Message from Jeremy Goodman, April 30, 2020
The Needham Board of Health has issued new guidelines for businesses that apply to Olin. The short version is that, effective May 1 until further notice, anyone who will be on campus must wear a mask or face covering while in any shared space (lobby, corridor, elevator, etc.) or working within six feet of any other person (colleague, student, etc.). If working alone in a private office, you may choose to take your mask off, but must put one on if anyone else joins you. This requirement applies even if you are just stopping in for five minutes to pick something up to take home. There is no requirement to wear masks outdoors at this point, but I suggest doing so while moving between buildings or on your way from the parking lot to a building. This order affects all buildings on campus, including the residence halls, and includes all Olin employees and the employees of our partners at Aramark, Rebecca’s and Babson who work with us.
If you are working on campus and don’t have access to a mask, please let me know. I will update the community when there is any change to this directive.
Message from President Miller, April 27, 2020
Dear Olin community,
It has now been almost exactly six weeks since we transitioned to an online learning and work from home model. Offering a hands-on curriculum online is not something we ever envisioned, but it was necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of our community during this public health crisis. The compassion, creativity and dedication you have all shown in the past few weeks has been inspiring.
Now it is time to look ahead to the summer.
At Olin the summer months are traditionally a time when faculty, staff and students alike shift gears. A number of students deepen their academic experience by devoting their summers to a variety of on campus research projects. In addition, educators from around the world head to Olin to experience our Summer Institute, and Admission visits kick into gear as the next group of prospective students comes to campus.
This year, unfortunately, things must be different. Given the ongoing public health risk associated with COVID-19 we have decided that there will be no in-person, on campus programming at Olin College this summer. This will include:
● No student housing on campus over the summer
● No on-campus student research or student employment
● No on-campus visits through Admission
● No on-campus visits or workshops (including Summer Institute) through the Collaboratory
The Collaboratory and the Office of Admission and Financial Aid are currently developing virtual approaches to their programs in order to accommodate the people who would normally visit campus. We encourage faculty who would usually be planning summer research projects on campus to explore remote alternatives directly with interested students. We also encourage staff who would usually employ students over the summer months to see if there are remote alternatives for this work as well. Student summer employment is not subject to the recent hiring freeze.
We do not yet know if we will be able to have individual faculty and staff back on campus over the summer, as we must rely on guidelines from the CDC and the MA Department of Public Health. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as necessary.
We understand this is disappointing news. We know that as the days and weeks go by the desire to come together as a community on our campus and return to “normal” grows stronger.
Our overriding goal, however, must continue to be ensuring the health and well-being of our community. We believe these measures are necessary to support that goal.
Looking ahead to the coming academic year, we are also not yet able to make a definitive determination about what our operations will look like as the public health guidelines continue to shift. We are not alone in this as most colleges and universities remain undecided about what a Fall 2020 semester will look like. To navigate what this means for Olin, I have asked Mark Somerville and Beth Kramer, working closely with the cabinet and the academic life team, to come up with a collaborative, community-involved process to develop potential paths forward. You will be hearing more from this team shortly.
Message from President Miller, April 6, 2020
Dear Olin community,
Well, this marks the beginning of the third week of online classes, and the fourth week of “work-from-home.” Zooming into the homes of Oliners all day is becoming the new normal. On the plus side, we occasionally get a glimpse of a favorite dog or cat, and the sound of kids in the background. In some ways, it seems more personal than meeting people in a suit and sitting in an office on campus. But what is apparent is the passion, perseverance, and caring of the community for the work of the College—even under these difficult circumstances.
Looking back on last week, we have decided on a room and board refund for our students which amounts to half of the room and board fees for this semester—regardless of any financial aid award. Olin’s founding precepts state that the College must care about its students “not just as scholars and engineers but as people.” With that as the guiding principle, the Board of Trustees generously supported our plan to provide the maximum pro-rated room and board refund possible to every student. This was the right thing to do.
