Return to Campus Newsletter
October 29, 2020
Dear Bentley Community,
Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we managed the spike in cases on campus earlier this month. Thanks to your commitment to the health and safety of our community, we were able to quickly lift restrictions and return to pre-spike operations. We’re four weeks away from Thanksgiving, leaving us with less than a month left in the on-campus portion of the fall 2020 trimester. In these next few weeks, it’s important that we not let our guards down whether on campus or working remotely. The recent rise in numbers across the state is an added reminder to avoid indoor gatherings—no matter how small, wear a face covering and be responsible with our social interactions. Getting to Thanksgiving break will take our collective vigilance.
Maintaining Vigilance this Halloween
As observed with the spike in cases earlier this month, a small gathering can lead to several positive cases of COVID-19 on campus, with even more close contacts needing to quarantine for at least 14 days. This Halloween, remember to be responsible and avoid endangering yourself or others by disregarding indoor occupancy limits. No matter where you may be, remember to wear a face covering, even with a costume, and maintain a safe physical distance.
City of Waltham Status Change
Earlier this week, the City of Waltham reverted back to Phase 3, Step 1 of the state’s reopening plan as a result of three straight weeks in the higher-risk category. This status cuts back on certain occupancy limits and requires that some businesses close until numbers trend downwards. This shift in status does not impact Bentley’s on-campus operations, as we did not expand any occupancy numbers when Phase 3, Step 2 began on October 5.
Expanded Guidance on Close Contacts
Last week, the CDC expanded its definition of a close contact to include someone who spends a cumulative 15 minutes within six feet of an infected person over the course of a 24-hour period. Previous guidance stated that a close contact was defined as someone who spent 15 minutes at a time within six feet of an infected person. Emerging evidence now shows that these cumulative encounters can also lead to virus transmission. It’s important that we be mindful of this new expanded guidance when considering our close contacts and the contract tracing process.
Spring 2021 Guidelines
Similar to the start of the fall, the spring 2021 trimester will begin with a two-week easing-in period to ensure that all on-campus students, faculty and staff undergo two rounds of screening tests. Face coverings, responsible physical distancing and occupancy limits will continue throughout the spring to limit close contacts. As the fall experience has shown, it’s crucial that each member of our on-campus community do their part to remain vigilant. It’s only when we act together that we’ll be able to ensure a safe and successful spring.
Since the start of the fall trimester, 66 positive cases have been reported on the dashboard. With 34,192 total tests administered, that leaves us at a 0.20 % positivity rate.
Geoffrey C. Bartlett, CEM
Director of Emergency Management