June 10, 2021
Dear Bentley Community,
As we continue to collect data on the number of residential students, faculty and staff who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, case rates have shown consistent encouraging declines throughout Massachusetts and in our community over the past several weeks. Currently, more than two thirds of our summer on-campus community are fully vaccinated, and we have not recorded a positive case on campus in over one month.
In light of these steady trends and vaccination rates, we are announcing the following updates to our campus health and safety guidelines, which are effective immediately, Thursday, June 10:
- Face coverings will be optional in all areas of campus for all those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This policy includes students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus. This update brings Bentley in line with guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the CDC. As a reminder, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your final dose, regardless of which vaccine you receive. Students must upload proof of vaccination on the Bentley Health Portal.
- Unvaccinated individuals and those who have not yet been fully vaccinated are still required to wear a face covering inside when not in their private office or room and outdoors when unable to maintain six feet of physical distance.
- Face coverings are still required in the Health Center in compliance with state guidance that requires additional precautions in health care settings.
As some on campus begin to shed their face coverings, it’s important that we respect the choices of all members of our community when it comes to the continued use of face coverings and requests for physical distance. In some cases, students, faculty or staff may make a personal choice to continue to wear a face covering, regardless of their vaccination status. Some individuals may continue to wear a face covering because they want to increase protection for themselves or members of their household who may be unable to get a vaccine due to their age, or medical or religious reasons.
Regardless of why someone chooses to wear a face covering, please show care and respect for their choices at all times as well as their wishes to maintain physical distance. This includes masking up anytime you need to interact closely with someone who expresses a preference for face coverings, whether you are a guest in their space or need to invite them into your space. We are one community, and it’s important that we always stay true to our values and treat one another with care and respect. We suggest that you continue to carry a face covering with you while on campus so that you are prepared to wear one if the situation arises.
Residence Hall Guests and Post-Travel Re-entry
As shared on May 27, 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 and 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). We have not yet reached this 80% benchmark and these guidelines remain in place. We will share an update with the residents as soon as we reach this goal.
As mentioned in the May 27 email, data on vaccination rates plays a significant role in our reevaluation of health and safety protocols. The information we have received so far directly influenced our face-covering policy updates announced today. A vaccination dashboard is now available on the Back to Bentley site and will be updated weekly to provide community awareness of vaccination rates and progress toward goals such as the 80% milestone for summer residential students.
Thank you for continuing to do your part to keep our campus healthy and safe. It has been a challenging 15 months, but we have made it to brighter days. We will continue to share updates with the community this summer and look forward to a full return to campus this fall semester.
The Bentley University Cabinet
E. LaBrent Chrite
Donna Maria Blancero