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Four Phases of the Fall 2020 Campus Experience

To maximize community health and safety, we are planning a four-phase campus experience in Fall 2020, with target dates for each phase. The specific implementation dates for the different phases will be responsive to public health conditions on campus and in Dutchess County, as well as New York State guidelines. These phases are subject to change at any time and we will only advance to the next phase if campus and local health conditions permit.

Phase 1

Return to Campus (August 8–September 7)

Students will return to campus gradually during the three week period beginning August 8, although some students may be approved to return earlier. Estimated return dates for each student are provided. Each student will have a specific window to move into their campus housing. Please pack light for the Fall 2020 semester. This will facilitate an easy move-in process and swift move-out, if public health conditions require students to leave campus prematurely. Within the first three days of arrival, all students will be required to take a COVID-19 test provided and administered by the College.

Phase 1 on Campus

Many have been concerned how they will complete the 14-day quarantine required by New York State for many travelers. Following the latest guidance from local health officials, we will be quarantining as a campus together from August 8 to August 31. Please note that all students will be under these same requirements, regardless of your previous geographic location (including international locations and states with New York travel advisories).

  • During this time, the campus will be closed to non-essential visitors.
  • Students will be assigned to “family units” for picking up grab and go food at specified times to reduce density.
  • Students will be asked to stay largely in their dormitories or off-campus houses, and when leaving their residence to go outside for exercise or fresh air, activities must minimize contact with others.
  • Students will be required to maintain 6 feet of distance from others at all times and wear masks except when alone or with roommates in their room or sitting outside with 6 feet of distance to the next person.
  • Students will have two COVID-19 tests in their first 10-14 days on campus.
  • Students will be required to complete a daily self-assessment of symptoms.

Upon successful completion of Phase I and with the ongoing guidance of public health officials, we plan to continue into Phase II of our Fall 2020 campus experience.

Regarding Vulnerable Populations

All students who may not feel comfortable returning will be invited to participate in academic and co-curricular activities remotely. When needed, we will provide internet connection capability to their home to ensure they have access to remote learning. Furthermore, students who are residing on campus but need accommodations to feel safe will be guided by the Office of Accessibility and Educational Opportunities (AEO) on campus. Services for accommodation include, but are not limited to, note takers, extra time on assignments and tests, and academic coaches.

Phase 1 Campus Protocols
  • Masks/Face Coverings Required
  • Maintain 6ft Distance
    • Physical distance everywhere indoors and outdoors
    • Roommates in doubles, triples, suites, and apartments are encouraged to maintain 6ft distance as possible
  • Campus Closed to Visitors
  • Students Remain On-Campus
  • Grab-n-Go Dining Only
    • Limited outdoor seating, seats marked for distancing
  • Access to Only Your Residence
  • Assigned Bathrooms (Houses)
  • No registered parties in apartment areas
  • No In-Person/Outdoor Programming (virtual/passive programming only)
  • Public Facility Temporary Closures
    • Athletic Fitness Center, Academic Lounges, House Parlors and Multipurpose Rooms, Community Centers, etc.
  • Classrooms spaced for physical distance
  • Any informal gatherings are virtual or outside only
    • Masks and 6ft distance required
    • Any in-person gatherings should be infrequent. Virtual gatherings encouraged.
    • Outdoor exercise/recreation with phsyical distancing
  • Food and grocery deliveries to campus
    • Delivery drivers may not enter building, students meet driver outside
  • Testing
    • Pre-arrival Test
    • 1st on-campus test upon arrival
    • 2nd on campus test 7-10 days after arrival

Phase 2

Confirming Community Standards (September 8–September 25)

Phase 2 is a period to establish routines that affirm safe community standards. We will all need to support each other in practicing social distancing, wearing masks (and appreciating reminders to wear masks), and navigating campus in a way that promotes lower density. Students living in campus housing will be expected to remain on campus during the academic semester. With very limited exceptions, such as medical care, off-campus student travel is not permitted. In addition, all meetings beyond formal classroom, lab, or research sessions should be held outdoors or via videoconference technology (Zoom) until September 7. After September 7, pending an assessment of health conditions on campus, student organizations may register to use specific meeting rooms for low-density activities; any gatherings must be pre-scheduled and will require social distancing, masks, and adherence to occupancy limits based on room size and New York State guidelines.

