Reminder: August 1 is the deadline for students to submit their proof of COVID-19 vaccination for the Fall 2021 semester. For information on the vaccine mandate and helpful FAQs for the semester, click here.

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Fall 2021 FAQs

These Frequently Asked Questions and Answers are continually updated to address new and changing issues and concerns. Please check back often for the latest information. 

Last updated: July 14, 2021, 1:25 p.m.

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.

To learn more about how to register for an appointment in Massachusetts, visit https://vaxfinder.mass.gov or https://vaccinesignup.mass.gov.


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:

Will the University still test for COVID-19 in the fall with the new COVID-19 vaccine requirement?

The University anticipates a surveillance testing plan will be necessary for the fall semester, for unvaccinated individuals with an approved, documented exemption. The testing plan will be based on guidance from Massachusetts state and local health departments. As that guidance is released, the University will communicate the details of its fall semester testing plan.


Who will be required to participate in COVID-19 surveillance testing in the fall?

Unvaccinated individuals (with an approved, documented exemption) will be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing during the fall semester.


Do I need to self-isolate if I test positive for COVID-19?

Westfield State University will continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, regarding isolation and quarantine. The University will update the campus community as new guidance becomes available.


If individuals are vaccinated and test positive for the virus but they do not have symptoms, do they have to isolate?

Yes. In accordance with the CDC and state guidance, all individuals who test positive for the virus, even without symptoms, are treated as active cases, and will need to be isolated immediately and regular contact tracing protocol will occur.


Do I need to self-isolate if I am vaccinated and have been identified as a “close contact?”

No.

Will I be able to register for fall 2021 classes without having yet been vaccinated?

Yes, you will be able to register for classes prior to vaccination, but you will have to show proof of vaccination (unless you submit paperwork for a medical or religious exemption) before coming to campus to attend classes or live in a residence hall. You must be fully vaccinated by mid-August so that you can attend the first day of classes (2-3 weeks after last dose). Please send proof of vaccination to University Health Services. For more information, visit the University Health Services website.


Will in-person classes have an online component for those not vaccinated?

While some classes have online options, most classes will return to their normal, in-person modality. Faculty will not offer a separate section for unvaccinated students.


Will classes be taught in-person?

Yes, per Westfield State policy, no more than 25% of our classes are taught online. We do offer some online courses and online programs that meet the needs of our students. Please visit your specific program website or the course schedule for more details. 


Will academic advising be in person?

Yes, we offer in-person academic advising through your academic major advisor and through the Academic Advising Center.  Please email your academic advisor directly (their name can be found on your degree evaluation in Degree Audit) or contact your department chair for more information. 


Will student support services be available?

Yes, we offer a variety of academic student support services through our Center for Student Success and Engagement located in Scanlon Hall and within Student Affairs. Please visit their websites in August for more information about hours and location. See the Student Success tab on the Academics webpage.


What is the academic calendar for 2021-22?

The academic calendar includes official dates, including when classes are in session, final exams, and Commencement. You can find the academic calendar on our homepage.  


What precautions are being taken to make classrooms safe?

Westfield State University follows all CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health safety, cleaning, distancing and other guidelines and protocols, so you can be assured that we are doing what we can to keep the campus community safe.


Are study abroad options available for fall 2021? Spring 2022?

Study abroad will not be offered in fall 2021. Study abroad and J-term courses will return in winter 2022.  Please contact Bob O’Neill in the International Programs Office for more information. 


Will Ely Library be open this fall?

Yes, Ely Library will be open this fall. Please visit the Ely Library website for hours and information.


I have more questions about academic resources. Where could I find additional information?

Visit the “Student Support Resources” How Do I? webpage.


Will there be changes to the modality of the class during the semester?

We do not anticipate the need to make changes but be assured that we will only make changes if required due to the nature of pandemic and under the guidance of national and state officials.


If you have additional questions, please contact your advisor, department chair, or dean.

Do I have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in Westfield State athletics?

Yes. All Westfield State University students are required to be COVID-19 vaccinated for the fall 2021 semester. University Health Services must have a copy of your vaccination card by August 1, 2021. Mail it to Westfield State University Health Services, PO Box 1630, Westfield, MA 01086. Or upload it to: MyWestfield>Quick Links>MyHousing>Applications>Proof of COVID vaccination.

Athletic Training requires your vaccination card to be uploaded to the Athletic Trainer System (ATS) software with your updated physical/Health Form. Go to www.WestfieldStateOwls.com, choose Student-Athletes, go to Athletic Training, then the tab for Student-Athlete Medical Forms, and follow all instructions for required medical information.

Visit Frequently Asked Questions for Student Athletes: Fall 2021 for additional athletics, fitness, and recreation-related information.

Will I be able to move into my residence hall without having been vaccinated?

No. Students wishing to live on campus must provide the University proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. By August 1, 2021, students need to upload proof of COVID vaccination through: MyWestfield>Quick Links>MyHousing>Applications>Proof of COVID vaccination.


When can I move into my residence hall?

On-campus move in for fully vaccinated students is August 26 and 29, 2021. Students will be able to select a move-in time once University Health Services has received their confirmation of vaccination.

  • August 26: first-year and new transfer students move in
  • August 29: returning students move in

Will residence hall visitors be required to be vaccinated?

Visitors to campus are not required to be vaccinated as we anticipate to reach herd immunity on campus by having all students vaccinated. Guests will need to follow all health and safety guidelines and protocols and check in at the front desk prior to entering the residence hall.


Will on-campus dining facilities be open this fall?

Tim & Jeanne’s Dining Commons and retail cafes will be normal dine-in, with a grab-and-go option in the Dining Commons. Westfield State Dining Services will continue to follow CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health protocols and guidelines for dining safety.

Tim & Jeanne’s Dining Commons will have seating available for students. Ely Harvest will have booths and tables, and Wilson Café will have table seating as well. TJ Bistro will continue to serve grab-and-go favorites (walk-in orders only); Ely Harvest will offer smoothies, salads, and paninis; and Marketplace will be open for all your needs (groceries, toiletries, coffee, frappes, snacks, etc.).

Meal plans will start August 26, 2021, for lunch.


Will I still be able to order my food from Dining Services via the GET app for takeout?

Yes. Dining Services will continue its partnership with GET Mobile for a convenient way to order food from Ely Harvest, Wilson Café, and Marketplace. Click the link to download the GET app if you don’t already have it on your device: http://qrco.de/bbdVs .


What happens if I need to quarantine or isolate? Can I still eat in the DC?

No. You cannot eat in the DC if you are in your required quarantine or isolation period. If you are asked to relocate to an isolation or quarantine space and remain on campus (at this point, Welch Hall is the designated location for isolation and quarantine), Dining Services will provide instructions to you to order your meals via the GET Mobile app. Three meals a day will be delivered to you at one time. The meals will arrive cold and packaged in microwavable containers to eat at your convenience. Students who are in quarantine or specialty housing and do not place an order will be sent three basic meals to carry you over until the next order period.

Visit Westfield State Dining Services online for additional frequently asked questions related to fall 2021.


Will the Campus Bookstore be open this fall?

Westfield State’s Campus Bookstore will resume normal in-store operations.


Will University Health Services and the Counseling Center be open to in-person appointments and walk-ins?

Yes. Please be aware, however, that 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.


Will visitors to campus be required to be vaccinated?

All visitors are welcome to campus and will be required to comply with all COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Visitors to campus are not required to be vaccinated as we anticipate to reach herd immunity on campus by having all students vaccinated.