FAQ for Students

Last updated on October 12, 2021 at 3:39 pm EST.

Fall 2021 & Campus Life Information 

Will I have to wear a mask?

  • If you are vaccinated, you must wear a mask while indoors (unless you’re in a private office space), and outdoor masking is optional.
  • If you are unvaccinated, you must wear a mask both indoors and outdoors.

Will there be weekly testing? (*updated 5/3/21*)

Yes. We will begin ongoing mandatory weekly testing for ALL faculty, staff and students who have a presence on campus, REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS beginning the week of September 27. 

Testing will take place at Newman court in VAPA, Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 am-11:30 pm and 12:30-3:00 pm. Testing will be closed 11:30-12:30 for lunch break. You can schedule a test on any of those days. 

Please schedule your test through the CoVerified app to prevent crowding and waiting in line. (On the app: click “Testing” on the bottom right, then click the “+” next to the calendar icon on the top right corner to schedule.)

Can I study remotely?

Our vision remains optimistically focused on a near-normal return to in-person teaching and learning and campus services while continuing to balance the necessary flexibility and adaptability of all our pandemic planning. We understand that some students will have to continue to study remotely due to possible international travel restrictions, health concerns, or other personal circumstances. With this need in mind, approximately a third of our Fall 2021 curriculum is accessible remotely.

General Prevention Measures

We encourage all community members to take measures to protect themselves to prevent the spread of these viruses as outlined below:

Both the influenza virus and the novel coronavirus have similar recommendations for prevention and protection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home and away from public places when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough down into your elbow, and never into your hand.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

    Will there be symptom reporting on campus during the term?

    Any students with vaccine exemptions should be reporting symptoms daily in CoVerified. They should also schedule weekly tests using the app. 

    What is the guest policy during term?

    Visitors to Campus: Indoor Spaces

    • To enter into a building, visitors need to be vaccinated and to fill out the visitor form—ideally at least 24 hours before they arrive on campus.
    • New policy: Visitors who have not filled out the form should be prepared to show their vaccination card before entering any campus buildings
    • New policy: Visit organizers (coordinators, faculty members, etc.) should plan staffing for events that includes confirmation at the door that all visitors are fully vaccinated (i.e., by confirming they have filled out the form, or by seeing their vaccination card at the door). If organizers do not feel like they have staff to manage this surveillance, they are encouraged to hold events open i- person to just students, faculty, and staff and virtually to other community members.

    Visitors to Campus: Outdoor Spaces

    • Members of the local community are currently allowed in public outdoor spaces on Bennington College’s campus, including walking trails.
    • All visitors should wear a mask and allow social distancing at all times while on campus.

    What should I do if I feel sick and have COVID symptoms during the term? 

    For students with symptoms: If you are have symptoms including fatigue, a runny nose, a cough, or a sore throat:

    • Do not assume that it is not COVID until you have spoken with Health Services. Please contact the Health Services as soon as possible to minimize the public health risk and to limit potential impact on your courses. You should not go to classes until COVID has been ruled out.
    • When you call Health Services and report symptoms, they will schedule a rapid test. They can see most people on the same day, and most people get results within 10 minutes.
    • Rolling testing is specifically for screening people who do not have symptoms. If you have symptoms, please do not go there unless you have been instructed to do so by a health care provider.
    • The student should let their faculty members know; it will be up to the faculty member if the student can rejoin class while symptomatic if COVID has been ruled out, based on the activity taking place, the space the class meets in, options for joining the class virtually and other factors. (Dr. Randy can help guide the faculty member, if they would like that.)

    What are the best practices for visiting or spending time off campus?

    When you are off campus, we recommend that all community members wear masks, social distance when possible, and practice good hygiene habits just as we do when on campus. Thank you so much for your cooperation.

    Are there travel restrictions?

    We recommend that you adhere to the CDC guidance on travel recommendations domestically and internationally, but travel is not restricted.

    What are the guidelines for traveling off campus for Long Weekend and Thanksgiving?

     

    • We recommend that you adhere to the CDC guidance on travel recommendations domestically and internationally, but travel is not restricted.
      • being masked indoors (including public transit),
      • being outside as opposed to inside when possible,
      • adhering to social distancing and hand hygiene.
    • Also, make sure you are tested 3-5 days after returning to campus and be mindful to remain masked around unvaccinated family and friends.

    Vaccines

    What is the vaccination policy for students?

    To ensure the health of the community and to provide a safe environment for learning and living, Bennington College will require full vaccination for students returning to campus for Fall 2021. We are committed to working with students who may have trouble accessing a vaccine before they arrive on campus and with those who have qualifying exemptions including, for example, medical and religious reasons.

    Vaccine Access

    • For students who are not yet fully vaccinated, we are waiting to hear from the state which vaccine(s) will be able to administer on campus. However, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) has access to the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines, and we can connect students there if they would prefer a particular vaccine, or they need a particular vaccine to complete a series.
    • For any International students who began a series that is not one of the US-approved vaccines, please let Health Services know, and we will guide you.
    • We will assist students with getting booster doses, if and when it is indicated.

