Are Westfield State University students required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus for fall 2021?
Yes. 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, 2021.
Why do I have to get vaccinated?
In order to provide the safest learning environment and return to a pre-pandemic campus way of life, Westfield State has mandated COVID-19 vaccination for all students who will have any on campus presence during the 2021-2022 school year.
By when do I need to be fully vaccinated?
Proof of completed COVID vaccination (or approved, documented medical or religious exemption) must be submitted by August 1, 2021.
Where do I submit proof of being fully vaccinated?
Students need to upload proof of COVID vaccination through: MyWestfield>Quick Links>MyHousing>Applications>Proof of COVID vaccination.
Are faculty and staff required to be vaccinated before returning to campus for fall 2021?
The presidents of all nine Massachusetts State Universities expect that all faculty and staff will also be fully vaccinated prior to the fall semester.
Are there exemptions to the COVID-19 immunization requirement?
Students attending may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement, subject to religious and/or medical accommodations pursuant to Massachusetts state law.
There is no vaccination exemption form. As provided on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts School Immunizations webpage, medical exemptions come from the student’s doctor and document a contraindication—the reason why an individual cannot medically receive the vaccine. Religious exemptions come from the parent/guardian (or directly from the student, if 18 or older), and state in writing how the COVID-19 vaccine is against their sincere religious belief.
Once Westfield State receives notice of an approved, documented exemption (either medical or religious), the student is then sent a form that they need to read/sign/return that explains to them how they will need to wear a mask, participate in asymptomatic testing, etc.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine requirement include off-campus students as well as on-campus residents?
The vaccine requirement is for students who have an on-ground presence: residential students, in-person classes, and those participating in any on-campus programming. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged and recommended to get vaccinated prior to the beginning of the fall semester.
I’m concerned about the vaccines’ safety and don’t know if I should get vaccinated.
Our focus is on offering students a full residential, in-person college experience this fall—safely. Evidence to date concerning the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, which have undergone the most intense safety monitoring in United States history, supports the University’s position. Throughout the pandemic, we have been in frequent cooperation and partnership with Massachusetts state and Westfield city public health officials, and we have followed guidance and protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That will continue.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all of the FDA-authorized vaccines are safe and effective.
Could I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No, you cannot become infected with COVID-19 from any of the vaccines.
Where can I get vaccinated?
Many pharmacies are accepting walk-ins. You can find pharmacies and book appointments in Massachusetts by going to this website: https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/
What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccination?
The most common side effects include soreness at the injection site and some people may have symptoms such as chills, headache or a low-grade fever. These symptoms are a normal response by the immune system as it builds immunity to the virus and should go away in a few days.
How much do the COVID-19 vaccines cost?
Nothing. All of the COVID-19 vaccines are FREE.
What happens if students cannot easily get access to vaccines where they live, either in the U.S. or abroad? Can they get vaccinated when they get to Westfield State?
Given current projections related to COVID-19 vaccine supply, it is our expectation that students in the United States should be able to get fully vaccinated prior to their arrival at Westfield State. International students should receive all doses of a World Health Organization (WHO)-recognized COVID-19 vaccine prior to their arrival in Westfield.
What if I do not have my second vaccine before move in?
The vaccine is now widely available for everyone ages 12 and older. We encourage everyone to make their appointment as soon as possible to ensure full vaccination prior to the start of the fall semester. To learn more about how to register for an appointment, visit https://vaxfinder.mass.gov or https://vaccinesignup.mass.gov. If students don’t have their second shot, they cannot move in and will receive their move-in slot after the University receives confirmation of their vaccination card.
I can’t get an appointment for a vaccine. What should I do?
The vaccine is now widely available for everyone ages 12 and older. The state has two websites to help residents make an appointment. To learn more about how to register for an appointment, visit https://vaxfinder.mass.gov or https://vaccinesignup.mass.gov.
Will unvaccinated students be permitted on campus?
To the extent possible, Westfield State will work with unvaccinated students to meet their needs and enable them to continue their education in pursuit of their degree. The University requires all students attending in-person classes, living in on-campus housing, participating in on-campus activities, or accessing on-campus facilities to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus, unless they have an approved, documented exemption.
Do students still need to be vaccinated if they have had COVID-19? \
Yes. Students need to be fully vaccinated, even if they have previously had COVID-19.
What is the definition of “fully vaccinated?”
According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or;
- Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
How will the University enforce the vaccine requirement?
Students will be asked to provide copies of their official COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to attend in-person classes, participate in athletics and other campus activities, and move into residence halls. By August 1, 2021, students need to upload proof of COVID vaccination through: MyWestfield>Quick Links>MyHousing>Applications>Proof of COVID vaccination.
Will there be a mask requirement for the campus community, regardless of vaccination?
All individuals are required to wear a mask in University Health Services and the Counseling Center. While the University and state mask mandates have lifted, we ask all individuals visiting University Health Services and the Counseling Center offices to wear a mask, since they will be in close proximity of others, per Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulation. Westfield State health and counseling staff will wear masks for all one-on-one patient encounters. Masks will be available and provided, if an individual forgets.
Students who are unvaccinated due to being granted an approved, documented exemption must wear a mask when on campus and maintain social distance.
Where could I find more information about COVID-19 vaccination?
Below are resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: