Protocols for the Fall

July 28, 2021

Dear all,

As students return for the fall, we expect that more than 90% of our campus will be vaccinated. We urge everyone to consider being vaccinated to help care for the community. Both on campus and off, vaccinations are one of the most powerful interventions we have to stop the spread and minimize the variants of COVID-19.

Following are the protocols that we expect to be in place as of August 16. We have reviewed the latest CDC guidance issued July 27, 2021. Given our high vaccination rate and the limited prevalence of COVID-19 in Dutchess County, the following are the protocols for campus.

Please note that these may change if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or public health guidance from New York State is updated.

If you are unvaccinated

  • You will need to continue completing the daily health assessment.
  • You are required to wear a mask indoors unless you are alone in a private space. Please remember that masks are not an indication of vaccination status; for personal and public health reasons, individuals may choose to wear masks regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. 

If you are vaccinated

  • You no longer need to complete the daily health assessment.
  • Wearing a mask is optional; masks are not required at this time.

Indoor events on campus that are open to the public

  • We recommend that everyone wear a mask if you are attending an indoor event open to the public when vaccination status is unknown. 

Eating and drinking on campus:

  • Everyone may eat and drink at Gordon Commons or elsewhere inside.
  • If you are unvaccinated, please only remove your mask indoors if eating or drinking.

COVID-19 testing:

  • Employees who are unvaccinated and working in student-facing functions are encouraged to be tested regularly.
  • Students who are unvaccinated will be rapid tested weekly through Health Services.

Traveling to a hotspot (as determined by the CDC)

Regardless of vaccination status, please wear a mask at all times in the hotspot and get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus.

Building access

  • Most buildings will remain closed to the public and will be Vassar ID swipe accessible.
  • The Library will be open to the public during work hours and will be swipe accessible in evenings and on weekends.
  • Main (floors 1 and 2), College Center, and Gordon Commons will be open to the public during work hours and will be swipe accessible in evenings and on weekends. 

Students leaving campus

  • Students may leave campus regardless of vaccination status and should take precautions to wear a mask if they are indoors in a crowded area and follow local public health guidance.
  • If students travel to a hotspot (per the CDC), please contact Erika Pappas ( to understand testing rules when returning to campus.

Visitors on campus

  • The campus is open. Signage will be clear that unvaccinated visitors are required to wear masks indoors.

Student-registered parties

  • Students must register parties through Residential Life, as always.
  • Parties should not exceed 35 people and names of all invited individuals must be shared with Residential Life as part of the registration process. 

As we look forward to returning to pre-pandemic times on campus, please continue general public health practices such as handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting, and respiratory etiquette (e.g., cover your mouth when you cough) regardless of vaccination status. Let us stay vigilant in our commitment to “We precedes me” and work hard to have a safe, healthy fall together.

See you soon,


Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604