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:

The current COVID-19 risk level on campus remains at moderate alert (yellow). Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s COVID-19 asymptomatic/surveillance testing resulted in 16 positive cases (12 commuters and four resident students, all from Davis Hall) among the campus community.

Although this amount of positive results does not meet the threshold identified in the University’s curtailment plan, we believe that the cluster of cases in Davis Hall requires immediate attention and that these actions will mitigate further spread. 

Davis Hall Quarantine 

Davis Hall residents currently staying on campus are instructed to quarantine in their room beginning Friday, March 12, at 7 a.m. Davis Hall students will be required to be retested for COVID-19 Monday, March 15, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in University Hall. Once results from the March 15 testing are received, and there are no remaining concerns with spread in that building, the quarantine will be lifted. The earliest that the quarantine would be lifted would be Wednesday, March 17. Davis Hall residents will be contacted directly once that quarantine has been lifted. Davis Hall residents will then be tested again Thursday, March 18.

Any Davis Hall residents who do not comply with the quarantine should know that they are putting members of their household and others with whom they come into contact at risk.

Any Davis Hall resident who does not participate in March 15 testing will NOT be allowed to return to their campus room until after participating in the COVID-19 testing on Thursday, March 18, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., in University Hall.

More quarantine logistics and details, included Dining Services, will be included in a message from the Dean of Students to Davis Hall residents later this evening.

Continued Vigilance 

For all other students, as well as faculty and staff, please let this notice serve as a reminder to remain vigilant with your adherence to the safety protocols of mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social-distancing, both on and off campus and to continue to limit your activity to campus only.

To help facilitate any questions that students or families may have, a phone line—413-579-3050—will be staffed from 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, March 12).

Thank you for your continued cooperation.

Warmly, 

Roy 

              

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.

Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

As we approach the middle of the semester and eagerly anticipate this weekend’s addition of an hour of light to the close of each day, I write to provide a progress update on several fronts.

COVID-19 Testing Update

Thank you for your continued cooperation with the weekly COVID-19 testing procedures and your adherence to the safety protocols of mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social-distancing. Our efforts have helped to maintain a COVID-19 risk level of moderate. This alert level and the University’s latest testing results are included in the updated COVID-19 Testing Dashboard.

Mental Health Day

With the weather predicted to warm considerably this week and mid-terms arriving, we encourage you to take advantage of Westfield State’s Mental Health Day on Wednesday, March 10. Students with an on-ground presence are welcome to participate in the Spring Carnival from lunch through dinner in the Dining Commons. More faculty or staff volunteers are needed if you are available to help with the festivities. Note that even though there are no classes on Wednesday, March 10, administrative offices remain open and asymptomatic/surveillance COVID-19 testing in University Hall will still be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for designated students and faculty/staff populations

Remain Vigilant to #ProtectTheNest

The announcement from Gov. Charlie Baker last week with an update to the state’s COVID-19 guidelines was encouraging, as the virus’ spread across the Commonwealth shows steady decline. Cases, however, are beginning to flatten out so we must remain vigilant in our adherence to COVID-19 protocols to Protect the Nest and avoid a setback. As the vaccine becomes available to more of the population in the not-too-distant future, we anticipate conditions to improve even more.

Commencement

An announcement will be coming next week regarding the format and details for the undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies for the Classes of 2021 and 2020. The planning group has been meeting regularly and includes student leaders of the Class of 2021. Class of 2020 student officers have been kept informed of planning progress as well. We are excited to once again commemorate the outstanding accomplishments of our graduates.

Summer and Fall 2021

Careful considerations and planning for the summer and fall are underway as we evaluate the current trajectory of a continued reduction in COVID-19 cases and an increase of the availability of the vaccine. The University’s goal for the fall semester is to return to more normal operations and on-campus capacity with appropriate contingency planning. More information will be shared in the coming weeks and months as those plans become more finalized.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and work throughout the pandemic. We hope that we are in the last leg of this challenging period for us all and have high hopes for the brighter future ahead.

