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Details on Fall Semester

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Key Fall 2021 COVID Protocols

Academics

  • Eastern’s fall semester will begin on August 23, 2021, with classes starting on August 26, 2021. At this point, and assuming public health conditions continue to improve in Connecticut, we are planning for full capacity in our classrooms and a full schedule of on-ground courses similar to pre-COVID semesters.  The University will follow all prevailing CDC and State of Connecticut guidelines regarding facemasks, social distancing, and other COVID-related protocols.

  • All facilities, including classrooms, have been evaluated to establish appropriate maximum occupancy levels. Occupancy levels and capacities for the fall semester will be based on prevailing State of Connecticut guidelines. Based on current and projected public health conditions on campus, faculty office hours/visits, academic support services, such as tutoring and advising, and other face-to-face services, will resume this fall; some services may also have optional online options.

  • The library will be open at full capacity, with hours approximating pre-COVID semesters:

    Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–midnight
    Friday: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
    Saturday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
    Sunday: noon to midnight

  • The Office of Admissions will small group tours on-campus throughout the summer and plans on having at least one and possibly two on-campus open houses in the fall.

Student Life

  • Students will be offered the option of being able to participate in an early belonging drop-off , signing up to bring belongings to the residence halls between August 14-20. This option will make the official move-in process less hectic and will allow for appropriate spacing of students and campus guests. The official move-in will take place on August 23 for first-year and transfer students, and on August 25 for upper level/returning students. Students will need to submit documentation showing they have received a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR-test result prior to their arrival for move-in.

    Common bathrooms in residence halls will be cleaned twice per day, M-F, by Facilities staff.

    Bathrooms in residential suites and apartments will be cleaned by the residents, who will supply their own cleaning agents. The use of masks in common areas, updated social distancing protocols that may be prescribed by public health officials, and other health and safety protocols must be followed in residence halls. Common areas, i.e. lounges, kitchens, laundry rooms, will have maximum occupancy posted which will be dictated by updated distancing guidance from public health officials.

    Fitness rooms, computer labs, and recreational lounges will be open in the residence halls. All areas will have disinfectant wipes and/or sprays provided for students to disinfect equipment before and after use. Provided there is no conflicting guidance by public health officials, visitation in the residence halls will be allowed in accordance with housing contract policies on visitation. Additionally, barring any guidance to the contrary, residence hall social and educational programs will resume with in-person offerings for the fall semester. Some residence halls may still elect to offer hybrid modality programming since the infrastructure is in place to do so. It is also our goal to offer residential students various outings, trips, and off-campus activities using university vehicles.

  • All dining location on campus (Hurley Dining Hall, Student Center Food Court, Library Café, and Shafer Café) will be open, starting on August 23, 2021, for full service and unrestricted seating, based on current Connecticut restaurant guidelines. All locations will be able to accept cash transactions, as well as credit/debit, Dining Dollars, and Expre$$ Cash.

    Hurley Hall hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 7:15 a.m.-8 p.m. for continuous service. Meals will be as follows: Monday through Friday 7:15-9:30 a.m. for breakfast, 9:30-11 a.m. for continental breakfast, 11 a.m.-2p.m. for lunch, 2– 4 p.m. for lite lunch, and 4-8 p.m. for dinner. On the weekends, Hurley will be open 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. for brunch, and 5-8 p.m. for dinner. All self-service buffets and food stations will be fully open and operational.

    Based on current University policy, students will be required to wear face masks while getting their food but will be able to take them off once seated in the dining room. Plexiglass has been installed to support health and safety.

    The Student Center Food Court will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and will be open from noon-9 p.m. on the weekends. All food stations will be fully open and operational. Boost Mobile Ordering will be available to pre-order and pre-pay to reduce wait time in lines. The app that can be downloaded onto customers’ cell phones.

    The Library Café will be open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m., and closed on the weekends. Bottled beverages, Green Mountain Coffee, On-The-Go salads, sandwiches, snacks, and freshly pressed panini sandwiches will be available throughout the day.

