FAQs will be updated as new information becomes available. Please check back often.
Are face coverings required on campus? (Updated 10/13/21)
Yes. Everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face covering/mask in all WPI buildings and vehicles unless in a private office or living environment; masks are optional in private settings, and presenters may lower or remove their face covering in certain situations (below). Face coverings are required in indoor dining areas except when you are actively consuming food or beverages.
- Fully vaccinated speakers (faculty, presenters, instructors) may, at their option, lower or remove their face coverings when actively providing instruction in a classroom or lab setting IF the following conditions are met:
- At least six feet of social distancing from the speaker to the audience can be maintained.
- All others present (students/participants) are masked.
- This applies to public speaking/presenting and performing for campus-sponsored academics, events, or activities and does not change the requirement for the use of face coverings in all indoor spaces on campus.
- Face coverings are optional for vaccinated individuals at all outdoor events
- The recommendation remains for unvaccinated individuals to wear face coverings in outdoor events where social distancing cannot be maintained.
What should I do if I think I have COVID-19 symptoms? (Updated 9/20/21)
If you are experiencing severe symptoms or a medical emergency while on campus, call 508-831-5555 for WPI Police, or call 911. Anyone with COVID-19–like symptoms should stay home or in their residence hall room and self-quarantine immediately. See a list of symptoms here. Symptoms should also be immediately reported via the Symptom Tracker. Please note, with the Delta variant, symptoms may be milder and may seem to be a simple sort throat, a cold, or even allergies. Don't dismiss them!
If you have any symptoms at all, do not come to campus, even for testing. Doing so risks spreading the virus. Report your symptoms via the Symptom Tracker and the health team will get back to you as soon as possible.
Faculty, staff, and contract workers should contact their personal physician to see whether symptomatic COVID-19 testing is needed. They should also contact their supervisor to note that they are ill and discuss taking time off or working from home if well enough. Students can also contact Health Services at 508-831-5520 to arrange for follow-up assessment, which may include symptomatic COVID testing.
Is WPI testing students and employees for COVID-19? (Updated 9/7/21)
Yes; all students and employees who will be on campus at any time for any reason must be tested in WPI's testing program, regardless of vaccination status. Employees and graduate students must be tested at least once per week, and undergraduate students must be tested twice per week. Testing is being conducted in Harrington Auditorium.
Is WPI using pooled testing? (Updated 9/7/21)
WPI has used both pooled testing (see below) and individual PCR testing to best manage our COVID-19 surveillance program. All participants receive their results individually, regardless of the testing method, and staff are on hand to help everyone through any changes to procedures. Community data is reflected on the COVID-19 dashboard.
What is pooled testing and what does it mean for me? (Updated 8/26/2021)
In pooled testing, swabs collected from up to 10 individuals are tested together. (Learn more about pooled testing from the Broad Institute, which continues to manage WPI’s COVID-19 testing.)
How will I get my results and what will they look like? (Updated 8/26/21)
When your pooled test results are ready, you will receive a notification email from email@example.com at your WPI Email address. This email will include a link for you to log in to the results portal so you can access your results. The first time you get this email, you will need to set up your account. If you have trouble logging in, this Hub article might help. If not, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
If the pool you were a part of is negative, you will receive a result that says, "NO FOLLOW-UP TESTING NEEDED." If the pool is positive, you will receive an outreach call from the WPI Public Health Team, asking you to come in for an individual rapid test at 27 Hackfeld Road, as well as an individual PCR test. If your pool is invalid, which means no human genetic material found, or your test could not be performed at the lab, you will receive a notification to go back to Harrington to retest at your earliest convenience.
What if my pool is positive? (Added 8/26/21)
It is extremely important that you are available for follow-up testing the day after your routine test, should it be needed. We strongly encourage you to schedule your routine tests so you can be on campus the next day as well. See the details below.
If you are notified that you are part of a positive pool:
- You must be retested immediately to allow the university to conduct contact tracing, ensure affected spaces are properly cleaned, and minimize the spread of virus.
