Spring Semester FAQ

Jan. 10, 2022

Dear Holy Cross Community,

We’d like to follow up on President Rougeau’s Friday email with some additional information and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

To begin, we want to be clear that we are not going into “lockdown.” We will operate normally, even as the first week of classes is held remotely. The intent of a phased return is to provide flexibility for returning students. Students can return to campus as early as January 23. Based on what we are already seeing, however, we anticipate that many students will receive an unexpected positive result in their pre-arrival testing. We have implemented a phased opening, so those students can isolate at home and continue with classes. 

As President Rougeau said, all classes will be in-person beginning Feb. 7. Students can schedule their return between Jan. 23 and Feb. 4. Spreading the return over two weeks not only provides optimum flexibility for students, but it also helps the campus avoid a surge that may overwhelm our operations.

  • The Jo, Dinand Library and other campus offices and facilities will be open: Provided everyone is masked and in the testing protocol as required, campus activities can be held. Professors can meet with students. Club sports can practice and play as usual. Many classrooms will be available as study spaces for students the week of Jan. 24, when all classes are virtual.

  • Dining will be grab and go for the first week: Masking is particularly important during this surge. Dining facilities will be grab and go for the first week to avoid having people gathered together while eating or drinking. We will allow in-person dining after the first week unless our testing results indicate a need to change plans.

  • We are now requiring people to wear surgical masks (or better): Surgical masks are the disposable, often blue masks that are shown on the CDC website under “disposable masks. They are widely available. Cloth masks are no longer allowed unless paired with a surgical mask. In light of our vaccination rates and testing protocol, blue surgical masks are appropriate for Holy Cross employees. N95, KN95 and KF94 masks are also allowed but not required.

  • You can get a booster even if you’ve recently tested positive: The CDC does not recommend waiting to get your booster. As soon as you are feeling better and have completed isolation, you are able to get your booster. If your doctor feels you should wait a longer period of time, you must apply for a medical exemption which can be found on the health services website. A doctor's note is required. As a reminder, the CDC now recommends a booster two months after receiving J&J, and five months after receiving your second Pfizer and Moderna shots. Boosters are required unless you have a medical or religious exemption. 

  • It’s important to report any at-home positive test to the College: Students should send their test result (a photo of an at-home result is acceptable) to healthservices@holycross.edu. Employees should notify Human Resources. This is particularly important because if you have recently recovered from COVID you may test positive on your PCR test. If we cannot confirm that you recently had COVID and are recovered, you may need to isolate.   

The patterns we have been seeing during this surge of the Omicron variant suggest we should expect high rates of positive cases this semester, yet with milder symptoms among our highly vaccinated population. Many organizations have experienced significant disruptions to operations as the virus spreads through the population. In addition to our focus on the health and safety of our community, we are also concerned about maintaining appropriate staffing levels, particularly in critical areas. 

We hope this helps clarify the reasoning behind our phased return and answers some of your most asked questions. For any additional questions, please email coronavirus@holycross.edu.

Sincerely,

The Holy Cross COVID Core Team