I began periodic conversations with our new president-designate, Dr. Gilda Barabino, to ensure a seamless transition on July 1st. With the challenges resulting from a public health crisis, these conversations take on a special importance. Our conversations will expand in the weeks ahead and include others as we work together to address the road ahead.
Although we have been living and working off campus for a number of weeks now, it is apparent that the overall impact of COVID-19 is just beginning to be felt at home—in our Olin community and our neighbors. As we look beyond the medical crisis, the resulting financial uncertainty in the nation and the world must also be dealt with. As a result, we are beginning to explore and plan for the financial impact on Olin. We are working hard to quantify the implications and will have news for you in the coming days.
But while there is a lot to worry about these days, the entrepreneurial spirit of the Olin community is an inspiration. Many in our community are motivated by the needs of others and—in spite of everything else they are doing—are organizing efforts to make a contribution to help in the fight of the virus. Ranging from local to national initiatives, the Olin community is driven to “make a dent in the universe” (as Steve Jobs would say). This intrinsic motivation, compassion, and plucky creativity shines through the hardships we see around us. I am so proud of this community!
In closing, I want to make sure you saw this letter from Sophia Nielson ’20 editor in chief of Frankly Speaking. Sophia began her letter this way: “I’ll keep this short and sweet because it’s hard to write. I’ll be honest, I sat down to write a couple times before I teared up and had to stop. Four years ago, during Candidates’ Weekend, I caught a glimpse of Olin’s close, supportive community. Two weeks ago, I was reminded of it again. In a difficult time of rapid change and transition, we all came together.“
She then highlighted some comments from the community and ended her letter this way: “Even now, in the awkward move to online classes, you all have shown that Olin’s community can never be contained to just five (and a half) buildings.”
I heartily agree.
Message from President Miller, March 30, 2020
Dear Olin community,
Last week was another truly memorable one for our community.
On Thursday we shared the wonderful announcement that Dr. Gilda Barabino will be the next president of Olin College beginning on July 1, 2020. I have had the opportunity to meet with her personally and I am sure that she is a wonderful fit for our unique community! We have plans to work together in the coming months to facilitate her seamless transition here during very challenging times. Already, she participated in last Friday’s Board of Trustees update webinar and is rapidly becoming familiar with our resilient and creative community.
The first week of online learning is now behind us. There were some bumps along the way to be sure, and we have only just begun to find our path with the technology, but faculty and staff worked hard to support this transition, one that is necessary to continue to safeguard the health and well-being of our community.
On Friday, Emily Roper-Doten, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, released acceptance decisions for the Class of 2024. Even though we are not on campus, this was an important milestone in continuing the work of the College. We cannot wait to welcome the new class to campus!
I also want to let all of you know that we have made some decisions about end of the year events. On Friday I shared with the Class of 2020 and their parents that we will not be holding an on-campus commencement. As the public health situation has continued to unfold, it has become painfully clear that we must postpone our traditional ceremony scheduled for May 17.
I know this was distressing news to seniors as well as their families and friends. I am sure it is unwelcome news to all of you as well. Commencement is a milestone that all graduating seniors look forward to, and we, in turn, as a community were looking forward to celebrating this remarkable achievement with all of them. Although we did discuss the idea of a “virtual” commencement, it seemed an inappropriate celebration of the hard work the Class of 2020 has done – so rescheduling to a time that we can all be together is the right choice.
We have asked the Class of 2020 to share their thoughts on alternative commencement celebrations in a survey. After we have analyzed the feedback, we will formulate a plan on how best to proceed.
We will also not be running a traditional face-to-face EXPO or SCOPE Summit this spring. We are currently discussing how best to modify these events to serve the learning needs of our students, and we will be sharing those plans as soon as we can.
