FAQ for Staff and Faculty

Last updated on September 28, 2020 at 3:30 pm ET.

COVTEST

General Info and Return to Work Procedures 

General Prevention Measures

We encourage all community members to take measures to protect themselves to prevent the spread of these viruses as outlined below:

Both the influenza virus and the novel coronavirus have similar recommendations for prevention and protection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home and away from public places when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough down into your elbow, and never into your hand.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Additionally, it is recommended to get a flu shot if you have not already done so this season. The closest place to campus to receive a flu shot is Hannaford’s Pharmacy.   

What to do if you're sick

  • If you develop a fever or respiratory-illness symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath, please stay home and contact your primary care provider and/or SVMC ExpressCare for screening and recommendations.  
  • Staff should be in touch with their supervisors if they need to stay home due to illness.
  • Faculty should be in touch with the Provost’s Office if they need to stay home due to illness and have questions regarding their absence.  
  • Employees shall not report to, or be allowed to remain at, work if sick or symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea).
  • No symptomatic or COVID-19 positive employee is allowed on site and any employee who has contact with a worker or any other person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 is required to quarantine for 14 days.  
  • If an employee becomes ill while working, the employee should stop working and move to an empty space/room (isolate). The employee should contact a supervisor or Human Resources immediately and should refrain from engaging in person with others. The College will assist the employee with getting off campus/home with care in the safest possible manner. The employee should not return to campus until cleared to work, Information on persons with whom the employee had contact during the time the employee experienced symptoms and 2 days prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the facility with close contact within 6 feet during this time would be considered exposed.

Return to Work Safety Measures

As we gradually transition to work on campus, please see for reference:

Daily Health Screening 

All students, faculty, and staff are required to complete a daily temperature and symptom self-screenings. Please confirm that your temperature is within a range that does not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Please also confirm that you are free of any new respiratory illness (fever, new/worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills/muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell).

For daily health screening, Bennington has partnered with the Broad Institute to use their CoVerifiedCampus App. Please see instructions below for getting started with the CoVerified.

Log into CoVerified each day to complete your daily health screening. Once completed, the CoVerified home screen will show your status of Cleared or Restricted for that day. If you click on the text under the status, it will provide additional information about why you are at that status.

If you develop symptoms and log them in CoVerified, you will be contacted by Human Resources (staff) or the Dean's Office (faculty) to review next steps.

The CoVerified app also allows you to schedule appointments for rolling testing, receive test results, and log test results that you may have from elsewhere.

CoVerified is secure and confidential, and does not track users location or movement. Only Health Services, Human Resources, and the Dean’s Office will have access to this information.

Instructions for using CoVerified

  1. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download and install the CoVerified app from the iOS App Store. If you have an Android please visit this link for download instructions. Otherwise, in a web browser, navigate to the CoVerified login page, web.coverified.us.
  2. If you are using the iOS app, you will be asked to authorize CoVerified to use Auth.com to sign in. Click on Continue.
  3. Log into the system using your Bennington.edu email address and password.
  4. Click the "Onboarding" link in the left navigation menu, then complete the onboarding process by answering all of the questions. Note that the phone number field is currently required and must be in the very explicit format of 1-NNN-NNN-NNNN, including a country code of "1". If you have an international phone number, or if you don't have a phone number, please type "1-000-000-0000" in this field.
  5. When you've completed the Onboarding process, you should see a message of "Clearance Status: Cleared" in the main content area.
  6. Now you’re ready to start using CoVerified. Take your temperature, then click the "Report Symptoms" link in the left navigation bar. Fill in any symptoms for the day, and then click the "Submit" button.
  7. Repeat steps 3, 5, and 6 at least once a day.

If you have problems with login, please contact helpdesk@bennington.edu, 802-440-4476.

CoVerified (*New as of 8/25/20)

CoVerified is a COVID-19 Campus Management Platform, which is available on the web and as an iOS phone app. CoVerified is secure and confidential, and does not track users location or movement.

Through the CoVerified app or web browser you can complete your daily health screening, make rolling test appointments, receive test results, log test results that you may have from elsewhere and track your close contacts. 

Only Health Services, Human Resources, and the Dean’s Office will have access to this information.  