- The Health Team will contact you to provide retesting instructions.
- The Health Team will advise you to come to campus for a free, individual rapid test at 27 Hackfeld Road, and possibly an individual PCR test. The rapid test provides results in 15 minutes.
- Until you receive a negative test result from your rapid follow-up test, you should self-isolate and wear a mask.
- If it is impossible for you to return to campus when contacted, you may go to a clinic or contact your primary care provider for the tests that day. Inform the clinic or caregiver that you need additional testing because you were part of a positive pool indicating you may have COVID-19, and it needs to be ruled out. You will need to submit the test results to the Health Team immediately.
- Please note that you may incur a cost to be tested off campus; contact your insurance carrier for information about testing coverage.
I am fully vaccinated; do I still need to be tested for COVID-19? (Updated 8/26/21)
Yes. Everyone on campus must continue to be tested weekly.
I am not fully vaccinated; do I need to be tested? (Updated 8/26/21)
Yes. Anyone who is partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, as well as employees who have not yet uploaded their vaccine information to WPI, are required to test at least weekly. (Note: You are fully vaccinated two weeks after your final dose of vaccine.)
I am a student; How do I upload my vaccination information to WPI? (Added 7/5/21)
Upload your information to the Student Health Portal:
I am a WPI employee, REU, or temporary or contingent worker; how do I enter my vaccination information? (Added 7/5/21)
Enter your vaccination information into Workday here.
What COVID-19 vaccines will WPI accept to meet the vaccination requirement? (Updated 8/31/21)
WPI will accept any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), unless otherwise indicated by the CDC or Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
For international students, if a COVID-19 vaccine is available in your country that is not on this list, we still advise that the best vaccine is the first one you can get. See additional information under International Student FAQs.
What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”? (Updated 8/31/21)
“Fully vaccinated” status is achieved two weeks after your final dose (dose 2 of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
I was vaccinated at WPI; do I still need to submit my vaccine information to WPI? (Updated 8/31/21)
Yes, even if you were vaccinated at WPI, you still need to submit your vaccination information to WPI. Students must upload their vaccination information into Medicat using this link. Employees must enter their vaccine information into Workday by following these instructions.
Can I request a philosophical exemption from WPI’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement? (Added 8/31/21)
WPI is only providing approved disability/medical or religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. WPI will not grant exemptions or accommodations for philosophical reasons. To receive an exemption, you must share proof that a disability or medical condition prevents you from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or demonstrate a sincerely held religious objection to the vaccine.
Will vaccinated students, faculty, and staff be exempt from COVID-19 testing on campus? (Updated 8/25/21)
No. All students, faculty, and staff must be tested at least weekly. Undergraduates and anyone who is unvaccinated must be tested twice per week.
Student Vaccination Requirement
Is the COVID-19 vaccine required for students? (Updated 8/31/21)
All undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in on-campus classes and/or conducting research in on-campus labs, whether they live on campus or off, are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. See the June 22, 2021 WPI community update.
Why is WPI requiring all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19? (Updated 8/31/21)
Vaccination provides excellent protection against severe illness from COVID-19 and the best chance for the WPI community to continue to return to the daily activities that are so important to college life.
For students, WPI already requires students to be vaccinated against a wide variety of vaccine-preventable illnesses, like meningitis, measles, tuberculosis, and others that are easily spread among people who live in congregate settings or who spend time in densely populated spaces. COVID-19 is another such vaccine-preventable illness.
How do students submit their vaccination information? (Added 5/6/21)
Students must upload their vaccination information into Medicat using this link. If you are having any difficulty with Medicat, please contact Health Services.
How do students request a medical or religious exemption from WPI’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement? (Updated 5/11/21)
Students can submit their request for a medical or religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement by following the instructions found at Vaccination Exemptions.
Employee Vaccination Requirement
Is the COVID-19 vaccine required? (Updated 10/13/21)
All current employees who access campus were required to complete their COVID-19 vaccine series (i.e., two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and enter their vaccination information into Workday on or before October 11, 2021. Review WPI’s COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement here.
