CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFORMATION

 

INFORMATION ABOUT MCLA’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19

May 29 marked a new era with the lifting of all the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 related mitigation measures. As we transition into a new normal and begin to operate in a less restrictive environment, we will remain vigilant and continue to monitor available public health data, while making decisions that keep our community safe and progressing to a place of more togetherness.  

Please visit this page for updated information on how MCLA will adapt to post-pandemic operations with a full return to the classroom and residence halls for the fall 2021 semester. 

An archive of campus messages regarding COVID-19 can be found below. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions and links to helpful information from the Commonwealth.

MCLA has set up a hotline phone number for questions related to COVID-19 at 413-662-5550. The hotline is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. You can also leave a message outside of these hours.

Quick Links

Trailblazer Agreement

Book a Faculty or Staff Testing Appointment

Employee Consent to SARS-CoV-2 Testing Form

Student Consent to SARS-CoV-2 Testing Form

Interim Telecommuting Guide

Financial aid and billing information

Information about MCLA's Resiliency Fund

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MCLA COVID DASHBOARD

Testing Period Total Test  Total Cases % Positive Test
Last 7 Days 0 0 0.00%
Total Test 4,887 34 0.69%

Data as of 05/14/2021

The above dashboard reflects the final results for MCLA’s testing program in partnership with the Broad Institute for the spring 2021 semester.

Updates to MCLA’s COVID dashboard will not take place over the summer term.

Below are positive cases reported to MCLA from health agencies or other sources in persons associated with the campus community, these cases are not included in the above dashboard counts:

Total positive cases reported from
health agencies or other sources
Current Positive Cases
in Isolation
16 0

 

Comparative Statistics

 MCLA (7-Day Positive Test Average)  0.00%
 Massachusetts (7-Day Positive Test)*  1.15%
 Pittsfield (Percent Positivity - Last 14 Days) *  3.24%
 North Adams (Percent Positivity - Last 14 Days) *  1.78%

*Source: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting

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Latest Updates

Employee Updates (6/3/21)

Vaccinations (4/26/21)

 

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Vaccine Requirements

Religious and medical exemptions will be reviewed and granted following the same exemption procedures MCLA utilizes for other vaccination exemptions as is consistent with Massachusetts state law. 

Students seeking a medical or religious exception will need to complete and submit the Health Services Vaccine Declination Form, which can be obtained by contacting HealthServices@mcla.edu.

Medical exceptions will be approved by Health Services and require a letter from a medical provider documenting the condition that prevents the administration of the vaccine.  Religious exceptions will be approved by the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office.

For questions, please contact the COVID Hotline at 413-662-5550

MCLA will work with unvaccinated students to meet their needs and enable them to continue their education in pursuit of their degree. MCLA requires all students attending in-person classes, living in campus housing, participating in on-campus activities, or accessing on-campus facilities to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus regardless of age or credit load.  

Due to the length of time it takes to become fully vaccinated, students are encouraged to schedule vaccine appointments as soon as possible. It is recommended students get their first dose of a two-dose vaccine by July 1st to be prepared for returning to campus in the fall. 

Resources for doing so include:

Students will be unenrolled or fall 2021 classes and will be unable to move into residence halls without presenting a copy of their official COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to Health Services by August 1, 2021. Please email a copy of your card to Health Services at healthservices@mcla.edu.

All visitors are welcome to campus and will be required to comply with all COVID health and safety protocols. Visitor policies will be updated based on public health guidelines.

Yes, all vendors and contracted employees working on campus will be required to be vaccinated. 

According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated: 

2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or

2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

All students engaging in on-campus life or activities must be vaccinated. 

Yes, in accordance with current CDC guidelines students need to be fully vaccinated. 

We will evaluate the need for surveillance testing in the fall and adapt the testing protocols according to the data and recommendations by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

Yes. All individuals who test positive for the virus are treated as active cases and will need to isolate immediately and regular contact tracing protocol will occur. 

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General

COVID testing will continue next week so that any student who wants to test before moving out can do so. Testing will be done from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday next week.

Our campus COVID-19 testing site in the Campus Center Gym will remain open for regular testing hours through Friday, April 9. Testing hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Walk-in testing will be accommodated for students looking for a test to return home and for faculty and staff looking to participate in surveillance testing.

Measures for Students Confirmed or Suspected to have COVID-19

Isolation: Isolation is the separation of someone who is ill with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. The typical isolation period is for a minimum of 10 days to longer if symptoms persist.