 

Warmly,

Roy


Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President
Westfield State University

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

The start time for next week’s (Feb. 16-18) and future asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at University Hall will now be 10 a.m., instead of 9 a.m. See the revised Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing Plan and Schedule for more information, including the designated days (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) for specific student, faculty, and staff populations. As of now, residential students should plan to report for testing on Tuesday, Feb. 16 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. despite the inclement weather forecast for that day.

Also, as a reminder, students, faculty, and staff are required to bring their University I.D. to testing. In addition, students should bring their testing punch cards.

Thank you.

Tricia M. Oliver
Chief of Staff

Dear Campus Community:

Thank you for the cooperation of the full campus community with our surveillance/asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, especially given last week’s inclement weather. 

COVID-19 Risk Level is MODERATE 

The results of last week’s asymptomatic/surveillance testing are now posted on Westfield State’s COVID-19 Testing Dashboard. As I communicated in my message last week, new COVID-19 risk alerts (Low, Moderate, High, or Extremely High) will be communicated each week to indicate the risk of COVID-19 spread on campus. Based on last week’s testing results, Westfield State’s COVID-19 risk level is MODERATE/yellow, which means:  

COVID-19 prevalence is low to moderate and conditions on campus are well-controlled with strong testing and Lansdowne capacity is sufficient. However, indicators point toward potential challenges in responding to increased rate of transmission on campus as well as the Westfield area transmission rates on the rise. No change in class modality, gatherings in line with State requirement, no visitors on campus.

This MODERATE risk level has been posted to the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard and will be communicated through social media. For more information on these new risk level alerts, see the “alert definitions” button under alerts now posted on both the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard and the Safe Opening webpage

This Week’s COVID-19 Testing Schedule 

We received feedback that faculty and staff, as well as commuter students, were unclear as to what day they were supposed to report for testing last week. Campus community members should reference the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing Plan and Schedule for more information, including designated days and times for specific student, faculty, and staff populations. 

As a reminder, here is the weekly schedule for testing in the multipurpose room in University Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

Tuesdays  

  • Residential Students  
  • AFSCME/APA staff (Dining only)  
  • Faculty (Tuesday courses)  

Wednesdays  

  • Commuter Students (A-K)  
  • Student Athletes  
  • ASFCME Staff (Non-Dining)  
  • Faculty (Wednesday courses)  

Thursdays  

  • Commuter Students (L-Z)  
  • APA Staff (Non-Dining)  
  • Faculty (Thursday courses)  
  • Non-unit Professionals  

Students, faculty, and staff are required to bring their University I.D. to testing. In addition, students should bring their testing punch cards. Also, it is important to note that only students who are participating in the testing program are permitted to access buildings on campus.

Thank you, again, for your continued cooperation with our important health and safety protocols.

Warmly, 

Roy

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.

Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

It has been a pleasure to welcome home our students for the Spring 2021 semester. I offer a note of thanks to the full campus community for its collective cooperation in adhering to the onboard asymptomatic/surveillance COVID-19 testing and other necessary protocols as we continue to weather the pandemic. Our efforts are key to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on campus. 

I hope last week’s start to the semester went smoothly for all. As we welcome those commuter students with on-campus courses back to Westfield State beginning today and have our residential students now attend any in-person academic commitments, I offer some important information and reminders. 

Reminder: COVID-Testing Feb. 2-3 

With this week’s weather forecast, continually check University email on any changes to the testing schedule due to weather.

Following last week’s onboard testing for students, faculty, and staff, weekly testing will continue this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Feb. 2-4, 2020. Reference the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing Plan and Schedule for your designated day and time for weekly testing. Even if the campus experiences any changes to tomorrow’s (Tuesday, Feb. 2) course schedule due to weather, residential students should still plan to report for COVID-19 testing on Tuesday. Students are reminded to bring their University-issued I.D.s and COVID-19 testing punch cards. 

As a reminder, here is the weekly schedule for testing in the multipurpose room in University Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

Tuesdays 

  • Residential Students 
  • AFSCME/APA staff (Dining only) 
  • Faculty (Tuesday courses) 

Wednesdays 

  • Commuter Students (A-K) 
  • Student Athletes 
  • ASFCME Staff (Non-Dining) 
  • Faculty (Wednesday courses) 

Thursdays 

  • Commuter Students (L-Z) 
  • APA Staff (Non-Dining) 
  • Faculty (Thursday courses) 
  • Non-unit Professionals 

COVID-19 Dashboard Updates
The results of last week’s asymptomatic/surveillance testing are now posted on the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard. The dashboard will be updated every Monday with the results of tests performed at Westfield State through its testing partners. 

