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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information

Keep Lesley Healthy: Lesley University’s Covid-19 Safety Response

Lesley University is closely monitoring the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students and employees on our three Cambridge campuses.

Supporting the wellbeing of the Lesley community members studying, working, and living on campus will require each of us to take steps to protect ourselves and others by following important health and safety protocols for a multi-layered approach. We ask that everyone respect each other’s individual preferences and privacy.

Questions?

If you have questions that are not answered on this web page, please email COVID_Update@lesley.edu.

Health & Safety Protocols

We have adopted a multi-layered approach to protecting the health and safety of the Lesley community. Vaccination, restricting access to buildings, testing, and masking have been the cornerstones of our protocols to limit transmission of the virus and the potential for severe illness and hospitalization.

Vaccination Rates

We are fortunate that our core faculty and staff have affirmed a very high rate of vaccination, 98.1%, with the only exceptions being for medical and religious reasons. We are requiring vaccination, including the vaccine booster (or approved exemptions), for students and employees who will be on campus.

Lesley will continue to consult with medical experts and follow public health regulations and guidance issued by the City of Cambridge, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Our health and safety protocols are subject to change at any time. We will continue to post updated health and safety policies and COVID-related notices to the community on this page.

Additional precautions

Any students or employees with approved exemptions from vaccination may be required to take additional precautions if they study or work on campus, including participating in our COVID-19 testing program.

All community members are instructed to refrain from coming to campus if they are feeling COVID-19 symptoms, and students living in residence halls should stay in their rooms if feeling COVID-19 symptoms. Students and employees studying, living, or working on campus must also immediately report COVID-19 symptoms to COVID_Update@lesley.edu and to the Dean of Student Life  (for students) or Human Resources (for employees).

Please see the section on "Possible COVID-19 Symptoms – Reporting and Response" in the "COVID-19 Testing, Symptomatic, and Response Protocols" on this page.

  • Vaccination Policies

    Public health officials advise that being fully vaccinated is the most effective protection against serious illness associated with COVID-19 infection.

    Students

    Starting in the Fall 2021 semester, all students were required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before coming to campus this year and submit proof of vaccination or have an approved exemption.

    Employees

    In the Fall 2021 semester, over 98% of core faculty and staff affirmed that they had been fully vaccinated on a voluntary basis before returning to campus. In addition, we required all adjunct faculty, faculty, and staff in particular programs who work on campus, to be fully vaccinated.

    Vaccine Booster Requirement

    As of December 23, 2021, we updated our COVID-19 vaccine policy to require all eligible students, faculty, and staff studying and working on campus to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine booster.  Information is available at vaxfinder.mass.gov for Massachusetts locations offering vaccine boosters.  

    Due to the eligibility criteria, there was a rolling deadline for obtaining the vaccine booster. All individuals who were eligible to receive a booster on or before January 15, 2022, were required to comply by February 15, 2022. Individuals who were eligible after January 15, 2022, were allowed 30 days from their date of eligibility to comply with this policy.

    All previously approved medical and religious accommodations specific to COVID-19 vaccination apply to the vaccine booster requirement. Students should contact the Dean of Students and employees should contact the Office of Human Resources with any changes or questions.

    Medical or Religious Exemptions

    We will review each request for a medical or religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination individually to determine if the request meets the standard for approval. To protect privacy, we will not be sharing information about vaccination status. Please do not ask students or colleagues about their vaccination status.

    Students and employees who have been approved for a medical or religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination are required to participate in the on-campus testing program and are encouraged to take additional precautions to protect themselves in the presence of others.

  • Face Mask Requirements

    Lesley University follows the guidance of the City of Cambridge for masking. The city’s indoor mask mandate was lifted on March 14, 2022, but on May 23 the Cambridge Department of Public Health issued new guidance “strongly recommending” masks in indoor public settings.