All employees hired after July 14, 2021, must be fully vaccinated prior to their first day of work at WPI.
Employees classified as fully remote are not required to be vaccinated. However, unvaccinated, fully remote employees will not be permitted on campus. See the August 31, 2021 WPI community update
Which employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19? (Added 8/31/21)
WPI’s COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Requirement applies to all WPI employees and all other individuals in WPI’s COVID-19 testing protocol (i.e., everyone who is expected to come to campus at any time during the 2021–22 academic year, including employees of Chartwells and Dunkin’ Donuts, research affiliates, visiting scholars, etc.).
Why is WPI requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19? (Updated 8/31/21)
Vaccination provides excellent protection against severe illness from COVID-19 and the best chance for the WPI community to continue to return to the daily activities that are so important to college life.
Many colleges and universities, as well as other employers, are requiring that employees be vaccinated, based on guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
How do employees submit their vaccination information? (Updated 8/31/21)
Employees must enter their vaccine information into Workday by following these instructions. Vaccination information in Workday will be kept confidential and will be shared only on a need-to-know basis. COVID-19 vaccination information entered in Workday is subject to verification. Employees who fail to provide truthful and accurate vaccination information will be subject to disciplinary action. If you are having any difficulty with Workday, please contact Talent & Inclusion.
How do employees request a disability/medical or religious accommodation from WPI’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement? (Updated 8/31/21)
Requests for a disability/medical or a religious accommodation must be submitted through the Division of Talent & Inclusion by completing this form. Requests for disability/medical accommodations require medical documentation.
The Division of Talent & Inclusion will review accommodation requests and may require additional information from the employee and/or their manager(s).
If an accommodation request is approved, employees and their manager(s) will be notified by Talent & Inclusion and advised of next steps, including additional WPI COVID-19 public health safety measures (e.g., additional mask-wearing requirements, additional testing, social distancing, etc.) that may be required to protect the health and safety of the WPI community.
Employees of Chartwells and Dunkin’ Donuts requesting accommodations should consult their managers about the appropriate process.
Can employees work remotely if they cannot or do not want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? (Added 8/31/21)
Now that the academic year is underway, all employees, with very few exceptions*, are expected to return to campus on at least a limited basis. As a result, all employees who need to access campus to perform their jobs are required to be fully vaccinated, unless they receive disability/medical or religious accommodations.
* Employees classified as fully remote are not required to be vaccinated. However, unvaccinated, fully remote employees will not be permitted on campus.
What happens if employees decline to get vaccinated or input their vaccination into Workday by the deadline? (Added 8/31/21)
After October 11, 2021, unvaccinated employees without an approved vaccination accommodation will be placed on unpaid leave for six (6) weeks. (The employee’s benefits will remain intact but the payroll deduction will not be taken during the unpaid leave and will therefore be “doubled up” upon the employee’s paid return.) Employees who fail to come into compliance by the end of this six-week unpaid leave may be subject to termination.
Employees of Chartwells and Dunkin’ Donuts should consult their managers about the consequences of non-compliance.
Can employees placed under unpaid leave return to work sooner than 6 weeks if they are vaccinated and have entered their information in Workday? (Added 8/31/21)
Yes, if employees are placed on unpaid leave because they are unvaccinated and do not have approved vaccinations, they may go back to work at WPI as soon as they are in compliance with the COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Requirement.
Where Can I Get Vaccinated?
Where can I get vaccinated in Massachusetts? (Updated 8/31/21)
You can sign up for a vaccination at certain pharmacies, community health centers, and health care providers in Massachusetts. You can search by zip code for these vaccination locations.
Local pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart also have vaccine available; check their websites.
How do I get my second dose if I got my first dose in a different location/state? (Updated 5/6/21)
Anyone who received a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, no matter where it was given, is eligible for a second dose in Massachusetts. Please be sure to keep the vaccination card you were given at the time of your first dose. The easiest way to book a second dose appointment is to schedule one directly through a vaccination site by calling the site directly. Contact information for vaccination sites can be found here under “second dose appointments.”
