Student walking in front of New Hall in the fall

Fall 2021

This webpage serves as the repository for accurate and updated information about Westfield State’s Safe Opening plans.

For more information about the Coronavirus outbreak and how to protect yourself and others, please reference:


All students with an on-campus presence are required to be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination to Health Services by August 1, 2021. If you require a medical or religious exemption, please contact Health Services for approval.

To upload a copy of  your completed COVID vaccine:   

  1. Log into myWestfield, click on the Quick Links drop down and select MyHousing.
  2. Click on the Applications tab and select Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination.
  3. Review the instructions, electronically sign the bottom of the page and click Continue.
  4. Respond to the questions on the next page, then attach the image/scan of your COVID-19 Vaccination card at the bottom of the page and click Continue.

A confirmation screen will appear and you will receive a confirmation email at your University email account.

Multiple sites across Massachusetts and in other states are administering the vaccine on a walk-in basis. You can find pharmacies and book appointments in Massachusetts by visiting: https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/

Dear Campus Community:

The energy of Owl Nation is palpable as we finalize the Fall 2021 welcome events for our Class of 2025, returning students, faculty, and staff. Details on these engaging plans will be shared in the weeks ahead.

The upcoming Fall 2021 semester will be particularly special to me, as it will help broaden my understanding of the spirit and culture that defines Westfield State University. As your new president, I welcome the opportunity to meet so many more of you throughout the campus community.    

We appreciate students’ cooperation in providing their proof of vaccination in the wake of our spring announcement regarding Westfield State’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Students who have not yet submitted an image of their vaccination cards are reminded to do so by this Sunday, August 1. For directions and FAQs regarding the mandate and other aspects of the Fall 2021 semester, click here.   

Likewise, all faculty and staff are reminded of the expectation, first communicated in April, that all on-campus Westfield State faculty and staff will be fully vaccinated by the start of the Fall 2021 semester.  

I extend much gratitude to all of you for your sustained efforts and cooperation since the onset of COVID-19 in spring 2020. And, as the new leader of the University, know that I recognize and value your ongoing effort to ensure the continued health and safety of our full campus community.

Thank you.

Dr. Linda Thompson

Linda Thompson, DrPH, MPH, RN, FAAN
President

Dear Owls: 

Fall 2021 planning is in full gear and we are excited to welcome you back to the nest. Our thanks to the students who have provided us with proof of your COVID-19 vaccination. If you have not already done so, a friendly reminder, time is of the essence to get vaccinated in order to comply with the mandate. All students with an on-campus presence are required to be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination to Health Services by August 1, 2021. If you require a medical or religious exemption, please contact Health Services for approval.

To upload a copy of  your completed COVID vaccine:   

  1. Log into myWestfield, click on the Quick Links drop down and select MyHousing.
  2. Click on the Applications tab and select Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination.
  3. Review the instructions, electronically sign the bottom of the page and click Continue.
  4. Respond to the questions on the next page, then attach the image/scan of your COVID-19 Vaccination card at the bottom of the page and click Continue.

A confirmation screen will appear and you will receive a confirmation email at your University email account

Multiple sites across Massachusetts and in other states are administering the vaccine on a walk-in basis. You can find pharmacies and book appointments in Massachusetts by visiting: https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/.  In addition, Westfield State University will be hosting another COVID vaccine clinic on:

Tuesday, July 20, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in University Hall. Please register for the vaccine clinic at: https://curative.com/sites/29914

Residential students will not be able to schedule a move-in date and time until proof of vaccination is provided (or the student has an approved, documented medical or religious exemption). Commuter students who have an in-person presence will not be permitted on campus beginning this fall without proof of vaccine. 

Westfield State is participating in the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge, joining more than 600 other universities and colleges across the nation in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of the vaccine and increase the number of vaccinations administered. Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Lottery have also announced the VaxMillions Giveaway, which will offer five $1 million prizes for those 18 and older, and five $300,000 scholarship grants to a 529 College Savings Plan managed by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority for those 12 to 17 years old. Massachusetts residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, who received their vaccination in Massachusetts, can register through Aug. 19. Weekly drawings will begin the week of July 26 and will continue through Aug. 27. So please get vaccinated and register for a chance to win.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Best wishes for a safe summer! Go Owls!

Health Services 
healthservices@westfield.ma.edu

Dear Campus Community: 

As we begin to welcome our newest Owls to the nest as part of New Student Orientation sessions, excitement continues to grow for Fall 2021, when we look forward to transitioning back to normal operations and experiences at Westfield State. 

COVID-19 Vaccination 

Much of our focus in planning right now is communicating the University’s vaccine mandate. As a reminder, all students who have an on-ground presence on campus are required to provide the University with proof of having received all required doses of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine (and World Health Organization-recognized vaccines for international students) by August 1. 

