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Living

Students, Student Organizations, and Campus Programming

  • Programming will include a hybrid of appropriate in-person and virtual programming to ensure that students and community members who are unable to return to campus can still participate in these endeavors.
  • Students should utilize communal spaces responsibly and safely. Affinity spaces and community gathering areas will remain open (including house parlors and MPRs), as well as large gathering spaces (such as the Villard Room). Students are expected to abide by health and safety guidelines set forth by the College and relevant governmental authorities and respect the occupancy limits.
  • Spaces will be used equitably. This includes spaces that are typically designated for a specific activity or group of students. The College will also work to create “flex” spaces to serve as casual and informal gathering spaces. For example, when not in use, the Villard Room might double as a gathering space with socially distant seating.
  • Virtual Student Activities Resource Center (eSARC) will facilitate and support both virtual and in-person student events. Students will have access to host and attend virtual gatherings via Zoom. VSA student organizations will be able to acquire a license for individual Zoom webinars or panels through the eSARC event approval process.
  • VSA/Student Activities: Registered and VSA-approved student activities of 10 people or less can begin (indoors) on February 17, if health conditions permit and College and governmental authorities allow. Event sponsors must follow policies and procedures for staffing support, social distancing, PPE, personal hygiene, and cleaning measures.
  • The College will create formal channels for students to interact remotely and on a limited in-person basis with the Poughkeepsie community, including but not limited to Poughkeepsie restaurants and businesses (e.g., community vendors). Students 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). Students may be required to self-quarantine and/or be tested upon their return to campus.

Activities and Events on Campus

Aaron Sorkin (lower right) talks drama, TV, and movies with students in a class co-taught by Professor of Drama Shona Tucker (top left) and Associate Professor of English Tyrone Simpson (top row, second from right). Photo: Screenshot courtesy of Bryan Smith ’23
  • In-person meetings, gatherings, and events will be permitted if they are aligned with College and county guidelines beginning on February 17, 2021.
  • EMS room reservation system: Departments and student organizations will host/advertise their virtual events on the Campus Calendar using our virtual rooms. Please see “Reserving Space on Campus.”
  • Masks, six feet of social distance, personal hygiene, cleaning between meetings, and following the capacity limits for each meeting room will be required for all gatherings.
  • The Chapel is open weekday mornings for individuals only (no reservation necessary). To reserve the Chapel for events with 10 or fewer people, the event must be approved by the Office of Campus Activities and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices. Masks must be worn at all times.
  • Only individually pre-packaged food is permitted at any gathering. Catering may be coordinated later in the semester through the CAO and as guidelines allow.
  • We are not accepting requests for use of facilities by off-campus groups during the Spring Semester.

College Center​

The rooms and spaces of the College Center including the MPR (if not used as a classroom) the Old Book Store (basement of College Center), the Villard Room, and the Rose Parlor will be open until midnight daily for informal socializing for students. As is true in all indoor spaces, masks and social distancing are required at all times (unless only your pod is occupying the space). Do not exceed the posted COVID-19 room capacity in any space. Doors and windows must remain open where possible, and food is not permitted.

Affinity Spaces such as the ALANA Center, LGBTQ Center, Women’s Center, International Student Services, and the Veteran’s Lounge will be open until 8:00 p.m., Monday–Friday. Please check in with the respective centers for slight variations based on staffing. Some centers use Google forms for reservations.

North Atrium:

  • The North Atrium will serve as the primary entrance area to the College Center.
  • All seating areas in the College Center have been temporarily removed to limit density.
  • The SARC office will be a virtual work space for the duration of the Spring 2021 Semester.
  • CIS Help Desk will be open during regular business hours. Traffic flows from east to west with floor decals and a queuing system for entering.
  • Post Office will be open during normal business hours. Traffic flows from west to east with stanchions and floor decals.
  • Palmer Gallery will be closed for exhibitions for the Spring Semester and will continue serving as an auxiliary space for the College store.
  • All seating areas in the College Center have been temporarily removed to limit density.
  • Lost and Found: Items turned into the Information Desk will be posted virtually at VC Lost and Found. Members of the College community can submit a claim with a description of the lost item, and/or browse through the online catalog of items.

