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Process for Approval of School-Sponsored UMass Chan Student Activities during COVID-19 Pandemic

This process has been developed by the Tri-School Student Affairs team and the Office of Student Life and is informed by guidance from UMass Chan Infection Control. 

We hope you are enjoying the 2021-2022 academic year! The UMass Chan Medical School (UMass Chan) continues to take steps to protect the health and safety of our campus community. We are writing to provide updated information regarding student events. These updated guidelines have been developed in light of rising COVID-19 cases broadly, increasing COVID-19 rates in our UMass Chan community, and hospitalizations in Massachusetts.

 Guidelines for All Student Events, On or Off Campus:

  1. All student groups must submit an Event Approval Form at least 2 weeks prior to any and all planned student-sponsored events.
  2. ALL ATTENDEES MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED (14 days or more after one dose of the Johnson and Johnson or second does of Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine), WHICH INCLUDES THE COVID-19 BOOSTER SHOT (six months after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine or two months after the J&J vaccine
  3. It is recommended student events take place outdoors, weather-permitting.
  4. Mask wearing is required for on campus student events. Mask wearing is highly recommended for off campus student events.
  5. We strongly recommend all UMass Chan students (clinical or non-clinical) obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of a scheduled student event, and again 3 to 5 days after the student event.
    1. For those who are not able to get to the school testing site, we accept any commercial COVID-19 PCR tests performed within 72 hours of the event or commercial COVID-19 antigen tests performed within 48 hours of the event.
    2. Free COVID-19 testing is available at Stop the Spread sites:
      1. Worcester: https://www.ummhealth.org/coronavirus-resources/free-covid-19-testing-worcester
      2. Framingham, Lynn, New Bedford, Revere: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/regional-express-covid-19-testing-sites-in-massachusetts
      3. Ashland, Holyoke, Lawrence, and more: https://transformativehc.com/stop-the-spread/
    3. As a last resort, a time-stamped photo of a negative home test such as Abbot BinaxNOW (available for purchase at pharmacies) performed within 24 hours is acceptable for those without access to other tests.
    4. Please keep in mind rapid antigen tests are less sensitive than PCR in detecting infection in individuals who are asymptomatic. COVID-19 antibody tests are not accepted.
    5. Anyone who has had documented COVID-19 in the 90 days prior to the event may not need to test unless they are immune compromised.
    6. For testing related questions, please contact theresa.kane@umassmed.edu
  6. Students who develop symptoms after a student event should contact Student Health Services at 508-334-2818. Students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 while on campus or within 48 hours of the student event and ultimately be diagnosed with COVID-19 or are without symptoms and have a positive COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the student event must contact the Infection Control Officer, sharone.green@umassmed.edu. Guests who meet these criteria should inform the student point of contact, who should then notify UMass Chan Infection Control immediately.
  7. Anyone who has had close COVID-19 contact in the 14 days prior to the student event (less than 6 feet for 15 minutes over 24 hours without a mask on) should not attend a student event.
  8. If you are traveling outside of Massachusetts for more than 24 hours, be sure to register your travel using the student travel form. Anyone who returns from any international or domestic travel within the prior 14 days are recommended to test 3 – 5 days after arrival in MA as per the UMass Chan Travel Policy: https://www.umassmed.edu/globalassets/coronavirus-new/generic-blocks/umms-travel-policy_04_16_2021.pdf

 Additional Guidelines for On Campus Student Events:

  1. Food at on campus student events are only permitted in a grab-and-go fashion, and we strongly discourage students from clustering together if choosing to eat in designated on campus locations.
    1. Student events involving food are inherently higher risk due to the need to remove masks. UMass Chan Medical School has seen transmission of COVID-19 among vaccinated employees and students.
    2. The safest student events are those held remotely, followed by those held outdoors or indoor student events without food (no mask removal).
  2. Any outside guests who attend on-campus student events must be vaccinated and registered in the SV3 visitor management system. In addition, the group sponsoring the student event must gather guests’ addresses and phone numbers in case contact tracing becomes necessary.

Additional Guidelines for Off Campus Student Events:

  1. Any student group seeking to host an off campus student event must ensure all attendees have proof of vaccination and collect attendees’ addresses and phone numbers in case contact tracing becomes necessary.
  2. To maximize safety, it is recommended off campus student events be held at an outdoor venue, when possible, that tables be spaced, and that pre- and post-event COVID-19 testing of all attendees be conducted as above.
  3. Off campus student events may not be as safe as on-campus events, so NO ONE should attend if they are immune suppressed or have other medical vulnerabilities.

This policy is subject to change by Infection Control based upon changes in rates of community and school transmission. Please direct policy questions to sharone.green@umassmed.edu.

Comprehensive guidance and resources, including travel guidance, campus alert status, the surveillance testing dashboard, and more are available on the UMass Chan COVID-19 website. Any questions about student events should be directed to the Office of Student life at studentlife@umassmed.edu.

Virtual Events:
Students should use either Zoom or Microsoft Teams to host their virtual gatherings. Please refer to these internal SharePoint links for more information on how to do this:

When using this software for your virtual events, you must follow University guidelines regarding use of technology.

The organizer(s) of the event is/are responsible for being present for the entirety of the virtual event and monitoring participation in the event.

To ensure event security and prevent malicious disruptions, links to UMMS-sponsored virtual event spaces (Zoom, etc.) must not be posted publicly in a manner that allows non-UMMS access and/or should follow IT best practices for public event setup (event registration, waiting room, etc.).

All student organization skills sessions as well as any OEE event should adhere to the recently published OEE guidelines.

Use of Funding:
Students should use the same funding request process as normal (this is school-specific; please consult your school’s student leadership body for this information.) Due to operations being primarily remote at this time, we ask that students make the purchases directly when approved for fund use and provide the receipts to their school’s funding manager for reimbursement. Students can download the tax exemption certificate to ensure that their purchase is tax-free as the University is not able to reimburse tax.

If you have questions or concerns regarding a student activity, please contact the Office of Student Life (studentlife@umassmed.edu) for assistance.

Resources:

https://umassmed.sharepoint.com/sites/studentlife/SitePages/COVID-19-Updates-for-Students.aspx

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html

Thank you so much for your continued flexibility. We appreciate you and your efforts to help keep UMass Chan safe!

Event Guidelines Training Module

2021-2022 Event Guidelines Training Module