Phase 2 Guidelines

Dear all,

I am writing to let you know that the campus will be moving into Phase 2 of our return to campus, beginning Tuesday, September 8. From the beginning of the on-campus time (since August 8th), we have had a total of 22 student cases, 20 of whom have been asymptomatic and 2 who had mild symptoms. Nearly all of these appear to have been contracted before the student arrived on campus for the semester.

As of today, we have 12 active cases (that is, students who, after testing positive for COVID-19, are currently in isolation for 10 days if asymptomatic or until symptoms subside). On average, each case has had 1-2 contacts (who then are separated and who then self-quarantine for 14 days).  Given about 2,070 students on campus, this is a very low prevalence at just more than half a percent. Please continue to watch the VassarTogether dashboard for daily updates.

In Phase 2 (starting September 8th), we will have some changes to our health and safety protocols.  These changes are possible because the community has been following the health and safety guidelines put in place; if our numbers worsen, we will have to return to the more restrictive Phase 1 guidelines, so please continue to follow the key parts of our commitment:

  • Wear a mask
  • Practice safe six
  • If you live on campus, stay on campus; otherwise, avoid large gatherings, public spaces, and unnecessary travel.

Here are the updates for Phase 2.  We will evaluate whether we can move to Phase 3 at the end of the month. Additional detail is available on the VassarTogether website.


Campus, farm, and ecologic preserve will remain closed to non-essential visitors; however, we are working with community vendors to bring their services onto campus. For example, Munchie Monday, Tasty Tuesday and Sunday Brunch will welcome local restaurants to Noyes Circle beginning the week of September 14, and food and grocery deliveries will continue to be permitted as they were under Phase 1 guidelines.


Students and employees living on campus: please watch your email from Westchester Medical Center and from Health Services. You will be asked to schedule regular appointments for COVID-19 testing. These will be approximately every two weeks, and in some cases more regularly. Failure to continue testing as required can result in being asked to leave the campus and study remotely.


As a reminder, whenever someone tests positive for COVID-19, Health Services and the local health department conduct contact tracing. Contact tracers contact everyone who the person who tested positive names as potentially close contacts. You must tell the truth to the contact tracers about whether you were within six feet of the person who tested positive, for how long, and whether you were both wearing masks. All contact information is kept confidential.  Please remember that health information, including names of people with COVID-19 and their contacts, is confidential.

If you are deemed to be a “close contact” (e. g., having spent 10-15 minutes or more within six feet of someone who tests positive, shared bodily fluids, shared food or drink), you will need to move to self-quarantine and take all classes online or work remotely for 14 days.

If you do not hear from a contact tracer, and you are worried that you were in contact with someone who tested positive, please reach out to Bridget Romani in Health Services at


People may gather for approved organized activities in numbers of 25 or fewer in masks with 6 feet of distance (if stationary and 6 feet apart they can remove masks). All such gatherings must be approved in advance by campus activities. Otherwise, all outdoor gatherings must have 10 or fewer people.


If you are informally exercising outside, you must be in groups of 4 or fewer and stay six feet away from anyone else. 


You may now gather indoors in groups up to 10 or the maximum permitted by COVID-19 room capacities (see room signage), whichever is fewer. Everyone is required to wear a mask and remain six feet apart in such gatherings.


The Pool will be open by appointment for recreational lap swimming. Check the athletics website for hours and process for making an appointment. Other indoor athletic facilities will remain closed for now until we can meet the New York State requirements for gym openings. The Chapel will be able to be reserved for events of 10 or fewer people (masks must be worn) if approved by Campus Activities and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices. The Chapel will also be open for individuals only, without reservation, weekday mornings. The Library will be open with density restrictions, and everyone must keep six feet of distance and wear a mask. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (FLLAC) will be open for the Vassar community on Wednesdays through Fridays. Please check the FLLAC website for hours and additional information. The Farm and Ecologic Preserve will remain open as they have been in Phase 1. Academic buildings will be open via card access for students during business hours and with approval. Faculty will have access to academic buildings at any time, weekdays and weekends. after hours. Residential Houses are open only to those with swipe access. You may not invite people from other houses or residences into your house. Affinity spaces will be open 9:00am-5:00pm, with reduced density.


Varsity athletic teams will begin non-contact practices with a focus on small group work/instruction maintaining a minimum of six feet of distance at all times. Teams with larger rosters will subdivide practices into smaller groups. All practices will be supervised by coaches to ensure all appropriate health and safety protocols are followed.

Thank you all for helping us be safe and healthy. We are doing well! To maintain this success and continue our opening up, we must remain committed. When you see something that looks not safe, please continue to let CCT or CRC know, and when you are reminded of something you are doing that is unsafe, please say “thank you for reminding me.” Every little bit helps and together, we can continue our time together on campus, putting “we” before “me,” and pursuing our educational mission together.

See you around campus,

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604