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.

Here are the plans:

Vassar has decided to hold classes online for the first three days (January 19 – January 21) as we complete all on-campus testing for students (see below).

Student Arrival
Student move-in days are January 15-18. Check in at the ROC in Main between the hours of 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Students must have a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 24 hours of arrival on campus and must present the negative test result and booster vaccine information at the ROC in Main before attaining keys for move-in. If a student arrives without a negative COVID-19 test and if Health Service is closed, the student will be sent to the hotel until testing is available.

Please expedite the move-in process by uploading test and booster vaccine information to Medicat ahead of time.

Note: students who have had COVID-19 do not need testing until after 90 days of their last positive COVID-19 test.

IF YOU HAVE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS, even if you tested negative for COVID-19, please DO NOT return to campus. Instead, call Health Service (845-437-5800), which will clear you to return once symptoms have resolved.

Students will also be required to be tested 3-5 days after arriving on campus, which will be conducted at Walker Field House on Monday, January 17 through Friday, January 21. For testing when you have symptoms, contact Health Service to get 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 p.m. in the Aula. See here for FAQ.

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; During this time, we will reserve on-campus testing for students and employees who live on campus.

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.

Please mask (we recommend an N95, KN95, KF94, or double mask with a surgical mask on the inside) indoors except when eating or drinking, exercising, or alone in a private work or living area. Students may also unmask inside their room or apartment with roommates or apartment mates. Masking is not required outside.

Dining at Gordon Commons will be grab-n-go through January 22 (after which everyone will have completed their on-campus testing). Starting January 23, Gordon Commons will be available for indoor dining only with reduced density and masking except for when one is eating or drinking. Use the Vassar app to track how crowded Gordon Commons is and to help avoid crowds. Grab-n-go dining will continue to be available from the Retreat, Express, and food trucks for the rest of the semester.

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. Invited guests must mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. All visitors on admission tours must have proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Campus Events
Events may take place, as approved by Campus Activities or Dean of Faculty office. Please refrain from serving food or drinks at meetings or events until further notice; masking is required at all indoor meetings or events.

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.