The county health department may advise the College to shut down during the semester if there is a surge of positive COVID-19 cases in the local community or on our campus. In the event that the College is unable to control the spread of COVID-19, the College will collaborate with the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) to consider a variety of mitigation strategies that can help contain the spread of the virus on campus or, if needed, to close the College.
Mitigation strategies could include some combination of the following:
- Requiring self-quarantine for an entire residential house or part of campus
- Having a class or athletics team self-quarantine
- Cancelling some or all in-person classes and gatherings
- Limiting access to campus only to those with a Vassar ID
- Requiring some or all non-essential employees to work from home
- Increased Community Care testing
- Re-implementing grab-and-go takeout food options in dining
- Closing some or all academic buildings
Currently, isolation and self-quarantine remain among the most effective responses to helping slow the spread of COVID-19. Per CDC guidance, students who are sick or who may have been exposed are advised to isolate and self-quarantine and avoid travelling. Given this, our campus would be the best place for a student to complete their period of isolation or self-quarantine if they have tested positive or have been exposed to disease.
In the event of a shutdown, students who are not sick and who have not been exposed would be advised to leave campus. In order to minimize campus density and control the spread of disease, the College will use the following phased approach for emptying the campus:
- Students will be limited to no more than one guest to help them move out.
- Students with permanent residences within 3 hours of driving distance will leave first within the first days after the announcement.
- Students with permanent residences within 6 hours of driving distance will 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 from the announcement and may seek flexibility after that as needed and dependent on conditions at the College and in their countries of origin.
- Students who are unable to return home or for whom it is unsafe to do so may be allowed to remain on campus if it is safe to do so.
In the event that the College is required to shut down, classes may be cancelled for a short period of time before resuming remotely.