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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Spring

Safe Opening Spring 2021 - Archive

This webpage serves as an archive for accurate and updated information about Westfield State’s Safe Spring Opening plans.

For more information about the Coronavirus outbreak and how to protect yourself and others, please reference:

Dear Campus Community: 

As we begin to welcome our newest Owls to the nest as part of New Student Orientation sessions, excitement continues to grow for Fall 2021, when we look forward to transitioning back to normal operations and experiences at Westfield State. 

COVID-19 Vaccination 

Much of our focus in planning right now is communicating the University’s vaccine mandate. As a reminder, 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. 

Faculty and staff are also reminded of the expectation that I communicated in April that all faculty and staff with an on-ground presence will be fully vaccinated by the start of the Fall 2021 semester.  

To further solidify our commitment to ensuring the continued health and safety of our campus community, Westfield State is participating in the nationwide COVID-19 College Vaccination Challenge. As a participant, we commit to engage all University community members; identify champions to promote our vaccine efforts; and provide access to vaccines for our campus community. Many of these commitments are already underway at Westfield State and we are proud to continue them in the interest of our campus community’s health and safety.  

Operational Highlights for Fall 2021 

Vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear masks (although vaccinated individuals may opt to wear them), participate in weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 testing or to quarantine if they are identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual. 

  • Non-vaccinated individuals (due to documented medical or religious exemptions) will be required to wear masks indoors and when they cannot socially distance; to participate in weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 testing; and to isolate or quarantine if they test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a close contact of a positive individual.  
  • The University’s restricted access came to a close yesterday, June 15, with the end of the State of Emergency in Massachusetts.  
  • University-issued IDs will still need to be worn visibly by students, faculty, and staff while on campus grounds and accessing University buildings and facilities.    
  • Due to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, off-campus visitors and those from other residential halls will be allowed in residential halls. 
  • Dining Services will return to traditional service models to include self-service and dine-in seating at all locations. The GET app will still be utilized at locations on campus to schedule and order food. All campus and community members are welcome to share a table in the Dining Commons and other retail locations. 
  • University cleaning protocols and practices will continue to support our healthy and safe campus environment, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.     

In the coming days, University Health Services will provide more information and FAQs on the vaccine mandate, including instructions on how to submit proof of vaccination by August 1, 2021. 

I appreciate everyone’s continued cooperation as we look forward to getting back to normal University operations and experiences at Westfield State. 

Warmly, 

Roy 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President
Westfield State University
333 Western Avenue
Westfield, MA  01086
(413) 572-5201

Dear Campus Community:

Following Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s May 17 announcement about all remaining COVID-19 restrictions being lifted effective May 29, pandemic related mandates on campus will begin to follow suit.

Face Covering Guidance 

Specifically, as of May 29, individuals who are vaccinated do not have to wear face coverings on campus, while individuals who are not fully vaccinated or whose immune systems are comprised should plan on wearing face coverings on campus. For more information the face covering requirements in Massachusetts, click here

Return to Work Plan 

We realize that the Phased Return to Work Plan may need to be modified based on Governor Baker’s announcement on May 17. Look for further information and guidance to come next week from the Office of Human Resources, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity on any necessary modifications to Phases II and III to the Return to Work Plan that was announced to faculty and staff on Friday, May 14.

Restricted Access and ID Requirements 

Overall, the University’s restricted access will come to a close with the end of the State of Emergency on June 15, as announced by Governor Baker on May 17. Keep in mind that University IDs will still need to be worn visibly by students, faculty, and staff while on campus grounds and accessing University buildings and facilities. Certain buildings, including residential halls, may still be locked during business hours due to normal security and safety practices and only accessible by permitted individuals through use of their University-issued IDs. 

Reminder: Vaccine Mandates and Expectations 

As reminder, for the Fall 2021 semester, Westfield State requires that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they attend in-person classes or on-campus activities. University Health Services is directing students to receive their second shot of the vaccine by August 1, 2021. Students will be receiving more specific information on the University’s mandate in the weeks ahead, including instructions on how to submit their proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as well as the process to apply for a medical or religious exemption. 

As I communicated with you in late April, it is also the expectation that all faculty and staff be fully vaccinated prior to the Fall 2021 semester. Although vaccines are easily accessible and permitted on a walk-in basis at almost all vaccination sites across the state, look for future announcements about vaccine clinics to be held on campus, to provide additional access to members of our campus community.

