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Spring 2022 FAQs: Vaccinations, Masking, Testing & Tracing

Vaccinations Updated 3/2/22

Masking Updated 3/2/22

Testing Updated 3/2/22

Tracing Updated 12/21/21

Isolation/Quarantine Updated 1/18/22

Dining Updated 1/18/22

Working on Campus Updated 1/18/22

Facilities/Cleaning and Disinfecting Updated 1/19/22

Residence Halls Updated 1/19/22

 


Vaccinations

What is BSU’s current vaccination policy?

BSU requires that all employees and students must be fully vaccinated if they are attending in-person classes, living in residence halls, conducting research on-campus, participating in any on-campus activities or working on campus. BSU also requires students and employees to receive a booster shot.

Will a student who is unvaccinated and has not received an exemption be allowed to take in-person classes?

No. All students who are unvaccinated, unexempted and unattested will not be allowed to take in-person classes. Should students come into compliance with the vaccination mandate prior to the end of the add/drop period for the semester, they will be eligible to register for classes via InfoBear once the vaccination hold has been removed, subject to course availability.

Fully online students who are not coming to campus for any purpose will not be required to be vaccinated. All online students who are coming to campus for any purpose must either be fully vaccinated or granted a vaccine exemption.

Why did Bridgewater State University make the decision to require students and employees to be fully vaccinated?

The proven, most effective and safest way to limit infection from the COVID-19 virus and reduce the severity of illness associated with infection is by being vaccinated.

Is BSU requiring a booster shot for the Spring 2022 semester?

Yes. BSU and other eight nine state universities have unanimously decided to require that all students and employees receive a booster shot. There will be a rolling deadline for receiving the booster shot based on the timing of your final vaccination shot. For those who received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you can receive your booster five months after your second shot; for those who received the one-dose J&J vaccine, you can receive your booster two months after your shot.

Initial study results indicate that, while the original vaccines still reduce the likelihood of infection from Omicron, there is some decline in their efficacy against this variant, but that booster doses provide an increased measure of protection. The university plans to conduct booster clinics throughout the spring.

BSU will follow the same process it conducted in the Fall, requiring all students and employees to attest that they received their booster. Students can utilize this online student attestation form to attest. Employees can utilize this online employee attestation form to attest to their booster status.

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  

If I have had COVID-19, do I still need to get a vaccine?

The CDC recommends that individuals who were previously infected with COVID-19 obtain a vaccine as soon as they have cleared isolation unless they were treated with monoclonal antibodies. Please see CDC website   for more information.

What vaccines will BSU accept?

Based on guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, BSU will honor all vaccines approved for use by the World Health Organization (WHO) 

What is the definition of "fully vaccinated"?

The definition of being fully vaccinated has changed and now includes receiving a booster shot. In addition to receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the J&J vaccine, you are now required to receive a booster shot, which you can receive five months after your second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after your one-dose J&J vaccine. If these requirements are not met, you are not considered fully vaccinated.

How will students and employees prove they have met the vaccine requirement?

Students and employees have been asked to complete an online vaccination attestation form.

What if a student submits false information on the vaccination attestation form?

BSU is able to check the accuracy of attestation forms against the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) database. In the Fall semester, BSU had no instances of students falsifying information on their attestation form. 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 the university, including from housing, without a refund.

Can BSU verify that students 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 student vaccinations. BSU confirms the accuracy of all attestations that we receive.

Will commuter students be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccines are mandatory for undergraduate and graduate students who are attending in-person classes, conducting research on campus and participating in any on-campus activities, or visiting campus for any reason whatsoever.

Will unvaccinated students taking all classes online have access to facilities on campus?

All students engaging in on-campus life or activities must be fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccination prior to accessing on-campus facilities.

What if I am an international student without access to the vaccines currently in use in the U.S.?

Based on guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, BSU will honor all vaccines approved for use by the World Health Organization (WHO) 

How do I go get a religious or medical exemption from taking the COVID-19 vaccination?

