As the new year brings new challenges, Babson College is beginning to welcome students back to campus for the spring semester on time with new safeguards to protect the entire community.
The spring semester will begin as scheduled with remote classes for the first week, the College announced last week. Graduate classes begin Sunday, January 16, and undergraduate classes start Tuesday, January 18. All classes will be held remotely through January 23 (with the exception of the MSEL, MSAEL, and Miami cohorts) to accommodate potential travel delays and allow for testing before returning to the classroom.
“With the current surge of COVID-19 cases, we should expect to see a significant increase in cases upon our return,” said Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD. “Our collective goal is to minimize community spread to the extent possible. To meet that goal, we are updating and enhancing protocols to help mitigate risk.”
Testing Before Returning
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Babson has prioritized the health and well-being of the Babson community while maintaining academic continuity and excellence.
With the semester starting on time, all students should plan to arrive on campus as scheduled to complete the testing process for class clearance. All students must receive and upload a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR, at-home rapid, or observed rapid) within three days (72 hours) of their planned arrival to campus.
Once back on campus, all students, faculty, staff, and affiliates must complete a Babson PCR test within 24 hours of their return and again three to five days later. Students must receive a negative test before being allowed to attend in-person classes.
Booster Shots Required
COVID-19 vaccine boosters are required for all eligible Babson community members, the College announced in December. Students, faculty, and staff who are participating in on-campus activities must provide booster vaccination information by February 1, or within 21 days of becoming eligible for a booster (unless granted a medical accommodation or religious exemption).
“A vaccinated community remains our best defense against the virus,” Spinelli said, “and the latest scientific evidence indicates that boosters provide improved protection against the Omicron variant.”
Masking Continues Indoors
To continue protecting the entire Babson community, masking remains required indoors, except for residence halls (or while actively eating or drinking), for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. The College strongly recommends the use of KN95, N95, or surgical masks, which have proven to be the most effective in preventing the spread.
Quarantine and Isolation
To properly safeguard the community and manage students who have been exposed to COVID-19 or test positive, the College also revised its quarantine and isolation procedures.
Students who test positive for COVID-19, or who are experiencing symptoms, will enter an isolation protocol, regardless of vaccination status. Students who test positive may be moved to a dedicated isolation space, and students identified as a close contact and experiencing symptoms may be moved to a dedicated quarantine space.
Because quarantine and isolation space on campus is limited, non-residential students will continue to quarantine off campus, and residential students are strongly encouraged to quarantine off campus if possible. Residential students who need to remain on campus and are asymptomatic may quarantine in their assigned room.
“A vaccinated community remains our best defense against the virus, and the latest scientific evidence indicates that boosters provide improved protection against the Omicron variant.”
Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD
Asymptomatic students identified as a close contact and not fully vaccinated (including those who are eligible for a booster but have not received one) must quarantine for five days, followed by five days of strict mask use (KN95, N95, or surgical).
Asymptomatic students who are fully vaccinated and boosted, vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster, or who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, are not required to quarantine unless they are experiencing symptoms. Strict mask use (KN95, N95, or surgical) is required for 10 days following exposure, including in residence hall common areas.
“COVID-19 is a dynamic ongoing challenge,” Spinelli said. “Our policies may evolve in the coming weeks as we evaluate rapidly changing data and public health guidance.”
Updates to the College’s COVID-19 Dashboard will resume January 19. For the most recent updates, visit the Babson Together website, where you can find more information about the Student Experience and the Faculty and Staff Experience.