To get started, review the App tutorial and follow the instructions below:

  1. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download and install the CoVerified app from the iOS App Store. If you have an Android please visit this link for download instructions. Otherwise, in a web browser, navigate to the CoVerified login page, web.coverified.us.
  2. If you are using the iOS app, you will be asked to authorize CoVerified to use Auth.com to sign in. Click on Continue.
  3. Log into the system using your Bennington.edu email address and password.
  4. Click the "Onboarding" link in the left navigation menu, then complete the onboarding process by answering all of the questions. Note that the phone number field is currently required and must be in the very explicit format of 1-NNN-NNN-NNNN, including a country code of "1". If you have an international phone number, or if you don't have a phone number, please type "1-000-000-0000" in this field.
  5. When you've completed the Onboarding process, you should see a message of "Clearance Status: Cleared" in the main content area.
  6. Now you’re ready to start using CoVerified. Take your temperature, then click the "Report Symptoms" link in the left navigation bar. Fill in any symptoms for the day, and then click the "Submit" button.
  7. Repeat steps 3, 5, and 6 at least once a day.

If you have problems with login, please contact helpdesk@bennington.edu, 802-440-4476.

To schedule an appointment for a COVID test, please refer to these instructions.

Process for reporting cases on campus

In order to be transparent and also protect individuals’ privacy, we will share the total cases, active cases, recovered cases, and total tests conducted on campus on the COVID-19 updates webpage. We will not be confirming details about specific cases. 

The state of Vermont will be conducting contact tracing and will be in touch with members of the community believed to be at higher risk of having contracted COVID-19 from someone who later tested positive. Alison Tartaglia, Director of Student Health Promotion, is the College liaison to the Vermont Department of Health for student contact tracing. Health Services will also contact Human Resources and/or the Provost and Dean’s office, as appropriate; those offices will be in touch directly with staff or faculty, including to answer any questions specific to the work of the office.

If a student was believed to be infectious while in class, the faculty member will be told what class, but not the individual student’s name. The faculty member does not need to notify the students in the class. The contract tracing process will determine which students need to be notified. 

Students who test positive for COVID-19 may choose to alert their families or emergency contact. The College will not share health information about specific students with family members unless a student is under 18, has given permission, and/or is severely ill and unable to communicate.

Rolling testing 

The College is conducting rolling testing to help identify asymptomatic cases throughout the term. The rolling testing is conducted by Broad (pronounced to rhyme with “road”) Institute of MIT and Harvard. The frequency of the rolling testing will be responsive to the number of cases on campus. Employees will schedule appointments through the CoVerified app. The College divided employees into two testing groups, based on their frequency on campus and amount of contact with others, Group A, Group B, and Remote. To determine your testing group, please log into ADP and go to your personal profile (Myself>My Information>Profile>Personal Info>View More>Additional Information>Covid Test Group). 

As a reminder, employees in Group A are being tested weekly and employees in Group B will be tested monthly beginning September 28, 2020. Employees are encouraged to sign up early in CoVerified to ensure a convenient testing appointment. The CoVerified app allows employees to schedule all testing appointments for the term at one time, in advance. When prompted to select a testing date range, choose an end date in December to see the available test appointments through the end of the academic term.

Support and Resources

  • Support resources are available for faculty and staff. If you have questions or are feeling overwhelmed and concerned, we encourage you to contact Human Resources for additional guidance and information. 
  • It is important to take care of your health and well being, especially during times of stress and uncertainty. The Employee Assistance Program is designed to assist all employees and their families who need support for a range of personal and professional concerns. Additionally, there are local and national resources available. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs emotional support, help is available 24/7. Call your local mental health crisis line, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and/or text VT to 741741 to talk with someone at the Crisis Text Line. Get self-help tips and connect to mental health services at COVID Support VT and also review ways for coping with stress.
 
Workplace Accommodation
If an employee has a serious health condition (underlying health condition), the employee may request a workplace accommodation. An employee may request to work from home or request another accommodation by contacting Human Resources. We have a confidential process for managing these requests. All personal health information will be considered confidential and will be released only in accordance with the requirements of the ADA and the VFEPA.
 

Sick Time Policy

  • To encourage employees to stay home when sick, the College has temporarily altered its sick time policies in order to allow employees (in most cases) to continue to be paid while out of work. Employees will be allowed to maintain a negative sick time balance and/or the use of accrued vacation time to cover sick absences. Staff should continue to report their absences through ADP; please ensure absences are submitted as soon as possible. Employees who are absent due to symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 will be required to present a note from a doctor prior to returning. Any employee who is concerned about financial hardship should contact Human Resources.