As we look back on these last three weeks, when I sent the announcement on March 10 about major changes in our lives at Olin,the entire Olin community has responded with resilience, creativity, patience, and caring. And while we have a long road ahead, I want to pass along to you the heartfelt gratitude of our Board of Trustees in response to a Cabinet webinar we held with them last Friday. Please take a moment to listen to our Chair, Ken Stokes, as he takes a page from Mark Somerville and waxes poetic in his praise and gratitude for the work of our whole community so far.
Message from President Miller, March 21, 2020
Dear Olin community,
On Friday, March 13th, the Community Health Response Team (CHRT) notified the community that an Olin student had been tested for COVID-19 and was self-isolated on campus.
Today, with the student’s permission, I can share with you the good news that the student's test result came back negative. We are very grateful to hear this and know this is of great relief to this individual and their family—and to the entire Olin community.
At this point, we are not aware of any cases of COVID-19 within the Olin community.
Please remember to remain diligent in preventing the spread of infection.
Although for the most part our community is no longer on the Olin campus, we ask that you abide by CDC guidelines and practice social distancing and other coronavirus prevention methods. This is especially important because while your personal risk may be low, people in your own communities may be immunocompromised or managing other health conditions.
Right now, we all have the power to help ourselves and those around us so please continue to:
- Monitor your own health closely and consult a health care provider about any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 – high fever, cough, respiratory difficulty.
- Take care of yourself with adequate rest, a good diet and exercise.
- Follow the preventive guidelines: hand washing/sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and keeping sufficient distance from others.
Should you experience symptoms yourself (fever, cough, shortness of breath), please seek medical attention promptly.
For additional information, please continue to visit our website. The CHRT team (Jeremy Goodman, Rae-Anne Butera and Beth Grampetro) continue to closely monitor the situation and are available to answer any questions.
Message from President Miller, March 20, 2020
Dear Olin community,
Well, it's Friday and the end of Spring Break. It’s also the end of the first week of "work-from-home." Like many of you, I will have to remind myself that tomorrow is not a regular workday since the difference between “home” and “office” is now only in my head. I think it is very important now to remember how important our mindset is. I believe one of our graduating seniors captured this in his 13 words at the Faux-mencement: “The difference between being lost and exploring is in your outlook on life” (my paraphrase, I’m working from memory).
We are getting ready to resume classes and launch distance learning on Monday. This is an experiment that we never envisioned but experimenting is not new to us. I know our faculty have spent all week getting ready and students are no doubt looking forward to connecting in a way that will seem familiar and yet very different all at once.
Like many colleges, we are starting to get calls for aid to address shortages in hospitals close to us and around the state. Organizations are looking for 3D printers and printing materials—and we are working on a plan to help meet that need. Doing good in the world is fundamental to our mission.
The Massachusetts Health and Hospitals Association has provided us with a separate list of items that are currently needed. I ask anyone who may have these items to let me (or a supervisor) know so we can get them into the right hands.
Reflecting on this unprecedented week, I took a few minutes this afternoon to listen to an NPR interview with Mark Somerville and Ana Krishnan ’20. I encourage you all to listen to it, too. Listening to Ana describe how the Greenhouse team came up with the idea for the Faux-mencement and how our community instantly rallied to their side illustrated so clearly for me the creativity, resilience, and spirit that defines Olin. Mark’s words capture the depth of caring that also defines so completely the Olin community. While we are sad to see our seniors leave campus in this abrupt and chaotic way, I could not help but smile and feel a deep sense of confidence that this community will be alright.
Our world needs Olin engineers now more than ever.
I hope you all have a safe and restorative weekend.
Message from President Miller, March 19, 2020
Dear Olin community,
It’s hard to believe that it was just nine days ago that I hit the “send” button on the memo that launched a world of changes for all of us. Most of our community has relocated their workspace, and nearly all of our students have relocated their home base, too. It will take some time to get used to the new routine. I’m still trying to find the right location in the house to sit and work from a laptop for hours and hours. On the bright side, I have noticed that I have a little more time each day as a result of not having to put on a suit and commute to and from campus. Also, there are many more people in my neighborhood who are outside, going for a walk. On the other hand, I have also noticed that I am receiving significantly more email than usual now.