South Atrium:

  • The Retreat will be open for food service for students and employees. There will be a one-way entrance with check-in, floor decals for social distancing, and a one-way exit at the cash register.
  • Seating areas adjacent to the Retreat will be adjusted for social distancing and limited to one chair per table.

Reserving Space On Campus

  • EMS (Event Management System). The EMS room reservation system is still the primary method of reserving space on campus. Departments and student organizations are required to register all events and programs—both in-person and virtual—with the Office of Campus Activities so that events may appear and be advertised on the Campus Calendar.
  • Academic and administrative department events must be scheduled with the CAO Information Specialist via the EMS online reservation system.
  • Student Organization events must be registered via the eSARC Office
  • Department/VSA Orgmeeting spaces are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a convenient online scheduling system in place intended for meetings or rehearsals (not events) at scheduling.vassar.edu. In the event of a conflict, the Office of Campus Activities reserves the right to assign or designate a suitable alternate space.
  • Informal gathering spaces for individuals or groups of students may be reserved through the Office of Campus Activities. Examples of reservable spaces are CC 204 and 240, and the parlors on the second floor of Main (Gold, Jade, and Ordan Meeting Room), and rooms in Rocky and Chicago Hall. Space will be assigned to students based on the nature of the request (group use, individual use, interview, etc.) Request space for private use. 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.
  • Fire Pits are open for informal gatherings at Jewett Lawn, Aula Lawn and the Town House Circle. Hours: Thursday-Saturday 5:00 p.m.-Midnight, March–May & August–November. These areas can be reserved for specific programming and events Sunday–Wednesday 5:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. These requests will be subject to covering the cost of propane, staffing and set up & tear down.

Campus Dining

Returning to dining operations during and after the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be as simple as a setting a date and carrying on business as usual. Not only will our operations be altered initially, some changes may be long term.

These plans were developed with guidance from the CDC, the NYS Department of Health’s “Interim Guidance for Food Services During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency,” Bon Appetit Management Company, and local authorities. The plans are especially sensitive to the following concerns:

  • Physical distancing worries
  • Avoiding heavily populated marketplaces and seating areas
  • Avoiding shared condiments (ketchup, hot sauce, milk for coffee)
  • Guests looking for more packaged and prepared foods
  • Avoiding self-serve food

The second and third floors of Gordon Commons will be open for indoor dining beginning Thursday, February 25. Students must dine either alone or with members of your pod at the table, and occupancy will be set for 25% capacity at all times. To schedule a time to eat in Gordon Commons, use your Vassar app.

Students may not eat indoors in any public room with other students, other than within Gordon Commons where health and safety measures are in place. Indoor dining is a high-risk activity, and we want to minimize such risks.

To reserve seating in Gordon Commons, simply go to Vassar mobile app and tap dining. If you are unable to use your mobile phone, you can visit go.vassar.edu/gordoncommons from any browser. You will not be required to log in to make a 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-and-go will continue to be an important option.

Service Style

  • All food will be taken out in containers until indoor dining is available:
    • Hot food served into containers
    • Cold food prepackaged
    • Bottled beverages available at open food platforms
    • Prepackaged service ware and individual condiments will be available
  • Diners should be mindful of stanchions and directional floor decals throughout all dining locations to help minimize bi-directional foot traffic. These will direct students on how to enter and exit dining locations.
  • Masks/face coverings will be required at all times in all dining locations.
  • Students will be required to maintain six feet of distance whenever possible and especially when you are in line to pick up your grab-and-go meal.
  • Students should also make sure to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before eating.
  • Cashier stations will be equipped with appropriate plexiglass guards to protect employees and students.
  • Signage will be provided in all dining locations to ensure that employees and students are maintaining the appropriate six feet of distance from others.
  • Menus of daily food options will be made available online, via the Vassar App, in the vestibule, the lobby, and at food platforms.
  • The Retreat will be open for food service for students and employees. There will be one-way entrance with check-in, floor decals for social distancing, and a one-way exit at the cash register.
  • Seating areas adjacent to the Retreat area will be adjusted for social distance and will be limited to one chair and table per person.