    At this time, masks continue to be required on campus in the following situations:

    • Classrooms – faculty member may decide whether to require masks in the faculty member’s classroom and will communicate that decision directly to the students
    • Administrative departments – staff may decide whether to require students and colleagues to wear masks when visiting their departments
    • Masks continue to be required in these areas:
      • COVID-19 testing sites
      • Student Health Services offices
      • Student Counseling Center offices
      • All transportation
    • Masks continue to be required for these persons:
      • Person who has tested positive for COVID-19, for a period of ten days
      • Person who is a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, for a period of ten days
      • Facilities staff, Public Safety officers, and dining services staff in certain situations

    We understand that people may have different comfort levels when it comes to removing their masks, and we urge everyone to respect the decisions of others regarding mask wearing and to protect yourself as you think best. Individual decisions to mask should be informed by the prevalence of cases in the community, your vaccination status, and your age and medical history. We strongly encourage indoor masking for persons with greater health risks or concerns. “Medical-style” masks and KN95 masks are available in each of the Public Safety offices.

    Public health officials advise that face masks can help protect all community members and limit virus spread in areas of substantial or high transmission, at large indoor gatherings, and when other risk factors are present.

  • COVID-19 Testing Schedule and Protocols

    Free COVID-19 testing is available on campus on a drop-in and appointment basis five days a week for all students and employees.

    Please download the CoVerified mobile app and use your Lesley single sign-on email and password to manage your testing schedule and check your test results. You may make an appointment through CoVerified, but appointments are not required. Your access to campus will be restricted if you test positive or do not comply with our testing requirements.

    Summer Testing Schedule (as of May 31)

    Starting Tuesday, May 31, 2022, testing will be offered five days each week from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at either University Hall on the Porter Campus (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) or Washburn Hall on the South Campus (Tuesday and Thursday).
     
    This schedule may be adjusted during the summer to accommodate program and other schedules.

    If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19, you will not be required to participate in the University’s weekly routine testing program for a period of 90 days. Please inform COVID_Update@lesley.edu and upload the positive test result with the test date to your profile on CoVerified. 

    Cataldo Ambulance Service conducts COVID-19 testing, and The Broad Institute processes and reports the testing results.

  • COVID-19 Reporting and Response Protocols

    Positive Test Results – Reporting and Response

    Reporting Positive Test Results

    The University will have information about COVID-19 positive test results obtained through the University’s testing protocol. The University will contact individuals who test positive.

    Any student or employee who is approved to be on campus and tests positive for COVID-19 outside of the University’s testing protocol must immediately report that to COVID_Update@lesley.edu and to the Dean of Student Life, nmays@lesley.edu, for students or Human Resources, hr@lesley.edu, for employees.

    Those who test positive must share a list of any close contacts with Lesley and local public health officers for contact tracing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines close contacts as those who were within 6 feet of a person who tested positive for a cumulative total of 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.

    Please note that given the current Omicron surge, the University will not be able to conduct contact tracing in every case.  Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should please immediately notify their close contacts.

    Individuals who test positive for COVID-19

    Residential students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 must:

    • Stay in their rooms until further instruction from Student Health Services or Residential Life.
    • Move to residential space designated for COVID-19-positive cases for isolation
      • for a period of at least five days (if asymptomatic or symptoms resolve after five days) and
      • until at least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and improvement in other symptoms.
    • While in isolation housing, receive meals delivered from Dining Services with contactless delivery.
    • Consult with Student Health Services (for residential students) or a physician or another healthcare provider (for residential employees).
    • Identify and notify personal contacts and assist the University in contact tracing efforts.
    • Answer the call from the local board of health or tracing collaborative.
    • Notify their advisor (for students) or supervisor (for employees) that they will be unable to come to attend campus activities for a period of time.
    • Only return to campus activity when cleared by the Dean of Student Life (for students) or Human Resources (for employees).
    • For a period of five days after the isolation period, always wear a mask when around others indoors and outdoors.

     

    Commuting students, faculty, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must:

    • Isolate in their homes
      • for a period of at least five days (if asymptomatic or symptoms resolve after five days) and
      • until at least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and improvement in other symptoms.
    • Consult their physician or another healthcare provider.
    • Identify and notify personal contacts to assist the University in contact tracing efforts.
    • Answer the call from the local board of health or tracing collaborative.
    • Notify their advisor (for students) or supervisor (for employees) that they will be unable to come to campus for a period of time.
    • Return to campus activity when cleared by the Dean of Student Life (for students) or Human Resources (for employees).
    • For a period of five days after the isolation period, always wear a mask when around others indoors and outdoors.

