Updates on Fall Semester

July 7, 2022

Dear all,

I am writing about our COVID-19 related policies for the fall semester. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, compassion, and understanding as we navigate these ever-changing days with COVID-19.

Vassar is committed to fully in-person classes in the fall semester as is consistent with the residential model of higher education. We are also committed to keeping our community safe and healthy, and we recognize that physical, mental, and social health all contribute importantly to the Vassar experience.  As always, our approach is consistent with current public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State, and we will continue to stay up-to-date on the scientific literature as well as emerging trends related to COVID-19.

While we are moving to the endemic phase of COVID-19, it remains our collective responsibility to keep each other safe and healthy. Therefore, if you have symptoms, please get tested immediately, stay away from groups, and wear a mask.  Additionally, Health Services and the Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (AEO) staff are available to ensure students with compromised immune systems and other risk factors are supported and able to thrive at Vassar. Human Resources and the Dean of Faculty office are available for employees, including faculty, who may need medical accommodations.

The Fall Semester guidelines are as follows:

  • COVID-19 Testing: Rapid testing will be available to students on campus through the vending machine in College Center and, for students with symptoms, through https://offices.vassar.edu/health-services/ on campus. Emergency coverage is available after hours for students who need medical attention in evenings or on weekends. At check-in, students will be given a rapid test kit with two COVID-19 tests, as well as a set of tight-fitting masks. For employees, COVID-19 testing continues to be accessible in the county and is often covered by health insurance.
  • Vaccination and booster: All students and employees must be COVID-19 vaccinated and one booster (when eligible) or else have an approved waiver from vaccination on file at Vassar. If you have questions, contact Health Services or Human Resources. Employees may also refer to the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms: Students and employees, including faculty, who have COVID-19 symptoms should seek testing immediately; students should go to Health Services during open hours and should call the CRC (845.437.7333) if Health Services is closed.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19: Students who test positive for COVID-19 should contact Health Services, who will guide students on next steps. All cases will be assessed clinically and isolation protocols will be implemented according to CDC and New York State public health and clinical guidance. The length and place of isolation will vary depending on specific circumstances, again in accordance with CDC and New York State guidance.
  • Isolation: Students with COVID-19 must mask at all times other than while sleeping and will be isolated in place unless they or their roommate have a documented medical condition that places them at risk of severe disease.  Depending on the severity of the cases and extant risk factors, students may be isolated in on-campus buildings, or in some rare cases, a local hotel. All students who are isolated will be instructed on how to access dining and classes given their individual circumstances. Employees who test positive should stay home from work and contact Health Services for guidance.
  • Masking: Masks will not be required on campus, although masks will be encouraged when indoors in large groups. Hosts of events may determine masking protocols, and faculty may require masking in classes or laboratories. We ask that people routinely have a mask available, and masking is always permitted and supported.
  • Dining: Indoor dining will take place at Gordon Commons. Take-out options are available at the food truck, the Retreat, and the Express.
  • Events: Events may include food and drinks. Student organizations may work with Campus Activities and faculty may work with the Dean of Faculty office to design masking or other protocols as needed.

We look forward to seeing you soon and enjoying a healthy and safe semester on campus, together.

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