Hours of Operation

Gordon Commons — accepted tenders: meal swipe only

  • Monday–Friday, 7:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. & Sunday, 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

Street Eats — accepted tenders: meal swipe equivalency, credit/debit, and VCash

  • Monday–Thursday, 5:00–9:00 p.m. (in front of the College Center)

The Retreat – accepted tenders: meal swipe equivalency, credit/debit, and VCash

  • Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

The Bridge Café — accepted tenders: meal swipe equivalency, credit/debit, and VCash

  • Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

The Pop-Up Market at the Express — accepted tenders: Market Buck$, credit/debit, and VCash only

  • Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.

Food Platforms

Gordon Commons

  • Offering menus that are made from scratch using the freshest ingredients at the Grill, Deli/Kettle, Oasis, Home/Root, Brick, Kosher, Global, Coffee & Sweets (prepackaged), and Farmers (prepackaged)
  • Street Eats—serving a variety of hot and cold entrees in a pick 4 program.

The Retreat

  • Open-air coolers with freshly prepared cold prepackaged foods, beverages, sides, freshly baked pastries, and whole fruit.
  • Open-air coolers with freshly prepared cold prepackaged foods, beverages, sides, freshly baked pastries, and whole fruit.
  • Weekly specials for the Bowl—please check the dining website using the Vassar App.

Pop-Up Market at the Express

  • Visit the Market to select from an assortment of grocery items, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and much more to bring back to your residence.

Monitoring Density

  • The number of students allowed in the operation(s) will be determined by CDC, state, and local guidelines. This will not include dining staff as per the NYS guidelines.
  • Managers will help monitor counts through the reservation system, POS, and being mindful of designated entrances and exits.

Dining Staff

Dining staff and management will be trained in appropriate COVID-19 and College protocols prior to opening. These trainings and planning will include:

  • Pandemic and COVID-19 training (social distancing, service style, proper use of PPE, personal hygiene, handwashing)
  • Food safety during COVID-19
  • Safety and sanitation in the workplace
  • Food allergens & celiac disease
  • Hazard communication

Like other employees at the College, dining staff and management will be required to complete a pre-shift health screening questionnaire, wear appropriate PPE (masks, face coverings, gloves, shields, etc.), and maintain six feet of social distancing whenever possible.

Athletics

Spring sport teams will be returning to limited competition for the Spring 2021 semester. Schedules for Vassar’s spring sports, which include baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s rowing, men’s and women’s rugby, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track & field and men’s volleyball, are available on each team’s schedule page via vassarathletics.com.

Due to college health and safety protocols, spectators will not be permitted to attend games at Vassar until further notice. This will include students, faculty and staff on the Vassar campus. The Department’s Athletic Communications Office will work to livestream games whenever possible throughout the semester, and links will be available on team schedule pages through the athletics website. At this time, no decision has been made regarding a return to competition this spring for the fall and winter teams.

Full details regarding off-campus travel are available by visiting the Off-Campus Group Travel Policy.

Physical Education and Recreation

Physical Education Classes

All physical education classes that require off-campus activities will be cancelled. All other courses will be offered with enrollment levels to be reduced as necessary based on physical distancing requirements within available athletic facilities.

Athletic Facility and General Recreation Usage by Campus Community

Use of the Athletics and Fitness Center and other athletic facilities on campus is governed by health and safety protocols in accordance with and subject to continuing approval from New York State and/or Dutchess County. All activity in the Athletics and Fitness Center, Walker Field House, Kresge Pool, and Kenyon Hall must be pre-scheduled, by appointment only. Drop-in workouts will not be permitted and access to locker rooms will only be provided for individuals utilizing the pool.

Athletic facilities will be closed to students between February 1 and the start of classes on February 17 to ensure all students complete their return to campus testing protocol.

The Department of Athletics and Physical Education is utilizing IM Leagues for all reservations of activities, which are subject to change throughout the year. Offerings for the Spring Semester will include: basketball (shooting only, not pick-up), badminton, the Fitness Center, indoor track, tennis, table tennis, squash (individual), and open swimming.

