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Safe Opening FAQs

Last Updated: 12:30PM Jan. 22, 2021
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What tests do residential students need to provide when they move into residence halls in January?

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 (beginning Jan. 15). 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. Testing locations, including several free options, are available throughout the Commonwealth. Please see the next FAQ for more information.  In addition, residential students will be required to participate in weekly asymptomatic/surveillance testing beginning Jan 23-24. Click here to review the testing plan and schedule.

Residential students who have not either submitted their negative test result online in advance of their return or brought along a hard copy to onboard testing Jan. 23-24, will be directed to:

  • Return home;
  • get a negative test result; 
  • connect with Housing Operations for a sign-up time to return to campus the week of February 1; and
  • participate in the University’s testing program the week of February 1.

Flu Vaccine Requirement Update: 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 each year. For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov/doc/immunization-requirements-for-school-entry-0/download


Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers COVID-19 testing at more than 300 locations across the state, including more than 30 free COVID-19 testing locations. This site also includes a link to an interactive statewide COVID-19 Test Site Locator, hosted by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The state also maintains an additional list of COVID-19 testing locations, 99 percent of which accept MassHealth insurance.


What do commuters with on-campus courses during the spring semester need to provide prior to coming to campus?

Commuter students are not required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result prior to their return to campus for the Spring 2021 semester. Commuter students with at least one on-ground course will be required to participate in weekly asymptomatic/surveillance testing beginning Jan 24-25. Click here to review the testing plan and schedule.

Commuter students are required to provide 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. Addresses can be entered through students’ MyHousing account. 

Flu Vaccine Requirement Update: 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 each year. For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov/doc/immunization-requirements-for-school-entry-0/download


What happens if I skip/miss on-campus testing? 

Not attending on-campus testing is not an option. If you do not test weekly, you will be temporarily suspended and be required to leave campus, be tested, and provide a negative test to student health services before permitted to return to campus.


Should I plan on participating in the University's testing program if I have recently tested positive and completed isolation protocols for COVID-19?

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days are not required to produce a negative test result in advance of their return to campus, nor will they be required to participate in the University’s testing program until 90 days after their confirmed positive test. However, they should provide healthservices@westfield.me.edu with proof of the positive test result, so Health Services has that on file. For those residential students that completed their isolation protocol on campus, no proof of the positive test is required, as the University would already have that on file.


I have already been vaccinated for COVID-19. Do I still need to produce two negative tests?

Students who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 must still produce two negative tests prior to attending in-person classes and you are still expected to participate in the University’s testing program, as scheduled.


If I am sick after hours, who do I call? Is a nurse available 24/7?

Health Services is open Monday–Friday, 8:30am–5pm by appointment only. Please call 413-572-5415 during office hours to make an appointment. Please note that we do not check emails and/or voicemails after we have closed for the day. Should you have an emergency, please contact WSU Public Safety at 413-572-5262 or dial 911

I completed my Spring 2021 Housing Agreement after the room selection process. When will my assignment be made or updated?

The Housing Operations team will make assignments in early January for students who did not select a space during the winter break period.


I completed my Spring 2021 Housing Agreement but didn’t select a space during the room selection process. When will my assignment be made or updated?

The Housing Operations team will make assignments in early January for students who did not select a space during the winter break period.


Why will all rooms be singles for the spring 2021 semester?

The decision to move to a single room model for all students was made in consultation with state health officials and aligns with practices that have worked well at colleges and universities across the country. Single rooms allow for students to practice physical distancing, control what happens in their space and participate in online learning without interruption.


Will housing be more expensive if I’m in a single room?

All students will pay a flat housing rate for the spring 2021 semester of $3,525. This is the traditional hall rate charged for a double occupancy room and is the least expensive rate available.


Do I have to keep the extra furniture in my room since it’s a single?

The University does not have the ability to store extra furniture from student rooms across campus. All rooms will contain the furniture that would be present based on the designed capacity of the room.


Can I still move into my residence hall without proof of negative COVID-19 molecular PCR test?

No, you will not be permitted to move into your residence hall prior to submitting a negative COVID-19 test result.


