We are just over a week from the first day of classes for the spring semester, and it really feels like January here in Standish today. The snow is coming down hard.

We hope your break has been healthy and relaxing. The Pandemic Response Team has been busy determining the best ways to bring our community back together as safely as possible given the current rise of COVID cases and the highly contagious omicron variant. The PRT’s focus is always on your health and safety, even as we all work to find ways to make living and learning at SJC as successful and fulfilling as possible through this long pandemic. As the virus changes and surges, we will continue to adapt.

Please read this carefully, as it contains important information that affects all of us over the next few weeks as we return to campus life.

Returning to Campus

We will be conducting mandatory entry testing around the return to classes for all residential and commuter students, plus all faculty and staff returning from the break on January 17th. Please check in at the Health and Wellness Center upon your arrival. The Comfort Zone will be set up by Campus Security at the entrance to the college to help you get where you need to go.

If you have not received your required vaccine booster shot, these will also be provided along with the entry test.

Entry Test + Booster Dates and Times (1/14: please note updated hours):

  • Sunday, January 16th, 10am - 6pm
  • Monday, January 17th, 7am-4pm
  • Tuesday, January 18th, 7am-4pm

IMPORTANT: If you develop COVID symptoms or feel sick before returning to campus, please stay home and get a test. We repeat: please do not come to campus if you are sick. When you take care of yourself, you are taking care of your community.

We will also be asking all non-essential employees to return to remote work status for the time being. All employees in this category must get permission from HR and a negative test at the Health and Wellness Center in order to work on campus. Please begin making your transition back to remote work now. Further communications on this topic will be sent from Human Resources.


We will maintain our public indoor mask requirement through at least January 31st, regardless of our community booster rate, to ensure a safe return and a healthy start. Past that two week period, we will evaluate the requirement on an ongoing basis.

medical grade surgical masks

Heeding the latest guidance from public health authorities, SJC will no longer allow cloth masks, which are inadequate for preventing transmission of the highly contagious omicron variant. Medical grade surgical masks (like the ones pictured here) will be required, and will be available at the Health and Wellness Center, all residence halls, and all campus offices. Medical masks should be changed regularly, as they do not prevent infection when they get wet or damaged.

COVID on Campus

Members of our community who test positive will isolate at home for 7 days from the day of the positive test, and must receive a test at the end of the isolation period. If that test is negative, you may return to campus and class while wearing a mask at all times on campus for an additional 3 days. If it is positive or you continue to have symptoms, you must continue to isolate for 3 more days (for a total of 10 days), and then return with no further tests.

Isolating at home will help us ensure that we don’t overwhelm our housing capacity or our food service staff. Exemptions from home isolation will be handled on an individual basis.

If you are identified as a close contact, you must be tested 3-5 days following the identification and you must wear your mask in all public indoor spaces until you receive a negative test.

Finally, we will be implementing a no-spectator policy at all sporting events through the end of January, at which point the PRT will reevaluate this measure.

Like all of you, we wish we were starting this semester free and clear of COVID-19. However, our community has remained ahead of the curve this year. We are 99% vaccinated and 76% boostered, and we should all be proud of it. Let’s continue to make Saint Joseph’s College of Maine a leader in public health, so that we can all continue to pursue the dreams that brought us here.

Thank you, Monks, and enjoy your remaining time off!

The SJC Pandemic Response Team