Campus members wishing to book a reservation spot for these offerings can access the appropriate information, including area protocols and available times, at https://www.imleagues.com/spa/reservation/9bc3e60eb0b743699ce976f47ba7f5d6/home.

As the semester progresses and as conditions permit, the department will explore opportunities to permit student pods to sign up for recreational activities together.

Questions regarding IM Leagues and/or inquiries about recreation opportunities can be directed to Mike Callahan, Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports and Recreation at micallahan@vassar.edu or at 845-437-7471.

Life Fitness Classes and Intramurals

Life Fitness classes and intramurals will both be offered in the Spring Semester upon return to campus. You must pre-register to participate in any activity. All information and offerings will be available at imleagues.com/Vassar/Registration. Additionally, individuals can download the IMLeagues iOS or Android app for all updates and information on Vassar’s Life Fitness classes and Intramural Sport offerings.

Participation in in-person Life Fitness classes and intramurals is governed by health and safety protocols in accordance with and subject to continuing approval from New York State and/or Dutchess County. Also, when possible, Life Fitness classes will be offered online.

Questions regarding IM Leagues can be directed to Mike Callahan, Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports and Recreation at micallahan@vassar.edu or at 845-437-7471.

Scheduling Principles

Use of athletic facilities and participation in Life Fitness classes, intramurals, and general recreation are typically shared activities that bring together students, faculty, staff, administrators, emeriti, and family of employees in the same physical location. This sharing of space among different segments of the College community represents increased risk as well as a potential source of anxiety for different subsets of our community. In light of these concerns, schedules/appointments will be adjusted as necessary to provide opportunities for individuals to opt in or opt out of activities that include a cross-section of different campus populations.

Residential Life

Masks/Face Coverings

All residents are expected to wear a mask/face covering inside the house when not in their room. The mask/face covering must fit closely to your skin, covering mouth and nose. All areas outside of a resident’s room require mask usage including hallways, stairwells, bathrooms, lobbies, kitchens, laundry rooms, parlors, and multi-purpose rooms.

You must wear masks in open common spaces even with your pod (see the pod registration form for further details about pods).

Guests

You may not have guests from other houses or residences in your house or room unless they are members of your registered pod. Refer to pod registration details for information regarding the registration process, eligibility requirements, and important dates.

Bathrooms

Every resident will be assigned to a nearby bathroom in their house and will be expected to only use that assigned bathroom. Members of your pod who are visiting your room may use the bathroom you have been assigned, but may not use any other bathroom in the house.

A maximum capacity for each bathroom will be set based upon the size of the bathroom. Residents will be expected to follow guidance on bathroom assignments and maximum capacities. Mask usage will be expected in the bathroom except for bathroom functions requiring its removal (i.e., brushing teeth, washing face, etc.).

Kitchens

Residents will need to make a reservation ahead of time in order to use the kitchen. Each kitchen will be allotted a maximum capacity based upon the size of the room (see building capacity guidelines). Residents are expected to follow guidance for reservations, maximum capacity, cleaning, and mask usage while using the kitchen.

Laundry Rooms

Each laundry room will be allotted a maximum capacity based upon the size of the room. Residents will be expected to check for machine availability online using Laundry View before taking their laundry to the laundry room. If the laundry room has reached its maximum capacity upon your arrival, wait outside of the laundry room until others have left.

Residents are expected to keep their presence in the laundry room to a minimum and leave the laundry room promptly after loading and unloading machines. Students should avoid congregating in the laundry room. Folding and organizing laundry may not occur in the laundry room.

Parlors, Multipurpose Rooms, and Additional Lounges

Parlors, MPRs, and any additional lounges in residential houses will be closed through the first week of classes. Usage and reservation of parlors will be allotted starting in the second week of classes. Each House will post its own room capacities, no room may exceed 10 people at one time. Masks are required.

Bedrooms

Students may not have students inside their bedroom who are not a member of their registered pod. Please reference the pod details to learn about eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and contact information. Roommates must be registered in the same pod.

