Ethan Bachand ‘22
Chief News Editor
As the end of January approaches, the College of the Holy Cross continues to release more information about the reopening process. With the class of 2024 scheduled to arrive this weekend, the College has introduced both a new COVID monitoring system and move-in process. Both policy changes attempt to create a safer arrival for incoming students and those who are already on campus.
On Jan. 17, the College introduced its “Alert Level” system in order to prevent a substantial outbreak of COVID-19 on campus and ensure student safety. Each of the four levels, ranging from green to red, indicate possible campus exposure to coronavirus. Green and red both represent the extremes of the scale, as they show either a return to normal or a move to “fully remote operation.” Yellow is considered “COVID normal,” while orange represents “elevated concern.”
Anticipating a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure during the move-in period, the College has placed the campus under an alert level of orange. This indicator comes with a variety of restrictions, including: no guests in dorm rooms, no gatherings without explicit approval, no seated dining, closed common areas, as well as limited access to academic buildings. While the alert level will be re-evaluated after all students arrive, it provides a grim reminder of the fine line between being able to stay on campus and heading home.
In the same email, the College reiterated other important policies that remain intact, saying, “As we move forward, it will remain vital the everyone in our community follow campus, state and public health guidelines in order to limit the spread of COVID. On campus, our community must follow our universal mask policy. Off campus, all students are subject to the Massachusetts face covering order and gathering limits.”
At the same time, Holy Cross has modified the move-in process to ensure that all incoming students are compliant with COVID-19 policies. As shown on the College’s website, students must complete a four-step process before starting their mandated quarantine. All students first stop at the third floor of Hogan Campus Center to check in with a variety of departments. Afterwards, incoming residents report to the Joanne Chouinard-Luth Recreation and Wellness Center for their first on-campus tests. Next, students pick up a pre-packaged meal at Crossroads before finally moving into their dorm. Once students move in, they will be expected to stay in their room until the on-campus test comes back with a negative result.
Despite these restrictions and new protocols, the College has reaffirmed their commitment to an in-person semester. In their Jan.17 update, the College wrote that “We continue to believe that with careful planning and the cooperation of our entire community, we will have a successful semester back on the hill.” While a quick change in policy will always be on the table, as demonstrated last semester with an abrupt switch right before classes started, current messaging from the College suggests that is unlikely to happen.
In the face of this uphill battle to return the campus, Holy Cross continues to assert this will be a group effort. Towards the end of their email from last week, the COVID Core Team wrote “We want to be together this semester, and we must work together and follow the guidelines in order to remain so. Avoiding large gatherings, wearing masks and keeping up with your testing and daily symptom checker will be vital to our success, no matter the alert level. Only through shared commitment and accountability will we succeed.”