Religious and medical exemptions will be accommodated according to state and federal law, following the same exemption procedures BSU uses for other vaccination requirements. If you have a sincerely held religious belief that prevents you from vaccination against COVID-19 or a documented medical exemption, please download the appropriate form below and then contact the Wellness Center at 508.531.1252 or wellnesscenter@bridgew.edu once you have filled out the exemption form. Please note: exemptions based on sincerely held religious belief are not to be used in place of philosophical disagreements with vaccination or the COVID vaccine in particular.

Medical exemption 
Religious exemption 

Will BSU work with students who choose not to be vaccinated?

The university requires all students attending in-person classes, living in campus housing, participating in on-campus activities, or accessing on-campus facilities to be fully vaccinated or have a properly filed medical or religious exemption before coming to campus. Students who desire to be on campus for any reason whatsoever are required to be vaccinated. Students who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed on campus for the Spring semester. BSU has many online classes and will work with students to help them understand their course options. However, we do not plan to add additional online classes and faculty are not expected to accommodate requests to conduct courses in any different format than offered.


Masking

Does BSU require students and employees to wear a mask on campus?

Through March 20, 2022, BSU requires that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces.

Effective March 21, 2022, BSU is shifting to a mask optional policy, with some important exceptions, for indoor public spaces. These exceptions will continue until further notice and include:

  • Masks will continue to be required in classrooms, other instructional spaces and in public spaces throughout Maxwell Library.
  • Masks will be required on BSU Transit and the Wellness Center, as required by state law.
  • Faculty and staff have the option of requiring masks in their individual single-occupancy office spaces.
  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to mask in all indoor spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.
  • The university reserves the right to require mask-wearing at any large, high-density, indoor event at its discretion on a case-by-case basis.

BSU continues to strongly recommend that students and employees wear masks in indoor spaces. Effective March 21, the university will leave the decision about whether to wear a mask to the discretion of individual students and employees (other than for the exceptions noted above). BSU has thousands of CDC-approved surgical masks available at no cost to the entire campus community.

If I have an on-campus class, what are the requirements for mask wearing?

Students will need to wear a mask in classrooms, other instructional spaces and in public spaces throughout Maxwell Library.

What if I am in an internship or a practicum placement?

If students are in internship or practicum placements that are not on the BSU campus, they are expected to follow the policies of host company or organization specific to their placement. If the placement site has more stringent mask-wearing protocols than BSU, the site protocols must be followed.

 


Testing

Will residence students be required to test prior to moving into the residence halls following Spring Break?

Yes. Resident students will be required to either submit a negative rapid test within 72 hours of moving back to campus or to take a PCR test through the Wellness Center that week.

Tests must be taken, and results submitted between 12:00 p.m. on Sunday 3/13 and 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday 3/16.

Submit your results here after noon on Sunday 3/13:
https://forms.office.com/r/pZtmSF6fSF

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 Spring ’22 COVID-19 website and updates will be posted on Fridays beginning January 21, 2022.

Does BSU administer individual PCR tests or does it use pool testing?

BBSU utilizes individual PCR testing through the Wellness Center. This allows the university to deploy its contract tracing protocols at least one day earlier than if it utilized pool testing. BSU is continuing to evaluate the potential for pooled testing at this time.

When is BSU offering testing?

All members of the BSU community are welcome to take a COVID-19 PCR test without an appointment in the Dunn Conference Suite on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. throughout the semester.

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.

Is BSU requiring students and employees to undergo weekly testing?

If you are fully vaccinated, you will NOT need to undergo regular testing. However, if you have been granted a medical or religious exemption from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you must be tested weekly through the Wellness Center. The Wellness Center will be communicating with all students and employees who have been granted an exemption to provide them the schedule and location of 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.

What if a student does not comply with the testing requirement?

The testing requirement is NOT optional. Students who fail to comply with testing requirement will be subject to progressive disciplinary measures through the Student Conduct process which may result in sanctions up to and including suspension without refund.

Can any employee or student receive a test on campus?

Yes. BSU encourages students and employees to test even if they are fully vaccinated. All students and employees who have been granted a medical or religious exemption must test weekly. All members of the BSU community are welcome to take a COVID-19 test without an appointment in the Dunn Conference Suite on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. throughout the semester.

