Planning for a Full Return in Fall 2021
A Message from Interim President Paul Condrin
Dear Members of the Bentley Community,
I hope today’s day off and beautiful spring weather are providing you with a positive mental health break as we reach the midpoint of the spring term. I know this semester and year have not been easy. And in particular, the growing number of cases we’ve seen on campus over the past week that has required a step back to some of our ease-in period restrictions is deeply concerning. As Provost Blancero and Dean Shepardson shared on Friday, we are counting on you to do your part to help curb this current uptick. As we follow the news each day of vaccines being delivered across the country and further guidance from the CDC on how we can operate in a post-vaccine world, there’s reason for optimism and hope on the horizon, but we must ensure our campus remains healthy and safe now so that we can successfully reach the end of the semester.
While there remain many important health and safety milestones to reach between now and September, I want to let you know today that Bentley is planning for a full re-opening of our campus in the fall of 2021, including a return to fully in-classroom learning, at-capacity residence halls and in-person events. State and federal health guidelines will, as always, guide all final decisions and campus operations as we approach the fall semester, and further details will be shared early in the summer to help you plan for your arrival to campus. But I’m hopeful for what the fall will bring, once everyone has had access to vaccines.
Bentley believes in the value of place-based education with students and faculty learning, teaching and engaging together in the classroom. While capacity restrictions this year have limited in-person opportunities, we will fully return to our traditional education model this fall. We expect all classrooms to operate at an increased occupancy level that allows students to return for regular schedules and in-person instruction. We’ll continue to explore which hybrid and asynchronous offerings will be available, particularly for students who may continue to face international travel restrictions, but expect most classes to be held in person.
A key aspect of our place-based education is the living-learning community. Dorms, apartments and suites will operate at full capacity this fall, with common areas open in each residence hall. Some residential buildings may be held offline for isolation and quarantine housing, but we expect more residential options to be open to students. The deadline for on-campus housing signups has been extended to 11:59 p.m. tonight, March 10, in light of this news.
Student Engagement and Events
In-person events will be widely available to students. We look forward to restoring all opportunities for students to get involved and meet together in ways that we have not been able to do this year because of restrictions on gatherings.
Seating will be added back in the 921 and other dining locations across campus as restrictions on dining are eased. We expect to continue to offer the ease of take-out options, which many students have embraced, in addition to more eat-in dining.
Health and Safety
Required face coverings and the regular testing of our community for COVID-19 have been key to keeping our community safe this past year and we will be prepared to continue these practices in some capacity, as needed. The science and data will guide our plans for the fall. Our Health Center will continue to be available to students for health and wellness needs.
Support staff in Academic Advising, the Pulsifer Career Development Center, the Office of Financial Assistance and other areas across campus will be fully open and ready to serve students with in-person availability.
All team sports will continue to be regulated by the NE-10 Conference, Atlantic Hockey and NCAA, but we expect inter-collegiate competition to return, and we will have seating available for in-person fans.
I know you will have questions, and I assure you that we will continue to share updates and specific details in the spirit of openness that we have tried to follow for the past year. Until then, please continue to do your part to keep yourself and your peers healthy and safe. We are all excited to return to a sense of normalcy, but we will not get there unless we take the next few months seriously and continue to wear face coverings, maintain our distance and act responsibly in our social interactions.
The past year has been exceptionally challenging, but we will see our way through this. Brighter days are ahead. I look forward to sharing more details about next fall in the weeks to come.
Interim President and Chair of the Board