    Shafer Café will be open Monday through Friday, 7:30-10:30 a.m., and closed on the weekends. Bottled beverages, Peets coffee, On-The-Go salads, sandwiches, snacks and breakfast sandwiches will be available.
  • Eastern is planning to play a full schedule of non-conference and Little East Conference games in all sports for the fall semester.  All Sports Center facilities will be open except for the swimming pool. The weight room will be open for limited hours and the building will be closed on weekends.  Intramurals and recreational programming will be scheduled per pre-COVID semesters.

  • New students will participate in a variety of orientation programs this summer both in-person and virtual. First-year students will participate in a one-day on-ground SOAR (Student Orientation Advising and Registration) during the month of June. SOAR will allow our new students to meet other students, student leaders, faculty and staff, acclimate them to the campus and allow them to finalize their fall schedule. Each session will follow social distancing guidelines with a limited number of attendees per session; all students must wear a facemask.

    During the month of July, new students will participate in a mandatory Orientation Online. Online Orientation will introduce students to the services and resources Eastern offers so that they can become a successful part of the campus community. Orientation Online will include videos, resources and checklists. Students will have until August 13 to complete the Online Orientation program.

    For students not comfortable attending SOAR on-ground, or for students wanting to meet more new students, they can attend a virtual Warrior Meet Up. Warrior Meet Ups give students the opportunity to build connections with other new students and to connect with like-minded peers who share similar identities as well as embrace other cultures and identities that may be different from their own. Warrior Meet Ups are optional and will occur in July over WebEx.

    The final orientation program for new students is Fall Warrior Welcome which occurs immediately after first-year student move-in in August. All new first-year and transfer, residential and commuter students are required to attend Warrior Welcome scheduled for August 23- 25, 2021. Fall Warrior Welcome consists of three days of activities designed to help students acclimate themselves to campus and prepare for the start of classes.

    New parents and family members will also have the option to participate in an on-ground or virtual orientation program. They can participate in a half day on-ground program during the month of June (1 family member per student) or participate in the Family online Orientation program which will be available in July.

Health and Safety

  • On Thursday, June 24, the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education approved a policy that will require that all students in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, including Eastern, must be vaccinated to attend classes and engage in on-ground campus activities this fall. 

    Students will need to provide their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to verify they have been vaccinated. The policy will allow for medical and non-medical exemptions:

    Medical Exemption

    Non-Medical Exemption

    The process for submitting proof of vaccination is being finalized and will be shared with students as soon as it is available.

    The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge and readily available to the public; please visit the Connecticut Vaccine Portal to find a FREE vaccine provider near you. Information on the vaccine is also available at Vaccine Requirement FAQs.

    Fully vaccinating all students will help Eastern move quickly and safely beyond COVID-19 and create a healthy campus community where students can study and live safely. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

  • The university has installed 500 additional hand sanitation units at all building entrances, at the entrance to all classrooms, and in dining halls, lounges and common areas.

    Signs reminding students, faculty and staff to wash their hands and practice other healthy personal hygiene habits have been posted in bathrooms and other public areas throughout the campus.

    Facilities staff have deep cleaned buildings in accordance with relevant CDC and State of Connecticut guidelines. They have also received training on new cleaning protocols, and safe and proper use of approved cleaning chemicals and disinfectants. All bathroom, classrooms, labs, general office spaces, conference rooms, meeting rooms, etc. will be cleaned and sanitized daily. “High touch” areas will be cleaned and sanitized daily.

    Fresh air intake in buildings has been adjusted to increase the number of air changes per hour, and nightly purges of air intake will occur. All HVAC filters will be replaced on a quarterly basis. Additional cleaning and disinfecting equipment, i.e. disinfecting electrostatic sprayers will be used by trained Facilities staff.

  • Now that the State of Connecticut has dropped its travel advisory, Eastern is exclusively following CDC guidance. As a reminder, those who are vaccinated can travel domestically without testing or quarantine. Those who have not been fully vaccinated should follow CDC guidance, including testing before and after travel, and quarantine.