Is there any charge for testing on campus?

No. BSU assumes the full cost of testing on campus.

What is the classroom protocol if a student tests positive on a COVID-19 test?

Any individual who receives a positive COVID-19 test result will be immediately contacted by the BSU Wellness Center with instructions on how to isolate. Any student or employee, 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 class or utilize labs, rehearsal spaces or other facilities.

What if a student is a close contact of a student who tests positive for COVID-19?

If the student is fully vaccinated and has no symptoms, they would be able to attend classes in person. They would be required to wear a mask for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after exposure. The student would not need to quarantine.

If the student is not fully vaccinated, they will need to utilize their quarantine plan until they know for sure if their classmate has tested positive. If a classmate tests positive and the student is considered a close contact, the student will be given further information about quarantine by the BSU Wellness Center. The student will need to quarantine for at least seven days after exposure, being released from quarantine with a negative test that occurred on or after day five.

 


Contact Tracing

How will BSU notify employees or students who may have unknowingly come in contact with a someone infected with the virus?

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.

 


Isolation/Quarantine

What are BSU’s isolation and quarantine protocols?

How we isolate and quarantine is changing in response to guidance from the CDC but is still vitally important to limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Just like staying home when you’re sick is important, following isolation and quarantine protocols also protects your friends and classmates.

Isolation: If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate for five days. You can return to campus on day six if you are:

You must continue to wear a mask around others at all times for an additional five days.

If you are a residential student, you can return to your residence hall on day six if you test negative on a rapid antigen test taken at the Wellness Center or administered by a health care professional (not a home test).

Quarantine: If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are completely vaccinated (you are boosted OR completed the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last five months OR completed the one-dose J&J vaccine within the last two months), you need to:

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are not completely vaccinated (you are not boosted OR completed the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than five months ago OR completed the one-dose J&J vaccine more than two months ago), you must:

If you are residential student in quarantine who is not completely vaccinated or you are exempted, you will need to submit a negative PCR test after day five in order to return to on-campus housing. For additional information, please see our isolation and quarantine protocols.

 


Dining

What has BSU done to ensure safety in our dining halls?

Bridgewater Dining has developed an extensive safety plan in conjunction with Sodexo, its food service provider.

Sodexo requires:

General Safety Information

Bear’s Den and Park Ave Diner

Crimson

Take out or dine in is available at any venue in the Crimson Dining and Student Lounge

East Campus Commons: Students will have the option of take out or dine in at this location.

Dunkin’: Take out only

Starbucks: Take out only

The Bear Bites Food: Truck will be open Sunday to Thursday 5-9 p.m. outside of Scott Hall for takeout orders as well.
 

 


Working on Campus

Do I need to be vaccinated to work on campus?

Yes. All students and employees need to be vaccinated to participate in any on-campus activities.

Do I have to be COVID-19 tested to work on campus?

If you are vaccinated, you do not need to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. If you have received a religious or medical exemption, you will need to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

 


Facilities/Cleaning and Disinfecting

What can I expect with regard to cleaning and disinfecting classrooms and other areas on campus?

BSU Custodial Services operates 24 hours per day/seven days per week. Classrooms that are utilized will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Restrooms in buildings where classes will be held will be cleaned and disinfected routinely throughout the day, while restrooms in buildings without classes will be cleaned and disinfected a minimum of once per day. Please see the Cleaning Protocols on the COVID-19 website for additional information about residence halls and common spaces.

I am concerned about indoor air quality. How does BSU manage this?

All BSU buildings meet or exceed building ventilation air change rates established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Our building preventative maintenance schedule includes the timely change of air filters that ensure systems are operating efficiently and safely.

 


Residence Halls

Will guests be allowed in the residence halls?

Yes. You will be able to bring in guests to your residence hall.

Do visitors have to be vaccinated in order to come into the residence hall?

While vaccination of all visitors is highly recommended in order to help us continue to provide healthy and safe residential environments, proof of vaccination will not be required in order for a visitor to be registered and admitted. Visitors will be asked to wear masks in accordance with the BSU face mask requirement when on campus.