Alternatively, you can visit vaxfinder.mass.gov to find a pharmacy or community vaccination site near you. CVS and Walgreens offer second dose vaccination appointments. Remember to make sure the location offers the same vaccine you received for your first dose.
If you need to get your second dose outside of Massachusetts, please review information from the state in which you are seeking to get your second dose.
If COVID-19 vaccine boosters become needed in the future, can I get my booster at WPI? (Added 5/6/21)
If it becomes necessary for fully vaccinated individuals to receive COVID-19 boosters, WPI will provide more information about where to obtain a shot and how to submit the information to WPI.
I have a medical question about vaccination. Who should I talk to? (Updated 5/6/21)
Employees with specific medical questions about vaccination should consult with their own health care provider; students should contact WPI Health Services or their own health care provider. You can also review the FAQs about the COVID vaccine available from Massachusetts and the CDC.
Is WPI allowing any on-campus events right now? (Updated 10/26/21)
WPI is permitting and planning events and meetings to be held on campus in accordance with all campus, federal, state, and local guidelines.
We suggest that organizers continue to hold their events outdoors when possible, or virtually if needed. Please read the COVID Events Guidelines provided by the Events Office for more details.
Are face coverings required for events at WPI? (Updated 10/13/21)
Everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face covering/mask in all WPI buildings. Face coverings are optional for vaccinated individuals at all outdoor events
- It is recommended that unvaccinated individuals wear face coverings in outdoor events where social distancing cannot be maintained.
- This is consistent with CDC, MA, and Worcester guidance and data that show the risk of outdoor transmission to be extremely low.
Are there COVID-related restrictions on visitors and vendors? (Updated 9/20/21)
Vendors and visitors are no longer required to register or to provide a health attestation to be on campus; campus tours have returned to normal capacity. All visitors and vendors are required to follow WPI's guidelines on face coverings and continue to social distance when possible.
WPI is currently reviewing all global projects for A and B Term on a case-by-case basis, weighing public health trends for each site. Updates will be provided to affected students via email from the Global Experience Office (GEO), or you may contact your project advisor with questions.
Will I receive a Global Scholarship for my project in A and B Term 2021? (Added 7/15/21)
The WPI Global Scholarship is awarded to offset the direct costs to students of completing an off-campus project. If off-campus travel is not possible due to the ongoing pandemic or for other reasons determined by the university’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Team (CERT) and/or the Global Experience Office (GEO), the Global Scholarship will be adjusted.
- If your global project travel is approved by CERT and GEO, the Global Scholarship awarded will be up to $5,000. Your aid offer and bill will be updated, but please note this may not happen until closer to the start date of your anticipated project; therefore, it is advised that you arrange payment for the 2021-2022 year using the current $1,000 scholarship. This information is also found here in the awards, conditions and notes.
- If your global project travel is not approved by CERT and GEO, the Global Scholarship awarded will be $1,000. You may be eligible to apply the balance (up to $4,000) towards future global project experiences via the Global Projects Program (subject to approval from the Global Experience Office).
Is the Sports & Recreation Center open? (Updated 6/22/21)
The Sports and Recreation Center, including the pool, is open to faculty, staff, and students who are approved to be on campus. Harrington Auditorium is open, as well. (COVID testing has been moved upstairs at Harrington Auditorium.) Spectactors with face coverings are welcome at our indoor and outdoor competitions on campus, with social distancing strongly encouraged.
WPI varsity athletics will continue to follow the guidelines set by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), CDC, ACHA, Massachusetts governor and our conference, NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference).
Check Athletics for updates and information.
Note: (Added 6/22/21) U.S. or Permanent Resident students who live abroad and do not have access to vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be considered in the same category as “international students” for the FAQs listed here.
Do international students need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus? (Added 6/22/21)
All students who have had access to either an Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO)-approved COVID-19 vaccine series must be vaccinated and provide their documentation to WPI by August 1, 2021.