Benefits Information

  • Trustmark and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
  • Trustmark had indicated that individuals will have access to benefits for COVID-19 testing, if needed, at no cost. Additionally, prior authorization and medical management requirements will be waived for COVID-19 testing.
  • All telemedicine copays and prior authorization requirements will be waived for visits relating to COVID-19 testing.
  • Trustmark indicates that COVID-19 testing must be available to you at no cost whether the provider doing the testing is in-network or out-of-network.
  • Trustmark indicates that if you are charged for COVID-19 testing, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, you will be reimbursed and/or your deductibles adjusted by your health benefit plan. If you have Teladoc (telemedicine) and were charged a consult fee for a telehealth visit that resulted in COVID-19 testing, you will be reimbursed via a check sent to your home for the amount of the consult fee. Reimbursement for such consult fees applies to COVID-19 telemedicine visits occurring between March 18, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Trustmark will provide updates if there are changes to this end date.

Travel Procedures and Guidance

Daily Commute to Work 

  • Per State regulations, people traveling for essential purposes, including work, do not need to quarantine. Essential travel includes travel for personal safety, medical care, care of others, parental shared custody, for food, beverage or medicine, or to perform work for businesses that are currently allowed to operate. Individuals engaged in a daily commute to and from their job are expressly exempt from the need to quarantine by Executive Order.

Business Travel

  • All but the most essential Bennington College-sponsored travel for faculty and staff is suspended for Fall 2020. Travel requests will be reviewed by the Provost (for faculty) and the Director of Human Resources in conjunction with the employee’s direct supervisor and senior staff representative (for staff) to determine the necessity of the travel.

Personal Travel

  • Employees who reside in Vermont may travel outside of the state to select areas - those counties that have 400 or fewer active COVID-19 cases per million - and return without quarantining if they do so in a personal vehicle. Each week, the State of Vermont will publish a map of Cross State Travel identifying quarantine and non-quarantine counties. Individuals should follow any travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for the states they plan to visit. Employees who reside in MA or NY should follow these same guidelines but should also refer to any additional home state travel regulations.
  • Employees who travel to areas 400 or more active COVID-19 cases per million (based on the map of Cross State Travel or areas out of such), are subject to self-quarantine for 14 days. Employees must notify their supervisor if they plan to travel. In some cases, the employee may be required to use their own vacation or leave time to cover this absence. For more information about how to quarantine, visit the Vermont Department of Health’s quarantine chart.
  • For additional information, please visit the State’s Cross State Travel FAQs or contact Human Resources for guidance.

Commitment of Shared Responsibility Compliance

Our goal is to keep all members of the community safe and healthy. In the same way we are asking all members of the community to share cleaning responsibilities because it would be impossible for Buildings and Grounds to clean every surface after every time it is touched, we are asking all members of the community to help in the upholding of the Commitment. 

Direct dialogue between members of the community at the time of the incident will almost always be the most effective way to address a concern. We also understand that there may be situations, due to power differentials or other dynamics, that could cause someone to feel unable to engage in direct dialogue. In situations where direct dialogue was not possible, community members can share concerns through this form.

We anticipate that most infractions will not be willful, but rather a lapse into older pre-pandemic patterns of behavior. In these cases, which we anticipate will be the vast majority, the issue will be addressed in a way that focuses on education and restorative practices. 

If there is a major violation of Commitment by the staff, students, or faculty, the College is required to act in accordance with the Mandatory Guidance for Residential Campus Learning, issued by the State of Vermont on July 3, 2020. The mechanism by which major infractions will be addressed will be as follows: faculty violations will be addressed by the Acting Provost; staff violations will be addressed by Human Resources; and student violations will be reviewed by the CSR Violations Panel, which is composed of students, faculty, and staff. 

Our Adaptable Plan 

Our re-opening plan is designed to allow us to be flexible. Like opening or closing a spigot a little at a time, we can and will adjust policies based on how things are going. Factors that will influence those decisions include things happening both on campus (e.g., how well the community is adhering to the Commitment to Shared Responsibility, the number of cases on campus, if there are cases of community spread, the number of quarantine and isolation spaces available, the speed of test results) and off-campus (such as the local hospital’s capacity, and the state’s capacity for contact tracing). 