Just yesterday I wrote that I am confident that the spirit of the Olin community, our desire to do good in the world and the compassion we have for each other and our community will provide a strong foundation to weather the coming weeks.
Today I see evidence of that all around me. During spring break students are online setting up a virtual version of Community Fridays. Instead of putting The Olin Book Club on hiatus, that group is now meeting in a Zoom room. The Shop is gathering safety glasses, gloves and other supplies from our lab and shop spaces to donate to local medical providers. Alumni are reaching out asking how they can help students. Our faculty are busy improvising in the task of using online tools in guiding the instruction in their courses which will resume next week.
Although we may be physically isolated from each other our community is finding ways to connect.
Finally, if you haven’t had a chance yet to read this short essay by Professor Caitrin Lynch about trying to NOT do “social distancing,” but instead “social closeness with physical distancing” I highly recommend it. As usual, her insights and perspective open our eyes to possibilities.
As we can see from the science, the epidemic will eventually pass. It is a matter of steady focus on what matters most, along with consistent, patient adherence to the CDC instructions. Of course, it is the most important time now to demonstrate our commitment to each other.
Message from President Miller, March 18, 2020
To members of the Olin community,
In an effort preserve our sense of community as we navigate this “new normal,” I want to provide you with another update. As I write this, I am sitting at home in a makeshift home office and thinking about how much has changed in just a few days. Most of our faculty and staff are doing the same, with many sharing their workspace with spouses and children, who are now being home-schooled. While a week ago I had barely heard of the software “Zoom,“ this week, most of my days are spent in one Zoom meeting after another, in an effort to maintain a sense of understanding of what is happening in each area of the College, and in an attempt to steer resources and attention where they are most needed. It still feels a lot like triage, and we are all still running mostly on adrenaline.
Only about a week ago, the Olin campus was busy with activity—and now it is mostly empty even though the work of the College continues. All of us are adjusting to a radically new context. It is eerie to walk through the deserted campus and look out on the nearly empty parking lot at this time of year. The same is true at most other colleges and universities, and many cities across the nation.
Students and their families are returning home and adjusting to the need to complete their academic year through some form of online learning. Transportation challenges exist almost everywhere making the trip home a bit uncertain, and improvised living and workspace at “home” is now the norm.
At Olin, this morning there were about 100 students still on campus, but by this evening there should be about 20, and by this time next week there should be fewer than 10. You should also know the Cabinet is meeting via Zoom each morning this week at 9:30 am to take stock of all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response of the Olin community.
As the days roll by, it is likely that this "social distancing" will begin to take a toll. The rapid adjustment may cause a buildup of stress and a feeling of isolation.
I want to make sure that you all give the highest priority to your health and wellbeing, especially now and in the next few weeks. And please make sure you take the time to care for yourselves and your family. There is simply no more important job right now.
I am confident that the entrepreneurial spirit of the Olin community, the intrinsic motivation to do good in the world, and the sincere compassion for each other and our community will provide a strong foundation for our next few weeks and beyond.
Olin is a resilient and caring community, never more so than at this time. In the days ahead, I urge you all to stay patient and be kind to one another. Together we will weather this storm.
Message from Jeremy Goodman, March 17, 2020
I’m very proud at how quickly people are adapting to our new remote work reality. A glance out the window at Lot A shows only seven cars, some of which belong to our essential Facilities staff (I will be starting remote work myself later this week). I’m writing to you with some updates on campus operations you should all be aware of.
- Effective at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18, all external building doors will be locked 24/7. Faculty and staff will need to use their ID cards to swipe in.
- Public Safety will also be stepping up their patrols of the campus. Please carry your ID card at all times if you are present, as an officer may ask to see it if they don’t know you by sight.
