Aug. 3, 2022
Dear Bentley Community,
With the start of the fall semester just around the corner, we wanted to reach out to provide a glimpse of what our community can expect as it pertains to health and safety guidelines as we start another academic year at Bentley. As always, our goal is to ensure that all members of our community feel safe and welcome on campus. COVID-19 cases continue to rise and fall locally and abroad, and given these constant and unpredictable changes, we will continue to follow the evidence-based guidance to remain safe and to ensure our collective success this semester.
The latest news and updates regarding campus guidelines will be posted throughout the semester at bentley.edu/COVID19, our refreshed page for all campus COVID-19 news. For now, here are the important updates that you should know:
All students, faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to have received a booster shot. We are a campus with a high level of vaccination, as more than 96% of our continuing student, faculty and staff population are vaccinated against COVID-19. We expect to remain a highly vaccinated community, and all incoming students, faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated and boosted.
As we begin the year, masks will remain optional in all public areas of campus like the Student Center, the Library and all academic buildings. However, faculty may request that students wear masks in classrooms, and staff may request that masks be worn by visitors in private offices. Importantly, masks are still required in the Health Center and during days 6 through 10 for those who have tested positive and have met the criteria to leave isolation.
We are a community that values respect and care for one another; it’s important that we live those values when it comes to personal preference. If someone would like you to wear a mask in their space or classroom, please do your part to wear one. All community members should carry a mask with them in the event that they are requested to wear one in a classroom or personal space.
Please be mindful that, as in past semesters, the City of Waltham may at times implement a mask requirement for all public indoor spaces, which would therefore require that masks be worn in some areas of campus. We encourage students to arrive with a personal supply of well-fitting masks with them to campus to avoid any potential shortages that could arise in the future. A helpful resource for choosing the most effective mask type can be found here.
Weekly screening testing will not be required. We encourage students to bring a supply of rapid tests with them to campus and have plans for how to acquire more as needed. All health insurance plans and providers are required to reimburse for a certain quantity of tests each month, so be sure to check with your provider on how to access free/reimbursable tests. Faculty and staff using Bentley University health insurance plans can find more information on test reimbursement here.
The Health Center will offer testing to students who are symptomatic and are feeling unwell. Students who are displaying any COVID-related symptoms should contact the Health Center immediately to schedule an appointment, just as they would for any other illness. With no regular weekly testing on campus, we will not utilize a COVID-19 dashboard for the fall semester.
Pre-arrival testing is highly recommended for all residential students, but will not be required prior to move in.
Isolation and Quarantine
As a reminder, an isolation period begins after testing positive or at the onset of symptoms. That “day 0” should be treated as the start of an isolation period, which is followed by five full days isolating at home or in the student’s regularly assigned residence hall room. A helpful isolation timeline can be found here.
It’s important that students and roommates have conversations and make plans for what to do if one tests positive as there is no reserved space on campus for moving the positive student or their roommate(s). Students should work with their professors to arrange for remote access or other accommodations to make up for course requirements that may be missed during an isolation period.
Faculty and staff who test positive should continue to contact Dan Battle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who test positive must remain off campus for the first five days of isolation, and if symptoms improve, may return to campus but must wear a mask at all times until after day ten.
As we all know, it is difficult to predict how COVID-19 will impact our community next, so it is important that we all remain flexible and understanding throughout the semester. We have come a long way over the course of the past two and a half years, and while it will be important that we always remain vigilant, we are looking forward to once again offering a full complement of in-person events, activities and engagement opportunities for students, faculty and staff. We look forward to seeing campus full again soon.
COVID-19 Steering Committee
George Cangiano, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Maureen Forrester, Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer
Chris Joyce, Vice President for Marketing and Communications
Rick Oches, Interim Provost
Andrew Shepardson, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students