Hampshire campus from a drone camera

News & Events

Covid-19 Information

This fall, we will welcome all of our new and returning students to campus. Our clear plans will create an environment that preserves the immense benefits of a residential campus while minimizing opportunities for potential transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Hampshire College is planning onboarding asymptomatic testing for all students after arrival to campus to start the fall semester. Local trends in vaccination status, test positivity percentage, and rate of COVID-19 infection in the community will help determine the need for any regular asymptomatic testing in the fall. The CDC does not currently recommend regular asymptomatic testing for fully vaccinated individuals.


Information will be added here as we have it, and is subject to change.

May 28, 2021: Update from the COVID-19 Response Team

The COVID-19 Response Team (CRT) is continually evaluating changes in Federal and State guidance in the context of our campus needs and priorities. Significant changes to Massachusetts COVID-19 emergency orders will be taking place May 29 under COVID-19 Order #69, in response to earlier changes in CDC guidance and positive trends in public health data. Hampshire College had also previously announced changes to campus policies and operations to take place on Tuesday, June 1.

The following policies and operational standards will be in place beginning Tuesday, June 1.

The updates listed below are for general college work and operations.  Consistent with past policy, external rentals (including, but not limited to, events booked at the Red Barn), as well as activities in areas with sector-specific guidelines (such as the Early Learning Center), may have different operating guidelines.

Face Covering Policy

Face coverings are no longer required outdoors on campus, except when physical distancing cannot be maintained (such as during group activities or teamed work).

Face coverings continue to be required indoors, in all spaces except private offices. 

The CRT is continuing to collect and evaluate campus and community health data, including but not limited to vaccination rates, and will discuss potential changes to the indoor face covering policy on June 10. Better understanding what portion of our workforce is vaccinated is a key factor in determining whether relaxing indoor face-covering requirements is reasonable. The CRT strongly encourages everyone to complete the voluntary vaccination survey sent by HR to all employees.  Additional survey reminders, with clickable link, will be sent to those who need to complete the survey on June 2 and 4. 

Visitors

As of June 1, visitors are allowed on campus without an approval process. Offices may re-open to the public at this time.  All visitors must follow current State, local, and college regulations when on campus, including wearing face-coverings indoors at all times.

Vendors and contractors should continue to register with Environmental Health and Safety before coming to campus, so that we can review our current COVID-19 protocols with them.

Occupancy and Space Usage

The State of Massachusetts has indicated that they plan to lift occupancy limits in workplaces on or soon after May 29; the CRT is currently awaiting further guidance from the State.  Hampshire has been operating at 50% occupancy; this means 1 person per 100 square feet, except in spaces with specific posted code occupancy.  This applies to all uses, including independent work, meetings, activities, etc.

Once the state issues clear guidance updates for workplaces, space capacities will be promptly updated in Ad Astra to match current state regulations. A campus-wide information and signage update will be done in conjunction with return to work and fall semester planning, with a completion date in early August.  If your department is finding it difficult to operate at the currently posted occupancies, please contact Elizabeth Craun (ecPP@hampshire.edu) directly to develop a department-specific plan.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek out large, well ventilated spaces to hold gatherings such as meetings, as well as to continue to hold meetings virtually when appropriate.  The Ad Astra booking system is the best way to find and reserve rooms, and Event Services will coordinate with Campus Safety, Facilities, and any other departments that are required to make sure your meeting or event runs smoothly.


April 22, 2021: COVID-19 Student Vaccination Requirement for Fall

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Last month I shared our expectation that we will return to an in-person, fully residential, personalized, and safe college experience for the fall semester. To reach this vision, Hampshire College will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving on campus for the fall Semester. Requests for exceptions for medical or religious reasons will be evaluated following our regular policies. Our expectation is that by the fall the College community will consist predominantly of vaccinated individuals, which will significantly reduce the risk of infection for all. Students who cannot obtain a vaccination before arriving next semester will need to do so when they get to Hampshire; we will work on ways to facilitate access. I invite all returning students to take advantage of the on-campus vaccination clinic occurring on April 25.

As vaccination rates and availability increase across the country, I am even more confident that the Hampshire College community can create a campus environment very much like the one we enjoyed before the pandemic. We demonstrated a remarkable dedication to the health of everyone in our community this year by maintaining safe practices, even as it has grown tiring to do so, and I know we will continue to be guided by shared commitments to scientific evidence and care for one another.

I strongly encourage all faculty and staff at Hampshire College to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible, including at the on-campus clinic this Sunday. All employees may request leave time for vaccination appointments during work hours, and are entitled to paid time off the day following a vaccination if they experience side effects; this does not count against sick days. Our objective should be to create a community with near universal vaccination, both to protect those few people who cannot take the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, and to contribute to the safety of our neighbors. We are following the evolution of federal and state guidance regarding requiring vaccination of employees, and will continue to evaluate the possibility of mandating it.

I look forward to rebuilding a vibrant, connected, supportive campus community, after this year of distancing and anxiety. Thanks to everyone for your endurance and ongoing efforts to create a safe learning and working environment during these extraordinary times.

Ed Wingenbach
President


 

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