- Please also bring the key to your space, as you may find that internal doors have been locked, too.
We are taking these actions to ensure the safety of the few employees whose duties require them to be on campus and the security of all of our equipment.
- The physical Help Desk in Milas Hall is closed and IT staff are working remotely.
- For the quickest support, please contact us via email at email@example.com, and include detailed information and a call-back number. We will respond as promptly as possible during regular hours.
- If you have technology questions, please check the IT Documentation Wiki, and in particular our focused Working Remotely section where we are collecting information about VPN, Zoom, voicemail, Office 365, and other topics.
- Want to experiment with Microsoft Teams collaboration? We have created a public Olin College space in Teams, where you can create your own channels for collaboration
- The Facilities staff will continue to work on campus, keeping it ready for us all to return.
- Beginning on Thursday (3/19/20), we will be changing the settings on heating and cooling systems to save energy on most of the campus. If it is critical that you be on campus, please bring layers so that you can adjust to warmer or cooler temperatures than you may be used to.
- The team will continue to respond to requests submitted through workorders.olin.edu.
- For assistance with HR questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For changes to benefits or payroll information, complete the proper forms from the HR section of the portal and email either a scan or a clear photograph (do not include your social security number or date of birth).
- Please continue to submit your Summer 2020 Student Employment and research stipend requests by Wednesday, April 1.
- Boot Camp and Yoga are cancelled until further notice; Boot Camp payments will carry forward.
One last reminder: please do not come to campus unless it is absolutely critical that you do so. Thank you all and please continue to monitor the COVID-19 information on our website for updates.
Message from President Miller, March 17, 2020
To members of the Olin community,
I hope you are taking care of yourselves and those around you during this challenging and unprecedented time.
This week alone our faculty are preparing to teach remotely, our students have largely left campus and staff are now working remotely as well. Like you I have never seen anything like this. And yet I have been truly heartened at the way the Olin community has come together to address the stress and disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into our lives.
In an effort to provide you with the tools and information to help you continue your work we are sharing information in a number of ways.
- Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18 at 2:00 pm there will be a webinar for employees.
- Thursday, March 19 at 2:00 pm there will be an academic meeting.
While the focus of each webinar may be a bit different, you are welcome to join either one as your schedule permits.
In addition, please continue to check the Olin website regularly as we are updating information on a daily basis.
This weekly communication will contain a wrap-up of all the links and information from the previous week just in case you missed anything.
Since the situation remains very dynamic, I plan to continue sending out community updates periodically as needed.
Message from the Community Health Response Team (CHRT), March 16, 2020
Good morning Olin community,
It has been a week of unprecedented change and activity at Olin and around the world. We didn’t know, one week ago, that by today many students would have departed or would be preparing to depart campus, that faculty would be preparing to teach remotely, and that many staff would be working remotely. COVID-19 is now a pandemic, per the World Health Organization. Last night, Governor Baker ordered K-12 in schools in Massachusetts to close, banned bars and restaurants from allowing eat-in service, and banned gatherings of more than 25 people. Unprecedented events call for unprecedented responses, and we would like to emphasize one response in particular that is especially critical.
We have shared information before regarding social distancing. While many of us have been trying to implement preventive measures such as frequent handwashing and avoiding handshakes- and we should continue those- much of the information we have about this virus, in particular based on its trajectory in Italy, tells us that this week is a critical one for flattening the curve. Olin has joined many other colleges, businesses, and school districts in closing or moving operations online in order to help with this effort. However, we are aware of concerning things happening on campus in the form of gatherings of groups and people not maintaining distance from one another. While much of this will decrease or resolve over the next couple of days as more people depart campus, we wanted to emphasize the importance of taking social distancing very seriously.
We urge everyone to read the following:
This article by Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, of Ariadne Labs, explains why strict social distancing is vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19. In practice, this means:
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Avoid in-person contact with people who are not part of your household. (If you are a student still on campus, consider your room/suite your household.)
