December 14, 2021
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the overall health and well-being of our community during the fall semester. We are a stronger community for it. As we look ahead to the spring, we continue to be mindful of the presence of COVID-19 in our lives as we respond to new variants.
Thankfully, we are at a stage in the pandemic where we can maintain a limited number of policies to mitigate the transmission of COVID on our campus and provide safe learning, working, and living opportunities for faculty, staff, and students.
At this time, we plan to continue with the response plan that currently is in place for the fall semester. Together with a highly vaccinated population on campus, the following protective measures should help us sustain our low transmission rate of the virus on campus:
- Mandatory masks indoors
- Capacity limits for certain campus gatherings
- Event planning assistance
- Continued focus on high standards of cleaning of our physical spaces, including
- Use of air scrubbers in all classrooms and high traffic areas
- Higher air exchange rates in all buildings
- Hand sanitizer and cleaning products available for classrooms and public spaces
- Mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for indoor visitors
- Weekly testing of exempted individuals along with surveillance testing of vaccinated students, and plans to isolate and/or quarantine individuals who test positive for COVID-19 infection
Vaccine Booster Requirement
We continue to monitor CDC Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education and adjust our policies as needed. Given the emergence of the Omicron variant and new recommendations regarding vaccine boosters, the college is updating our vaccine policy: Effective Tuesday, February 1, 2022, all vaccinated students, staff, and faculty must submit proof of a booster shot within 30 days of becoming eligible.
Individuals should consult the CDC website to determine their timeline for eligibility. Individuals who have already received an approved exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be exempt from this requirement. Individuals vaccinated with an FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine outside the United States should follow CDC guidance for booster doses.
In brief, the CDC guidance for boosters is as follows:
- If you received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, you are eligible for a booster six months after completing your COVID-19 vaccination series (i.e., after your second shot).
- If you received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, you are eligible for a booster two months after completing your initial COVID-19 vaccination.
- Regardless of the manufacturer of your primary vaccination series, you can now receive any of the COVID-19 booster vaccines authorized in the United States.
We are encouraged that so many within our community chose to participate in our booster clinics last month or have received a booster on their own. It is clear that a highly vaccinated community, with the additional protections of a booster shot, is our most effective strategy to mitigate transmission of the virus, preventing serious illness, and ensuring that we can safely continue to live, learn, and work together.
We encourage you to seek an appointment for a booster while you are home over the holiday break. The college will host on-campus booster clinics on January 31, February 1 and February 2. Additional information about the clinics will be shared in January. Once fully vaccinated, students, faculty and staff must upload their vaccination card in the same manner that you submitted your initial vaccination information. We will share details on that process in a future communication.
In preparation for the spring semester, all students should plan to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of their expected arrival. Students who are unvaccinated and have an approved exemption will be tested upon arrival to campus. Vaccinated students will not be tested.
We will share additional information in the weeks ahead. Until then, please continue to demonstrate care and compassion for each other by complying with the rules that have kept us safe during the fall semester. We are proud of the Bantam community and extend our best wishes for a happy holiday season.
Jason Rojas, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Relations
Joe DiChristina, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management