Omicron variant and other health and safety updates

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Variant Update

The COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee closely monitors public health information and trends and is following emerging information regarding the omicron variant of the coronavirus. At this time, CDC guidance affirms that current prevention strategies are the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It is important that our College community continues to be vigilant in complying with our Health and Safety protocols, such as wearing masks indoors, practicing safe physical distancing in social settings and participating in the College’s testing program, which will continue into the spring semester, as appropriate. Regular testing helps to identify positive cases quickly, including those caused by the omicron variant. 

Vaccines and Boosters

In light of several confirmed campus cases of seasonal flu, please be reminded of the importance of flu vaccines in protecting our community. We strongly encourage all who are eligible to obtain their COVID-19 booster and flu shot as soon as possible. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and booster, visit the CDC’s “Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination” page. 

Student Travel

While air travel is currently still possible for many, we recognize the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 variants. All residential students have been advised via email to register now for winter break housing if they are concerned they may be impacted by an emergent travel ban. Registration is available under the Self-Service/Student/Requests & Applications section in my.mtholyoke. The deadline to register is today, December 1, and students will not be charged if they cancel before December 14 at noon.

The Spring Semester

As a reminder, we plan to start the spring semester as expected on January 24, 2022. Specific January Orientation and move-in details will be shared with students, new and returning, in the coming weeks. 

We thank you for your continued support of health and safety protocols. The Health and Safety Committee will continue to follow omicron and other COVID-19 developments and provide updates as needed.  

– The COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee

Paul Kandel, Associate Vice President for Strategic Projects (Chair)
Cheryl Flynn, Director, College Health Services
Gary Gillis, Associate Dean of Faculty
Imad Zubi, Director of Auxiliary Services
Josh Dufresne, Assistant Director, Public Safety & Service
Lindsay Adkins, Production Coordinator, Communications and Marketing
Lori Smith, Director, Environmental Health & Safety
Marcella Runell Hall, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students (Cabinet liaison)
Shannon Gurek, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer (C