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April 21, 2022

Dear Bentley Community,

We hope that you’re continuing to stay healthy as we enter the final stretch of the spring semester. It’s been a challenging year, but we have nearly made it to the finish line. With just a few weeks left in the semester, we wanted to reach out today to share some updates as well as some best practices to ensure we end on a good note.

Masks on the Shuttle and Masking Preferences
Beginning today, masks won’t be required on the Bentley Shuttle in line with the local and national lifting of the transportation masking requirement. However, many may continue to mask for their personal protection or because they have a family member who’s at a high risk for severe illness. And others might wear them because they’re finishing up the last few days of their isolation period following a positive test result when they can be out in public spaces but still need to mask.

Whatever the reason for choosing to be masked or remain unmasked, make sure you’re respectful of others’ choices and always have a mask with you in case you’re asked to wear one in their space. We expect all members of the community to be respectful and comply with masking policies that continue in specific classrooms and offices.

Current Trends
COVID-19 cases have steadily risen in recent weeks across the country and on our campus. Thanks to our community’s high level of vaccination, cases on campus have been manageable with mostly mild symptoms. But that doesn’t mean that we should take a COVID-19 diagnosis lightly. Make sure to consider taking extra precautions like masking in crowded public spaces and seek testing if you’re not well (as detailed below).

Testing on Campus
As a reminder, the screening testing program is open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Students, faculty teaching on campus and frontline staff may test voluntarily and can schedule appointments through the Bentley Health Portal. Remember to not visit the testing center if you’re ill or displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. 

Students who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact the Health Center at 781-891-2222 or to schedule a test outside of the screening testing program. Faculty and staff showing symptoms should seek testing off campus.

As was announced in February, following the shift to all voluntary testing, the online dashboard was reformatted to reflect weekly trends rather than daily. With smaller numbers of total tests, single day results can greatly fluctuate with non-representative samples that do not accurately reflect the state of the virus on our campus. It’s also important to remember that our testing guidelines changed to follow current CDC guidelines, which emphasize testing for those who exhibit symptoms, not the general population. The resulting positivity rate will be higher than you have seen based on this guidance of who should and should not be required to test.

Decision Making Related to COVID-19
We’ve come a long way since last year in the fight against COVID-19. While COVID-19 is still very much a reality that requires our attention, our community and the world continue to move toward a sustainable, long-term approach to the virus. Today our campus guidelines and policies are completely in line with the recommendation of the CDC, Massachusetts public health officials and the city of Waltham. However, that doesn’t mean that we still don’t need to be thoughtful about how the virus impacts our community.

At Bentley, the Return to Campus Steering Committee continues to meet and discuss guidelines and updates for our campus. Additionally, Bentley’s Return to Campus Task Force, with representation from all campus divisions, meets on a regular basis to look at the road ahead and make recommendations to the steering committee.

These groups will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends in our community and the surrounding areas to ensure the safety and preparedness of the entire Bentley community. In the near future, Bentley will be hiring a new emergency manager to help our community to continue to be prepared for any health and safety challenges posed by the pandemic or other external factors.

Again, we know that it’s been a challenging semester, but we’re nearly to the finish line. There are still a lot of great things happening on campus in the weeks ahead, so be sure to do your part to stay healthy and engaged.

Return to Campus Steering Committee
George Cangiano
Maureen Forrester
Chris Joyce
Rick Oches
Andrew Shepardson