Faculty and staff are also reminded of the expectation that I communicated in April that all faculty and staff with an on-ground presence will be fully vaccinated by the start of the Fall 2021 semester.  

To further solidify our commitment to ensuring the continued health and safety of our campus community, Westfield State is participating in the nationwide COVID-19 College Vaccination Challenge. As a participant, we commit to engage all University community members; identify champions to promote our vaccine efforts; and provide access to vaccines for our campus community. Many of these commitments are already underway at Westfield State and we are proud to continue them in the interest of our campus community’s health and safety.  

Operational Highlights for Fall 2021 

Vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear masks (although vaccinated individuals may opt to wear them), participate in weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 testing or to quarantine if they are identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual. 

  • Non-vaccinated individuals (due to documented medical or religious exemptions) will be required to wear masks indoors and when they cannot socially distance; to participate in weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 testing; and to isolate or quarantine if they test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a close contact of a positive individual.  
  • The University’s restricted access came to a close yesterday, June 15, with the end of the State of Emergency in Massachusetts.  
  • University-issued IDs will still need to be worn visibly by students, faculty, and staff while on campus grounds and accessing University buildings and facilities.    
  • Due to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, off-campus visitors and those from other residential halls will be allowed in residential halls. 
  • Dining Services will return to traditional service models to include self-service and dine-in seating at all locations. The GET app will still be utilized at locations on campus to schedule and order food. All campus and community members are welcome to share a table in the Dining Commons and other retail locations. 
  • University cleaning protocols and practices will continue to support our healthy and safe campus environment, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.     

In the coming days, University Health Services will provide more information and FAQs on the vaccine mandate, including instructions on how to submit proof of vaccination by August 1, 2021. 

I appreciate everyone’s continued cooperation as we look forward to getting back to normal University operations and experiences at Westfield State. 

Warmly, 

Roy 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President
Westfield State University
333 Western Avenue
Westfield, MA  01086
(413) 572-5201

Dear Campus Community:

Following Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s May 17 announcement about all remaining COVID-19 restrictions being lifted effective May 29, pandemic related mandates on campus will begin to follow suit.

Face Covering Guidance 

Specifically, as of May 29, individuals who are vaccinated do not have to wear face coverings on campus, while individuals who are not fully vaccinated or whose immune systems are comprised should plan on wearing face coverings on campus. For more information the face covering requirements in Massachusetts, click here

Return to Work Plan 

We realize that the Phased Return to Work Plan may need to be modified based on Governor Baker’s announcement on May 17. Look for further information and guidance to come next week from the Office of Human Resources, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity on any necessary modifications to Phases II and III to the Return to Work Plan that was announced to faculty and staff on Friday, May 14.

Restricted Access and ID Requirements 

Overall, the University’s restricted access will come to a close with the end of the State of Emergency on June 15, as announced by Governor Baker on May 17. Keep in mind that University IDs will still need to be worn visibly by students, faculty, and staff while on campus grounds and accessing University buildings and facilities. Certain buildings, including residential halls, may still be locked during business hours due to normal security and safety practices and only accessible by permitted individuals through use of their University-issued IDs. 

Reminder: Vaccine Mandates and Expectations 

As reminder, for the Fall 2021 semester, Westfield State requires that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they attend in-person classes or on-campus activities. University Health Services is directing students to receive their second shot of the vaccine by August 1, 2021. Students will be receiving more specific information on the University’s mandate in the weeks ahead, including instructions on how to submit their proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as well as the process to apply for a medical or religious exemption. 

As I communicated with you in late April, it is also the expectation that all faculty and staff be fully vaccinated prior to the Fall 2021 semester. Although vaccines are easily accessible and permitted on a walk-in basis at almost all vaccination sites across the state, look for future announcements about vaccine clinics to be held on campus, to provide additional access to members of our campus community.

Thanks, again, for all of your effort and cooperation with our requirements and mandates to ensure the health and safety of the Westfield State campus community. Your compliance is appreciated. 

Warmly,

Roy  

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

Thank you for your compliance and cooperation with weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 testing throughout this semester. As the semester and the testing program wind down, I write with some important COVID-19 operational updates for the remaining weeks and upcoming summer months.

Dates for Remaining Spring 2021 Asymptomatic Testing

Note that no weekly testing will take place this Wednesday, May 5. Please plan on participating on Tuesday (May 4) or Thursday (May 6).

All remaining dates for Spring 2021 asymptomatic testing in University Hall include:

  • Tuesday and Thursday, May 4 & 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday, May 11 & 13, 10 a.m. to noon.