- If you must go out, maintain a distance of six feet between yourself and other people. No touching.
It may not be possible for everyone to do the first two, but the last one is crucial, and we can and should do it.
This visual simulation from the Washington Post shows how social distancing, especially extensive distancing, can spread out the rate of new infections and avoid the worst outcomes.
It is not fun to have the semester disrupted, to spend most of our time at home, and to avoid activities and events we enjoy. But this is an opportunity to help all of our fellow citizens, especially the most vulnerable. We hope to see everyone at Olin rise to the occasion this week and beyond.
Wishing you all the best as we adjust to this new reality,
Message from the Community Health Response Team (CHRT), March 13, 2020
This afternoon, Babson Student Health Services notified Olin College that an Olin student had presented at Health Services with a fever and respiratory symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution, the student was tested for COVID-19. When the student returns to campus, they will self-isolate and will not have contact with other members of the community. They are being asked to self-isolate because they have symptoms of an illness, and it is recommended that they do this to prevent transmission of whatever illness they have. The College is working to support the student during the self-isolation period. One item we would like to provide the student is an oral or temporal thermometer, and understandably these are hard to track down in stores right now. If any member of the community has one they are willing to donate, please notify Beth Grampetro at email@example.com.
This situation is under the purview of the Needham Department of Public Health. They will determine close contacts of the student and will contact those people directly to provide instructions.
We ask that everyone continue to practice social distancing and prevention methods. This is especially important because while your personal risk may be low, members of our community could be immunocompromised or managing other health conditions. Please keep this in mind and maintain distance between yourself and others. Should you experience symptoms yourself (fever, cough, shortness of breath), please seek medical attention promptly. Here is some information to help you with these practices:
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the CHRT at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a student on campus and have an urgent concern over the weekend, please contact the R2 on call at 781-953-0061.
Jeremy, Rae-Anne, and Beth (the CHRT)
Message from President Miller, March 13, 2020
Dear Olin College community,
I am writing to let you know that, out of an abundance of caution, we have asked three employees at Olin College to self-quarantine because they have been exposed to someone who may have been exposed to COVID-19. There are no known cases of coronavirus at the College and no one at the College has reported experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus at this time.
The employees have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days or until the person they were in contact with, who may have been exposed, receives a negative test result.
We have asked Facilities to do additional cleaning on the Olin College campus based on public health guidelines.
We wanted to share this information with you as it became available in an effort to be as open and transparent as possible.
As a reminder, if you are or a member of your household is ill with respiratory symptoms and fever or has come into close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19/coronavirus or been contacted by the Board of Health, you must self-quarantine for at least 14 days after the possible exposure. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.
In practice, self-quarantine means that, as a faculty or staff member, you should stay home and contact your primary healthcare provider or urgent care center. Please notify your supervisor, who will work with Human Resources to accommodate the business needs of any staff and faculty who need to self-quarantine.
We would also like to remind you of the following measures we can all take to stay healthy:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water! This is the best form of prevention.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, immediately throw it out, and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
We will continue to monitor the situation and send out updates as necessary.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Community Health Response Team or your supervisor.
Message from President Miller, March 11, 2020
To members of the Olin Community,
I want to thank those of you who responded quickly to my announcement yesterday with support and thoughtful questions. We are working hard to address all of the questions you may have. To that end, we will provide an FAQ page and continuously-updated relevant information on this website which will serve as the focal point for future communication.
I realize that the changes announced yesterday present significant challenges and inconvenience, but it is our collective judgment that they are prudent under the circumstances. We are joined in this conclusion by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker who announced a state of emergency yesterday over coronavirus, and independent decisions yesterday at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Babson, and other institutions to adopt similar changes. It is important to note that there are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus at this time, although there are several presumptive cases in nearby communities.
