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Safe Opening FAQs

Last Updated: 2:40PM July 1, 2020
Check back for further updates

Could fall opening plans change?

The University’s Emergency Management Team, Safe Opening Task Force, and Cabinet have been working with state and local Departments of Health, gathering information and ideas from the campus community through open sessions, and planning for several scenarios. While we are excited about this upcoming semester, we are aware that an unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 remains a possibility. For this, we will remain vigilant and continue our contingency planning efforts.


How will public health requirements be enforced?

All members of the campus community will be asked to comply with a social contract that will emphasize expectations of all individuals in our community during an unprecedented public health crisis.


Will I be required to wear a face covering?

Face coverings will be required to be worn by all individuals—students, faculty, and staff—without prohibitive health conditions.

Will it be safe for students to live on campus this fall?

The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is the University’s top priority. Westfield State closely monitors the COVID-19 situation, and consults with state and local Departments of Health and will follow the guidelines from Gov. Charlie Baker and the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand-washing and other measures will be part of the standard practices on campus to help protect community members and our visitors.


Where will I have to wear a face covering?

Face coverings will be required to be worn by all individuals without prohibitive health conditions, and 6 feet of social distancing (when possible) will be enforced. Hygiene and social distancing protocols will be prominently displayed on signage throughout the campus. All members of the campus community will be required to wear and display their University-issued ID badges when on campus property and to access campus buildings.


What will campus life be like?

Campus environments will be modified—including academic buildings, dining spaces, and residence halls—to support social distancing and uphold health protocols. Directional signs, occupancy limitations signs for elevators and restrooms, and hygiene and social distancing reminders will be prominently posted. An increased number of sanitation stations will be installed in all campus buildings.

Likewise, campus activities will be modified for health and safety. Interactions with staff may be limited to either in-person appointments or online formats.


How will the dining facilities operate?

Westfield State Dining Services will undergo a significant transformation. Although food selections will continue to be delicious and plentiful, a takeout format will mostly replace a dine-in experience in the Dining Commons. Because of occupancy restrictions and social distancing mandates, Dining Commons hours will be more limited. Retail location hours and offerings will be modified to help support students’ dining needs given the modifications in the Dining Commons.


How will the residential move-in process work?

The move-in process for residence halls will mirror the move-out process in March, with students signing up for specific time slots offered over several days. Instructions will be provided by the Offices of Housing Operations and Residential Engagement later this summer.


Is financial support available for students in need?

We have created a Student Emergency Fund to support the essential needs of our students who do not have parents or champions to assist them. To make a gift, please visit www.westfield.ma.edu/owlshelpingowls

Will the campus be safe to resume classes this fall?

The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is the University’s top priority. Westfield State closely monitors the COVID-19 situation, and consults with state and local Departments of Health and will follow the guidelines from Gov. Charlie Baker and the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Face masks, social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and other measures will be part of the standard practices on campus to help protect community members and our visitors.


Will the fall academic calendar change?

At this time, no changes are anticipated to the fall academic calendar. Classes are scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.


How will classes be conducted?

We anticipate a portion of courses to be delivered in a hybrid fashion, involving both on-ground and online components, while others will be delivered exclusively online. Labs, practicums, and other highly customized courses and academic experiences will be conducted on-ground, with proper social distancing and other health and safety precautions.


Will IT services be available?

For contact information for all Academic Information Services, please click here. For the Technology Support Desk, call 413-572-4357 or email supportdesk@westfield.ma.edu.


Where will I have to wear a face covering?

Face coverings will be required to be worn by all individuals without prohibitive health conditions, and 6 feet of social distancing (when possible) will be enforced. Hygiene and social distancing protocols will be prominently displayed on signage throughout the campus. All members of the campus community will be required to wear and display their University-issued ID badges when on campus property and to access campus buildings.

What happens if I get sick?

Students should contact Health Services for instructions about handling an illness.


What will happen if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

The University is working on isolation and quarantine plans to accommodate any resident student who tests positive for COVID-19 during the fall semester. Such planning will follow Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidelines and CDC recommendations for the safety of all campus community members and any individuals with which the infected individuals has come in contact.


If I have concerns about mental health and wellness, what should I do?

Services for students are available through the Counseling Center, and for employees through the Employee Assistance Program at 800-451-1834. The Ferst Interfaith Center can also provide support for community members.

What is the plan for Athletics?

An announcement from the MASCAC conference and NCAA regarding the fall Athletics season is expected in July. The Athletics Department will continue to be in touch directly with existing and incoming student athletes regarding any updates. 