RAVE Guardian App  

As students were informed at last week’s testing and reminded in Dean of Students Maggie Balch’s email over the weekend, the University is enlisting the help of the RAVE Guardian for daily symptom checking. Faculty and staff who have an on-campus presence and participate in the weekly COVID-19 testing are also encouraged to download the app and participate in its daily poll. The app will complement Westfield State’s other efforts to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus.  

New COVID-19 Risk Level Alerts 

Look for more information to be shared in the days ahead about color-coded COVID-19 Risk Level Alerts. The alert system is meant to share the prevalence and risk of COVID-19 on campus. Beginning Monday, Feb. 8, color-coded risk levels will be shared on our COVID-19 Testing Dashboard and through the University’s social media channels. In addition to providing the campus community with a status, the alerts will provide information on any necessary modifications in individuals’ daily behavior or campus operations to better manage the current risk level on campus. The COVID-19 Risk Level Alerts are part of the University’s overall Spring 2021 Curtailment Plan.

Thank you, again, for your continued cooperation with our health and safety protocols on campus. 

Warmly,  

 

Roy 

               

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.

Interim President

Hooray!  You did it!  You made it through the first week and are on to week two!  Those that have an on-ground presence, looks to be a snowy travel week—be safe!
 

I hope your re-entry to Westfield has been smooth and you are as glad to be here as we are to have you!  You bring a wonderful feeling of excitement and energy as you go mill around campus!

We have made many changes to our Protect the Nest Campaign.  This message will be long (sorry!); however, it is all very important -- grab a coffee or hot chocolate and be ready to be informed!  

Unfortunately, the beginning of 2021 has picked up right where 2020 ended.  We are still in a global pandemic, with new strains of COVID-19 being discovered daily and if that is not enough, there was an insurrection on the nation’s Capital Building.  Both of which conjure up many emotions and create a feeling of walking on egg shells for many.  Before sharing the new strategies for mitigating COVID-19, let me say a few words about the events and imagines that continue to be discussed and shared regarding the events of a few weeks ago at the nation’s Capital.  Please understand, this is not a statement on political affiliation, but rather a message on values.  The violence and hatred that occurred and was directed towards others, is not representative of our nation as a whole; more specifically it is not a value of Westfield State University.  Let me be clear, hatred, in any form, is not and will not be tolerated in this community.  We are a community where everyone matters—everyone has a voice---everyone one is valued.  Should you see this exhibited, or are a recipient of this behavior, please reach out to my office (deanofstudents@westfield.ma.edu).  

As a community that cares, we have spent much of the break strengthening our Protect the Nest Public Health Campaign.  With the new strains being discovered daily, this means we need to be more vigilant than ever in doing our part to mitigate the virus, not only for the health and safety of our ourselves, but also for those in the community.  We need everyone to jump on board with these requirements.  It is through everyone’s participation and cooperation that together we will do our public health duty in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.  

A SYMPTOMATIC TESTING 

All students who live on campus or have a reason to come on campus (class), are required to be tested weekly.  Please attend testing on your designated testing day.  

  • All students living on campus or have a need to be on campus (class) are required to participate in weekly testing 
  • Testing will be in University Hall from 9am-4pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday—check your email if it snows 
  • Bring your ID 
  • Bring your testing punch card (this was given to you at the first round of testing) 
  • Test results should be back between 24 and 72 hours and delivered via your university email 

ALL TESTING WILL BE IN UNIVERSITY HALL FROM 9AM TO 4PM

Tuesday Testing (Blue Group A, E, H) 

All students who live on-campus will test every Tuesday, in University Hall.  You are a member of the Blue Testing Group.

Wednesday Testing (Purple Group B, D, F, I

All commuter students with the last name A-K, and student athletes will test every Wednesday, in University Hall.  You are a member of the Purple Testing Group.