Students who test positive will be contacted about their results by the Berkshire County DPH nurse who will notify them of the need to isolate. When possible, students who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to isolate at home where they will have a family support system to aid them as they recuperate, particularly if they are feeling sick.  However, when this is not possible, students who test positive and are required to isolate, will be assigned to one of the available isolation rooms and assisted in moving there for at least 10 days from the date of the positive test result.

The Berkshire County DPH nurse will monitor health regularly via phone calls; MCLA Health Services personnel will check on students regularly via video tele-medicine appointments. Counseling Services will be available for tele-counseling appointments. Students in isolation will order meals from Dining Services that will be delivered at pre-scheduled times directly to the townhouse door. Coursework can be completed virtually during this time for students well enough to participate. The Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) can make contact with faculty to assist students with any necessary accommodations while isolating.

Students living off campus who need to isolate will do so in their off-campus housing following CDC/MA DPH guidelines for isolation from other household members.  Off-campus students will have contact with local public health officials and will be able to access all College resources and supports (Health Services, Counseling Services and academics) remotely.

Quarantine: Quarantine is the separation of someone who has been exposed to a contagious disease (such as COVID-19) from those who are not sick or exposed.  The typical quarantine period lasts 14 days.

Students who have been exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine in order to restrict their contact with others and reduce the risk of the spread of infection. MCLA will work closely with local contact tracers to determine which individuals need to quarantine based on contact tracing efforts and will notify affected students and Health Services if students are placed under a quarantine order.

Students in on-campus housing will typically quarantine in their regular housing assignments as all students are living in single rooms. Students living off campus will quarantine in their off-campus housing. Individuals who share a bathroom are considered a “family unit” and must typically quarantine together. MCLA will remotely provide medical, academic, and counseling support for students in quarantine. Meal delivery will be provided for on-campus students in quarantine.

Students may receive additional specific instructions on how to isolate and quarantine.

Measures for Suspected or Confirmed Employee Cases of COVID-19

Isolation/Quarantine of Confirmed Individual:
Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must remain at home until completing 14 days of self-quarantine or release by a health care provider or public health official. 

Employees and Other Individuals in Close Contact with Infected Individual:
The College will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result and work with public health officials to identify all individuals who have had close contact (under 6 feet) without a face covering, lasting a minimum of 15 minutes with the affected individual during the time the individual has symptoms and during the 48-hour period before the onset of symptoms or positive test result, whichever is earlier. Depending on the circumstances (physical proximity, length of time of contact, setting, whether tools or equipment were shared, etc.), additional individuals may be identified as having had close contact. Those individuals identified by public health officials and/or the College as having close contact greater than 15 minutes with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 will not be able to return to work until the individual has been cleared by the Department of Public Health. Employees who are quarantined must self-monitor for symptoms and seek medical attention if symptoms develop.

You can help by minimizing the spread of the disease through taking steps to protect yourself and others. Learn more about these steps via the Centers for Disease Control.

Yes. The MCLA Advancement Office has launched the Resiliency Fund, an emergency relief fund to ensure that all currently enrolled students receive the instruction and support they need without worrying about the unexpected financial burden a crisis presents. We have already begun disbursing emergency money and equipment to at-risk students.

If you are a student in need of support from this fund, please fill out the form here.

The Center for Academic Technology has set up a resource for academic continuity at www.mcla.edu/remoteready. If you need a specific resource you don’t see listed there, please contact Ian Bergeron at ian.bergeron@mcla.edu.

MCLA's Help Desk is here for you. The IT staff and students who run the Help Desk are now using Teams, a live chat tool, as well as their usual ticketing system, to help students, faculty, and staff work remotely. Learn more about that here.

Check out MCLA IT Help Center's handy list of ISPs who have pledged to help.

As a reminder, MCLA’s Public Safety department remains open and staffed 24/7 to ensure the safety of the campus and our community as we move to remote instruction. Campus Police officers will continue to do regular rounds and respond to emergency situations. In an emergency, dial 413-662-5100 (911 from a campus phone); for non-emergency situations, call 413-662-5283 or 5284 (5283 or 5284 from a campus phone).

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we won’t be able to celebrate commencement in the traditional way. However, we will make things as special as we possibly can for all of our graduating students. Both the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 will have a virtual commencement ceremony. The ceremonies will take place: 

Class of 2021 Saturday, May 15, 2021, 1 P.M. 
Class of 2020 Sunday, May 16, 2021, 1 P.M. 

Learn more here.

