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Pre-Arrival Testing and Travel Requirements

Note: This is dated information and may not reflect the current policies in place on campus. Please refer to We Are WPI for the latest information.

July 29, 2020

This message was sent to students and their families.

On July 24, Massachusetts Governor Baker announced a travel order that outlines steps that travelers—including students—must take if coming to Massachusetts from outside select states. As of August 1, the state will require all travelers from higher-risk states to:

  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival.
  • Either quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state or acceptable region, or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts.

Students who have been in a state defined as “lower risk” for at least 14 days prior to arrival in Massachusetts are exempt from these requirements. The states currently defined as lower risk are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii; however, the lower-risk designations could change prior to WPI’s move-in date. Please check the Massachusetts website before coming to campus.

To comply with the state mandate and to equitably support the health and well-being of the WPI community, WPI will require all students residing in on-campus housing or a fraternity/sorority house, regardless of the state they are coming from, to engage in pre-arrival testing. 

Over the coming weeks, each student will receive instructions about signing waivers, participating in required training, and testing. It is critical you read these communications very carefully. Your ability to complete the necessary steps is essential to returning to campus.  

For On-Campus and Fraternity/Sorority House Residents Who Are Coming from a Lower-Risk State

WPI must receive evidence of a negative test result prior to move-in and will provide you with the following testing options—at no cost to you—depending on your state of residence.

  • Students residing in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut will be asked to come to campus 5 days prior to their assigned campus move-in date to take a COVID-19 test. 
    • Residence hall move-in dates and testing dates will be communicated on August 7, in your Housing Confirmation Email. Fraternity/sorority house residents will receive an email from the Office of Student Activities with detailed information about scheduled pre-arrival testing dates. 
  • Students living in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii will receive a COVID-19 test by mail 5 days prior to arrival on campus using the address provided on your intentions form.    
    • On-campus resident move-in days will be assigned by WPI based on the student’s residence hall and the state the student is traveling from. The date and information about selecting a specific arrival time will be communicated in the coming week.

For On-Campus and Fraternity/Sorority House Residents Who Are Coming from a Higher-Risk State

The state requires that students living in or having traveled to higher-risk states in the 14 days prior to arrival in Massachusetts provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test administered no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts. 

WPI will credit all residential students from higher-risk states who obtain their own PCR COVID test with $115 to their student account to help supplement the testing cost.   

On-campus resident move-in for students from higher-risk states will be: 

  • Upperclass Students: Saturday, August 22 
  • First-Year Students: Wednesday, August 26

To meet Massachusetts guidelines, including the need for a negative test within 72 hours, students need to:

  1. Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form.
  2. Complete the WPI Travel Requirements Arrangements form to inform us of your plans no later than August 19.
  3. Choose one of the following options:
  • (Preferred) Have a PCR test for COVID-19 administered within the 72 hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. You must provide evidence of the test result to WPI by uploading it to the Health Portal
  • Travel to one of the specified lower-risk states outside of Massachusetts and remain there for 14 days prior to coming to campus. (Reminder: The lower-risk states could change prior to late August.)
  • Travel to Massachusetts and self-quarantine for 14 days prior to coming to campus. The state has provided requirements for quarantine.
  • Students planning to reside on campus who cannot get a PCR test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival can be tested upon arrival to WPI and will receive results within 48 hours after testing. Students who travel with their families may choose to stay in off-campus accommodations while they wait for their negative test result. Otherwise, students will be required to individually quarantine in WPI-provided quarantine space and will not be able to move into their assigned residence hall rooms until they receive a negative test result.  

For Off-Campus Residents Who Are Coming from a Higher-Risk State

We expect students who live off-campus or are otherwise commuting to adhere to the state travel mandate, which means that students coming from higher-risk states should arrange for a PCR test or should arrive to Massachusetts 14 days prior to coming to campus. Please note that the university will not begin its regular campus testing protocol (weekly or biweekly testing of all students who come onto campus) until on or after August 22.

For Parents/Guardians/Family Members

Parents, guardians, and other family members who plan to stay overnight in the state must comply with the state travel order. If they are only dropping off the student and then leaving the campus and state the same day, they are exempted from the order. Please see the state’s website for more information. 

Planning Your Travel

COVID-19 trends continue to evolve, as does state and public health guidance—and WPI’s plans may also have to evolve. Therefore, we recommend that you maintain as much flexibility as possible. We suggest that any airline tickets that you purchase, particularly round-trip tickets, can be changed or refunded. WPI cannot be responsible for any travel costs incurred.

If at the time of your planned travel to campus, you are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, are recovering from COVID-19, or have been identified as possibly having been exposed, you should not come to campus and you should contact Health Services at 508-831-5520. We will then work with you on an arrival plan. 

Testing Upon Arrival to Campus

All students will participate in routine testing once they arrive to campus. The cost for this testing will be covered by the additional Health & Wellness Fee; there will be no per-test fee for students. Detailed information will be sent to students about scheduling their ongoing tests as we approach the start of classes. 

We continue to be grateful for your patience and flexibility—and your participation in these critical health and safety practices—as we work with this evolving situation. For any questions, please email


Emily Perlow
Assistant Dean of Students