Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19

Masking

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

From January 2 through January 30, everyone on campus will be required to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. This protocol includes employees and students in any indoor space, including but not limited to academic buildings, residence halls, all common areas, and Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex. 

Beginning Monday, January 31 through February 11—All students regardless of vaccination status and unvaccinated faculty will be required to wear masks in the classroom. Vaccinated faculty will continue to have the discretion to remove their mask in the classroom if it is best for student learning to teach without a mask, and if the faculty member can physically distance themselves from others in the classroom. In addition, we ask that all members of our community mask in offices where use of a mask is requested. This extended period of time will allow us to assess the current situation of the pandemic after the holidays and after the return of our own community, and make a determination for the continued use of masks after February 11.

Individuals who are unvaccinated, not yet fully vaccinated or have not yet received a booster are required to wear masks indoors for the duration of the semester. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final COVID vaccination dose has been received.

Employees can remove their masks when alone in private offices. Students can remove their masks when alone in their rooms, or in their room when their roommates and no guests are present. When visiting the Noble Family Dining Hall, we ask that you sanitize your hands before and after retrieving your meals, that you keep your masks on until you sit at a table, and that you mask back up when you finish eating and/or get up to leave. 

As a reminder, all members of the community should carry a mask with them at all times and be prepared to wear it when required. In situations when not required to mask, members of the community are encouraged and welcomed to mask any time they prefer to do so.

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

Yes. As of November 30, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks indoors, unless alone in their residence hall (students) or alone in their office (employees).

+Are all these rules applicable for the the Spring 2022 semester?

We continue to monitor the development of the pandemic, and any new recommendations from the CDC, the Indiana Department of Health and our local health officials. As their recommendations change, we will adjust our mitigation strategies accordingly. Students and employees will be informed of any changes via their Saint Mary’s College email address.

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.

+I recently had COVID. Can I get the booster before the deadline?

Yes. Once you are no longer symptomatic, and have completed your isolation period, you can receive the COVID-19 booster. If you received a treatment for COVID, please check with your medical professional to ensure the treatment does not contraindicate receiving the booster.

+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. 

+Should I get the vaccine if I have had COVID?

Generally, having had COVID does not prevent you from getting the vaccine. In fact, the CDC recommends that people who have had COVID-19 should receive the vaccine for continued protection against the virus. However, if you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If in doubt, speak with your doctor, or with the individual administering the vaccine.

+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.

Re-entry and Screening Testing

+Why are you requiring students with exemptions and those who are not fully vaccinated to have reentry tests?

Unvaccinated individuals can more easily contract the virus, and are more likely to spread the virus to others. We know testing can slow and stop the spread of the virus. At this time, there are no recommendations to require reentry testing for vaccinated individuals from the CDC, IDH or our local health officials. Of course, these recommendations could change at any minute, based on the progress of the pandemic, and we are ready to pivot if additional testing is deemed necessary. But for now, we will continue to test following these recommendations. 

+Why are you requiring students and employees with exemptions and those who are not fully vaccinated to test weekly?

Unvaccinated individuals can more easily contract the virus, and are more likely to spread the virus to others. We know testing can slow and stop the spread of the virus. At this time, there are no recommendations to require screening testing for vaccinated individuals from the CDC, IDH or our local health officials. Of course, these recommendations could change at any minute, based on the progress of the pandemic, and we are ready to pivot if additional testing is deemed necessary. But for now, we will continue to test following these recommendations.

+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.

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?

All visitors, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors. As a reminder, members of the tri-campus community are not considered visitors and should follow Saint Mary’s masking and other protocols while on campus.

+Are visitors allowed in the residence halls?

Only members of the Saint Mary’s community and students from the tri-campus community are allowed in the residence halls and their common areas. As the academic year progresses, this policy could change. 

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 vaccinated vs. not vaccinated?

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 fully vaccinated, and for those who are not. 

+Do I have to quarantine if I am vaccinated and I come in contact with an individual who is positive for COVID?

According to the CDC, if you are vaccinated, you should get tested with a PCR test 3-5 days after exposure, 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 can revert to current College masking protocol.

+Do I have to quarantine if I am unvaccinated and I come in contact with an individual who is positive for COVID?

According to the CDC, if you are unvaccinated, you should immediately go into quarantine. You should test with a PCR test, even if you do not have symptoms, on day 5 or later from exposure. If your test is negative, and you do not develop symptoms, you can leave quarantine on day 8 after exposure. You must continue, however, to wear a mask in indoor spaces, avoid eating in public and whenever possible maintain social distance until day 14.

+When do I need to be isolated?

Regardless of vaccination status, a student with a positive COVID test, will need to remain in isolation for 10 days following the onset of symptoms or a positive COVID test, if asymptomatic.

If a student with a positive test has or develops symptoms while in isolation, and these symptoms do not resolve by the 10th day, then isolation continues until symptoms improve and the student is free of fever, without fever reducing medications, for 24 hours.

+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.