Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19

Masking

+Do I have to wear a mask if I’m vaccinated?

All members of the Saint Mary’s student and employee community who are up-to-date on their vaccinations can remove their masks indoors if comfortable doing so, including in classrooms, with the following exceptions: 

  • Unvaccinated or Not Up-To-Date with Vaccines. Any individual who is unvaccinated, or is eligible to receive a booster but has not done so, should continue to mask indoors at all times. For students, this includes private residence hall rooms that are not yours.
  • Recent Close Contact, Quarantine or Isolation. Following CDC recommendations, you are required to wear a mask indoors when around others due to a close contact, or recent release from quarantine or isolation. 
  • Private Offices and Classrooms. We ask that all members of our community mask in offices, classrooms and spaces where use of a mask is requested. Employees of the College are encouraged to complete reports on students who are not following masking requirements in offices or individual classrooms, and violations could result in Student Conduct referral
  • Performances, Lectures and Events. Some performances, lectures, or events might require masks. Be prepared to wear a mask if the individual event requires them.
  • As Requested. Be prepared to mask when asked.

In addition to following Saint Mary’s masking requirements, athletes will follow NCAA and/or MIAA masking guidelines.

+Do students and employees have to wear a mask if they have received an exemption?

Yes. Individuals who are not up-to-date with the COVID vaccine, even if they received an exemption, should continue to mask indoors at all times.

Vaccinations

+Who is required to have a vaccine at Saint Mary’s College?

All students and employees of Saint Mary’s are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before enrolling or beginning employment. Exemptions must be approved prior to enrollment or employment. Information on the exemption process before enrollment can be found here. New employees should contact the Office of Human Resources to request an exemption: hr@saintmarys.edu or (574) 284-4542.

+Are students required to get a booster for the COVID vaccine?

Yes. In December 2021, Saint Mary's expanded the vaccine requirement for enrollment at the College to include a COVID booster. As of January, 2022, the CDC definition of "up-to-date with the COVID vaccine" includes the booster for those who are eligible for one.

+What do you mean by "up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccine?

According to the CDC, you are considered up-to-date with the COVID-19 vaccine if you have received your booster, or do not yet qualify for a booster because you received a Johnson & Johnson dose within the last two months, or the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer within the last 5 months. If you did not receive a vaccine, or did not complete the initial two-shot series of Moderna or Pfizer, or you qualify for a booster but have not received one, you are not considered up-to-date. Testing, masking and quarantine/isolation protocols, among others, are different for individuals who are not up-to-date for the vaccine.

+I recently had COVID. Can I get vaccinated? Can I get the booster?

Generally, having had COVID does not prevent you from getting the vaccine or the booster, once you are no longer symptomatic and have completed your isolation period. In fact, the CDC recommends that people who have had COVID should receive the vaccine and the booster for continued protection against different strains of the virus. Some COVID antibody and plasma treatments can prevent you from getting the vaccine or the booster. Please get documentation from your doctor on how long you should wait to receive the vaccine or the booster. Students should contact HCCenter@saintmarys.edu with this information. Employees should contact HR@saintmarys.edu .

+Why is the College requiring a COVID vaccine?

It is clear that our ability to remain together for in-person instruction depends on suppressing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Because we are a congregate-living residential community, we must take every step available to prevent this highly infectious disease. The broad immunization of our campus community is critical to achieving this goal. 

+How do I document my vaccine?

Students, to document your vaccination, please upload your information to the medical records system, Medicat.  Employees, you must document your vaccination record using this form.  

+How do I seek an exemption?

Undergraduate and graduate students attending classes on campus may request vaccine-specific verified medical exemptions for individual vaccines, including COVID. A general vaccination exemption from this requirement for religious reasons can be requested. Information on how to request an exemption can be found here. Employees are asked to contact the Office of Human Resources as soon as possible to request an exemption, hr@saintmarys.edu or (574) 284-4542.

+Is the University of Notre Dame requiring Saint Mary’s students who are enrolled in ND classes or activities such as band to show proof of a vaccine?

The University of Notre Dame is requiring all students enrolled in courses, active in student organizations, or in band to provide proof of having a COVID-19 vaccine. That includes Saint Mary’s students. Notre Dame will honor exemptions to the vaccine approved by Saint Mary’s. 

+Will contract tracing after an individual tests positive differ for students who are unvaccinated vs. those who are vaccinated?

The process of contact tracing does not change based on the vaccination status of the student who is positive. However, once it has been determined who in the community has been in direct contact with the student (as defined by the CDC), the direct contact individuals might follow different protocols depending on their vaccination status. During the contact tracing process, the identity of the individual who has tested positive, or their vaccination status, is never disclosed to other individuals.

+Are there options to be fully remote for students who are not vaccinated?

DNP and Data Science graduate programs are the only fully online programs. We are delighted to welcome all undergraduate students back to the classroom for in-person education.

Screening Testing

+Are you conducting COVID-19 screening testing?