Can I have friends in my room?

Students living in the traditional style residence halls (Davis Hall, Dickinson Hall and Lammers Hall) may have one individual other than themselves in a room with them at a time. Both students must be masked.

Students living in the suite and apartment-style buildings (University and New Hall) may have up to four people in a suite/apartment at one time. If one or more of those individuals are not assigned to that suite/apartment, then all students must be masked.


Can I visit friends in other halls?

No. Guests—including students from other halls—will not be permitted in any of the residence halls this spring. A key recommendation from state and local health professions, the American College Health Association (ACHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other relevant agencies is the need to restrict student and non-student guests within the residence halls. Although students may have classes together and see other students on campus, face masks and social distancing will still be an expectation at all times. Guest restrictions will help to ensure that a smaller number of students are potentially impacted, should someone test positive for COVID-19.


If I don’t sign up for housing but decide later in the semester that I want to live on campus, will I be able to?

Given the reduction in capacity of our residence halls for the spring 2021 semester, we do not anticipate the ability to welcome students to campus after the semester has started.


Will there be room/hall changes during the spring semester?

To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and preserve the micro communities within the residence halls, we will not be permitting any room or hall changes during the spring semester. We strongly encourage students to have conversations about living together prior to forming roommate groups. These conversations may include hall preferences for students planning to live near friends in a traditional hall and off-campus commitments, sharing space while remote learning and COVID safety commitments for those planning to live in an apartment or suite.

Can I leave campus once I arrive?

Students are discouraged from leaving campus except for academic reasons such as ROTC obligations, student teaching, and local internships. Students are encouraged to utilize deliveries to campus in lieu of leaving.

We are also working on contracts with GrubHub and grocery store delivery services so students can get the supplies they need without going out to get them. While these contracts are in still in process, we hope to have more information for residential students soon.


Will I be limited from coming and going on campus?

The University is unable to prohibit students from entering and exiting campus. Blocking entrances to campus would create a fire hazard. We remind students that each time they come and go from campus the risk of having the virus enter our community increases. Please wear your mask, physically distance from others, and wash your hands upon return to campus.


Can I leave on the weekend? Can I go to off-campus parties?

In order to keep the campus as COVID-free as possible, we encourage all students to minimize their departures; to ask themselves if they really need to leave. Upon every departure from campus, you expose yourself, those you visit, and the community to COVID-19. Each departure creates a risk for our entire community and yourself.

Attending parties and gatherings in this COVID environment is not wise. The University has a relationship with local police and receive reports and adjudicates students involved in off-campus parties. Policy violations include suspension or expulsion from the University. Ask yourself if losing your ability to continue in your academics is worth attending that gathering.


I need a job; can I leave campus to get one?

We encourage students to stay on campus for the Spring 2021 Semester. Career Services will provide an on-campus job fair for students interested in working on campus. Look for more information in January.

If at any point, you have questions about these questions and answers, please contact the Dean of Students Office. We want what’s best for our community and to make sure students understand what the Spring 2021 semester will be like on campus. We can be reached at 413.572.5421 or deanofstudents@westfield.ma.edu


What happens if someone violates policies?

As with any policy violation, a student will be required to participate in the University conduct system. Because we are in a global pandemic and a public health emergency, all COVID-19 policy violations, regardless of if it’s the first violation, are subject to removal from the residence halls and possibly from Westfield State for the remainder of the semester, as a first offense.


What should I do if I see someone violating policy?

Part of being a community is being able to hold each other accountable. We encourage all members of our community to approach anyone they feel is in violation of any policy by respectfully asking them to or not to do something and providing the reasoning behind that request. For example, if you see someone not wearing a mask, which are required on campus, simply say, “I see you are not wearing a mask. As a community, we are required to wear them everywhere except when we are in our residence hall room by ourselves. To keep the campus community safe, would you please put on a mask?” Most people are willing to do so. In the event that you don’t feel comfortable, please connect with a Resident Assistant, Resident Director, Desk Assistant, complete the Silent Witness form, or call or email the Dean of Students. We are all happy to have a conversation with students and other community members.


What is available for students to do on campus?