Phase 2 Campus Protocols
  • Masks/Face Coverings Required
  • Maintain 6ft Distance
    • Physical distance continues indoors and outdoors outside of bedroom, suite, or apartment
    • Roommates in doubles, triples, suites, and apartments have achieved status as pod-unit
  • Campus Closed to Non-Essential Visitors
    • Exceptions: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (on weekends), Community Gardens, Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Wimpfheimer Nursery School, Golf Course
  • Students Remain On-Campus
  • Grab-n-Go Dining and Outdoor Seating Expanded
    • Marked 6ft distance at tables continues
    • Local restaurants invited to provide food at Noyes Circle tents (while adhering to required PPE & campus policies) beginning September 14
  • Access to Only Your Residence
  • Assigned Bathrooms (Houses)
  • No registered parties in apartment areas
  • Approved (Limited) Outdoor Programs
  • Select public facilities re-open with reduced maximum capacity
    • Including: Lounges, Parlors, Community Centers, Pool (by appointment only), Library, Chapel
    • Some facilities remain closed (i.e. AFC)
  • Classrooms spaced for physical distance
  • Outdoor Gatherings
    • If approved by relevant department or Campus Activities: Outdoor gatherings limited to 25 or fewer people in masks, 6ft distance (if stationary and 6ft distance they can remove masks)
    • If not approved/informal: Outdoor gatherings must have 10 or fewer people
    • Outdoor exercise/recreation must be in groups of 4 or fewer and stay 6ft away from anyone else
  • Indoor gatherings permitted with Reduced Maximum Capacities
    • Groups of up to 10 or maximum COVID-19 room capacity (see room signage), whichever is fewer
    • Masks and 6ft distance required
    • Virtual Gatherings Continue
  • Food and grocery deliveries to campus
    • Delivery drivers may not enter building, students meet driver outside
  • Testing
    Testing approximately every two weeks, more regularly for some

Phase 3

Some Informal Socializing Indoors and Gordon Commons Opens (October 22 – November 20)

In Phase 3, Vassar is easing some restrictions on informal socializing indoors and opening Gordon Commons, among several other changes. Events that are pre-approved by Campus Activities may have up to 25 people outdoors. Under special circumstances, academic departments may host events of up to 50 people if they are pre-approved.

  • Indoor dining will be available in Gordon Commons (beginning with the second and third floors the week of October 19 and expanding to include the first floor of Gordon Commons beginning the week of October 26.) Students must reserve a time through the Waitwhile app through the Vassar mobile app. Reservations will be for one-hour slots (45 minutes to get food and eat; 15 minutes to clean and prepare the table for the next reservation). Inside, spaces where you can sit are marked off and traffic flow will be carefully controlled for health and safety. Because density will be restricted, grab-n-go will continue to be an important option.

  • The College Center MPR, the Old Book Store (basement of College Center), the Villard Room, and the parlors on the second floor of Main (Rose Parlor, Gold Parlor, Jade Parlor, and Ordan meeting room) will be open until midnight daily for informal socializing indoors. The Gold and Jade Parlors as well as the Ordan meeting room and College Center MPR must be reserved ahead of time through Campus Activities using eSARC.  As is true in all indoor spaces, masks and social distancing are required at all times, unless only your pod is in the room. Do not exceed the posted COVID-19 room capacity in any space.  Doors and windows where possible should remain open, and food is not permitted.

  • Rockefeller Hall (Monday through Friday is open until midnight), and the Library is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday night and until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • ALANA, LGBTQ+, Women’s Center, International Student Services, and the Veteran’s Lounge will be open until 8pm, Monday-Friday. Please check in with the respective centers for slight variations based on staffing. Some centers also have Google forms for reservations.

  • When submitting a CCT Assist Form, email addresses will now be automatically collected to help understand patterns and effectively follow up on concerns. These will be seen only by Dean Maragh Taylor and Sarah Garijo-Garde and will be kept private.

Items that have not changed.

  • Many Phase 2 protocols concerning masking, social distancing, gatherings etc. will continue through Phase 3. Students still may not leave campus; however, off-campus trips that involve minimal possibility of COVID-19 exposure and are supervised by a faculty member as part of a class for academic credit may be permitted, pending pre-approval by the Dean of Faculty Office. If there is an urgent need to be off-campus, please contact Director of Case Management Erika Pappas (epappas@vassar.edu), who can help. Failure to remain on campus can result in removal from campus to study remotely for the remainder of the semester.

  • Informal outdoor gatherings may not exceed 10 people and indoor gatherings remain limited to groups of up to 10 or the maximum COVID-19 room capacity (see room signage), whichever is fewer.

  • Given the spikes in COVID-19 outside our county, we regretfully cannot allow visitors, including parents and families, at this time to come to campus except in extraordinary circumstances.

See the Phase 3 pull-down menu below for more information.

