Smith College A Culture of Care

April 19 Weekly CIRT Campus Update

Letters to the Community
April 19, 2021

Dear students, staff and faculty:

Below, please find important campus, regional and national updates from the COVID-19 Incident Response Team (CIRT).

Campus Status

The campus is currently operating in GREEN mode. For an explanation of the college’s color-coded operating modes, please visit Status & Operating Modes.

Over the past seven days, there have been two positive cases of COVID-19 reported through the on-campus campus screening program. For more data on the screening program, please visit Coronavirus Screening.

While our campus caseload is small, please note that infection rates in Massachusetts have been climbing over the past two weeks.

Student and Employee Vaccines

As of today, all Massachusetts residents age 16 and up are eligible for vaccination. We urge everyone who is able to be vaccinated as soon as they are able. Vaccine supply remains limited, which may mean it will be difficult to find an appointment.

For students arriving back on campus in fall 2021, we recommend and encourage you to return to campus fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Smith College is considering requiring all students to be vaccinated for the fall semester, and expects to communicate our plans for fall in the coming week.

Smith College has registered to be a vaccination site, but at the present time, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is sending vaccines to large scale and multi-community vaccination sites, not to institutions. As vaccines become more widely accessible, we hope that the college will be able to administer them. The college does not have the ability to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments on behalf of its students or employees.

If you are eligible, you can use this website to locate a vaccination site. You can also schedule appointments directly at our nearest locations UMass Vaccination Site and the Northampton Vaccination site at the Senior Center on Conz Street which is within walking distance to campus.

As a reminder, vaccination status does not change any Culture of Care health and safety guidelines for students or employees. This includes mandatory screening frequency.

Important Information about End-Of-Year Celebrations and Commencement Activities

In order to prioritize Commencement and maintain the ability to hold an in-person ceremony for our graduating students under pandemic conditions, green mode operational requirements will remain in place through senior week and graduation weekend (unless conditions require a more restrictive mode).

This means that other gatherings and activities will be limited and must abide by mode-dependent restrictions.

Specifically:

  • End of year celebrations should take place via Zoom wherever possible. This will allow for the inclusion of students who are not in the testing program as well as family and friends.
  • Indoor events may not exceed 10 people
  • Outdoor events may not exceed 25 people
  • All events must take place on campus.
  • Food may not be served at events

Please note that violations of operating mode restrictions or other pandemic conditions may require the campus to enter a more restrictive operating mode, up to and including a move to a fully-remote Commencement ceremony.

Technology support may be available for indoor events. Requests should be submitted via Request Help on the digital support site, at least three weeks in advance, to allow time for review and a decision about what support is possible, if any. Please note that technology support is not available for outdoor events beyond Commencement and Illumination.

State and Federal Guidance Changes

While the CDC and Commonwealth have released updated guidance that relaxes some health and safety guidelines, it is important to note that Smith College is not changing any of its guidelines at this time. For the foreseeable future, the following restrictions remain in place to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty:

  • Vaccination status does not change any of the Culture of Care guidelines for individuals or groups (including masking, testing, etc.)
  • Social event restrictions and gathering size restrictions remain unchanged.

Please send any questions to covid19info@smith.edu.

COVID-19 Incident Response Team (CIRT)
covid19info@smith.edu