Plans for Spring 2022

Vassar plans on returning to an in-person, on-campus learning experience for the Spring 2022 Semester. The health and safety of everyone on campus is paramount, and we understand health to include not only the physical health, but also mental health and social well-being. Additionally, we will apply all the learning we have had through the last four semesters of the pandemic to provide the best and safest on-campus experience possible.

Following are the plans for Spring 2022:

Classes will be in-person starting Monday, January 24.

For students, symptomatic testing is available by contacting Health Service for an appointment. Walk-ins will be accepted for urgent medical needs. If students need testing in the evenings, call the CRC. Asymptomatic testing is available Wednesdays and Fridays from 1–4:30 p.m. in the Aula for students and employees, including faculty. See here for FAQ.

Also, for employees, the county has opened up COVID-19 testing at JC Penney’s in Poughkeepsie, and we are encouraged to be tested if symptomatic or a contact. We will continue to monitor the data and conduct additional surveillance testing in the future as needed.

Contact Tracing
Contact tracing will be undertaken immediately by members of the Vassar College Health Service. Any unvaccinated or vaccinated and symptomatic close contacts with exposure per the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) will be tested and will self-quarantine in the nearby hotel.

For more information, please visit our Contact Tracing FAQ.

Isolation (for students testing positive)
Vassar will be following the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, which have been supported by the New York State Department of Health and our county public health officials. People who test positive must isolate for at least five days, until symptoms resolve and they test negative for COVID-19.

Self-Quarantine (for people who are deemed to be contacts)
If the contact HAS had a booster, or has completed a primary vaccine series with Pfizer or Moderna within the past six months or with the J&J vaccine within the past two months:

Contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are not required to self-quarantine but must be tested on day five after exposure and must continue to wear a mask as per campus guidelines. If symptomatic, the contact should be tested immediately.

If the contact HAS NOT had a booster or completed a primary vaccine series with Pfizer or Moderna longer than 6 months ago or with J&J vaccine longer than two months ago:

Contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are required to self-quarantine for five days and must be tested on day five after exposure and must wear a mask as per campus guidelines. If symptomatic, the contact should be tested immediately.

Medical Accommodations
As in previous semesters during the pandemic, students who are unable to attend class must be in touch with the Dean of Studies, who will let faculty know that the student is excused from class. Faculty will accommodate excused students to support them in attaining the information they may have missed in class.

Booster Vaccines
These are required for students and employees (by January 17) who do not already have medical or religious exemptions. If one has recently recovered from COVID-19, the booster is required within 90 days of one’s last positive COVID-19 test. If students need help finding a booster, contact Health Services. Employees will be reminded by email from Human Resources about the required timing of their booster.

We are aware that some people are not yet eligible for their booster vaccine based on the timing of the completion of their primary series. These people are expected to obtain the booster vaccine within 30 days of becoming eligible.

Daily Health Attestation
Unvaccinated students and as required by the NY HERO Act, employees, will complete a daily health attestation. Anyone with symptoms will be tested and should stay home until they have a negative COVID-19 test result or are cleared by Health Service.

Masking is required indoors for all areas of the campus—unless you are alone, actively eating or drinking, or vigorously exercising (we recommend an N95, KN95, KF94, or double mask with a surgical mask on the inside).  Students may also unmask inside their room or apartment with roommates or apartment mates. During the time of this indoor mask requirement, food may only be served at indoor meetings/events at which attendees can be seated while eating. Masking is not required outdoors.

Gordon Commons (GC) will have in-person dining with reduced densities (check your Vassar app for GC density in real time) and grab-and-go will remain available at the Retreat, Express, and food truck.

Campus Visitors
Visitors are allowed on campus; however, residence halls and campus buildings other than the Library, Francis Lehman Loeb Art Center, and the administrative areas of Main are on card swipe access and are only open to invited guests on a limited basis. Campus guests and visitors are required to be vaccinated (vaccination or booster within the last six months) or have a negative COVID-19 test 24 hours before being on campus, including visitors on admission tours. Invited guests must mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. It is the host’s responsibility to inform campus guests and visitors of these requirements.

Campus Events/Meetings
Events/Meetings may take place as approved by Campus Activities or Dean of Faculty office. All invited speakers must be told they are required to be vaccinated (vaccination or booster within the last six months) or have a negative test within 24 hours of the campus visit. Food and drink may be consumed at seated events/meetings. Food and drink should not be served at events or receptions when people are standing and walking around.

Large Gatherings
In general, we will have larger gatherings outdoors when possible. All audience members will continue to mask during any large indoor gatherings per the college’s current masking policy. The size of indoor gatherings will be restricted to the posted seating capacity.

Leaving Campus
Leaving campus is permitted; however, we strongly recommend people limit travel when they can and limit socializing off-campus, as the prevalence of COVID-19 in Dutchess county is very high.

We expect that buildings including the gyms will be open on regular hours and accessible via card swipe.