Aug. 25, 2021
Dear Bentley Community,
Over the last few weeks, we have seen how the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant is continuing to spread, even among vaccinated people. At Bentley, our vaccination requirement for all students, faculty and staff and very high vaccination rate will reduce the risk of serious symptoms and hospitalization for members of our community. We will be a safer campus community due to this important step.
Most of Massachusetts, including Middlesex County (where Bentley is located), is now experiencing high levels of community transmission, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This increasing level of spread is concerning, especially as we are about to bring this full community back together for the first time since May.
Our goal is to ensure our campus operates as close to normal as possible this semester, with fully in-person classes and offices, fun events, a collaborative professional environment and a vibrant student life. In order to make this possible, there will be some necessary safety protocols the President’s Cabinet will implement at different points to keep our campus operating.
Our Core Values have helped our community respond to the ongoing and evolving nature of this pandemic at each turn. Our values of Caring and Respect call on all to look out for one another and protect the health and well-being of the community—something we have done countless times over the past year and a half. As we ease into the semester, there will be specific locations on campus where face coverings will be required, as they are spaces where community members are required to be in-person for academic and work responsibilities. This requirement will apply to all students, faculty and staff, vaccinated and unvaccinated. This policy will be reevaluated by the end of September, once our campus ease-in period has passed.
Because different spaces on campus will have different requirements, all members of the Bentley community will be required to carry an appropriate face covering with them at all times while on campus so that they can comply with rules of the given location. In addition, we expect that all community members show understanding, compassion and respect to their classmates and colleagues by agreeing to wear a face covering in any situation when requested to do so.
Beginning Monday, August 30:
- Face coverings will be required in all classrooms and in academic and administrative buildings on the upper campus, except when in a private office.
- Face coverings will be required in all dining areas on campus, except when individuals are actively eating or drinking.
- Face coverings will be required on the Bentley Shuttle.
- All buildings requiring face coverings will have notices at the entrance. Building rules apply to all community members, as well as visitors and guests, vaccinated and unvaccinated.
At this time:
- Face coverings will not be required in residence halls, except in some areas specifically designated by signage. We still encourage individuals to wear face coverings in these buildings, especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Face coverings will not be required in all areas of the Student Center, Dana Center and Bentley Arena. However, some areas in these buildings will require face coverings and will be specifically designated by signage. These areas include the fitness center, dining facilities (when not actively eating) and administrative offices, and signs will be posted as reminders. Again, individuals are encouraged to wear face coverings in these buildings, especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Face coverings will not be required outdoors, but encouraged if in crowded groups where physical distancing cannot be maintained. To provide more outdoor space for members of the community to gather without face coverings, if they prefer, two protective tents have been constructed on campus with tables and chairs for group meetings and gatherings.
As a reminder, unvaccinated community members with an approved medical or religious exemption are still required to wear a face covering at all times indoors when not in a private office, maintain physical distance and participate in weekly testing.
The Cabinet will continue to evaluate our face covering policy as more information comes out over the course of the semester. I know that we are excited to come together as a community again, and as we do, please remember to treat each other with care, kindness and respect.
As always, we will share any new health and safety guidelines with you by email and at bentley.edu/backtobentley.
Geoffrey C. Bartlett, CEM
Director of Emergency Management