MCLA’s MountainOne Student Wellness Center is available for remote counseling during this time. Counseling Services continues to serve all students with tele-therapy appointments. Please contact the office at 413-662-5331 or email your counselor to schedule an appointment. More information can be found here.

Health Services will be open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students who would like to be evaluated are encouraged to call 413-662-5421 during hours of operation to be triaged and provided an appointment either through the tele-medicine platform Doxy.me or in person as appropriate. This includes any complaint that a student would seek medical attention for, as well as COVID related complaints. Students experiencing a medical emergency, or when Health Services is closed, should contact MCLA Campus Police at 413-662-5100 or 911. For complete information on services, please visit Health Services on the MCLA website.

For the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester, Freel Library collections and services will be offered remotely. The library website is your portal to 200,000+ academic ebooks, millions of journal articles, tens of thousands of streaming videos, instructions for requesting scans of reserve readings, contact information for getting help, and much more.


The MCLA Bookstore will be fully operational from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This includes walk-ins. Should you have further questions, the MCLA Bookstore manager can be reached by email at william.taylor@mcla.edu or by calling 413-662-5240.


The Writing Studio will be moving to online tutoring. Students should go to the Writing Studio’s website to make an appointment just as they normally would here. Rather than coming in to the office, students will upload a paper to the appointment slot and the Writing Associate will provide comments using the Microsoft Word commenting tool. For questions, please contact Amber Engelson.

The Math Help Drop-In Center is now open virtually as the Math Help Drop-In Channel on Microsoft Teams! To get online help with any math question from any course, please sign into Portal and follow this link: From 4 – 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, there will be student Tutors live on the Channel, ready to help you with math. You can even post questions to the Channel after-hours, and the Tutoring team will try to get back to you as they are able. 

This link will give you locations of hand sanitizer on campus.

Yes. On May 1, 2020, Governor Baker issued an order effective Wednesday, May 6, 2020, requiring individuals to wear masks in public places. As a public campus, MCLA is required to comply with this order. See more details and guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health here.

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For Students

COVID testing will continue next week so that any student who wants to test before moving out can do so. Testing will be done from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday next week.

Our campus COVID-19 testing site in the Campus Center Gym will remain open for regular testing hours through Friday, April 9. Testing hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Walk-in testing will be accommodated for students looking for a test to return home.

As of the College's 4/1/21 announcement to move to full remote learning, all athletic activities for the remainder of the semester were canceled. Coaches will continue to communicate with their teams and focus on recruitment. The department is planning for a full return to sports for the fall semester.

The Fitness Center will be closed for the remainder of the academic year.

All students, including those who have completed their on-campus residency requirement, will be required to have a meal plan in the coming year. These are the meal plans:

  • The first, required for all those with a residency requirement, is the Every Meal plan, which provides a meal during all 19 scheduled meals per week, plus $100 in declining balance and $25 in Blazer bucks. This plan will cost $2,140 for the fall.
  • The second plan, required for all those who have fulfilled their residency requirement but opt to live in campus residence this fall, includes 65 meals, $100 in declining balance and $25 in Blazer bucks. This plan will cost $700 for the fall. If you have fulfilled your residency requirement, you may opt up to the Every Meal plan.

Dining plans are still being developed, but there will be two dining areas with limited seating to meet state guidelines. Students will be required to reserve a spot in either the Centennial Room or Venable Gym during meal times, and there will be several seating times per meal. Most items will be prepackaged and take out will also be available. The retail dining operations will likely provide a limited choice meal at lunch and dinner on the meal plan to help ensure adequate availability of meals.  

Even if you can’t make it to campus, you still have options to return your rentals and sell your books back online.

You can ship your rentals to the store, using the shipping carrier of your choice.  You can just follow the steps below to process your rental return. In addition to this communication you will receive email reminders to your email you signed up with as finals approach.

  1. Sign in to your account using the same email address you provided at the register in-store or entered when you rented online. Note: If you don’t know your password, that’s OK – just click “Forgot Password” to reset. 
  2. Once you’ve signed in, you will be navigated to the Rentals page to view your Rental Account Information and Rental History. 
  3. Click “Return all Rentals by Mail” and follow the steps to print your packing slip.
  4. Print your packing slip, and include in your rental shipment. Your packing slip is crucial to include in your box – it identifies you, what you’re returning, and where to send your rentals.

Note: Shipping is at your expense.

