Dear Members of the Bentley Community,
It’s been a few weeks since my last newsletter, as other regular updates have been shared each week related to the rise in cases on campus. Since then, we’ve eased back into some on-campus services and have returned to in-person hybrid classes, which means we’ll return to our normally scheduled weekly newsletters.
March Case Rate Recap
This month has proven how rapidly COVID-19 can spread throughout a community, even when strict health and safety measures are in place. Since the beginning of March, our Screening Test Program detected several increases in COVID-19 cases on campus.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of our contact tracers, we were able to identify a major contributing factor of the increases to be off-campus travel by students. In most cases, just one individual unknowingly contracting the virus off campus can lead to quick spread throughout our community requiring weeks to see the positivity rating trend downwards. In that time, we implemented off-campus travel advisories that required students leaving campus for more than 12 hours to obtain a negative test result before returning, undergo two rounds of testing on non-consecutive days at our Screening Test Program and self-quarantine until results were available.
Please do your part to keep campus safe through the end of the spring term by continuing to follow all campus health protocols as we enter the final stretch. Additionally, it’s important that students be honest with our contact tracers if they do test positive or are identified as a close contact. It’s only when we understand the full scope of someone’s interactions that we’re able to slow the spread of COVID-19 on campus and avoid new restrictions.
Residential students are advised to continue to avoid off-campus travel unless absolutely necessary. With the Easter and Passover weekend approaching, I wanted to remind students that anyone leaving campus overnight is required to:
- Complete the “Off-Campus Travel Form” in the Housing Portal.
- Show a negative test result from after leaving campus when they return.
- Remain in self-quarantine until obtaining negative results from two on-campus tests on non-consecutive days.
As we saw this month, leaving campus overnight for any reason represents a major risk to our community. Students are required to follow the above procedures without exception.
Massachusetts' vaccine guidelines have been quickly evolving in recent weeks. To confirm the date you are eligible to signup, make sure to review most recent groups and dates on mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
Some have asked if Bentley plans to purchase a supply of vaccines to administer to students, faculty and staff. The U.S. vaccine supply continues to be managed by the federal government with states responsible for determining eligibility. Purchasing vaccines for our community is not an available option. We will continue to share updates provided by the state as the rollout continues and post important updates here.
Massachusetts Reopening Updates
On March 22, Massachusetts entered Phase IV Step 1 of the state’s reopening plan increasing occupancy limits for businesses and easing some out-of-state travel restrictions. On campus, occupancy limits remain the same, with those who are able to work remotely being asked to do so. As always, please contact your supervisor if you have questions about coming to campus, or being enrolled in the weekly screening test program.
Since January 1, 264 positive cases have been reported on the dashboard. With 45,883 total tests administered, that leaves us at a 0.59% positivity rate.
Geoffrey C. Bartlett, CEM
Director of Emergency Management