Spring

Safe Opening

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:

Dear Campus Community:

We look forward to welcoming you back for the Spring 2021 semester. As you know, residential move-in begins this Saturday, Jan. 23, with classes beginning on Jan. 25 (all classes delivered remotely Jan. 25-29). Classes will then resume in their originally intended modality on Monday, February 1. 

I write today to provide some timely reminders regarding the beginning of the semester, most importantly COVID-19 testing and other health and safety measures. 

COVID-19 Weekly Testing Plan and Schedule        

Spring 2021 on-board surveillance/asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will begin on January 23, 2021 for students, faculty, and staff. To review the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing Plan and schedule, click here. All residential students and those commuters who have an on-ground presence on campus are required to participate in the University’s weekly testing program. 

Recently, the schedule has been modified slightly and impacts some commuter students’ designated testing times. Students, faculty, and staff should review the schedule each week just in case there are any changes for a variety of reasons, including inclement weather. Note that this semester’s testing will take place in the Multipurpose Room in University Hall on main campus (not The Woodward Center). Please remember to bring and present your University-issued I.D.   

Saturday, Jan. 23, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:  

  • Residential students with Jan. 23 move-in appointments 
  • Commuter students with an on-ground presence in the Spring (last names beginning with A through C)

Sunday, Jan. 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

  • Residential students with Jan. 24 move-in appointments 
  • Commuter students with an on-ground presence in the Spring (last names beginning with D through R)

Monday, Jan. 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

  • Commuter students with an on-ground presence in the Spring (last names beginning with S through Z) 
  • Faculty and staff 

Flu Vaccine Requirement Update 

Announced on Jan. 14, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has lifted its requirement that all students attending public state universities in Massachusetts need to provide proof of a flu vaccination. However, DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine annually.

Additional Requirements for Residential and Commuter Students 

As a reminder, residential students are required to provide proof of a negative molecular PCR test that is performed between January 14-22, prior to gaining access to the residence halls and academic buildings on campus for the Spring 2021 semester. Proof of a negative molecular PCR result can be submitted online through a “Spring 2021 Negative COVID Test Confirmation” form available in students’ MyHousing account. The University will not accept a rapid, same-day antigen test. Students should bring a hard copy of the COVID-19 test negative results to check-in. Free, drive-up COVID-19 testing is available at Holyoke Community College Mon., Wed., Fri., and Sat. from 7 to 11 a.m. and Tues. and Thurs. from 2 to 7 p.m. Alternative testing locations are available throughout the Commonwealth. Click here to reference the list of sites

Students should review the Spring 2021 FAQs for other requirements and action reminders. All students, faculty, and staff are advised to review regularly the FAQs, since they are updated regularly. 

#ProtectTheNest  

Everyone’s ongoing cooperation and support is necessary and appreciated. For more information and a refresher of the #ProtectTheNest Pledge expected of all Westfield State community members or for continually updated FAQs, visit our Safe Opening webpage.   

  

Warmly,

Roy               

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.

Interim President

Revised Jan. 14, 2021

Dear Students:

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays and winter break in a safe and healthy way. We are eager to begin the Spring 2021 semester and to welcome back to campus our residential students and commuters taking in-person classes later this month. This message expands upon contents of my Dec. 11, 2020 message to you and provides helpful links to specific information relating to the Spring 2021 semester. 

Spring 2021 FAQs 

Helpful information on the upcoming semester can be found through comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions, now posted on the Safe Opening webpage. All students are encouraged to review these questions and answers to be informed prior to the semester start. Continued and additional health and safety measures, requirements, and expectations are in place to mitigate the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19 on campus. 

We continue to finalize our operational planning and logistics for residential move-in beginning January 23, classes resuming Jan. 25 (all classes delivered remotely Jan. 25-29) , and all classes resuming to their originally intended modality on February 1. Here is a link to the academic calendar, which provides these and other notable dates for the Spring 2021 semester.  

