May 27, 2021
Dear Bentley Community,
We hope that you are staying healthy and safe as we look forward to the summer months ahead. As COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations continue to decline in Massachusetts and across the country—and vaccination rates and availability continue to climb—it’s a welcome relief to see some of the health and safety guidelines that have been so prevalent in our lives begin to ease.
Beginning this Saturday, May 29, many of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions and occupancy limits in Massachusetts will be lifted, with face coverings still required in some situations. At Bentley, we will continue to maintain certain health and safety guidelines during the summer months as we prepare for the full return of students this fall. We will continue to evaluate what works best for our campus community as state requirements change.
Comprehensive vaccination is an important part of ensuring a safe community and will be an important metric as we evaluate whether to ease health and safety guidelines at Bentley.
• As announced last week, vaccination is mandatory for students by August 1. Students will be considered vaccinated when they have uploaded documentation to the Bentley Health Portal and two weeks after completing the required vaccine dose(s).
• We continue to strongly encourage faculty and staff to be vaccinated. All faculty and staff will be required to formally attest to their vaccination status by June 15 so we can monitor total vaccination levels on campus. The results of this attestation will inform the final faculty and staff vaccination policy and further decisions including campus face covering requirements. Faculty and staff will receive a task in Workday in the coming days.
Beginning on May 29, Bentley will implement the following updated guidelines:
Face coverings are no longer required when outdoors on campus, except when unable to physically distance. For now, face coverings will continue to be required when indoors and not in a private space. We intend to reevaluate the indoor face covering requirement on campus after June 15 based significantly on our on-campus population vaccination rates.
Visitors will be allowed on campus with the exception of inside residence halls. Campus tours will resume at a greater capacity with face coverings required for visiting groups. When campus reaches an 80% vaccination rate among summer session residential students, restrictions will be lifted for guests in residence halls for the remainder of the summer.
When campus reaches the 80% student-vaccination benchmark, students returning to campus following travel will no longer need to provide a negative pre-arrival test result and will not be required to test upon arrival. Fully vaccinated students are already exempt from this requirement. University-sponsored travel may resume for fully vaccinated faculty and staff members.
Occupancy and Dining
Occupancy limits and dining hall guidelines will remain in place until more data on vaccination levels is available after June 15.
Screening Testing Program
At this time, residential students and non-residential students, faculty and staff regularly accessing campus—whether vaccinated or not—will continue to be required to test for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. We are reviewing the testing requirements for the second summer session and the fall semester and will share an update on testing expectations in the coming weeks.
We’re looking forward to approaching our “new normal” on campus and are excited for the full return of students this fall. In the coming weeks as health and safety guidelines continue to change as a result of positive trends, our Return-to-Campus Steering Committee will share more details and next steps with our community. Along with data on vaccination rates, planning will also be informed by the staff and faculty surveys that are open until June 1. Please see the email sent on May 19 and complete the survey if you’ve not done so already. As always, all of our most recent guidelines can be found on bentley.edu/backtobentley.
It’s been a challenging year, but we remain hopeful and optimistic for the weeks and months ahead. Thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do to keep our community safe.
The Bentley University Cabinet
Donna Maria Blancero