COVID-19 Health & Safety

Updated 9/20/22

Ensuring the health, wellness, and safety of our community is our first priority. In preparation for this academic year, NEC has engaged in a deliberative process of crafting a plan that matches our unwavering commitment to health and safety with a student experience of uncompromising quality, depth, and impact. We have developed this plan in consultation with numerous public health officials, agencies, and experts, and in collaboration with partner organizations and other institutions spanning the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.

We are excited to welcome you back to campus. Please see the latest COVID-19 protocols that will be in place for the fall 2022 semester. If you have any questions regarding the following protocols, please contact Health Services (students) or Human Resources (employees) for assistance.

VACCINATION

  • All community members are required to be up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination (currently defined by NEC as receipt of an approved COVID-19 primary series followed by a one booster vaccination when eligible) unless they have been approved by NEC for a medical or religious exemption. 
  • If you have completed your COVID-19 vaccinations with brands approved or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, you are considered fully vaccinated even if the brand is not authorized for use in the U.S.
  • If you are due for a COVID-19 booster vaccination, you should receive a booster dose using an authorized or approved mRNA vaccine (Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna).
  • Proof of vaccination (primary series and booster when eligible) must be uploaded to the NEC Student Health Portal (students) or to ADP (faculty and staff). 
    • If you uploaded this information last year, you are not required to re-submit it.

SYMPTOM SURVEILLANCE

  • Please take responsibility for monitoring your symptoms. You are responsible for helping to ensure the health of the NEC community. If you are symptomatic or experiencing what you believe to be new cold-like or allergy symptoms, please:
    • Do not come to campus
    • Take a rapid antigen home test followed by a PCR test confirming negative status before returning to campus
  • If you test positive: 
    • Follow the CDC’s current guidance on isolation, masking, and quarantine
    • Students: notify close contacts and Health Services. Communicate with faculty as necessary on your absence.
    • Faculty and staff: notify close contacts and your primary care provider. Coordinate with your supervisor and HR as necessary on your absence and the anticipated date of your return to campus.
      • Faculty should consult with your department chair or the Associate Provost about plans for classes/lessons during isolation. Options may include remote work or teaching (if appropriate), rescheduling, or an alternate plan to offer coursework during this period. 

IF YOU ARE A CLOSE CONTACT AND ALSO A WIND/BRASS/VOCALIST

  • Per CDC guidelines, you must wear a mask on campus for 10 days following a known exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. However, you can participate in performance activities if you are asymptomatic and have a negative rapid antigen test every 48 hours during the 10 day period after your last contact.  Tests are available in the Health Center. Masks must be worn on campus when not actively singing or playing the aerosol instrument.

TESTING

  • Onboarding and surveillance testing will not be required or offered. 
  • Students living in the residence hall will receive two rapid antigen tests during move-in for personal use.
  • Non-residential students can obtain two rapid tests for personal use, at the following times:
    • Sunday August 28th, 12-4pm in the SLPC Lobby
    • Saturday September 3rd, 9am-5pm in the SLPC Lobby
    • After September 3rd, rapid tests will be available to pick up in Student Services 
  • Additional rapid tests are available in Health Services for students who are symptomatic or a close contact to a positive case.
  • Faculty and staff may obtain two rapid antigen tests by contacting Human Resources.
  • The federal government is also providing free tests http://covidtests.gov.

MASKING

  • Mask use on campus is optional with the following exceptions:
    • While visiting the NEC Health & Counseling Center
    • Per CDC guidelines, you must wear a mask on campus for 10 days following a known exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual.
      • Aerosol instruments and singers who have a known exposure to COVID-19 may continue to participate in performance activities pending a negative rapid antigen test every 48 hours for the 10 days following exposure. Tests are available in the Health Center. Masks must be worn on campus when not actively singing or playing the aerosol instrument.
    • COVID-recovered individuals must wear a mask for 5 days while on campus after completing their 5-day isolation period (i.e. for a total of 10 days after symptom onset or a positive COVID-19 test)
  • We appreciate that some people may choose to continue to mask even when it is not required. All community members should respect and support these personal decisions.

 

AIR QUALITY AND ROOM OCCUPANCY

  • All HEPA filters will be replaced prior to the start of classes.
  • There will be no restrictions on room occupancy, or requirements for room rest, social distancing, or limitations on performance durations.

 

GUESTS AND AUDIENCES ON CAMPUS

  • Guests are no longer required to complete attestation forms prior to their visit. Before hosting a guest, community members are responsible to communicate the following expectations: 
    • If they are not up-to-date on vaccination (receipt of an approved primary series plus booster when eligible), they must obtain either: 
      • a negative result on a rapid test within 24 hours; or
      • a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the visit.
    • Do not come to campus if experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or any new new cold-like or allergy symptoms
  • Guests will be permitted in the residence hall subject to the above expectations. Residential students and their guests are required to abide by the guest policy outlined in the Student Handbook and the 2022-23 Housing Contract. Violators of NEC’s guest policy will have their guest privileges revoked.
  • Each time they attend a performance or public event, audience members are required to show proof of being up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of attendance. 

 

RISK ASSESSMENT

  • Going forward, NEC’s COVID-19 protocols will be based on: 
    • Review of CDC guidance, assessing risk based on the level of community transmission and hospitalizations;
    • Updates to public health guidance and/or federal, state, or local guidelines and recommendations; 
    • Hospital capacity data;
    • Industry recommendations specific to our particular environment as an educational institution and conservatory.
  • Changes to COVID protocols will be communicated to the community through NEC public email announcements.