POUGHKEEPSIE – As part of an announcement last week launching VassarTogether, a website specifically developed to detail Vassar College’s fall plans and policies, President Elizabeth Bradley unveiled the school’s masking policy as a central component to helping prepare the campus and ensure the health and safety of everyone when students begin returning in early to mid-August, for the fall semester.
Anchored in the emerging scientific understanding of the transmission of COVID 19 and informed by the CDC, New York State Department of Health and the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health, Vassar’s masking policy requires everyone on campus—students, employees and visitors—to wear a mask or face covering at all times, except: when in private/unshared rooms or offices; when stationary outdoors and able to maintain a 6-foot social distance from others; or if running or biking for exercise and able to maintain a 6-foot social distance from others. The policy is clear that while outdoors a mask is required while in transit (walking), but can be removed if one is 6-feet distanced from others and stationary outdoors.
The policy also notes that all buildings will be closed to visitors during the COVID-19 crisis.
President Bradley, a global public health expert and member of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Forward Advisory Committee, said “Vassar is committed both to our educational mission and to the health and safety of our community and the larger communities in which we live. Our policy on wearing masks, along with a comprehensive set of protocols we have put in place, will play a key role in helping us return to campus safely this fall and will also help keep the Arlington community safe.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID 19’s primary mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. With spread most likely to occur when people are in close contact with each other, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance from others are among the most effective methods of preventing the spread.
The college’s overall plan for returning to campus this fall was developed by VassarTogether, a committee of administrators, faculty, students and staff co-chaired by Dean of the College Carlos-Alamo-Pastrana and Dean of Faculty William Hoynes. It calls for the phased arrival of small groups of students to campus starting August 7, with classes beginning on August 31. Students who are unable to return to campus or who choose not to do so will be able to take courses remotely.
All members of the Vassar community—including faculty and all employees—will be expected to uphold community care expectations in order to ensure everyone’s health and safety.