If the store is closed you can sell your books online at Valore Books on our website Sell Your books here.  The process is easy

  • Simply find your ISBN to get started
  • Enter your info and send in your book(s) within 14 days of receiving your sell back quote
  • Score FREE shipping and receive payment via check or PayPal

We wish you well on your finals and congratulations to the seniors who are about to start a new chapter.  As always, questions can be directed to 0185mgr@follett.com or call the store at 413-662-5240 during normal business hours.

Yes! Please see this page for information about Student Financial Services and COVID-19.

If you receive any institutional gift aid such as a merit scholarship, this will need to be factored into the calculation of your room and meal plan refund. Be assured that calculation and adjustments will be made in a way that ensures equity for our students in this process.

Students should check in with their direct supervisors via email to discuss any potential for remote work. To clarify information regarding remote work, please contact Human Resources staff members Natalia Kuhner at Natalia.Kuhner@mcla.edu or Linda Lazzari at L.Lazzari@mcla.edu.

The Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) remains committed to providing academic support to MCLA students. For students seeking tutorial support, please submit requests online through the MCLA portal as follows: Portal > Student Academics > Request a Tutorial

Student Affairs has created MCLA Community Connections, a page where you can chat with Student Affairs staff and connect to MCLA activities and traditions. This page will be regularly updated with new content and Student Affairs would love suggestions about what else to include!

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For Prospective Students

View our tour page for more details.

Please note, in order to maintain the health and safety of our campus community, please note visit restrictions listed on the registration page.

You can also explore our virtual tour!

Yes! The Office of Admission is hosting virtual tours and information sessions Monday through Friday. Visit the tour page for more information and the registration link.

You can also view the following information sessions:

Abbreviated Information Session (6 minutes) - Learn about the Admission & Financial Aid process.

Full Information Session (24 minutes) - Learn about the Admission & Financial Aid process, academics, and life on and off-campus.

You can connect with a current Trailblazer through the Office of Admission. Learn more here.

Also be on the lookout for virtual events where you will have the opportunity to speak with current students.

Due to the ongoing public health crisis, MCLA is waiving the SAT/ACT testing requirement for applicants for fall 2021 and fall 2022, and we will be piloting a test-blind (test-free) policy for fall 2021 applicants. We do not want students to worry about sitting for the tests when it is unsafe for them to do so. In addition, national and institutional data point to high school work being indicative of student success in college and a more equitable means of assessment. Additionally, as an institution we have a staunch commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the use of SAT/ACT scores in admission decisions is posing a significant barrier in carrying out that tenet of our mission.

Changes to your grades due to COVID-19 will not affect your application negatively. MCLA evaluates first year applicants based on high school academic performance, strength of curriculum, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay in accordance with guidelines established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE). E-mail your admission counselor if you have additional questions.

At a residential liberal arts campus like MCLA, a highlight is the interaction we have with one another in spaces where we live and learn. We expect to be able to return to fuller capacity, back to offering double rooms occupancy. Information about the housing process for students is forthcoming.

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Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff who are working on campus will have access to free monthly testing on campus. Additionally, should they wish to do so, they will be able to take additional tests weekly on campus for a $25 fee. Testing consent forms from the fall are still valid. Those employees who want to test on campus but have not previously done so must complete the consent form and bring it with them to their first appointment: Employee COVID Testing Consent Form.

Our campus COVID-19 testing site in the Campus Center Gym will remain open for regular testing hours. Testing hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Walk-in testing will be accommodated for faculty and staff looking to participate in surveillance testing.

Please also know that there are now free Stop the Spread sites (the Commonwealth’s free COVID-19 testing program) in Berkshire County (North Adams, Pittsfield, Great Barrington). Appointments at any of the Stop the Spread sites can be accessed by calling the Berkshire Health Systems COVID-19 hotline: 855-262-5465.

The Center for Academic Technology has set up a resource for academic continuity at www.mcla.edu/remoteready. There, you’ll find information about remote learning resources, library resources, and more. If you need a specific resource you don’t see listed there, please contact Gerol Petruzella.

MCLA Information Technology has assembled a quick list of tools to help you work remotely at http://techhelp.mcla.edu/index.php/Working_Remotely

If employees are directed to work from home by administration they must ensure that they have completed the Interim Telecommuting Guide.

If employees are expected to work on campus but need an exemption for qualifying circumstances they must ensure that they have completed the Request for Temporary Continuation of Telecommuting Spring 2021

Keep in mind that the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and recommendations and regulations tend to change quickly in this environment, so decisions could change at any time. MCLA's Human Resources office has guidelines and forms for employees regarding any temporary continuation of telecommuting. You can find them here.

