VassarTogether, the planning team that developed these protocols, focused on reimagining a return to on-campus learning that prioritizes campus community members and the larger Poughkeepsie/Arlington community’s health and wellness during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We concentrated on establishing basic physical health and wellness safety measures that will ensure compliance with both the New York State Governor's executive orders, the New York State Higher Education Guidelines, and The Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities in New York guidelines for Creating Safe and Resilient Campuses. This Community Care Approach emphasizes making Vassar a safe campus community that provides a robust on-campus educational experience.
In order for this community care approach to succeed, students must remain on campus at all times in order to help minimize any potential spread of COVID-19. This restriction will be in place when students arrive on campus and will be reassessed as we make progress and head into Phase 3. All campus buildings will be closed to outside visitors (local vendors will need to participate in health screening like employees, and other restrictions will apply).
Employees who can perform their jobs off-site will continue to do so, and those who travel to campus will comply with new testing, health screening, and PPE requirements. We know these measures err on the side of caution, but they provide some access to our campus to the broader community, help protect employees, and give our students the on-campus college experience they long for and deserve.
Campus Boundary and Community Responsibility
VassarTogether discussed in detail the need to weigh the safety needs of our campus with our institutional values and commitments to the broader Poughkeepsie community. The community care approach described below strikes a balanced and measured approach for the Fall 2020 semester. The campus grounds, including the Ecological Preserve, will be closed to visitors from August 8 through at least September 25, pending consultation with county health officials. Signage will remind everyone to follow the campus mask-wearing policy and other health and safety protocols. Access to college buildings will be limited by card swipe to students and employees only.
This approach, emphasizing the health and safety of both the campus community and the broader Poughkeepsie community, requires that students not travel off campus, including short trips into town. As we limit access to our campus for the Fall semester please be aware of the following guidelines:
Campus Entry Guidelines
Student Car Storage
Student vehicle storage will be limited to 300 spots. Students will be made aware that cars will be stored for the semester and they must register to store them. Safety and Security will provide further details on car storage registration in early August.
Students, faculty/faculty families, and employees/employee families should have their IDs at all times while on campus. IDs are the only way that you will be able to access buildings on campus. Signage regarding ID requirements will be prominently displayed at campus entries (sidewalk and roadway) throughout the campus, and a written message to the Vassar community will reinforce this policy.
All buildings will have card readers. Additional card readers will be placed at residence halls and other locations. Maps will show card reader locations throughout campus for easier access.
Masks and Hand Sanitizer
All departments will have masks and hand sanitizer available to give out as needed. High-traffic areas will also have hand sanitizing wipes available.
Athletic coaches may visit with recruits and their parent/guardian on campus, but must limit their tours to outdoor athletic facilities and follow all campus safety guidelines. Vassar students may not participate in these visits.
Touchless deliveries will be allowed on Main Campus through 11:00 pm. Delivery guidelines (masks, no entry into buildings, etc.,) and campus entrance/exit instructions will be distributed to local businesses. Vendors will be expected to utilize touchless delivery methods, wear protective masks, and not enter campus buildings.
Supply deliveries will be directed to purchasing. Special arrangements will be made for science and food deliveries.
- Vendors must pre-register through Procurement, which will include signing a community contract and providing a main person of contact for the College.
- Appointments are required seven days in advance of coming to campus.
- The College will keep a daily log of any vendors on campus should they be required for contact tracing.
- Vendors should limit the number of their personnel on campus to no more than 2.
Vendors will follow all safety requirements of the College, including but not limited to wearing PPE and following appropriate social- distancing guidelines.
Contractors Working on Campus
Contractors will be expected to follow NYS health guidelines and will be expected to follow all Vassar safety requirements, including wearing PPE. They will be provided with contractor IDs or escorted by an employee at all times.
Emeriti and Household Family Members of Faculty and Employees
Emeriti faculty and family members of employees may access campus buildings with an appropriate ID, but they may be limited to specific buildings during specific time periods. Emeriti, household members of faculty, employees, and students will follow employee/student guidelines upon entering a building.
Students in Off-Campus Housing
Students living in off-campus housing who are within walking distance of campus should expect to walk to campus each day, have meals through the campus dining plan, and abide by the same community standards as those students living on campus. Pending health conditions on campus and in the local community, students living off-campus may be required to undergo regular testing for COVID-19 and may be required to complete a daily health self-assessment prior to coming to campus each day.
Those students who plan to commute to campus by car should be in contact with the Office of Student Living and Wellness for appropriate guidance, including procedures for completing a daily health self-assessment and may also be required to undergo regular testing for COVID-19.
The College will provide further guidance regarding protocols related to the following campus constituencies.
- Military Reservist
Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve
The Poughkeepsie Farm Project and Community Gardens will remain open as usual, but cordoned off from the rest of campus, while the Ecological Preserve will be closed to non-essential visitors. The Field Station and Barn will remain locked and off-limits to all but Vassar community members. Masks must be worn by all visitors, except when stationary and six feet from other individuals; or when performing grounds maintenance while social distancing from all other workers. All visitors and employees must have a mask close at hand to don when coming into close proximity with others. We have formulated this plan in consultation with county health officials, who believe it is best for the safety of both the community and the students. Signage will reinforce these new restrictions.