A campus-wide programming group and calendar will be communicated to students offering a wide variety of activities on campus. Where possible, in-person events will be scheduled in accordance with COM standards and guidelines.

Our goal is to keep the community connected, no matter where everyone is. However, we need to follow state and local guidelines and be mindful that any in-person programming is done safely (masks worn, physical distance observed, etc.). Please check the campus calendar for the currently scheduled events, knowing that more will be added after Campus Activities Board members and RAs return to campus.  


I am 21 can I drink alcohol in my room if I am in Lammers Hall?

Each resident student of legal age, living in a university apartment where alcohol is permitted (Apartment Complex, Lansdowne Place and New Hall), may only bring a restricted amount of alcohol into the apartment in which he/she lives. Alcohol is not permitted in traditional style and suite style residence halls (Davis Hall, Dickinson Hall, Lammers Hall, and University Hall).


What is the University’s policy regarding tobacco and/or marijuana use on campus?

The University Policy is as follows:

1. Smoking and/or the use of tobacco and/or marijuana products will not be permitted on any University property or University leased property including buildings, grounds, walkways, parking lots, wooded areas and all other property owned or operated by the University. The only exception to this prohibition is that the smoking of tobacco cigarettes only may be allowed in designated areas approved by the University President and marked by appropriate signage.

2. Smoking and/or the use of tobacco and/or marijuana products in University owned or leased vehicles is prohibited. Smoking and/or the use of tobacco and/or marijuana products is also prohibited in personal vehicles when those vehicles are on University property.


Where should I park my car?

All parking for campus will be on main campus. South Lot will not be utilized for Spring 2021 unless in a snow emergency and communicated by Campus Security.


Will class modalities change again before or after the semester starts? Can I leave if they do? What will my refund be?

They may. Since we are unable to predict the course of the pandemic or its impact on faculty and staff, we are unable to guarantee the modalities will not change either before the semester starts or during the semester. We are working hard to have fewer changes, but we are unable to promise no changes. You can withdraw from classes based on the withdrawal calendar on the website. Refunds are based on the timing of withdrawing from classes. Those dates are posted on the university website. If there are major changes in the pandemic, we may adjust those dates. There also is the ability to petition for a late withdrawal or refund outside of the defined refund calendar.
 

Why are you requiring me to have an Owl Meal Plan to live on campus?

It is all about the #STOPtheSPREAD! WSU wants all students stay on campus when possible to minimize exposure to COVID-19 from travels off campus. In order to encourage all students to stay on campus during the entire semester, a meal plan is necessary to meet your dietary needs. Every student will have 19 meals to enjoy on campus and $250 Dining Dollars to spend in retail locations. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/deciding-to-go-out.html


When will my meal plan start?

Meal plans will start January 23 with the DC open on this day for Brunch service from 12 to 3 p.m. Marketplace will open starting at noon and TJ Bistro will open at 8 p.m. using the GET App for food ordering. Click the link to download the GET App:  http://qrco.de/bbdbVs


What is happening to the rollover (carryover) Dining Dollars from the spring 2020 and fall 2020 semesters?

These Dining Dollars may be used in any dining location in the spring. They will expire at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.


What will campus dining be like for those who are on campus who are returning in the spring?

Dining will focus on exciting changes: Changes to improve the student experience and improve choices and customization.

The Dining Commons will be converted into a food hall model with independent and unique stations including a custom deli and create your own custom salad stations. You can shop each venue to find everything you would like for your meal. You will still be able to have unlimited and packaged food for to-go dining only.

TJ Bistro will move to a pickup-only location for students to place orders via the GET App. Rice bowls will stay at this location for the spring.

Marketplace C-store will offer expanded food and grocery options for students who are staying on campus.


How will the dining facilities operate?

Dining will efficiently deliver a great dining program in the spring. We anticipate our core locations will be open: the DC, TJ Bistro, and the Marketplace C-Store in New Hall. We will offer items from our Ely Locations in TJ Bistro and the Marketplace. Hours of operations will be set in accordance to guidelines set by the Commonwealth and will be communicated in January.


Will hot meals be one of the options available to students, or will all food be served cold?