Adjustments may include things like: increasing or decreasing indoor dining capacity, switching to pick up service for the Dining Hall, Library, and Bookstore; a temporary transition to all remote instruction for a week or two, specific courses temporary transition to remote learning, and/or an additional quarantine by house community.

Information about Testing *Updated 8/19*

How do I access my testing results?

Please login to CoVerified to obtain your COVID test results. If using a mobile device, select the Testing tab on the bottom taskbar. Once on the Testing page you will see two icons in the top right corner - select the     symbol to view test results. If using a desktop browser, select Test Result History to access your test results. If the test has not been completed, no report will be available, but you can check again later.

Why are my results not ready yet?

Result times have been averaging 24-48 hours from the time the lab receives specimens (usually the morning after your specimen was collected). Higher demand due to increased COVID-19 activity in other parts of the country could slow down the result times periodically.

What should I do and who do I contact if my results are positive?

Contact Human Resources and your primary care physician. Please refrain from coming to campus until you have been cleared to return.

What type of testing is being used?

It is a PCR test. This highly accurate type of test detects genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19, and thus screens for active infection.

Do I have to pay for the test and/or will my insurance be billed?

The College is covering the cost for the test conducted by Aegis. Your insurance will not be billed.

What is the testing procedure?

Testing for COVID-19 involves the use of a mid-turbinate swab. You will be given a flocked tapered swab (similar to a Q-tip) and will swab your own nasal lining (approximately 1” into the nose) under the supervision of medical personnel who will be 6 feet away. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.

Who will have access to my results?

The testing laboratory (CoVerified) and the Health Services team will have access to your test results. Health Services will inform Human Resources (for staff) and the Office of the Provost/Dean (for faculty) if there is a positive test result. The College and the State of Vermont will be reporting numbers of positive cases, but will not publicly disclose the names of individuals or any identifying details. If an employee’s COVID test result is positive, the College will follow up directly with the employee in a confidential and respectful way. Anytime someone tests positive for COVID-19, the Health Department will also follow up to provide them guidance and next steps, including asking them and their close contacts to stay home from work to recover and to protect others from getting sick.

What happens if my results show that I have tested positive for COVID?

Human Resources will contact you to discuss next steps. You must remain off campus until you are cleared to work by both your healthcare provider and Human Resources. You will be instructed to contact your healthcare provider who will be responsible for your care. Human Resources will discuss with you the impact on your work (whether you can work remotely) and as needed, can discuss leave options. You will be contacted by the state’s contact tracing team. Please follow all instructions issued. Test results will be reported by Health Services to the state but names or any identifying details will not be disclosed.

Will there be additional asymptomatic rolling testing throughout the term?

Yes, the College is conducting rolling testing of asymptomatic employees (those without symptoms) on a schedule determined by the College. 

The College is conducting rolling testing to help identify asymptomatic cases throughout the term. The rolling testing is conducted by Broad (pronounced to rhyme with “road”) Institute of MIT and Harvard. The frequency of the rolling testing will be responsive to the number of cases on campus. Employees will schedule appointments through the CoVerified app. The College divided employees into two testing groups, based on their frequency on campus and amount of contact with others, Group A, Group B, and Remote. To determine your testing group, please log into ADP and go to your personal profile (Myself>My Information>Profile>Personal Info>View More>Additional Information>Covid Test Group). 

As a reminder, employees in Group A are being tested weekly and employees in Group B will be tested monthly beginning September 28, 2020. Employees are encouraged to sign up early in CoVerified to ensure a convenient testing appointment. The CoVerified app allows employees to schedule all testing appointments for the term at one time, in advance. When prompted to select a testing date range, choose an end date in December to see the available test appointments through the end of the academic term.

Will students also be tested?

Yes, all students on campus are being tested. Students coming from quarantine counties (as determined by the VT Department of Health and the Agency for Commerce and Community Development) were tested upon arrival and placed into quarantine. They were tested again on the 7th to 9th day of quarantine and released from quarantine based upon results. Students who were not required to quarantine arrived on August 31, 2020 and had a test upon arrival. The College is conducting rolling testing of asymptomatic students (those without symptoms) on a weekly basis.