COVID-19 Testing Reminders 

Spring 2021 onboard surveillance/asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will begin on January 23, 2021 for applicable students, faculty, and staff. To review the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing Plan and schedule, click here. To complement our surveillance/asymptomatic testing, symptomatic testing will be available through appointments made at University Health Services.

In addition to participating in weekly testing during the spring semester, residential students are required to provide proof of a negative molecular PCR result of a COVID-19 test administered between January 14 and 22, prior to their return to campus for the spring. Click here for a list of testing locations across Massachusetts.  For students concerned about delays in result reporting, sites offering free testing seem to provide the swiftest turnaround times. 

Beginning Friday, January 15, proof of a negative molecular PCR result can be submitted online through a “Spring 2021 Negative COVID Test Confirmation” form available in students’ MyHousing account. Students should also bring a hard copy when they report for onboarding asymptomatic/surveillance testing, Jan. 23-25. In addition, commuter students will be required to submit their local off-campus address, if it is different than their permanent home address. This is necessary for any contact tracing activity that may be required during the semester. Look for more information via email from Housing Operations next week on these online submission options.

Flu Vaccine Reminder 

Residential students and commuters with on-campus courses are reminded that they are required to provide proof of a flu vaccine—email documentation to healthservices@westfield.ma.edu.

#ProtectTheNest 

We need to continue to look out for each other as we navigate the spring semester. Your ongoing cooperation and support of your peers and the campus community as a whole is appreciated. For more information and a refresher of the #ProtectTheNest Pledge expected of all Westfield State community members, visit our Safe Opening webpage.  

 

Warmly,

Roy               

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

Dear Students:

As we wrap up the fall semester, I write to share important notes as you plan for the Spring 2021 semester. We continue to look at data and modify our approach for the spring semester. Some improvements include further de-densification of the residence halls, weekly asymptomatic/surveillance COVID-19 testing, and more comprehensive promotion of our public health protocols.

Spring 2021 Academic Calendar: Classes Begin Jan. 25 

As we continue to receive guidance from the Massachusetts Departments of Public Health and Higher Education, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, forecasts indicate a second wave of COVID-19 cases to come following the week of Dec. 25, 2020 to January 1, 2021, comparable to what Massachusetts and the country is experiencing now after the Thanksgiving holiday. The Academic Policies Committee and the All University Committee last week approved a modified academic calendar for the Spring 2021 semester, with classes beginning Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. 

In addition to a one-week delay in the start of classes, Spring Break (March 8-12, 2021) will be cancelled. However, there will be a Mental Health Day on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. We realize this is disappointing to many and we apologize for the need to eliminate a much anticipated break for students, faculty, and staff each spring. However, this decision was made in the best interest for the safety of the campus community. 

In addition to this shift, the first week of classes (Jan. 25–29, 2021) will be held remotely only, as the University receives its first round of results from surveillance/asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, isolates any positive students, and conducts contact tracing that week. All courses will resume, delivered through their determined modality, on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. 

Residential students will move into the halls on designated days and times on the weekend of Jan. 23 & 24, 2021.

Housing & Dining for Spring 2021 

Due to further de-densification of residential living on campus, all available bedrooms will be singles. This means that only one student will be permitted to live in rooms in the traditional halls (Lammers, Davis, and Dickinson), while only two or three students will be permitted in the multi-bedroom suite and apartment style units in New and University Halls. This week, Housing selection took place for eligible students—those with at least one on-ground or hybrid course and those experiencing housing insecurity. We have developed a Housing Waiting List, giving priority to students with internships, student teaching, or other academic requirements in the Westfield area, in addition to in-season athletes. Although this does not allow us to accommodate all who prefer to live on campus, we ask for your understanding and flexibility as we work through another atypical semester at Westfield State.

In addition to de-densification of residential halls, all students who will live on campus will be required to have a meal plan. To further support our efforts to keep students on campus and limit activity to and from campus, Dining Services is going to be offering three different theme restaurants for delivery to your room or pick up in TJ Bistro via the Get App. Be on the lookout for more information on partnerships with local community businesses to deliver to campus in partnership with Dining. 