As a reminder to students planning their campus departure for the semester, keep in mind that the COVID-19 Higher Education Control Plan  advises that “all students living in campus during any period in which school is not in session should first receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test administered by the college within 72 hours of their planned departure.”

Summer 2021 Testing

The location for asymptomatic testing in the summer will take place in New Hall (Room 141A) each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., beginning May 18. This testing will be mandatory for the limited amount of students permitted to remain in Residence Halls for the summer due to housing insecurity or other approved exemptions and open to interested faculty and staff who have an on-campus presence this summer.

Commuter students and students employed on campus through the work study program will not be mandated to participate in the testing program over the summer. However, keep in mind that every member of the campus community is encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine. And, as you know, the vaccine is required for students with an on-campus presence beginning in Fall 2021 and it is the expectation that all faculty and staff will be vaccinated by the start of the Fall 2021 semester. 

COVID-19 Dashboard
The results of last week’s asymptomatic/surveillance testing are posted on the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard, along with the total number of tests administered for the spring semester and the University’s testing percent positivity rate.

Thanks and Appreciation

Thank you for your continued cooperation and participation with our health and safety protocols on campus throughout the spring semester. I also extend my appreciation to the staff who have played crucial roles in University’s COVID-19 operations throughout the academic year. We really appreciate everyone’s collective efforts in keeping each other safe and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our greater community.

Warmly,

Roy

  

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

Westfield State University is joining a growing number of colleges and universities across the country and Commonwealth of Massachusetts to require students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they attend in-person classes or on-campus activities in the Fall 2021 semester.

The presidents of the nine Massachusetts State University system have unanimously decided that students who have an on-campus presence are mandated to become fully inoculated with an FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine prior to the start of the academic year in September. The presidents expect that all faculty and staff will also be fully vaccinated prior to the fall semester.

The mandate for on-campus students will assist Westfield State to ensure the health and safety of our full campus community, while mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our campus community. More specifics on this requirement, beyond today’s announcement, will soon be shared with Westfield State students and the campus community. The requirement is the most recent decision of our ongoing planning for the fall.

We continue to be encouraged by the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and the steady increase in numbers of those across Massachusetts and throughout New England getting vaccinated.

Warmly,

Roy  

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

Like many of you, I am encouraged by the steady increase in the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, the daily rise in the amount of vaccinated individuals, and the announcement that the vaccine will be available on April 19 for all Massachusetts residents age 16 or older.

All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine as members of the Westfield State University community. To learn more about how to pre-register for an appointment, visit https://vaxfinder.mass.gov or https://vaccinesignup.mass.gov.

As we anticipate a shift toward more normalcy in the coming months, the Cabinet and I are currently reviewing our strategy for the Fall 2021 in light of the vaccine availability. We appreciate the work done by the University’s Incident Management Team in both facilitating the University’s COVID-19 operations during the spring semester and in the team’s  guidance in developing operational strategies for the Summer and Fall 2021 semesters. Cabinet is currently reviewing the team’s recommendations as we await the Massachusetts Higher Education Control Plan from Governor Charlie Baker and the Department of Higher Education.

Until we receive the finer points of guidance to be included in the Control Plan (including the required asymptomatic testing protocols given an increasingly vaccinated population; and the determination if higher education will follow the K-12 social distance model of lowering the mandate from 6 to 3 feet), we are moving forward with plans for Fall 2021 with the following assumptions:

  1. Our residence halls will be occupied by more than 2,000 students;
  2. Many more courses (no less than 75 percent in each academic concentration) will be held on-ground or have an on-ground component; and
  3. The return to a more robust on-campus workforce will be gradual, beginning in May and carrying through to the end of August.

In Fall 2021, new and returning students can look forward to an environment more indicative of true campus culture. Westfield State realizes the importance of residential life, as many students choose to attend Westfield State due to the significant role that campus life plays in their overall experience here. As we have in years past, the University will lean on a Student Affairs-led working group to ensure a smooth opening/residential move-in in the fall for both our new and returning students, whether they are living here or commuting to campus.

With the onset of our spring sports season and COVID-19 conditions in the state and country improving overall, we are optimistic that improvements will continue. Our limited on-campus community has worked collaboratively to keep the risk at low to moderate for COVID-19 spread on campus through the Spring 2021 semester. We appreciate all efforts taken to ensure weekly asymptomatic testing of those individuals who have an on-campus presence.

I caution us to remain vigilant with our health and safety protocols as we anticipate the availability of vaccines opening up to all Massachusetts residents over age 16 beginning next week.

Please continue to be safe and stay healthy and thank you all for your cooperation and understanding of our continued and necessary protocols.

Sincerely,

Roy

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President