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Dear students, faculty and staff,

Yesterday the CDC updated its guidance regarding masking and distancing of fully vaccinated individuals*. We are encouraged by the CDC’s announcement that enables vaccinated individuals to resume many pre-pandemic activities, however, the CDC announcement does not make specific recommendations to colleges and universities. The CDC also indicated that private businesses and organizations many still require masking as they deem necessary. While we are encouraged by the announcement, we are waiting for additional guidance from the CDC about implications for higher education before we make significant changes to our policies on campus.

It is imperative that we ensure safety for everyone within our community, including those who may be immunocompromised, leading up to and during our final exam period and in person commencements.  To that end, we share the following:

  • Indoor masking will still be required in all campus spaces through the end of the May Term (June 23, 2021). This means a continuation of the employee policy indicating that employees may remove their masks when in their own private work areas with no one else present and the student policy indicating that students may remove their masks when they are in their own private room by themselves. At a time when the CDC clarifies the recommendations for colleges and universities, the COVID-19 Health Pod will assess the  implications for our campus.
  • The outdoor masking policy is being adjusted so that fully vaccinated members of our community that are outdoors can choose to go without their masks unless they are in groups of 50 or more.  While we are making this amendment, please be aware that circumstances and comfort of those in the community will vary.  Unvaccinated individuals and those who are more comfortable wearing their masks should continue wearing their masks.  In groups of more than 50, masks should be worn by all individuals.
  • For the outdoor ceremonies for the Class of 2021 and Class of 2020, graduating seniors, their guests and others participating in Commencement will be able to unmask while they are seated. Seating for Commencement will be such that students will be spaced 6 feet from other students and guests will be seated in pods 6 feet from other pods. Masking will remain a requirement for seniors, their guests and others participating in Commencement during the processional into and out of the venue and for seniors while interacting with the platform party to receive their diploma. Masking will be required for all indoor Commencement ceremonies and indoor overflow seating.

Currently 72% of our student body and 38% of our employees have reported completion of a COVID-19 vaccine series. If you have not yet reported your vaccination to the University and wish to do so, please use these links: 

  • Students should complete this form.
  • Employees should complete this form.

We anticipate that the summer will continue to yield more good news on the COVID-19 front and additional clarification on how colleges and universities should adjust their policies for the fall term. We are aware that this may include, for example, changes to classroom capacities. We thank all of you for everything you have done over the last year to keep our campus and community healthy.

Warm regards,
COVID-19 Task Force

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*People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen). [Source: CDC]