Vaccinations Updated 9/9/21
Testing Updated 9/24/21
What is BSU’s current vaccination policy?
BSU requires that all students must be vaccinated if they are attending in-person classes, living in residence halls, conducting research on-campus or participating in any on-campus activities.
BSU has secured agreements with our three unions on a vaccination mandate for all BSU employees. The implementation schedule for each of the unions is slightly different as a result of when agreement was reached on the MOAs. Faculty and librarians, with the exception of those teaching in the evening, needed to receive their first vaccination by September 1 and be fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving their final dose) by October 15. APA members need to receive their first vaccination by September 7 and be fully vaccinated no later than October 19. AFSCME members must receive their first vaccination by September 15 and be fully vaccinated by October 27. All non-unit employees – non-unit professional, non-unit classified, temporary hourly staff –will be required to be vaccinated (or granted an exemption) and submit an attestation by August 31, 2021. There will be allowances for non-unit employees with a medical or religious exemption.How will students prove they have met the vaccine requirement?
Students have been asked to complete a vaccination attestation form in which students indicate the type of vaccine they have received and the dates of their first and second vaccinations. Students may optionally provide their vaccine certification so there is a record of it for them to access if they need it in the future. To date, through our attestation/verification efforts, we are very proud to report that 91% of all BSU students are fully vaccinated and the remainder are either partially vaccinated (but will be fully vaccinated soon) or are working through our exemption process.
Are employees required to complete the attestation form?
Yes. As a result of an agreement reached with the MSCA, all faculty and librarians must be vaccinated and complete the employee vaccination attestation form.
Can BSU verify that employees have received a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, vaccination attestations are verifiable. BSU has access to the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) database and can verify all vaccinations.What if a student submits false information on the vaccination attestation form?
A high vaccination percentage for the campus is what makes our return possible. Failure to abide by university policies and expectations designed to ensure our collective safety will be addressed swiftly and strongly. The submission of false information on COVID-19 attestation forms or failure to participate in university testing requirements may lead to separation from housing or suspension from the university without a refund.
Who should I speak to for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine?
Your primary care physician is always the best choice because they know your medical history and can speak directly to your overall safety in being vaccinated. Another good option is to visit the state’s website that covers a number of concerns.https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions
How do I get a vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available. Listed below is information about how and where employees can access the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Local Pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid)
- CDC Website: www.vaccines.gov
- Mass.gov Websites
Does BSU require its students, faculty and staff wear a mask on campus?
In light of the increase in positive COVID-19 cases associated with the Delta variant in our region (Plymouth County and Bristol County are regions of substantial and high transmission respectively), and with the goal of ensuring the safety of our campus community, effective August 23, BSU will be mandating that all members of our campus community (including vaccinated students and employees) wear a mask in indoor public places. This policy will continue through September 30, at which time we will reevaluate this policy based on the vaccination status of our campus and updated public health information. This is an element of the “layered prevention strategies, such as wearing masks,” that the CDC states “are needed to reduce the transmission of this variant.”
Where would students, faculty and staff need to wear a mask?
Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces. Masking is not required when you are outdoors or alone inside your own office.
What if I am unable to wear a mask?
Employees should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss any appropriate accommodations.
Can I wear a gaiter mask or mask with exhalation valves?
Some mask styles such as “gaiters” or masks with exhalation valves or vents are not permitted on the BSU campus because they do not meet the medical criteria for use as personal protective equipment (PPE).
What should I do if a student or employee is not wearing a mask in an indoor public space outside of a classroom?
It is important to note that it is not the responsibility of an employee to enforce the mask requirement and, in general, However, if you know the person and feel comfortable, you could respectfully, politely and discretely remind them of the mask wearing requirement. Making someone feel ashamed or embarrassed will only make them less likely to change and can also trigger a confrontation. Do not make the request personal; remind them of the university policy and/or the importance of wearing a mask to protect their own and other’s safety. If you know the person but do not feel comfortable reminding them of the policy, you could report the non-compliance. In the case of a student, you can submit an incident report to the Office of Community Standards via the Community Standards Incident Report Form. In the case of an employee, you can send an e-mail via email@example.com. The more information you can provide about the incident and identity of the individual, the more we can do to successfully resolve the situation.