Our immediate concerns are related to switching to an online learning model. Today, our faculty and staff are working to implement plans that will enable our students to complete their studies this semester, even though they will not be on campus.
Olin was designed as a laboratory in which we frequently experiment and work together to create new ways of doing things. We will now draw on that positive spirit of collaborative problem solving from all members of our community in order to create the best possible outcome for the next few months.
Thank you for your patience,
Message from President Miller, March 10, 2020
Dear Olin Community,
In the past few days, I’m sure many of you, like me, have seen the growth of COVID-19 cases continue to spread in your communities and around the world. Our Community Health Response Team (Rae-Anne Butera, Jeremy Goodman and Beth Grampetro) has been working tirelessly to keep up to date on fast-changing information, recommend responses and answer the questions that many of you have raised. While there are no known cases of COVID-19 on our campus at this time, it is clear now that it is important for us all to do our part to try to slow the spread of this virus. To that end, we are taking additional actions today that are intended to limit exposure to disease among members of our community.
We do not take these actions lightly, but the health and well-being of our community must always be our first priority, and with the anticipated surge in travel over spring break this is the right time to implement further measures. As a result, Olin will be implementing the following actions below:
Courses and On Campus Residency After Spring Break
After spring break Olin will move to virtual instruction for all courses until further notice. Classes are not being cancelled — they are moving online. This will mean different things to different classes, but the faculty will work together to ensure that all students can complete this semester's coursework. Classes will meet in person tomorrow, Thursday and Friday in order to provide an opportunity for each class to plan accordingly.
Students should not plan to return to campus after spring break. We do not yet know when it will be advisable for students to return to campus, therefore students should take as many of their belongings with them as possible when they leave. For many students, spring break means going home. For those students who can’t return home, it might mean going to stay with a friend or relative. We also recognize that there may be students whose circumstances are such that they have no viable option but to stay on campus.
The Student Affairs office will follow this message with a separate email containing instructions and support for students and will follow up with any students whose circumstances may require staying on campus.
Faculty and Staff
The College remains open. We are not requiring employees to work remotely unless they meet the self-quarantine conditions described below. Faculty and staff should work with their teams over the next few days to identify critical functions that require an on-campus presence and a plan for how to continue them if the College’s work becomes primarily remote for a period of time.
All Olin-related or -sponsored travel is suspended until further notice. This includes any travel that is being paid for with College funds or is on behalf of or in service of the College. Olin also discourages all community members from undertaking personal travel.
We host many visitors over the course of the year to our Needham campus. As a result of these updated measures, Admission and Financial Aid and External Engagement will suspend all in-person visits to campus at this time.
If you are or a member of your household is ill with respiratory symptoms and fever or has come into close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19/coronavirus or been contacted by the Board of Health, you must self-quarantine for at least 14 days after the possible exposure. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure.
In practice, self-quarantine means:
- A faculty or staff member should stay home and contact your primary healthcare provider or urgent care center. Please notify your supervisor, who will work with Human Resources to accommodate the business needs of staff and faculty who need to self-quarantine.
- A student who is sick on campus should contact Health Services or contact a local urgent care center. We also ask that you notify Beth Grampetro at email@example.com.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water! This is the best form of prevention.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, immediately throw it out and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
- If you feel sick, contact your health care provider. For students, this means contacting Babson Health Services or utilizing a local urgent care facility if Health Services is not open.
The CHRT will continue to deliver the most critical updates by email, but for all other information please visit the Olin website and/or reach out to your supervisor. CHRT is also ready to answer any questions you may have as this situation continues to evolve. They can be reached directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I recognize that these measures will pose challenges for some of you and I want you to know that we are committed to providing everyone in the Olin community with the support they need to navigate these changes. The wellbeing of our community is paramount and our goal in the end is to do what we can to keep our community safe and healthy.
