Fall COVID-19 Policies: Masking and Testing Rollbacks; Dashboard Will Not Be Resumed

3 min read

Olivia Silvey ’25

News Editor 

In an Aug. 18 email to the community, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Joe DiChristina and Chief Financial Officer Dan Hitchell announced Trinity’s COVID-19 policies for the fall semester. The College has rollbacked masking and testing requirements and discontinued the COVID-19 dashboard. 

Faculty can now choose to make masks optional in the classroom for “pedagogical reasons.” Otherwise, masking will continue to be required in instructional spaces during scheduled times; health care facilities; any campus space where signage indicates masking is required; and any campus gatherings, offices, or meetings that are designated “mask required.” 

“Our most important priority is to protect the academic mission and learning spaces where faculty and students interact the most,” wrote DiChristina and Hitchell in an email to the Tripod when explaining the masking protocols. “We spoke with HHC [Hartford HealthCare] about masking. After inquiring with the academic dean’s office, it was determined best to require masking in academic spaces and to provide faculty the flexibility to make a class mask optional should masking interfere with the teaching.” DiChristina and Hitchell told the Tripod that the College asks unvaccinated students to continue to wear masks in all spaces. 

Members of the community are no longer required to complete weekly testing. The College does not have a testing program for asymptomatic individuals, and Trinity’s COVID-19 dashboard will not be resumed. Students who experience symptoms or believe they have been exposed to the virus can get tested at the health center. Students who test positive must follow the isolation protocols that were implemented in the spring. 

When asked how the College will monitor the spread of the virus without the dashboard, DiChristina and Hitchell told the Tripod that the College will message the community if there is a sudden rise in cases. “Our main concern moving forward is whether a new variant might cause severe illness in our community. If we were to see the virus causing severe illness, we will consult with HHC and make decisions based on what we see happening in the community,” said DiChristina and Hitchell.” 

In May, the College announced that it would discontinue the dashboard. DiChristina and Hitchell told the Tripod at the time that the dashboard had become a “less effective communication tool for the presence of covid on campus.” They cited the fewer number of students and employees on campus at any given time during the summer. DiChristina and Hitchell confirmed that the College discontinued the dashboard without consulting members of the community. 

All community members are still required to have received their initial vaccination and a booster of the COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical or religious exemption. DiChristina and Hitchell told the Tripod that the College is waiting on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Hartford Healthcare before making a decision on a second booster shot requirement.

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