Plans for the Fall
I am writing with an update on some of the plans for the Fall Semester. With vaccinations ramping up across the state and nationwide, we are hopeful that life on campus this fall will be more in line with life prior to the pandemic. Given this, our plan is to return everyone to in-person, on-campus learning.
We will be requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving to campus for the Fall Semester, with exceptions for medical or religious reasons. If vaccination is not accessible in your area, we will work to get students vaccinated locally. We believe this is the best way to ensure the health and safety of everyone on campus. Because our students will be fully vaccinated, we will no longer maintain a closed campus. With our return to in-person learning and a more typical residential model, students and visitors will be free to come and go on and off campus as they had prior to the pandemic. We are also re-committing to our core educational model, and therefore we will no longer be offering a remote learning option.
Additionally, the faculty have just approved the academic calendar for next year, which can be found here. Fall Semester classes are planned to begin on campus on Monday, August 30 and the semester will end on Friday, December 17, with our traditional, pre-pandemic schedule of breaks.
At the same time, we are continuing to monitor federal and state guidance for employer regulations regarding vaccination of employees, which continue to evolve. We strongly urge employees to get immunized against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity, after consulting their physician. As state restrictions allow for more employees to work on campus, widespread teleworking will transition to a flexible workplace policy that provides for Administrators to request some continued flexibility, with supervisor approval. The policy is currently being developed and will be made available in June for review and planning. The transition will occur as early as the beginning of the Fall semester.
Protocols for the fall will be dictated by local and state guidelines; the use of masks, social distancing and other expectations that have become commonplace during the pandemic will be determined as we near the start of the semester. As always, our planning is based on science-driven data and predicated upon local, state and federal public health guidelines. Thus, plans are subject to change depending on the conditions this fall.
The journey we have all been on the last year has been strenuous, and it has shown that together we can be strong. By caring for one another and being thoughtful of everyone’s needs, the Vassar community can weather even seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
As we continue to plan for the fall, I will keep you updated on new developments.
Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604