Travel and Visitor Update, March 6, 2020
These restrictions impact Olin community members traveling on college business and/or using college funds:
- Community members may not travel to areas for which the CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for any reason.
- Community members may not travel to areas for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 Travel Health notice without the advanced approval of their vice president or dean.
There are no restrictions on other domestic or foreign business travel at this time. However, all travelers should learn about the local conditions at their destination and carefully weigh risks before traveling, especially individuals who may be at increased risk for infection. The college supports the informed personal decisions of all its business travelers. Financial Affairs will allow business travelers to purchase refundable travel tickets or travel insurance that allows cancellation for any reason until further notice.
For the latest CDC travel information related to COVID-19, please visit this link.
The College discourages personal travel to Level 2 and 3 destinations. Any community member who travels to a Level 2 or 3 area may not return to campus for a minimum of 14 days after the end of their trip. Travelers are urged to make informed choices about all other personal travel and recognize that conditions may change quickly.
Visitors to the College
The College will not accept any visitors who have traveled to a Level 2 or 3 destination within the past 14 days or who have been in close contact others who have. Hosts should ask any planned visitors to affirm that they have not done so. Regardless of travel, any visitor who is ill must make arrangements to reschedule their visit for a later date.
Olin is actively communicating with students who are participating in Study Away programs. If their programs remain open, we support students making informed choices about whether they wish to remain in their Study Away locale.
We will consider updates to these policies as new information and guidance become available.
Community Health Advisory, February 28, 2020
The Olin College Community Health Response Team (CHRT) is closely monitoring the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the guidance and recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to keep our campus safe and provide our community important information and resources. While we acknowledge that this situation may induce anxiety, the immediate risk at Olin and in Massachusetts continues to be low.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to be a reputable and up-to-date source of information. Should you be interested in e-mail updates directly from the CDC, you can sign up for their newsletter here. You should enter your e-mail address and choose COVID-19 as the topic you would like to follow.
Self-Care and Support
- While there is not currently an approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19, taking the following preventive measures can help you to avoid infection:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve and wash your hands afterwards.
- Frequently disinfect surfaces with cleaning wipes.
- Avoid non-essential travel to highly affected countries or regions in the world.
Please keep in mind that most individuals who have contracted Coronavirus have recovered. People with the highest risk are pregnant women, individuals with compromised immune systems, and the elderly.
We also remain in the middle of Influenza season, so if you are ill with a fever it is important to stay home and avoid unnecessary contact with others. Students can seek medical care at Babson Health Services. Employees who are sick or have questions about their health are strongly encouraged to contact their personal physician or contact an urgent care center. If you have not yet gotten the flu vaccine it is not too late, and vaccination can reduce your risk of becoming ill with the flu.
You may have heard news reports about preparing for the possibility of a widespread outbreak in the US that would disrupt typical daily activities. While this is not our current reality, the situation is evolving daily. You can find some tips about how to prepare for a disruption of daily life here.
We recognize that there may be community members impacted by this situation, and we must continue to be supportive as a college community. Students who may be affected emotionally by this situation can seek support through the College’s counseling resources. Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek support through Olin’s Employee Assistance Program (must log into the portal to view).
International Travel Planning
If you plan on traveling internationally over spring break or in the near term, we recommend that you use the following resources to anticipate potential travel interference, including entry restrictions, exit screenings at airports and/or quarantine measures based on your citizenship, past travel history, or destination country.
You can also register your travel with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) (available for any student studying at a U.S. institution regardless of citizenship) to receive alerts of safety conditions or emergencies in your destination country.
Business Continuity and Other Considerations
As the CHRT’s work advances, the team will be working with the College’s Crisis Response Team to assess potential impacts on Olin's campus operations and ensure appropriate plans are in place. The CHRT will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving public health situation and provide further updates, as appropriate.
Thank you for your attention to the information contained in this email. We will update the community as the situation warrants. In the meantime, please feel free to contact any of us if you have questions or concerns.