Please visit the following link at Mass.gov for a detailed explanation about how to enter your time during the COVID-19 outbreak in Employee Self-Service.

If you have additional questions, please contact Executive Director of HR Barb Chaput at 413-662-5599 or Barbara.Chaput@mcla.edu

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Archive Communications

Message to Students About Move-out Procedure and Protocols and Related Information (4/1/21)

Lost Wages Fund Request (3/29/21)

Looking Ahead to Fall 2021 (3/15/21)

Student Message: Updated Information for Spring and Vaccine Guidance (3/10/21)

Reminder to out of state students: MA Travel Order is required when returning to Massachusetts this week (1/19/21)

Student Spring '21 Return (1/11/21)

Message to Students: Spring 2021 Semester Updates (12/14/20)

Communication to Students re: Early Move-Out (11/16/20)

Students Spring 2021 Updates (11/13/20)

Ready for Remote Checklist (11/13/20)

Student COVID-19 Updates: Executive Orders, Travel, End of Semester Move-Out (11/5/20)

Resident Student Fall Move-Out Appointment Scheduling (10/30/20)

Important new protocol for travel from and return to campus (10/29/20)

End of semester move-out and process for limited exceptions (10/21/20)

Student Message Regarding Off-Campus Gatherings (9/3/20)

Return to Campus Student Guide (8/26/20)

Early Add/Drop Period for Returning and Transfer Students (8/25/20)

Important: Trailblazer Agreement (8/19/20)

Important Information for Resident Students about Move-in (8/17/20)

COVID Testing Broad COVID-19 Testing Consent Form (8/17/20)

Fall 2020 Student Update (8/6/20)

MCLA Return to Campus Final Report July 2020 (8/6/20)

Trailblazers Keep Going Initiative (4/27/2020)

Explore. Create. Connect! A new place for community connections (4/6/2020)

Student Communication Update (4/2/2020)

Student update regarding remote instruction resources and other resources (3/26/2020)

Billing adjustments due to COVID (3/23/2020)

Stay-At-Home Advisory (3/23/2020)

Resident Student Update: Retrieving Your Belongings and Waiver Request To Live on Campus (3/18/2020)

Important COVID Related Updates for Students (3/17/2020)

Message to Students: COVID-19 Updates and Spring Break Travel Planning (3/10/2020)

Employee Communication and Travel Updates (4/22/21)

Spring 2021 Pivot to Remote Learning Employee Follow-up (4/1/21)

Faculty and Staff Semester Opening COVID-19 Updates (1/25/21)

Employee Spring 2021 Return to Campus (1/12/21)

Employee Update: Extending Remote Work Until 1/17/2021 (1/8/21)

MCLA Return to Work Guide for all employees

Employee Update: Extending Remote Work Until 1/10/2021 (12/23/20)

Message to Employees: Spring 2021 Semester Updates (12/18/20)

Faculty and Staff Updates: Remote Work, Holiday Schedule, Travel, Testing (11/16/20)

Interim Telecommuting Guide

Faculty and Staff Spring 2021 Updates (11/13/20)

Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Updates: Executive Orders, Travel, and Employee Testing (11/5/20)

COVID-19 Dashboard and Testing Update (9/3/20)

Broad Employee COVID Consent Form (9/3/20)

Employee Return to Campus Health and Safety Update (8/27/20)

Employee Fall 2020 Return to Campus Update (8/6/20)

MCLA Return to Work Guide July 2020 (7/2/20)

Temporary Telecommunication Continuation (6/22/2020)

Return to Work Guide (7/1/2020)

Working Safely on Campus - Training

ADA Accommodation Medical Certification

ADA Request for Reasonable Accommodation

Request for Temporary Telecommuting Continuation Form Spring 2021

Gov. Baker's Executive Order Re: Masks (6/5/2020)

Extended Remote Work (4/27/2020)

Important Message about Equal Opportunity and Equality (41/2020)

Federal Families First: Coronavirus Act (4/1/2020)  (Printable Poster)

Emergency Help for Students in Need (4/8/2020)

Stay-At-Home Advisory (3/23/2020)

Message regarding Telecommuting for Staff (3/17/2020)

Faculty and Staff COVID updates (3/10/20)

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Informative Websites

Once you're vaccinated:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Massachusetts FAQs:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions

MCLA CARES Act Reporting:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

https://www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/coronavirus

U.S. Department of Education Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Information and Resources

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Information on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Office of Student Health Services

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