    Employees and students should be advised to follow this guidance, but COVID Coordinators do not need to document vaccination, even in cases where travel is school-sponsored. The University is reviewing its plans for vaccine documentation for the fall reopening to get a better sense of overall immunity. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html.

    Other than international students arriving/departing from campus as part of their academic studies, international travel for personal reasons is strongly discouraged.

    The CDC encourages people planning international travel to be vaccinated. Anyone entering the United States from overseas must get a COVID test 3-5 days before traveling to the United States, and then a test within 3-5 days upon arrive. For further guidance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html.

    In addition, travelers from a number of countries are prohibited from entry to the United States. For guidance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html.

  • At this time, testing protocols have not been established by the DPH and System Office for the Fall semester. Once guidelines are provided, we will respond and implement accordingly.

  • Arrangements are in place to isolate or quarantine students who cannot return home at on- and off-campus locations. In addition, an isolation room has been established in Student Health Services to evaluate high-risk patients.

    If a student needs to go into quarantine or isolation, and they reside in on-campus housing, the COVID Care Coordinator will work with Housing and Residence Life to assist the student in moving to a room until the period of quarantine or isolation is over.

    Fifty beds in the Low Rise Apartments have been set aside for isolation and quarantine purposes. Low Rise has private bathrooms and full kitchens in each apartment. If needed, the University is prepared to enter into an arrangement to use the Inn at Storrs in Mansfield which has capacity for 60 students (60 beds) in double-occupancy rooms. Private bathrooms are located in each room.

    Chartwell’s will provide three boxed meals daily for students in isolation/quarantine and deliver the food to students. This will be coordinated by the COVID Care Coordinator.
  • The Health Center will continue to hold office hours from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. during the week. Plexiglass shields have been installed on the front office desk to minimize virus exposure if a student, faculty or staff needs to interact with a front office staff person directly.

    An “Isolation Room” will allow potential COVID patients to be seen without entering the main area. We will limit the number of students in the waiting area to maintain a minimum of six feet of distancing. All students will exit with staff escort through the door that leads outside.

    Students who present with symptoms consistent with COVID -19 will not be seen at the Student Health Services (SHS) unless it is an emergency. Instead, the health service provider will plan for the student to proceed to be tested on campus. If an in-person examination or assessment is deemed necessary, the provider will notify the front office staff that an appointment needs to be scheduled for that day or the following day based on the presenting concern and appointment availability. SHS will notify Public Safety, Facilities, COVID Care Coordinator and Vice President of Student Affairs.

    Students with symptoms suspicious for COVID-19 will be seen in a designated room for high risk infectious diseases. When meeting with a student for an in-person appointment, the health service provider and the student are required to maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from each other (if possible) and wear a mask and gloves, as well as wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or with hand sanitizer before and after the appointment. All necessary PPE will be utilized and discarded according to CDC and DPH guidance and recommendations. At no time will a health service provider render services to a student without wearing all necessary PPE. Student health records will be accessed via the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. If a student transport is required, EMS will be activated.

    Students in isolation and/or quarantine will be contacted daily vie telehealth by medical staff and general wellness checks (i.e. meals, access to mental health services, academics) by the COVID Care Coordinator.
  • If a student needs to go into quarantine or isolation, and they reside in on-campus housing, Health Services will work with the COVID Care Coordinator and Housing and Residence Life to assist the student in moving to a room until the period of quarantine or isolation is over.

  • Contact Tracing will be managed by a staff member in Student Affairs with a team of contact tracers who have taken and passed the John Hopkins University contract tracing course and serve as tracers on campus. Eastern also works with the North Central District of the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) to coordinate contact tracing of commuters.

    Eastern’s COVID Care Coordinator coordinates our contact tracing with staff assigned to oversee contract tracing. Eastern’s contact tracing team has been trained in and has access to the state’s CONNTACT platform. Eastern conducts the official contact tracing for all on-campus students who test positive. Eastern conducts informal contact tracing when it becomes aware of a commuter student who tests positive. When this is done, information is than shared with the local DPH.