NCAA-required screening tests of student athletes is on-going. No additional screening testing is currently taking place. Students who present with COVID symptoms will continue to be tested by the Health Center Team. In case of a significant outbreak, or a change in the county or local levels of transmission, the College reserves the right to return to required screening testing.

Visitor Policy

+Are visitors allowed on campus?

We are pleased to announce that campus is once again open to visitors, who are asked to honor the College's and local health officials guidelines.

+Are visitors required to wear masks?

The College welcomes visitors to campus. Visitors are not required to wear a mask unless they are not up-to-date with the COVID vaccine (they are not vaccinated; or they are eligible for a booster but have not received one), if they are a recent close contact with someone positive, or after recent release from quarantine or isolation periods that require masking.

+Are visitors allowed in the residence halls?

Residence Halls are now open to all visitors. Residence Hall visitors should follow the same masking protocols outlined above, and should wear masks if they are not up-to-date with the COVID vaccine (they are not vaccinated; or they are eligible for a booster but have not received one), if they are a recent close contact with someone positive, or after recent release from quarantine or isolation periods that require masking. Visitors and hosts should follow pre- pandemic visitation hours and rules. As a reminder, visitation hours are: Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. – midnight, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. 

Quarantine and Isolation

+How is the College handling student quarantine and isolation?

This private and secure space located in Regina Hall South is again open for residential students who need to quarantine or isolate. In anticipation of a possible surge in cases as we come back to campus, students who need to quarantine or isolate whose primary home is within 300 miles of campus will need to make arrangements to move home within 24 hours to complete their quarantine and/or isolation period. A care team is in place and will provide comfort and support for students who are in MACC. The Health and Counseling Center team will follow current CDC recommendations for the duration requirements of quarantine and isolation.

+I have been diagnosed with COVID-19, but do not feel comfortable going home for the isolation period. Can I remain on campus?

Because of the number of beds in Q/I this semester, we encourage anyone who lives within a 300-mile radius to travel home for the duration of your isolation period. However, special circumstances can be reviewed by Sarah Granger, director of the Health and Counseling Center at the time you are directed to quarantine or isolate.

+How is the College handling employee quarantine and isolation?

The Office of Human Resources will follow current CDC quarantine and isolation recommendations.

+Are the rules for quarantine different for individuals who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccine vs. those who are not?

Saint Mary’s uses information from the CDC and the Indiana Department of Health (IDH) to inform our protocols. Currently, the CDC and the IDH have different quarantine protocols for individuals who are up-to-date with thier COVID-19 vaccine, and for those who are not. 

+Do I have to quarantine if I am up-to-date with my vaccine and I come in contact with an individual who is positive for COVID?

According to the CDC, if you are up-to-date with your vaccine, you should get tested after 5 full days from your exposure (your date of exposure is considered Day 0), even if you don’t have symptoms. You should wear a mask in all circumstances until the results of your test are available. If your test is negative, and you do not develop symptoms, you should wear a mask indoors for another 5 days, then you can revert to the current College masking protocols.

+Do I have to quarantine if I am not up-to-date with my COVID-19 vaccine and I come in contact with an individual who is positive for COVID?

According to the CDC, if you are not up-to-date with your vaccine, you should immediately go into quarantine. You should test, even if you do not have symptoms, after 5 full days from your exposure (your date of exposure is considered Day 0). If your test is negative, and you do not develop symptoms, you can be released from quarantine by the Health and Counseling team if you are a student, or the Office of Human Resources for employees. You must continue, however, to wear a mask indoors, avoid eating in public, and whenever possible, maintain physical distance until day 10.

+When do I need to be isolated?

Regardless of vaccination status, a student or employee with a positive COVID test, will need to remain in isolation for a minimum of 5 days following the onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID test if asymptomatic.

If a student or an employee with a positive test has or develops symptoms while in isolation, and these symptoms do not resolve after 5 full days in isolation, then isolation continues until symptoms improve and the student or employee is free of fever, without fever reducing medications, for 24 hours. Whether isolating at home or on campus, students will be released from isolation by the Health and Counseling team after assessment.

+What happens if my quarantine or isolation period extends past the official end of the semester?

Students in quarantine or isolation at the Mother Angela Care Center (MACC) whose primary home is within a 300 mile drive of campus, and whose release date extends past the end of the semester, will need to make arrangements to move home to complete their quarantine and/or isolation period no later than the date designated as move-out date. Students whose primary home is further away who are in quarantine or isolation at the MACC,and whose release date extends past the end of the semester, can remain in MACC to complete their quarantine and/or isolation until their release date.

Services and support will continue to be provided after the semester ends. As Campus Dining is closed during breaks, and all meal plans have ended for the semester, students in MACC past the date of move-out will be responsible for ordering and paying for all meals from local dining establishments. They can be delivered directly to MACC. Snacks and drinks will be available in the MACC kitchen. A daily check in will also occur via phone call or virtual meeting.