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Infectious Disease Updates - COVID-19 and Monkeypox

Dear students,

We hope this message finds you healthy and well!

UMass Chan remains committed to protecting the health and safety of our campus community. Below are a few COVID-19 updates of which to be aware:

Rapid Tests Available Next Week

To encourage continued health and safety consciousness, starting Wednesday, December 14, 2022, the Office of Student Life (OSL) will have free rapid COVID-19 tests available for students. Three types of tests will be available: 

  • Celltrion DiaTrust
  • Flow Flex – NOTE: the original packaging has expiration dates of Nov/Dec 2022, however, on 11/18/22, the FDA extended the expiration dates to Aug/Sept 2023
  • Carestart Home Antigen Test – NOTE: expiration date of 1/31/22

Tests will be available in the OSL Suite (Med School Building S1-400) from 9AM to 4:30PM each business day. Each student will be permitted to obtain up to four tests at a time.

Infectious Disease Awareness

We are currently seeing high levels of RSV and influenza in our community, and there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases since the Thanksgiving holiday. UMass Chan has no mask mandate, but the Worcester City DPH and CDC are both recommending people wear masks in indoor public places to prevent spread of these viruses. 

COVID-19 Reminders

If you have symptoms:

  • Stay home and isolate.
  • Perform a rapid test:
    • On weekends, those working in clinical settings and GSBS students may call EHS at 508-793-6400.
    • If positive, notify Student Health Services (SHS) at 508-334-2818. Students in clinical placements should notify the Employee Health for their site.
    • If negative, you may still have COVID-19, as rapid tests are not as sensitive as a PCR. Please call SHS for further testing, which would include flu A/B, RSV, as well as COVID-19. 
    • If negative and not coming to campus, you may perform serial testing with rapid COVID-19 antigen tests every 36-48 hours, as this will increase the likelihood of picking up a positive result. 

If you have been exposed (less than 6 feet, more than 15 minutes):

  • You may continue to come to campus, but you must mask around others for 10 days after the last exposure.
  • If you had a high-risk exposure (prolonged unmasked exposure, living with someone or a significant other) and you do not need to be on campus, or you work around others at high risk for COVID-19, please consider working from home.
  • For high-risk exposure, perform a rapid COVID-19 antigen test 3-5 days after exposure. If negative, contact SHS for PCR testing.
    • On weekends, those working in clinical settings and GSBS students may call EHS at 508-793-6400.
  • For those with lower risk exposure, rapid tests should be performed on day 5.
  • Please note rapid tests perform poorly in asymptomatic individuals. Continue to wear your mask on campus for 10 days, even if your test is negative.

If you have any questions, email OSL at studentlife@umassmed.edu. Comprehensive guidance and resources are available on the UMass Chan COVID-19 website.

Thank you so much for your continued flexibility. We appreciate you and your efforts to help keep UMass Chan safe!

Sincerely,

Anne Larkin, MD

Vice Provost for Educational Affairs

Alan Acosta, PhD

Assistant Vice Provost for Student Life

Sharone Green, MD

In addition, this year UMass Chan is once again requiring all members of our community to receive the annual flu vaccine by Dec. 15. Employee Health Services will be holding flu shot clinics at several locations beginning Monday, Oct. 3. Please click on this link to schedule an appointment. If you receive your flu vaccine elsewhere, follow the instructions below to submit your flu vaccine record.

Steps to Provide Proof of Influenza Vaccination Obtained Elsewhere or to Request an Exemption

Individuals who receive a flu vaccine through services other than Employee or Student Health Services (e.g. physician’s office or pharmacy) must provide proof of immunization to EHS/SHS by Dec. 15, 2022. Proof of immunization may be submitted in one of the following ways:

Email a photo or pdf of your proof of vaccination to employeeflumailbox@umassmemorial.org or StudentHealth@umassmemorial.org 

-OR-

Mail to UMass Memorial Medical Center Employee Health Services, 291 Lincoln Street, Suite 100, Worcester, MA 01605

Individuals who have a medical contraindication to the flu vaccine must complete this form and submit it to employeeflumailbox@umassmemorial.org or studenthealth@umassmemorial.org by Dec. 1, 2022 for their request to be considered. 

Individuals who have concerns about the flu vaccine due to deeply held religious beliefs should contact Matthew Lyford in UMass Chan Human Resources by emailing matthew.lyford@umassmed.edu.




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