Thursday Testing (Maroon Group C, G, H, J, K) 

All commuter students with the last name L-Z will test every Thursday, in University Hall.  You are a member of the Maroon Testing Group. 

 

RAVE GUARDIAN 

If you have yet to download the app, please do so now and enable push notifications.  Along with the many fantastic safety features it offers (see below), you will receive a polling question each day.  By answering this question daily, it heightens personal awareness and helps to address, even the smallest symptoms, before more community members are exposed.  Please be an involved and proactive community member and answer this question, daily, before noon.  Early detection is incredibly important! Data indicates the sooner we discover symptoms, the fewer people could be exposed to COVID-19.  WSU is a community with shared bathrooms, common space, classrooms and no matter how many times we all wash our hands, remain socially distance, wear masks and clear surfaces, in a community we need to be extra vigilant about COVID-19 and other viruses.  If you are having trouble with the app, please connect with the University Help Desk (supportdesk@westfield.ma.edu).  

(HUMAN MOMENT—some of you were told that you needed to answer this question daily in order to eat in the Dining Commons—this is not true.  Because I, like you, am still learning the app, I believed it to have this function, however, that is not true.  Please accept my apologies for this mistake.) 

  

NEVER TRAVEL ALONE 

Set a virtual safety timer for an extra layer of 
safety wherever you are. 

DISCREETLY CONTACT CAMPUS SAFETY 

Prevent dangerous situations by discreetly sending 
anonymous tips with a photo or location as needed. 

STAY INFORMED 

Receive alerts based on your location, 
even when you do not have a cell signal. 

FIND THE RESOURCES YOU NEED 

Access emergency procedures, schedules and 
other key documents in the information portal. 

MAKE THE RIGHT CALL 

Easily find assistance and resources with the custom call directory of WSU and other important numbers. 

HELP IS ON THE WAY 

With a push of a button, you can directly connect to 
WSU Campus Safety or 9-1-1 in an emergency.

ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE 

Let’s be clear, rarely are students excited to go to Lansdowne because they have tested positive or are a close contact to someone who has tested positive.  We do our best to make you as comfortable as possible and encourage you to bring things that can help you feel comfortable.  Some things to pack include:

 
  • Academic needs (books, notebooks, etc.) 
  • Computer/charger 
  • Phone/charger 
  • Entertainment needs 
  • Clothing for 14 days 
  • Medications 
  • Toiletries 
  • Glasses 
  • Bedding/pillows/towels 
  • Laundry detergent 
  • Thermometer 
  • Snacks (meals will be provided by dining, but you might need your own chocolate) 
  • First Aid supplies

MA COVID?? 

Who and what does this mean?  If you receive a call that says MA COVID—ANSWER THE PHONE!  This is the state Contract Tracing Collaborative calling.  This group of people are calling for one of two reasons:  you tested positive, or you have been identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive.  This initiative is a major contributor to helping us keep everyone as safe as possible.  What you share with these representatives from the state is confidential.  Your truthfulness and forthrightness are extremely important factors in understanding who in our community may have been exposed to the virus.  The sooner you talk with the CTC, the sooner we can reach out and reduce the chances of your peers being exposed to COVID-19.  You will also be contacted by someone from the WSU contact tracing team.  Same guidelines apply—please be responsive and truthful.  The first 5 people to hit reply to say they have read this message will receive a special surprise from Student Affairs.  Remember, we need to look out for each other and that means isolating the virus, so it reaches as few students as possible.  

COVID ALERT SYSTEM 

Westfield State University dashboard will be updated every Monday.  The dashboard represents the health of our campus community—tests performed, number of positive cases as a result of our surveillance testing and any trends we are seeing on campus.  This semester we have created a visual representation of the dashboard to help guide us as a community in our behaviors.  Check out the Student Affairs Instagram account (studentaffairswsu) to see the alert level starting the week of February 8th.  

Thank you for making it to the end; I appreciate the time you have given to this message and in turn your commitment to helping to keep Westfield State as safe as possible.  Should you have questions, please let me know.  

Continue to look out for and take care of each other, Westfield! 

 

Maggie 

 

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