What are the plans for new incoming students?

For updates and details to orient new students to Westfield State, please visit either First Year Students (Class of 2024) or Transfer Students.

Are campus tours available?

While our campus buildings are currently closed, please check out our campus with a Virtual Tour. If you are interested in upcoming events, such as virtual information sessions, click here. For more information about undergraduate admissions, email admissions@westfield.ma.edu or call 413-572-5218. For graduate, part-time and evening admissions, email wsucgce@westfield.ma.edu or call 413-572-8020.

What if I am exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms?

Our top priority is the health and well-being of the Westfield State community. Employees who have been instructed to return to the workplace must conduct symptom monitoring, including taking their temperature each day before reporting to work. For a list of symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

If you have any symptoms, contact your primary care physician for guidance. Please also email hr@westfield.ma.edu or call either Tina Bonés at 413-572-5274 or Alexa Fiorita at 413-572-8730, in the Office of Human Resources, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (OHRIDE). Consistent with existing university policy, employees are also required to notify their supervisor of all expected and unexpected absences from the workplace (including COVID-19).


What Personal Protection Equipment will I be required to use as I perform my job?

All employees will be responsible for providing their own cloth mask/face covering. PPE that exceeds beyond having a mask requirement, will be provided to select employees based on the nature of their job function and inherent risk. Job-specific PPE requirements will be communicated to employees by their direct supervisors.

Should I be concerned that the Lansdowne Place housing change means I will no longer be guaranteed housing for the coming academic year?

All students in Lansdowne Place are still guaranteed housing for the coming academic year and will be assigned to housing on the main campus.


What if I do not know what I want to do before bills are issued next week?

That’s okay. If a student informs us of their plans by Monday, June 29, 2020 we will make sure their Fall 2020 bill is updated. If they do not their Fall 2020 bill will reflect a housing charge for Lansdowne Place which can still be updated once the student responds with their plans.


Will I be assigned to apartment/suite style housing on the main campus or is there a chance I will be assigned to a traditional hall with first-year and sophomore students?

There are 86 students assigned to Lansdowne Place currently and over 100 openings in apartment/suite style housing on the main campus. Every effort will be made to place students coming from Lansdowne Place into apartment/suite style housing if that is their preference. If a student requests a single room in a traditional style hall that may also be granted.


If I am assigned to a traditional style hall or University Hall, will I still be required to carry a meal plan since I would not have been required to carry a meal plan in Lansdowne Place?

If a student being reassigned from Lansdowne is assigned to a traditional style hall or University Hall, they will not be required to carry a meal plan unless they choose to do so.


Why was a different building, such as a traditional style hall, not selected instead of Lansdowne Place?

Based on recommendations from agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is necessary for students being placed into isolation/quarantine to have access to a personal bathroom, not shared with others. Lansdowne Place is the only residence hall that has bathrooms attached to each bedroom. Using Lansdowne Place for isolation/quarantine provides four times as many beds for this purpose versus each of the traditional halls.


Can I remain assigned to Lansdowne Place if I sign a waiver?

Unfortunately based on the recommendations the University continues to rely on from agencies such as the CDC, it is important to have a separate area set aside for students who have to be isolated/quarantined. Placing healthy students with those who are showing symptoms associated with Covid-19 is not something the University would be able to do.


If I submit a Petition for Release requesting to move off campus next year, will it be approved?

Yes. All Petitions for Release received from students currently assigned to Lansdowne Place will be approved.


Will I be responsible for the $750 Cancellation Fee?

No you will not. The Cancellation Fee is being waived for any student currently assigned to Lansdowne Place who submits a Petition for Release.


If I request to remain in housing initially but find housing off campus at a later date that I prefer, will the Cancellation Fee still be waived for me?

Yes. Any student currently assigned to Lansdowne Place who submits a Petition for Release prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester will be released and will have the Cancellation Fee waived.


How long will I be waiting for a new housing assignment if I choose to remain in housing?

We expect to have assignments for students requesting to remain in housing completed in the next 2-3 weeks. We will be waiting initially for responses from students so we can do our best to meet all student requests we receive.


My friend and I are in an apartment in Lansdowne Place, each in our own single room. Will we both be able to be assigned to single rooms in the same apartment on campus?

We will do our best to assign students to their requested housing with their requested roommate(s). Although it is our goal, we cannot guarantee that all students will be able to be assigned to their first preferences.


I have an approved housing accommodation. Will my accommodation be honored if I decide to remain in housing?

Yes, all approved accommodations will continue to be honored when assigning you to housing on the main campus.