Fall 2021 Student Update from Dean Anne Chapdelaine
August 18, 2021
We are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester! Our goal is to make sure you have a wonderful experience on campus this fall while we keep our community safe amidst the lingering Covid-19 Pandemic. We have a lot of great programs, activities, and events lined up for you, and of course, we will be taking precautions to ensure the safety of the community. This email outlines some of the decisions that have been made for the Fall semester. Please refer to our Path Forward webpage for additional information on our policies and protocols. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our policies as necessary.
Vaccination Requirement Reminder
Bay Path University requires that all students intending to study on both our Longmeadow and East Longmeadow campuses for fall 2021 receive the COVID-19 vaccine prior to their arrival to campus. On-campus employees are also required to be vaccinated. Proof of vaccination or exemption request must be submitted on the My Bay Path portal. For more information please review the Path Forward.
With the number of regional COVID-19 cases increasing and a greater risk of transmission due to the more infectious delta variant, Bay Bath University will now require anyone in a campus building or on a campus shuttle to wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status.
This new policy takes effect August 18 and applies to all university facilities including buildings on the Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, and Concord campuses. The decision to require face coverings aligns with the recommendation of the COVID Command team, which continues to closely monitor the changing conditions of the pandemic.
Today’s announcement is made following the Town of Longmeadow Health Department’s decision to require masks in all town buildings, schools, stores, restaurants, bars, fitness centers, event venues, and places of worship. Our decision was also made in consultation with medical professionals at Baystate Medical Center and is in accordance with CDC guidelines.
This policy requires all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose when indoors.
As part of the current mandate:
- In-person meetings or group activities in conference rooms or other indoor spaces should be conducted with all participants being masked—regardless of vaccination status.
- In the classroom, instructors and students must remain masked.
- When eating in Blake Dining Commons, the Carpe Diem Cafe’, kitchenettes, or other public or shared spaces on campus, everyone should remain masked and only remove their face mask to eat, and then re-mask when done.
- In residence halls, resident students may be unmasked in their room with their roommate(s) or on their assigned floor. At all other times, students should be masked. Guests should be masked at all times outside of their host's room.
- Face coverings are not required outdoors, except for those who have an approved vaccination exemption.
- Face masks are required for all persons using the University shuttle.
Disposable face masks will be available at centralized locations throughout the campus. Students returning to the University for the fall semester are encouraged to bring with them reusable face masks.
The COVID vaccines available in the U.S. are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Getting vaccinated remains the most important step you can take to protect yourself and others. If you have not yet been vaccinated or been approved for an exemption you will not be permitted to be at any of our three Bay Path campuses.
The guest policy for the Fall of 2021 will allow for external guests (defined as anyone who is not a Bay Path University residential student) to be permitted within the residence halls. Resident students will be required to submit a ‘request a guest’ form 48 hours in advance of their guests arrival. Guests who are not vaccinated will not be permitted in the residence halls. The “request for guest” form will be reviewed by the residential life professional staff and you will receive an email to your BPU email address with the result. All approved guests must check-in and out with either CPS and/or desk attendants upon arrival or departure from campus
- Approved guests must be over the age of 14 years old (per campus guest policy)
- Approved guests must be able to provide a valid photo ID, vaccination, and telephone number at their time of arrival
Any residential student who brings a guest to campus without following this policy will not be permitted to have their guest enter the residence halls. Failure to comply with the policy will result in the host resident being referred to the Student Conduct system within the Dean of Students office.
A positive pool test will result in all students being contacted within that pool sample. Students will be required to retest using the BinaxNOW rapid test. This test will be performed and processed in Health Services with results reported in 15 to 20 minutes of sample collection.
Failure to comply with the testing/vaccination policy will result in the individual being referred to the Student Conduct system within the Dean of Students office.
Students with a Religious or Medical Waiver will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 Test 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus and are required to test every 7 days:
- Residential Students with Approved Exemptions moving into residence halls are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test dated within 72 hours of move in and will need to have a polymerase chain reaction(PCR)* test weekly starting the week of September 6th.
- Commuting students with Approved Exemptions will have to submit a negative COVID-19 test between 9/3/21 - 9/7/21 if planning to attend classes starting the week of September 6, 2021. The COVID -19 test cannot be dated any earlier than 9/3/21 to be in compliance with the 72-hour requirement. Students have the option of being tested weekly on campus, free of charge, in Health Services, or submit a negative COVID-19 test from an off-campus testing center at the student's expense. Results must be uploaded to their Medicat health record portal. (must be logged into the My Bay Path portal for the link to work)
Starting the week of September 6, 2021, all vaccinated residential students are required to submit to a COVID-19 pool test every 21 days, see testing schedule below. This method is structured to have 2 – 10 samples per vial that will be sent to the Broad Institute for processing.
There will be 40 – 60 tests done each week. Testing will be completed on a three-week cycle as follows:
Week 1: First floor of Wright Hall, Bollum Hall and Theinert Hall
Week 2: Second floor of Wright Hall, Bollum Hall, and Theinert Hall
Week 3: Third floor of Wright Hall and third & fourth floor of Bollum Hall
I believe if we all pay careful attention to adhering to the policies and procedures put forth in this memo, our community as a whole will have a better chance of remaining safe and healthy. Thank you in advance for your commitment to keeping each other safe! I look forward to seeing you on campus for Welcome Weekend or online at one of our virtual events!
Dean of Students and Director of Persistence