     

    Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will not be required to participate in the University’s weekly routine testing program for a period of 90 days.

    Close contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19

    To the extent possible, close contacts of COVID-19 positive cases in the Lesley community will be alerted and provided with instructions and information, including requirements for staying off-campus and testing, following our “Close Contact Exposure – Reporting and Response” protocols outlined on this page. Please note that given the current Omicron surge, the University will not be able to conduct contact tracing in every case.  Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should please immediately notify their close contacts.

    Lesley will endeavor to maintain the confidentiality of the infected person but will identify the infected person as necessary for contact tracing purposes and for implementing these protocols.

    Close Contact Exposure – Reporting and Response

    The CDC defines close contacts as those who were within six feet of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.  The time period for contact tracing is defined as contact beginning two days before the onset of symptoms (or the date a positive test was taken, if asymptomatic).

    For purposes of protocols regarding close contact exposure, "up to date on vaccinations" means that an individual has had a COVID-19 vaccine booster, completed the primary series of the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine within the last five months, or completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last two months.

    Protocols for persons who are close contacts differ depending on vaccination status; please see below.

    In the case of close contacts who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the University will implement the procedures under the “Possible COVID-19 Symptoms – Reporting and Response” protocols below.

    Response to Close Contact Exposure

    Close contacts who are up to date on vaccinations (see definition above):

    • Will not need to quarantine unless they are symptomatic.
    • Must wear a mask when around others indoors and outdoors for ten days and in accordance with Lesley policy (which always requires wearing a mask when indoors and in the presence of others).
    • Must obtain proof of a negative PCR test taken no sooner than the fifth day after exposure to the COVID-19 positive individual and as directed by the University.
    • Remain in contact with the Dean of Student Life (for students) or Human Resources (for employees).

     

    Residential students and residential employees who are close contacts and are not up to date on vaccinations (see definition above) must:

    • Stay in their rooms until further instruction from Student Health Services or Residential Life.
    • Move to a residential space designated for quarantine for a period of five days.
    • While in quarantine housing, receive meals delivered from Dining Services with contactless delivery.
    • Consult with Student Health Services (for residential students) or a physician or another healthcare provider (for residential employees).
    • After the quarantine period, wear a mask when around others indoors and outdoors for an additional five-day period and in accordance with Lesley policy (which always requires wearing a mask when indoors and in the presence of others).
    • Obtain proof of a negative PCR test taken no sooner than the fifth day after exposure to the COVID-19 positive individual and as directed by the University.
    • Only return to campus activity when cleared by the Dean of Student Life (for students) or Human Resources (for employees).

     

    Commuting students, faculty, and staff who are close contacts and are not up to date on vaccinations (see definition above) must:

    • Quarantine in their homes for a period of five days.
    • Consult their physician or another care provider.
    • After the quarantine period, wear a mask when around others for an additional five-day period and in accordance with Lesley policy (which always requires wearing a mask when indoors and in the presence of others).
    • Obtain proof of a negative PCR test taken no sooner than the fifth day after exposure to the COVID-19 positive individual and as directed by the University.
    • Only return to campus activity when cleared by the Dean of Student Life (for students) or Human Resources (for employees).

    Possible COVID-19 Symptoms – Reporting and Response

    Reporting Symptoms

    Any student or employee who is approved to be on campus and has any new or changed symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 symptoms must immediately report that to COVID_Update@lesley.edu and to the Dean of Student Life at nmays@lesley.edu (for students) or Human Resources at hr@lesley.edu (for employees) and must immediately stay off-campus or in their on-campus residence rooms until further instruction. 

    The health of our community relies in part on individual attention and responsibility, including notifying the University of a possible illness. Please note that some symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other illnesses.

    Students will be contacted by Student Health Services or Residential Life. Employees must consult their physician or another healthcare provider.