Thanks, again, for all of your effort and cooperation with our requirements and mandates to ensure the health and safety of the Westfield State campus community. Your compliance is appreciated. 

Warmly,

Roy  

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

Thank you for your compliance and cooperation with weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 testing throughout this semester. As the semester and the testing program wind down, I write with some important COVID-19 operational updates for the remaining weeks and upcoming summer months.

Dates for Remaining Spring 2021 Asymptomatic Testing

Note that no weekly testing will take place this Wednesday, May 5. Please plan on participating on Tuesday (May 4) or Thursday (May 6).

All remaining dates for Spring 2021 asymptomatic testing in University Hall include:

  • Tuesday and Thursday, May 4 & 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday, May 11 & 13, 10 a.m. to noon.

As a reminder to students planning their campus departure for the semester, keep in mind that the COVID-19 Higher Education Control Plan  advises that “all students living in campus during any period in which school is not in session should first receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test administered by the college within 72 hours of their planned departure.”

Summer 2021 Testing

The location for asymptomatic testing in the summer will take place in New Hall (Room 141A) each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., beginning May 18. This testing will be mandatory for the limited amount of students permitted to remain in Residence Halls for the summer due to housing insecurity or other approved exemptions and open to interested faculty and staff who have an on-campus presence this summer.

Commuter students and students employed on campus through the work study program will not be mandated to participate in the testing program over the summer. However, keep in mind that every member of the campus community is encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine. And, as you know, the vaccine is required for students with an on-campus presence beginning in Fall 2021 and it is the expectation that all faculty and staff will be vaccinated by the start of the Fall 2021 semester. 

COVID-19 Dashboard
The results of last week’s asymptomatic/surveillance testing are posted on the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard, along with the total number of tests administered for the spring semester and the University’s testing percent positivity rate.

Thanks and Appreciation

Thank you for your continued cooperation and participation with our health and safety protocols on campus throughout the spring semester. I also extend my appreciation to the staff who have played crucial roles in University’s COVID-19 operations throughout the academic year. We really appreciate everyone’s collective efforts in keeping each other safe and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our greater community.

Warmly,

Roy

  

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

Westfield State University is joining a growing number of colleges and universities across the country and Commonwealth of Massachusetts to require students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they attend in-person classes or on-campus activities in the Fall 2021 semester.

The presidents of the nine Massachusetts State University system have unanimously decided that students who have an on-campus presence are mandated to become fully inoculated with an FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine prior to the start of the academic year in September. The presidents expect that all faculty and staff will also be fully vaccinated prior to the fall semester.

The mandate for on-campus students will assist Westfield State to ensure the health and safety of our full campus community, while mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our campus community. More specifics on this requirement, beyond today’s announcement, will soon be shared with Westfield State students and the campus community. The requirement is the most recent decision of our ongoing planning for the fall.

We continue to be encouraged by the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and the steady increase in numbers of those across Massachusetts and throughout New England getting vaccinated.

Warmly,

Roy  

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

Like many of you, I am encouraged by the steady increase in the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, the daily rise in the amount of vaccinated individuals, and the announcement that the vaccine will be available on April 19 for all Massachusetts residents age 16 or older.

All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine as members of the Westfield State University community. To learn more about how to pre-register for an appointment, visit https://vaxfinder.mass.gov or https://vaccinesignup.mass.gov.

As we anticipate a shift toward more normalcy in the coming months, the Cabinet and I are currently reviewing our strategy for the Fall 2021 in light of the vaccine availability. We appreciate the work done by the University’s Incident Management Team in both facilitating the University’s COVID-19 operations during the spring semester and in the team’s  guidance in developing operational strategies for the Summer and Fall 2021 semesters. Cabinet is currently reviewing the team’s recommendations as we await the Massachusetts Higher Education Control Plan from Governor Charlie Baker and the Department of Higher Education.

Until we receive the finer points of guidance to be included in the Control Plan (including the required asymptomatic testing protocols given an increasingly vaccinated population; and the determination if higher education will follow the K-12 social distance model of lowering the mandate from 6 to 3 feet), we are moving forward with plans for Fall 2021 with the following assumptions:

  1. Our residence halls will be occupied by more than 2,000 students;
  2. Many more courses (no less than 75 percent in each academic concentration) will be held on-ground or have an on-ground component; and
  3. The return to a more robust on-campus workforce will be gradual, beginning in May and carrying through to the end of August.

