The COVID-19 Command Center, part of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, issued updated travel guidance to colleges and universities on Wednesday, November 18, ahead of the holiday season
The guidance urges colleges and universities to inform all students of the serious risks associated with travel before receiving a negative COVID-19 test result. The guidance advises those:
- Testing Positive
- Students who receive a positive test result before they are scheduled to leave campus should instead immediately isolate in campus housing designated for COVID-positive students.
- Students in Isolation
- Students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and are already isolating in campus housing should remain in place until they have completed the 10-day isolation period.
- Students in Quarantine
- Students who are quarantined on campus housing due to close contact with someone who tested positive should remain in place until they complete the 14-day quarantine period, as prescribed by the Department of Public Health.
- Quarantined students may leave campus housing after 10 days if they do not have any symptoms and they receive a negative result from a molecular diagnostic test administered at least 8 days after exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Return to Campus
- Students returning to campus from either within Massachusetts or from other states must produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered within 72 hours of their return to campus. Colleges should administer tests immediately to any student who returns to campus that has not been tested within 72 hours. Testing should apply to all students loving both on and off campus.
15 Minute Tests Being Distributed to Schools
Governor Baker’s office also announced the distribution of the first round of Abbott BinaxNOW tests from the federal government, prioritized for K-12 schools providing in-person instruction.
Phase 1 of this testing initiative will reach 134 public school districts, charter schools and special education schools across the Commonwealth.
The Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 testing initiative is provided by the federal government and is a no-cost, voluntary program that will allow schools to test symptomatic students and receive test results within 15 minutes. These tests allow schools to identify infected individuals and their close contacts more quickly to help stop the spread.