We will have a variety of hot meal options available at all of our locations and there will also be cold pre-wrapped grab and go options like sandwiches, salads, and wrap items at all locations. Through our GET Mobile, hot, customizable meals may be ordered with contactless pickup at TJ Bistro and Marketplace. Visit the Dining Commons for campus favorites like turkey dinner, chicken parmesan, and spaghetti and meatballs. TJ Bistro’s grill will be fired up for burgers and twister wraps. Rice bowl option and Harvest Smoothies will be available only through the app for pick up in TJ Bistro or Marketplace C-Store.


Will the cost of dining be reduced since only take-out meals will be available?

This spring, although meals may all be to-go, there will still be plenty of options and plenty to eat. We are creating additional dining locations and pop-ups to make sure everyone can enjoy every meal, while respecting social distancing and other safety guidelines. Meal swipes may still be used in the DC for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or you can “exchange” a meal swipe and pick up food at either Marketplace or TJ Bistro.

Please visit Dining Services for more information about meal plans for the spring semester.


Will students be able to re-enter the Dining Commons for additional food?

With each meal swipe, students will be able to take the food they would like and a snack for each meal period. Only one meal swipe may be used for each meal. Meal swipes will be permitted for use up to three at a time, with a maximum of four per day. Meal swipes are valid for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night.


Can you still accommodate my dietary need or allergy?

The DC will offer an entire service line—Clean Eats—that accommodates the top eight allergens and specialty diets, such as vegan and vegetarian (https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/preparing-college#). In advance of your return to campus, please contact us at dining@westfield.ma.edu or 413-572-5410 to learn more about how we can accommodate your specific allergy and to establish a plan for your dining success.


Will students be able to sit with each other to eat together? Either outside or in residence halls?

After the first round of COVID-19 asymptomatic surveillance testing is complete, Dining Services will continue to offer myTables for students to dine together in Scanlon Banquet Hall. Check out this video for more on how to place a table reservation for you and your friends.


What happens if I need to quarantine or isolate, can I still eat at the DC?

If you are directed to isolate or quarantine and remain on campus or relocate to Lansdowne Place, Dining Services will provide instructions to you to place your meal orders 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 until the next order period. 


Will it be safe to pick up meals?

As required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reopening criteria, all individuals who visit the Dining Commons will be required to wear a mask in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standards that covers their nose, mouth, and chin. Dining Services will provide hand sanitizer at all entrances and throughout the locations, and individuals are encouraged to sanitize their hands before, during, and when leaving the location. All members of the University community should complete their symptom checker prior to coming to a dining location on campus. All transactions will use a contactless reader, including campus ID cards, to reduce hand-to-hand contact. Dining Services is encouraging everyone to use an electronic payment method where possible to reduce the risk of spread, but cash will still be accepted.


What are the Dining Services staff doing to keep me safe?

Dining will continue to follow the rigorous standards established by federal, state, and local governments. On a daily basis, Dining Services staff complete a COVID-19 symptom checker that establishes their ability to come to work. All team members have their temperature taken throughout the day to ensure they do not have a fever. The appropriate Personal Protective Equipment such as goggles, face shields, and masks are provided for staff to use throughout the day, as their position requires. Dining Services staff have received extensive training on the top three prevention techniques: hand washing, physical (social) distancing, and mask wearing. Lastly, each location has a designated person at each mealtime whose sole responsibility will be compliance with mandates and ensuring the safety of the community.


Will common spaces/kitchens be available for use? 

Yes, limited common spaces will be available. Students should wear masks in these public areas and comply with mandatory occupancy numbers for all spaces.


Can we have food deliveries from Grubhub?

We would prefer you utilize late night options that the Owl Plan will have, however, understand that you may like an occasional offering we don’t have. Restaurant delivery services will be accepted at a centralized location on campus. You will be notified and able to pick up your food from that location.


Will there be deliveries available on campus such as Peapod/Instacart/Prescriptions?   

An agreement for on-campus deliveries for groceries and prescriptions is in development and more information will be available very soon. These deliveries will be accepted at a centralized location on campus and students will be notified when they can come and pick up their package/delivery.