Apartment Guests and Party Registration

  • Guests: Residents within the apartments are discouraged from entertaining any guest who does not live in their apartment. Maximum capacity for common rooms within each apartment will be equivalent to the number of residents assigned to that apartment.
  • Party Registration: There will be no party registration process during the Spring 2021 Semester. Parties will not be permitted in any apartment. Hosts and guests of parties will be subject to the student conduct process.

Food Delivery

If ordering from a restaurant or apps (Grubhub, Uber Eats, Instacart, etc.), you can instruct the driver to drop food at the entrance of your building. Please coordinate with your delivery driver the time of drop off so that you can pick up your food promptly while maintaining social distancing and contactless delivery. Vassar College is not liable or responsible for any food delivered on campus.

Early Move-out

Preparing for a move-out (shutdown): Early departure from campus may occur at any time during the academic semester. Students are advised to bring fewer belongings with them to campus than they would during regular conditions. Extensive decorations or additional furniture items are discouraged.

In the event of an early move-out, the process will be phased. Students with permanent residences within 3 hours of driving distance will be asked to leave first, within the first days after the announcement. Students with permanent residences within 6 hours of driving distance will be encouraged to leave within the next few days after. Students taking domestic flights will have the opportunity to leave any time within the week after the announcement. Students taking international flights will also have a week within the announcement and may seek flexibility after that as needed and dependent on conditions at the College.

See Shutdown Plan

Expanded Podding Q&A

Students will be allowed to pod beginning February 25.Students may apply to create a pod. Once podding begins, approved pods may gather with each other without masks and without maintaining 6 feet of physical distancing from one another. The pod registration system and its subsequent guidelines mostly pertain to house residents because apartment residents in the same apartment unit will automatically be considered as a pod. Apartment residents who wish to add members who live outside their apartment to their pod may do so through applying with the pod registration forms (restrictions apply). Ferry residents will pod with each other. Off-campus residents are currently ineligible to apply for a pod with on-campus residents.

Timeline

When will students begin to gather in their pods without masks and physical distance?

Students in approved, registered pods will not be allowed to gather without masks and without physical distancing UNTIL February 25, provided they have completed the following testing protocol supplying negative results: Students must submit proof of a COVID-19 test taken within three days of their arrival back to Vassar’s campus (the results of that test are not required at the time of arrival). Students must take a rapid test and a PCR test on their arrival day. Students must take an additional PCR test on their fourth day back on campus.

Gathering spaces

Where will podmates be allowed to gather without masks and physical distance within the houses?

Once podding begins, students in approved, registered pods may gather without masks and physical distancing only in bedrooms of those podmates who live in that house. Podmates visiting from other houses may not visit in other parts of the house. Visiting podmates are expected to enter the house and travel directly to their hosting podmate’s room. Other rooms on campus will be available for pod reservations (rooms available for reservations will be selected based upon ventilation quality and proximity to residential houses such as Rocky, Chicago, and Blodgett).

Bathrooms

Every resident is assigned a designated bathroom to use exclusively in their house. If non-house residents are visiting their podmates, where can they use the bathroom?

Guests visiting a podmate’s house may use the bathroom assigned to their podmate, but the guest may not use any other bathroom in the house. Students should put on their mask when they leave the room and for the duration of their time in the bathroom.

Size of pod

How many students will be approved for a pod in spring 2021?

Groups may apply with up to 6 people (inclusive of all roommates as described in the Roommate Eligibility section below). No additional member requests will be considered.

House and Roommate Eligibility

Do roommates need to be included? How many different houses can be represented in one pod?

Inter-house pods may include members from up to three houses. Pods must be inclusive of all roommates (for example, all residents of a double, triple, or quad must be in the pod).

Card Access

Which houses will students be able to access with their VCard?

Same as Fall 2020. Every resident has card access only to their place of residence. If a podmate from another house is visiting, the resident of that house may let them in at the entrance.

Pod Re-Registration

Can a pod change members after getting initial approval?

Pods may change membership after initial application and approval by re-registering their pod. Exiting members must wait 10 days before joining a new pod and receive a COVID-19 test with a negative test result 4 days after their last maskless exposure to their previous pod. Entering members to a pod must follow the same procedure.