In a situation where you do not know the person and do not feel comfortable gently reminding the person of the university requirement, the best approach is to try to maintain your distance and ensure your own mask is on correctly, rather than risk a confrontation Recall that just passing a person does not make you a close contact with that individual.
Please do NOT contact BSUPD in cases involving non-compliance with the mask requirement.
BSU has been actively promoting mask wearing through training developed by Human Resources & Talent Management and video and messaging being produced and disseminated across multiple social media and other communications platforms by Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Marketing and Communications.
Does BSU share its testing data?
Yes. As we did last year, BSU will update its online dashboard weekly. The dashboard can be accessed through the Fall ’21 website and updates will be posted on Fridays beginning September 10.
Does BSU administer individual PCR tests or does it use pool testing?
BSU will utilize pool testing in which one laboratory test would be conducted on 10 individual samples collected in a combined pool. If there are any positive results in the pool, all 10 individuals would be immediately contacted by the Wellness Center with instructions on how to isolate pending a negative individual test result, and all people in the pool would be individually tested to determine who in that pool has the COVID-19 virus.
When is BSU offering testing?
BSU offers COVID-19 testing Monday-Thursday in the Wellness Center from 8:30am-10am and 2:30pm-4pm, and symptomatic testing on Friday by appointment only. Please contact the Wellness Center at 508-531-1252 to schedule a symptomatic testing appointment.
What should I do if I tested positive for COVID-19 but the test was not conducted at BSU?
If you have received a positive test that was conducted outside of BSU or you know of anyone at BSU who has tested positive, please immediately contact the Wellness Center utilizing this COVID-19 exposure form. This site is monitored several times every day, including weekends and holidays.
What is BSU’s current testing policy? Is BSU requiring students to undergo weekly testing?
All employees and students who have secured an exemption from the vaccination requirement will be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing through the university’s Wellness Center. Employees who are vaccinated do not need to undergo regular testing.
How does BSU administer its COVID-19 tests?
BSU works with the world-renowned Broad Institute for our testing process. Our tests are conducted through a simple, self-administered dry nasal swab that takes only a few minutes to complete.
Are BSU students or employees charged for mandatory testing?
No. There is no charge for the weekly mandatory testing. The university is assuming this cost.
What is the protocol if an employee or student tests positive on a COVID-19 test?
Any employee or student, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, who tests positive for COVID-19 must follow the same isolation protocol that has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. Those individuals would NOT be permitted to come to work, attend in person classes, or utilize labs, rehearsal spaces or other facilities.
What if an employee is a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19?
If the person is fully vaccinated and has no symptoms, they would be able to work on campus. They would be required to wear a mask for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after exposure. The employee would not need to quarantine. If the employee is not fully vaccinated, they will be given information about quarantine by the BSU Wellness Center. They would need to quarantine for seven days after receiving a negative test result. It is important to note that the test must occur no sooner than day five after being exposed or later.
Can employees receive asymptomatic testing on campus?
Yes. The Wellness Center is making asymptomatic COVID testing available to all BSU employees Monday through Thursday, from 8:30am-10am and again from 2:30pm-4pm. An employee testing signup genius form has been created to schedule these appointments, all of which take place at the back door of Wellness (the door facing the MBTA train station). If there are questions or special circumstances, employees are encouraged to call Wellness directly at x1252.
How will BSU notify employees or students who may have unknowingly come in contact with a someone infected with the virus?
Contact tracing will be a key component for the continued monitoring of the campus and rapid response for preventing further transmission and spread of the virus. Tracing will be carried out by a specific contact tracing team led by Health Services, leveraging technology developed by the Division of Information Technology. Only the information required to enable immediate contact tracing will be collected and reported.
BSU’s contact tracing system has worked very successfully in helping us to quickly identify and contact any members of our community who may have come in contact with an infected person. The system draws from multiple sources of data that affords us a high level of precision in determining where a person with COVID-19 has been and with whom they may have come in contact.