    Lesley will not inform other students and employees if an individual has symptoms until the University implements the COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 close contact procedures under these protocols.

    Response for Symptoms

    Students and employees who have new or changed symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 symptoms must:

    • Isolate
    • Submit proof of a negative PCR test.
    • Have improvement in symptoms.
    • Have been free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g. Tylenol, Motrin, etc.).
    • If symptoms are significant and an evaluation is performed by Student Health Service (for residential students) or their healthcare provider (for commuting students and employees) and an alternative diagnosis is reached (strep, etc.), they may return to the university based on medical guidance.
    • Be cleared to return by the Dean of Student Life (for students) or Human Resources (for employees).
  • Air Flow and Ventilation

    At Lesley, we have changed HVAC settings to allow for the maximum amount of outside air to come in through the systems. These buildings have central HVAC systems with Merv13 filters:

    • 31 Everett: Stebbins offices, classrooms 
    • 34-36 Mellen: East side building offices, classrooms 
    • 1 Wendell (residence hall)
    • 3 Wendell (residence hall)
    • 34 Mellen: Marran Theater
    • 30 Mellen: west side residence hall/fitness/offices
    • 33 Everett: White Hall Dining
    • 1815 Mass Ave
    • 1801 Mass Ave: Lunder
    • Sherrill Library
    • Washburn Hall

    For naturally ventilated buildings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends increasing circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, if possible, and using fans. Please do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk for occupants.

    Window air conditioning units are installed in many offices, and filters have been cleaned in all window AC units and wall-mounted AC units (“splits”) over the summer. To support natural air flow in buildings without HVAC systems, some restroom fans will be running continuously.

    Employees who are assigned to an office in a non-HVAC building without a window should please contact their supervisor as Lesley has some spaces that can be reserved for your use while you are on campus.

  • Campus Access

    Access to Lesley buildings is strictly limited to current students, faculty, staff, and vendors whose vaccination status we have affirmed. A Lesley ID card is needed to enter campus buildings. If you wish to have an appointment with a particular faculty or staff member, you must make an appointment to visit them.

    Any visitors or guests must be approved in advance and submit the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Questionnaire, no more than 48 hours before arriving, affirming that they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic.

    The following exceptions to the no-visitors policy are allowed:

    • Resident students may visit each other in other residence halls.
    • Alumni and family members of students and employees may visit campus outdoors.
    • Student Accounts, Enrollment, and Campus Security allow pre-approved visitors, and the ground floor retail areas of University Hall are open to the public
  • Stay Home if You Feel Sick

    We ask that anyone who is sick or symptomatic—even just a runny nose or coughing—stay off-campus or in their residence hall and that faculty and supervisors provide remote attendance options to the extent possible so that students and employees may participate.  

    Any student or employee who is approved to be on campus and has any new or changed symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 symptoms must immediately report that to COVID_Update@lesley.edu and to the Dean of Student Life  (for students) or Human Resources Human Resources (for employees) and must immediately stay off-campus or in their on-campus residence rooms until further instruction. 

    Employees should avail themselves of the paid sick leave benefits available to them and switch to remote working options to the extent feasible.

    Students who feel sick must be in immediate and regular communication with their advisors and faculty members to discuss alternate plans.

  • Events and Gatherings

    Event Policy

    Attendance at in-person events and gatherings will be limited to Lesley students and employees only, except for pre-approved visitors and guests. The option of remote participation will be offered to the extent possible. There are currently no public health requirements limiting occupancy, but we ask everyone to use good judgment in planning events, to hold events and gatherings outdoors as much as possible, and to limit the size of any events held indoors.

    Outdoor gatherings: no limit on a number of people, which may include students, employees, alumni, and family members of students and employees.

    Indoor gatherings: Gathering size increased to 80% of room capacity. Indoor gatherings may include a limited number of alumni and family members of students and employees only if approved in advance by the Cabinet planning group and with pre-registration and check-in required for all attendees and each visitor must complete a health self-assessment form on the day of visit before coming to campus.

    Note: All food and beverage requests for indoor events must be approved in advance by the Cabinet planning group.