In Fall 2021, new and returning students can look forward to an environment more indicative of true campus culture. Westfield State realizes the importance of residential life, as many students choose to attend Westfield State due to the significant role that campus life plays in their overall experience here. As we have in years past, the University will lean on a Student Affairs-led working group to ensure a smooth opening/residential move-in in the fall for both our new and returning students, whether they are living here or commuting to campus.

With the onset of our spring sports season and COVID-19 conditions in the state and country improving overall, we are optimistic that improvements will continue. Our limited on-campus community has worked collaboratively to keep the risk at low to moderate for COVID-19 spread on campus through the Spring 2021 semester. We appreciate all efforts taken to ensure weekly asymptomatic testing of those individuals who have an on-campus presence.

I caution us to remain vigilant with our health and safety protocols as we anticipate the availability of vaccines opening up to all Massachusetts residents over age 16 beginning next week.

Please continue to be safe and stay healthy and thank you all for your cooperation and understanding of our continued and necessary protocols.

Sincerely,

Roy

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

Dear Campus Community:

I am pleased to share an update on Westfield State’s plans for this year’s Commencement exercises, where the undergraduate and graduate Classes of 2021 and 2020 will be honored.

At this time, we are working with the staff at the MassMutual Center in Springfield on plans to

hold multiple, smaller events in adherence with the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the MassMutual Center.

Westfield State remains committed to hosting high-quality, commemorative and memorable events, while following COVID-inspired restrictions to best maintain the health and safety of everyone in attendance. Two class officers from the Class of 2021 have been part of the planning team, while the Student Government Association and the Class of 2020 Class Officers have been kept updated.

Several Ceremonies to Take Place May 13-15, 2021

Following those restrictions, the University plans to host up to four ceremonies for the undergraduate Class of 2021; two for the undergraduate Class of 2020; and one ceremony for the graduate Classes of 2021 and 2020. These events will take place Thursday, May 13; Friday, May 14; and Saturday, May 15. Because each event will be contingent on the number of graduates who plan to participate, the specific sequencing of events will be finalized following the graduates’ RSVPs (see RSVP section below). A finalized schedule of ceremonies to take place May 13-15, 2021 will be set and communicated by April 16.

Number of Guests Limited

Each graduate will be allowed two guests. Note that out-of-state guests traveling to Massachusetts for the ceremony should follow and comply with the state’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Faculty and staff guests will be limited at all events. All ceremonies will be streamed live and viewable through a link posted on the University website.

Ceremony Format to Emphasize Conferring of Degrees

Each ceremony will focus on the conferring of the degrees and the graduates being able to “walk across the stage.” The speaking programs may need to be abbreviated and other ceremonial formalities, including the processional of graduates into the MassMutual arena, may not be possible. In addition to graduates providing an online RSVP, tickets for graduates and guests will be secured online. Each graduate’s two guests will be assigned specific seats, safely distanced from other family groups in the arena.

RSVPs Required by April 13

Undergraduates and graduates will receive specific instructions on how to RSVP online beginning April 1. RSVPs for those planning to attend the ceremonies will be required by Tuesday, April 13. RSVP instructions will be shared on April 1 by email to the Class of 2021 and by letter to all graduates of Class of 2020 or 2021 who have already been awarded their degrees. The RSVPs will be critical to the University event planners to set and communicate the finalized schedule of ceremonies by Friday, April 16. All undergraduates who completed and were awarded their degrees before September 2020 will be eligible to participate in the Class of 2020 Commencement ceremonies, while undergraduates who completed and were awarded their degrees after September 2020 will be eligible to participate in the Class of 2021 Commencement ceremonies. The graduate Commencement ceremony will be held for graduate students from both the Classes of 2020 and 2021. Please continue to reference www.westfield.ma.edu/commencement for the most up-to-date information. The bookstore will soon re-open the online purchase option for caps and gowns.

Contingency Plans

Given the fluid nature of the pandemic, contingency plans are also in development. If the status of the spread of COVID-19 changes drastically, prohibiting us from holding the Commencement ceremonies in this fashion, we are prepared to host several events May 13-15, 2021 in a drive-in format in Westfield State’s South Lot located off of Western Avenue.

We greatly appreciate your patience and we look forward to celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of all our deserving graduates in mid-May.

Please stay safe and be well,

Roy

 

Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Interim President

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 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

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