Phase 3 Campus Protocols
  • Masks/Face Coverings Required (except if outdoors, stationary, and 6 ft distance, or eating indoors in designated, low-density areas)
  • Maintain 6ft Distance
    • Physical distance continues indoors and outdoors outside of bedroom, suite, or apartment Pod-units sustained
  • Limited Visitor Access (no building access)
    • Given the spikes in COVID-19 outside our county, we regretfully cannot allow visitors, including parents and families, at this time to come to campus except in extraordinary circumstances.
    • ‘Drive-through’ tours of the campus will now be permitted. Visitors may drive onto campus for a brief tour, provided they do not exit their vehicle.
    • Athletic coaches may visit with recruits and their parent/guardian on campus but must limit their tours to outdoor athletic facilities and must follow all campus safety guidelines. Vassar students may not participate in these visits.
  • Indoor, Dining, Grab-n-go Dining and Outdoor Seating
    • Indoor dining will be available in Gordon Commons (beginning with the second and third floors the week of October 19 and expanding to include the first floor of Gordon Commons beginning the week of October 26.) Students must reserve a time through the Waitwhile app through the Vassar mobile app. Reservations will be for one-hour slots (45 minutes to get food and eat; 15 minutes to clean and prepare the table for the next reservation). Inside, spaces where you can sit are marked off and traffic flow will be carefully controlled for health and safety. Because density will be restricted, grab-n-go will continue to be an important option.
    • Marked 6ft distance at tables continues
    • Local restaurants invited to provide food at Noyes Circle tents (while adhering to required PPE & campus policies)
  • Access to Only Your Residence
  • Assigned Bathrooms (Houses)
  • No registered parties
  • Pre-approved outdoor events: Events that are pre-approved by Campus Activities may have up to 25 people outdoors. Under special circumstances, academic departments may host events of up to 50 people if they are pre-approved.
  • Athletic and Fitness Center Opening
    • Open to the Vassar campus community in a phased manner following all appropriate state guidelines for gyms and fitness centers.
    • Use of cardio equipment in the fitness center available to faculty, staff, and students by reservation-only.
    • Visit Athletics’ website for details on reservations, general info, and other recreation opportunities, which will be by reservation only.
    • Athletic coaches may visit with recruits and their parent/guardian on campus but must limit their tours to outdoor athletic facilities and must follow all campus safety guidelines. Vassar students may not participate in these visits.
  • Select public facilities remain open with reduced maximum capacity
    • The College Center MPR, the Old Book Store (basement of College Center), the Villard Room, and the parlors on the second floor of Main (Rose Parlor, Gold Parlor, Jade Parlor, and Ordan meeting room) will be open until midnight daily for informal socializing indoors. The Gold and Jade Parlors as well as the Ordan meeting room and College Center MPR must be reserved ahead of time through Campus Activities using eSARC.  As is true in all indoor spaces, masks and social distancing are required at all times, unless only your pod is in the room. Do not exceed the posted COVID-19 room capacity in any space.  Doors and windows where possible should remain open, and food is not permitted.
    • Rockefeller Hall (Monday through Friday is open until midnight), and the Library is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday night and until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights.
    • ALANA, LGBTQ+, Women’s Center, International Student Services, and the Veteran’s Lounge will be open until 8PM, Monday-Friday. Please check in with the respective centers for slight variations based on staffing. Some centers also have Google forms for reservations.
    • Some facilities remain closed.
  • Classrooms spaced for physical distance
  • Outdoor Gatherings
    • If approved by relevant department or Campus Activities: Outdoor gatherings limited to 25 or fewer people in masks, 6ft distance (if stationary and 6ft distance they can remove masks)
    • If not approved/informal: Outdoor gatherings must have 10 or fewer people
    • Outdoor exercise/recreation must be in groups of 4 or fewer and stay 6ft away from anyone else
  • Indoor gatherings permitted with Reduced Maximum Capacities
    • Groups of up to 10 or maximum COVID-19 room capacity (see room signage), whichever is fewer
    • Masks and 6ft distance required
    • Virtual gatherings continue
  • Food and grocery deliveries to campus
    • Delivery drivers may not enter building, students meet driver outside; touchless delivery
  • Testing
    • Regular community testing

Phase 4

Students Depart Campus (November 20–22)

The last day of in-person classes is Friday, November 20. Classes will be in recess the week of November 23, resuming online only on Monday, November 30 through Wednesday, December 9 (the final day of classes). Please see the revised academic calendar for the Fall 2020 Semester at catalogue.vassar.edu. Students will be expected to depart campus housing for the semester by 10:00pm on Sunday, November 22. We expect that campus housing will reopen for the Spring Semester in January 2021.