Dear Bentley Community,
This week marked the midpoint of the fall 2021 semester. To mark the occasion, I wanted to take a moment to share an overview of where we’ve been successful and where improvement is needed to ensure that we continue to maintain a healthy and safe campus environment for all. A lot has been asked of our entire community, but please know that every measure that has been taken thus far brings us one step closer to avoiding any disruptions of our on-campus experience this fall.
As announced earlier this week, screening testing will continue for the remainder of the semester for all undergraduate and residential students. Screening testing has played an important role in helping us to identify positive cases within our campus community, and it’s important we continue to use this helpful tool at our disposal. All undergraduate and residential students should make appointments using the Bentley Health Portal for the remainder of the semester before the end of this week.
Faculty teaching this semester and frontline staff may voluntarily test once per week and can make appointments using the Bentley Health Portal. Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff members with approved exemptions are required to test weekly.
Wearing face coverings will continue to play an important role in reducing the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in our community. However, improvement is needed in our on-campus behaviors in academic buildings, the Dana Center and the Student Center, as well as during indoor sporting events. For the safety of your peers and your professors, you must wear a face covering before you enter an academic building, not just before entering the classroom.
Our friends in Athletics have been glad to see so many fans taking in games on campus this fall. However, we have far too frequently seen fans not wearing face coverings in the Bentley Arena once seated. Face coverings are required at all times in the arena when not actively eating or drinking, and it is crucial that we correct our behaviors to start wearing them appropriately. Not doing so puts all in-person attendees at risk of contracting COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.
As a reminder, off-campus guests are still not permitted in residence halls at this time. As vaccination against COVID-19 is required for our on-campus community, we know that we can safely operate our residence halls at full capacity. However, we cannot guarantee that any guests are vaccinated, and as a result visitors are limited to Bentley community members only.
Local and National Trends
As we’ve seen over the course of the past year and a half, a decline in COVID-19 positivity rates does not mean that prevention measures should be abandoned or ignored. While positivity rates were on the decline for several weeks, we in no way should feel that we can avoid face coverings and return to pre-pandemic life yet. Though the decline in positive cases is welcome news, case rates in the county and the state remain high, and it’s crucial that we continue to be smart with our social interactions and continue to wear face coverings and avoid crowded mask-less public spaces.
COVID-19 Testing Dashboard
Since August 22, 155 positive cases have been reported on the dashboard. With 28,006 total tests administered, that leaves us at a 0.56% positivity rate. For reference, positivity rate refers to the number of confirmed positive cases compared to the total number of tests conducted. Our transmission rate tells us how prevalent the virus is within our population for a period. While our transmission rate has been trending downwards, we still need to be vigilant in maintaining our prevention measures on campus.
It’s been great to see campus so lively with students, faculty and staff on campus this fall. Please remember to continue doing your part to keep our community healthy and safe to ensure our continued success for the remainder of the semester. As always, you can find the latest health and safety guidelines, as well as an archive of these newsletters, on bentley.edu/backtobentley.
Geoffrey C. Bartlett, CEM
Director of Emergency Management
Dear Bentley Community,