and Employee Testing (11/5/20)

COVID-19 Dashboard and Testing Update (9/3/20)

Broad Employee COVID Consent Form (9/3/20)

Employee Return to Campus Health and Safety Update (8/27/20)

Employee Fall 2020 Return to Campus Update (8/6/20)

MCLA Return to Work Guide July 2020 (7/2/20)

Temporary Telecommunication Continuation (6/22/2020)

Return to Work Guide (7/1/2020)

Working Safely on Campus - Training

ADA Accommodation Medical Certification

ADA Request for Reasonable Accommodation

Request for Temporary Telecommuting Continuation Form Spring 2021

Gov. Baker's Executive Order Re: Masks (6/5/2020)

Extended Remote Work (4/27/2020)

Important Message about Equal Opportunity and Equality (41/2020)

Federal Families First: Coronavirus Act (4/1/2020)  (Printable Poster)

Emergency Help for Students in Need (4/8/2020)

Stay-At-Home Advisory (3/23/2020)

Message regarding Telecommuting for Staff (3/17/2020)

Faculty and Staff COVID updates (3/10/20)

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Informative Websites

Once you're vaccinated:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Massachusetts FAQs:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions

MCLA CARES Act, CRRSAA, and ARP Act (HEERF I, II, III) Reporting

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

https://www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/coronavirus

U.S. Department of Education Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Information and Resources

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Information on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Office of Student Health Services

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