    Requests to hold events

    Submit any requests to hold indoor and outdoor events of any size through the University Events Director, Jill Ziemba (jill.ziemba@lesley.edu) to reduce the potential for date and space conflicts.

  • Wash Hands Often & Clean Up After Yourself

    Practicing good hand hygiene is advised. Hand sanitizer is available in multiple locations across campus. We ask that everyone be attentive to cleaning up after themselves if they use a common space to work or eat.

    We will follow our standard cleaning routines and schedules for classrooms and other common spaces. Please submit a facility request form if you observe a space that needs additional cleaning.

  • Flu Shots

    All residential students and employees are required to get an annual flu shot. Others are strongly encouraged to have get flu shots annually.

  • Take Care of Your Mental Health

    We recognize that the uncertainty and effects of the pandemic continue to cause stress and anxiety for many community members, and our Counseling Center offers supportive services for students and resources for the community.

    Wellness events and programs for our community are offered during the traditional academic year.

  • Resources for Public Health Guidance on COVID-19
  • CARES Act: Updated April 21, 2022

    Updated April 2022
    The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERFIII) has been authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and was signed into law on March 11, 2021. Lesley University received an award of $3.1 million to be disbursed among the approximately 3,500 students that qualify for the grant. On September 27, 2021, all students deemed eligible to receive a disbursement under the HEERF III were notified and asked to complete an application for disbursement of these funds.

    On October 26, 2021 Lesley University disbursed $1,156,800.00 to approximately 1,620 students. On November 19, 2021, a second application was circulated to 3,516 students. The second disbursement of funds was completed on December 24, 2021. This second disbursement resulted in a total of $2,305,575.00 being disbursed to the qualified students during the fall 2021 semester. Lesley University expects to do a final disbursement during the Spring 2022 semester to disburse the remaining funding.

    On February 25, 2022, all remaining funding was disbursed to Lesley University Students.  The HEERF III awarding has been completed.  
     

  • Previous CARES Act: Updated January 4, 2022

    Updated January 4, 2022

    The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERFIII) has been authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and was signed into law on March 11, 2021. Lesley University received an award of $3.1 million to be disbursed among the approximately 3,500 students that qualify for the grant. On September 27, 2021, all students deemed eligible to receive a disbursement under the HEERF III were notified and asked to complete an application for disbursement of these funds.

    On October 26, 2021 Lesley University disbursed $1,156,800.00 to approximately 1,620 students. On November 19, 2021, a second application was circulated to 3,516 students. The second disbursement of funds was completed on December 24, 2021. This second disbursement resulted in a total of $2,305,575.00 being disbursed to the qualified students during the fall 2021 semester. Lesley University expects to do a final disbursement during the Spring 2022 semester to disburse the remaining funding.

    Review the Lesley University Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting Form (PDF)

  • Previous CARES Act update: September 29, 2021

    Under the CARES Act, Lesley University received $998,930.00 from the Department of Education.  As of March 31, 2021, Lesley University had expended $953,325.00 to over 1,270.00 students.

    In December 2020 the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) was passed.  This act included 23 billion for higher education institutions and students using the same Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) model established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Lesley University received $998,930.00 in HEERFII funding for distribution to students.  This act required that any remaining funding from the CARES act be included in the now HEERF II, bringing Lesley’s funding to $1,042.10.00.  Lesley University has expended all of the funds granted under the HEERF II act.

    The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERFIII) has been authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and was signed into law on March 11, 2021.  Lesley University received an award of $3.1 million dollars to be disbursed among the 3,500 students that qualify for the grant. 

    On September 27, 2021, all students deemed eligible to receive a disbursement under the HEERF III were notified and asked to complete an application for disbursement of these funds.

    Lesley University expects to begin disbursement of the HEERF III funds on or around October 22, 2021. 

    Review the Lesley University Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting Form (PDF)

Past Email Communications from Lesley University

Here is an archive of the email communications we have sent to the Lesley community related to updates and operations during the pandemic.

Contact Us
Here's whom to contact with regard to your concerns regarding Coronavirus and the flu, as well as any questions about Lesley's COVID-19 protocols.