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Reminders about Onboarding Testing, Reduced Office Occupancy

December 30, 2020

This message was sent to all employees.

We hope you have been enjoying a well-deserved break over the holidays. As we begin our return from the holiday break starting on January 4, we have some important reminders and information.

This Fight Is Not Over—We Must Remain Vigilant

The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Massachusetts and in Worcester remains concerningly high.  Members of our own WPI community have been exposed to the virus during this latest surge. During this difficult time, it is essential that we keep up our guard. We ask you to continue to act safely and with extra vigilance, both on campus and off.  This means everyone in our community must still wear their masks, practice social distancing, wash their hands and clean their spaces, and, if working on campus, continue with routine COVID-19 testing. With everyone doing their part, we are hopeful that the case numbers in our state and city will begin to come under control over the coming weeks, and that vaccines will become more widely available over the next few months. Until then, we must all be extra careful if we are to keep our WPI family safe, well, and together.

Reduced Office Occupancy

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts released temporary new office occupancy guidelines earlier this month. Laboratories are exempt from this new guidance; occupancy limits in labs will remain unchanged.

  • For offices, recent changes allow 25 percent maximum permitted occupancy, or five people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Check with your supervisor about any impact this may have on your work.

Remote Work Is Encouraged

To help mitigate the spread of the virus on campus, the university is encouraging employees who are able to work remotely to do so, especially during the first weeks of January. This will help the campus remain less densely populated and comply with new temporary state guidelines for reduced office occupancy.

  • Check with your supervisor about your ability to work from home if you aren’t sure.

COVID-19 Onboarding Tests in Harrington Auditorium

Employees who have been off campus for the break must take onboarding tests for COVID-19 before they can resume regular, routine testing. Employees who have continued to work on campus during the break will continue with their regular testing cadence.

 

IMPORTANT: If you are experiencing any symptoms at all—even something you do not think is COVID-19—do not come to campus for any reason, including for COVID-19 tests. Do not go to Harrington Auditorium for a test. Fill out the Symptom Tracker and contact your primary care physician for symptomatic testing.

 

  • Please refer to this flowchart for guidance for onboarding testing cadence.  
  • After you complete your first onboarding test, you must schedule a second test no longer than four days after your first test.
  • The last day for an employee to schedule an onboarding test is Thursday, January 21 with a second test scheduled for Monday, January 25.
    • PLEASE NOTE: COVID testing during January 21 through 28 coincides with the student move-in onboarding testing times. If your appointments are during these days, plan accordingly for longer wait times and potentially longer result times.
  • Appointments are REQUIRED for testing: Open testing times are found on the link to schedule appointments.
  • Check the WeAreWPI Testing Protocols page for the latest testing updates.
  • Note: Pathway 4 employees who remain remote will not be tested until they return to campus; those dates are yet to be determined.

Thank you for your dedication to WPI, and your patience and collaboration as we all continue to work through the pandemic. We will keep you posted as conditions evolve, and know that we are working to try to bring vaccines to our campus in the coming months as well.

We’re wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year—things will be better later in 2021!

 

Sincerely,

Talent & Inclusion