New mask guidelines, contact tracing, Passport questions
Is this mask ok? Since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the U.S., the practice of masking has evolved to become one of the simplest and most effective tools we have to prevent spread. In addition to being effective, wearing a mask demonstrates social solidarity, reminding everyone we are in this together. Guidance on what kind of masks to wear and how to wear them has also evolved. Please take a moment to review Brandeis’ new mask policy, which applies to all students, faculty, staff and any visitors on campus. Some key points:
- Allowable face coverings are defined as those that secure via ear loops or with ties and have a snug fit to the face, over the nose, and under the chin and are multilayered. Disposable and cloth masks that meet these specifications are acceptable.
- Face coverings with valves or plastic face shields used alone do not provide protection to the user or to the community, nor do bandanas, scarves, or gaiters; such face coverings are unacceptable and do not meet the requirements of this policy.
- The only times masks are not required while on campus are:
- In your own residence hall room, or when attending to personal hygiene (masks must be worn in the hallway between your room and the bathroom).
- In a private office, when working alone with the door closed.
- When performing specific research techniques that have been detailed in an approved protocol.
- While eating or drinking in approved areas while maintaining physical distance from others.
Additionally, with new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., and transmission levels still very high in Massachusetts, some public health experts recommend upgrading from basic cloth or surgical masks to wearing double masks or masks with filters. This is not a requirement at Brandeis, but is an option each individual may want to consider employing for additional protection, especially for those working in a high-traffic environment or for those with underlying health conditions.
Must I participate in Contact Tracing? One of the most important protections we have against an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus is participation in the Brandeis Contact Tracing Program. Students, faculty or staff who receive a positive test are required to isolate to prevent spread, and our contact tracers interview these community members to help identify others who were in close contact with those who tested positive. Participation in Brandeis Contact Tracing Program is mandatory for all community members. An increasing number of community members this semester have failed to answer or return phone calls from contact tracers, and some have even been verbally abusive to these staff. Failing to answer calls or being abusive toward contact tracers are both unacceptable; failure to fully participate in this program will result in disciplinary action.
Testing questions? All questions about testing should be directed to the firstname.lastname@example.org in order for your questions to be answered as quickly as possible.
Passport problems? The Campus Passport has been an incredibly effective platform, but we know that occasionally there are snags. When this happens, please be sure to click the "submit a support request" link at the bottom of the “HOME” page in the Passport. This will allow all of the technical information about your Passport situation to be immediately communicated to the Help Desk, which will expedite a resolution.