Spring 2021 Bills due Dec. 18 

To keep consistent with the University’s billing cycle, Spring 2021 bills were mailed prior to the Thanksgiving Recess. You will note that the deadline for the spring bills is next Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Although the deadline to opt out of Housing has been adjusted to Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, the Spring 2021 billing deadline remains as Dec. 18. To provide further flexibility for you and your families who are considering housing for the spring semester, Student Accounts recommends taking advantage of the installment payment plan. For more information on the installment plan, click here. Should you have any questions regarding your bill, email studentaccounts@westfield.ma.edu.

You’ll note your bill contains a student activity fee, a technology fee, and a general fee, which I’ll explain.  

The student activity fee is used by Student Government Association and Office to support SGA activities and those of student clubs throughout the academic year. While in person programming has been limited this semester, funding has been spent on virtual programming, which will continue in the spring semester.  Of course we will also plan in-person programming as we are able and in accordance with the Massachusetts gathering guidelines.  We encourage all students, both on and off campus, to watch their emails for upcoming programs.  An occasional BINGO night, or video game tournament is a great way to stay connected with the community while we are spread across the state and country. 

The technology fee supports the campus’s technology infrastructure, additional Zoom licenses, broadband internet access, network costs to run the University’s systems, etc. Those expenses increased to facilitate a primarily remote learning environment. Most of the technology fee provides support outside of the residential environment, which is why all students are charged the fee, commuter or residential.

The general fee covers campus operations for staff, faculty, utilities, etc. While the campus has reduced its residential operations, it remains open and operational. The general fee enables the University to maintain faculty and staff expenses to provide instructional services and support to students, whether in-person or remotely.

COVID-19 Testing Requirements 

Next semester, we will provide more frequent testing of individuals who will have an on-ground campus presence. Westfield State will test residential students, commuters, and faculty and staff weekly. In addition, we will follow similar isolation and quarantine protocols, using Lansdowne Place as our primary facility to isolate positive COVID-19 cases and quarantine symptomatic close contacts. The apartment complex will be used if overflow isolation/quarantine space becomes necessary.

In addition to weekly testing, residential students will be required to provide proof of a negative molecular PCR result of a COVID-19 test administered between January 17 and 23, 2021, prior to gaining access to residence halls and academic buildings on campus for the Spring 2021 semester. 

In addition to weekly testing next semester, symptomatic testing will once again be available through University Health Services. A specific schedule for the surveillance/asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, as well as a series of Spring 2021 FAQs, will be posted to the Safe Opening webpage in the weeks ahead.

Continued Curtailment Planning 

As the condition of the Coronavirus pandemic remains fluid, we will be prepared to shift to additional remote-only periods, if needed. We are currently finalizing various thresholds for isolated curtailments or overall campus curtailment. 

Know that all students, as well as all faculty and staff, play a part in keeping our community safe. In addition to our Housing and Dining plan for spring, we are encouraging students to remain on campus as much as possible. We will have a virtual job fair for students who would like an on-campus job and, as mentioned, we are currently in conversations with local community businesses to deliver to campus in partnership with Dining Services. 

The ultimate goal is to keep students on campus as much as possible to better support our public health responsibility to mitigate the spread of the virus. While accomplishing this, we are equally committed to preserving a meaningful and engaging experience for all of our Owls.

Additional measures will be put in place to more broadly and frequently communicate necessary public health efforts. These measures will be felt by those that reside on and off campus. We realize that area commuters and our on campus residential students are not exclusive from each other. We continue to be intentional and deliberate in holding students and the members of our campus community accountable for how their actions impact the Westfield State University community as a whole. 

Let us all #ProtectTheNest  

I cannot emphasize enough how appreciative I am for your cooperation and understanding. Together, we will get through another atypical semester, with the goal of a more successful and “normal” 2021.

We look forward to working with you to ensure our success in that endeavor.

Warmly, 

 

Roy        

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President