Return to Campus Newsletter
November 19, 2020
Dear Bentley Community,
Thanksgiving is just one week away marking the end of the fall 2020 on-campus experience. A great deal of work has gone into making this fall possible, and I want to thank each member of our community for doing their part. This fall has shown that regular COVID-19 screening tests, consistent face-covering policies and limitations on space occupancy can allow us to carry on parts of a place-based educational mission. However, it’s only when each member of our community follows these policies that we can remain effective. If just one of us ignores these requirements, the risk to campus sharply increases. It’s important that we all keep that in mind as we look to the spring.
One of the most important and caring things you can do for Thanksgiving this year is to return home healthy. Testing before departure is one element of a safe return home, as it reduces the chance that you could unknowingly carry the COVID-19 virus home to your loved ones, but testing doesn’t eliminate risk. Limiting your activities and interactions now and after you return home should be a part of your plan, even with a negative test.
In light of new guidance issued this week by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Bentley recommends that all students plan to return home within 72 hours of their last screening test and continue their courses remotely next week. Eleven states and jurisdictions have travel restrictions in place that may create special requirements upon reentering from Massachusetts. Pay careful attention to the ever-changing rules regarding interstate travel and confirm restrictions on official websites. Please remember you are responsible for meeting the requirements of your specific destination.
The special testing day scheduled for Monday, Nov. 23 filled up earlier this week, but additional appointments are being added for Friday, Nov. 20 and Monday, Nov. 23. Please visit bentley.edu/testing to schedule an appointment. If any students are unable to schedule a test next week, they can contact an off-campus testing center as outlined here. If your plans have changed and you no longer will be testing on Monday, Nov. 23, please cancel your appointment to allow others an opportunity to schedule a test.
Students who test positive and/or are identified as a close contact of a positive case will continue to be subject to Massachusetts quarantine/isolation rules, which may include restrictions on travel.
Best Practices this Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, and the coming holiday season, will be unlike any that we’ve experienced before as COVID-19 cases reach record highs across the U.S. and much of the world. To keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, the CDC recommends that any gatherings be limited to one household, but if you must interact with people outside your household, wear face coverings, maintain six feet of distance at all times, and wash hands often.
Having a smaller holiday season will be difficult, but it’s critically important that we follow all public health guidance and limit our close contacts to ensure we do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Post-Thanksgiving Faculty and Staff Testing
Fewer faculty and staff will be required on campus after the Thanksgiving break, and not all who remain on campus will be tested on a weekly basis. For those who will be tested (front-line positions that continue to interact with the limited number of students and other employees who remain on campus), testing will occur in the Dana Center and by appointment only on Mondays from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. If you are unsure if your job requires you to be on campus or if you are eligible to be a part of the screening test protocol after Thanksgiving, please check with your dean, supervisor or vice president.
Since the start of the fall trimester, 103 positive cases have been reported on the dashboard. With 43,075 total tests administered, that leaves us at a 0.24% positivity rate.
This has been a fall term that has tested each of us with its challenges and accomplishments; I’m grateful to everyone who made our communal success possible. In the spirit of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday next week, I encourage you all to take a moment to say thank you to the friends, staff and faculty who helped you reach this point.
I hope that you have found these newsletters to be helpful and informative throughout the fall. An opportunity for feedback will be shared prior to the launch of the spring newsletters to ensure we share the most relevant information with our community.
Geoffrey C. Bartlett, CEM
Director of Emergency Management