International students who were in the U.S. in the spring and summer of 2021 with access to U.S. COVID-19 vaccines are expected to follow the same COVID-19 vaccine compliance guidelines as domestic students and comply with the August 1, 2021 deadline.
WPI understands that students arriving from international locations may have had issues accessing vaccines. If you were not in the U.S. in the spring and/or summer of 2021 and did not have access to COVID-19 vaccines, WPI will work with you upon your arrival on campus to quickly get you a COVID-19 vaccination series. Students with vaccine access issues will be identified through the WPI International Vaccine Survey. (Please check your WPI email for a link to the survey. If you did not received it but are coming from an international location, email email@example.com with email subject “Vaccine Survey” to receive a link.)
What COVID-19 vaccines will WPI accept to meet the student vaccination requirement? (Added 6/22/21)
WPI will accept any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). Please review the most up-to-date information here about WHO-approved vaccines.
What if an international student only has access to COVID-19 vaccines not approved by the FDA or the WHO? (Added 6/22/21)
If a COVID-19 vaccine is available in your country but is not on the WHO-approved list, WPI still advises that the best vaccine is the first one you can get.
If you get a COVID-19 vaccine that is not on the WHO-approved list, please report your vaccine information through WPI’s International Vaccine Survey, which was sent to your WPI email. Survey answers will be reviewed by WPI Health Services. Please also upload a copy of your COVID vaccine documentation into Medicat here. WPI Health Services will contact students who require additional follow up and make an individualized plan with the student to meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
Will an international student who received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not FDA- or WHO- approved be required to receive an FDA-approved vaccine once they get to WPI? (Added 6/22/21)
We anticipate that the WHO will be reviewing and approving more COVID vaccines over the summer and that many COVID vaccines currently in circulation around the world will be approved by the WHO. Please review information here for the most up-to-date information about WHO-approved vaccines
If the COVID vaccine you received is not approved by the WHO prior to your arrival at WPI, WPI Health Services will work to educate and inform you of your options and make an individualized plan to meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
What if an international student doesn’t have access to any vaccines before WPI’s August 1 COVID-19 vaccine requirement deadline? (Added 6/22/21)
WPI understands that access to a COVID-19 vaccine is highly variable around the world. Students who report access difficulty on the International Vaccine Survey, which was sent via WPI email, will receive assistance from Health Services. If WPI has vaccines available, students may be able to get immunized on campus. Otherwise WPI will help students register for an appointment at a local pharmacy or vaccine clinic.
What if an international student can get the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at home, but would arrive at WPI before receiving their second dose, and that particular vaccine is not available in the U.S.? (Added 6/22/21)
If possible, students should speak with their personal health care provider about what to do. All international students will have the option of making a telemedicine appointment with WPI Health Services to receive education and up-to-date information about their options, and to make an individualized plan to meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. WPI is closely following CDC guidance for students living outside of the United States and will be working to support those students based on the most current guidance and scientific data available.
If you are able to discuss this situation with your health care provider and they do not recommend a second dose of a different COVID-19 vaccine, please upload a letter in the WPI Student Health Portal from your medical provider explaining your specific situation for WPI Health Services staff to review.
I am an international student; will I be able to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before my program start date if I have a vaccine appointment? (Added 6/22/21)
No, international students can only enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date on their I-20/DS-2019. The US government does not view vaccination requirements as a reason to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before your program start date. If you have limited access to the vaccine, WPI will assist you in getting the vaccine upon your arrival. Additional arrival details will be provided moving forward.
Will international students be prohibited from coming to campus, attending classes or moving into their residence halls if they have not provided their vaccination documentation prior to August 1? (Added 6/22/21)
If an international student with limited access to a COVID-19 vaccine in their country has not yet started or is part way through their COVID vaccine regimen by August 1, they will not be prohibited from in-person courses or moving into residence halls, but will be expected to become fully vaccinated or seek an exemption upon their arrival at WPI.
Students who are not fully vaccinated (two weeks past their final vaccine dose) will need to wear a face covering indoors when on campus until they are two weeks past their last dose and get tested weekly on campus for COVID-19.
What if I do not want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine? Will I be allowed to come to campus, begin classes, or move into my residence hall? (Added 6/22/21)
WPI is requiring COVID-19 vaccines for all students for the beginning of A-Term/fall semester, unless they receive a medical or religious exemption.
If I am fully remote for A and B-Terms/fall semester, will I still need to provide my vaccination status? (Added 6/22/21)
Even if you will be taking classes online from outside of the U.S., we still ask that you provide us with your vaccination status. If you will have any presence on campus for work, research, activities or study, you must provide documentation to meet WPI’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
If I am having trouble accessing my medical provider for my non-COVID immunizations required for enrollment; can I work with WPI upon arrival to campus to get the vaccination I need to become compliant? (Added 6/22/21)
Yes. Generally, WPI would require students to be in compliance prior to arrival, but the university can help students get into compliance with additional required vaccinations once they arrive to campus if needed.
What if an international student has other concerns about meeting WPI’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement? (Added 6/22/21)
Students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss individual questions.
Has the university’s application process changed? (Updated 6/22/21)
The pandemic has no impact on the application process for students, whether undergraduate or graduate. Deadlines remain the same, and the Admissions staff continue to serve applicants and their families. Learn more about undergraduate tours or graduate admissions.
Have research operations resumed fully? (Added 6/22/21)
Research has resumed normal operations. Activities in laboratories follow the same health and safety protocols as other campus buildings. Students should work with their faculty advisors on options for continuing and completing their project work.
Is overnight travel permitted for clubs and organizations? (Added 10/13/21)
Clubs and organization can plan overnight travel, following appropriate approvals. Learn more about the new travel policy, expectations, and process here.
What is considered “WPI-sponsored travel”? (Updated 3/5/21)
WPI-sponsored travel is all travel by WPI students, faculty, and staff that is part of academic, scholarly, or business work in which the traveler is representing WPI, that is funded, in whole or in part by WPI funds (regardless of purpose) or by a grant, foundation, company, or other university. Such travel may include, but is not limited to travel for: teaching, research, academic study, attendance at a conference, official global project programs, internships, volunteer or work programs and other experiential learning, field studies, performances, athletic contests, or trips abroad in connection with a WPI-recognized student organization, academic or administrative unit.
What is not considered “WPI-sponsored travel”? (Updated 4/13/21)
Personal travel is not considered WPI-sponsored travel.
What are WPI's travel policies for WPI-sponsored domestic and international travel (not related to projects)? (Added 8/12/21)
- There are currently no prohibitions on WPI-sponsored domestic travel for students, faculty, or staff, regardless of vaccination status. If travel costs will exceed $1,000, prior financial approval is required; travelers must submit a Workday Spend Authorization Form prior to incurring travel expenses.
- WPI students and employees who are not fully vaccinated are expected to follow all CDC travel guidelines, including getting tested 1-3 days before traveling.
- WPI-sponsored international travel is not permitted for any employee or student who is not fully vaccinated (regardless of medical or religious exemptions).
What steps will I be required to take upon returning to campus from domestic and international travel? (Added 8/12/21)
Students, faculty, and staff returning to campus following domestic or international travel – either WPI-sponsored or their own personal travel - are expected to comply with the CDC travel guidelines. More information can be found here.
Can I use my COVID test from WPI for travel purposes? (Added 10/8/21)
If your travel is requiring that you have an individual PCR test, you can use the results of your individual screening test from Harrington at WPI for this purpose, provided the timing lines up with the requirements of your travel. Please note, pooled testing, although PCR, is not typically accepted, but our individual PCR tests are.
To print out a copy of your results that includes the lab information and additional details, please log into your account in Care Evolve, the Broad's results management system; navigate to your results and click the "print" button. If you have any trouble logging in, please email email@example.com.