    How can I officially register with the College that I have been vaccinated? 

    We realize that many of you have already completed your vaccine series and want to give you the opportunity to officially submit your vaccination record to the College. If you submit this information now, you will not need to do it again in preparation for the fall term. Note that you should wait to submit your vaccination record until you have completed your vaccine series (2 doses if Moderna or Pfizer, and 1 dose if Johnson & Johnson). Please make sure that you upload a photo of your vaccination card on the google form, and do not email it. Please reach out to healthservices@bennington.edu with any questions.

    Will Pfizer boosters be available?

    We hope to be able to administer Pfizer boosters for students; this would be for students who received the Pfizer vaccine series six months or more ago. Please contact Health Services if you are interested, and they will order the vaccines.

    Commitment of Shared Responsibility

    What is the Commitment of Shared Responsibility?

    The Commitment of Shared Responsibility is an agreement signed by all faculty, staff, and students of Bennington College, outlining the required health and safety protocols and behavioral expectations.

    The Commitment of Shared Responsibility was a key part of our success last year— ensuring everyone was clear about expectations and reasonings. Ali Tartaglia will be working on updating it for this year, which all members of the community will need to agree to before the start of term. More information to come. 

    How will the Commitment of Shared Responsibility be upheld?

    Our goal is to keep all members of the community safe and healthy. In the same way we are asking all members of the community to share cleaning responsibilities because it would be impossible for Buildings and Grounds to clean every surface after every time is it touched, we are asking all members of the community to help in the upholding of the Commitment through direct and respectful dialogue with each other. In acknowledgement that there may be situations, due to power differentials or other dynamics, that could cause someone to feel unable to engage in direct dialogue, community members may also share concerns through an online form and will be provided with guidance on navigating next steps. 

    We anticipate that most infractions will not be willful, but rather a lapse into older pre-pandemic patterns of behavior. In these cases, which we anticipate will be the vast majority, the issue will be addressed in a way that focuses on education and restorative practices. 

    If there is a major violation of Commitment by the staff, students, or faculty, the College is required to act in accordance with the Mandatory Guidance for Residential Campus Learning, issued by the State of Vermont on July 3, 2020 as follows:

     “Institutions shall enforce this contract, and immediately remove any student who violates major public safety components of the contract (such as quarantine requirements) from campus for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Because of public health, existing judicial processes must err on the side of public health and remove a student from potentially further endangering the community by immediately removing the student from the campus. Faculty and staff who choose not to wear a face covering or follow existing public health safety standards shall face immediate disciplinary action.”

    The mechanism by which major infractions will be addressed will be as follows: faculty violations will be addressed by the Acting Provost; staff violations will be addressed by Human Resources; and student violations will be reviewed by the CSR Violations Panel, which is composed of students, faculty, and staff. 

    What if I have a concern about someone not complying with the Commitment of Shared Responsibility?

    Our goal is to keep all members of the community safe and healthy. In the same way we are asking all members of the community to share cleaning responsibilities because it would be impossible for Buildings and Grounds to clean every surface after every time it is touched, we are asking all members of the community to help in the upholding of the Commitment. 

    Direct dialogue between members of the community at the time of the incident will almost always be the most effective way to address a concern. We also understand that there may be situations, due to power differentials or other dynamics, that could cause someone to feel unable to engage in direct dialogue. 

    In situations where direct dialogue was not possible, community members can share concerns through this form.

    If the situation is an emergency contact Campus Safety by dialing 767 (SOS) on campus or 802-447-4250 from any non-campus phone. 

    COVERIFIED

    CoVerified

    The College will be using CoVerified, a COVID-19 Campus Management Platform, as we did last year for sharing test results and symptom tracking, with a few changes:

    • All members of the community will be able to access their test results using CoVerified. The app will alert you when your test results are returned, usually within 48 hours.
    • People who are not-yet-fully-vaccinated or who have exemptions should do daily reporting of symptoms.
    • Guidance for whether or not vaccinated people should use CoVerified for daily reporting of symptoms is forthcoming.
    • People who are not-yet-fully-vaccinated or who have exemptions will need to schedule their tests via CoVerified weekly. All community members may schedule tests at any time, should they wish to do so.

    CoVerified is secure and confidential, and does not track users location or movement. Only Health Services, Human Resources, and the Dean’s Office will have access to this information.

    If you have questions, students should feel free to reach out to Health Services. 

    How do I get started (or restarted) with CoVerified?


    CoVerified is secure and confidential, and does not track users location or movement. Only Health Services, Human Resources, and the Dean’s Office will have access to this information.

    If you have questions, students should feel free to reach out to Health Services. 

    What International Students Should Know

    International Services is watching information regarding international travel closely and will email international students directly and update this FAQ as new information arises surrounding travel bans and the national interest exception, for example.

    Please take note of the CDC rule that went into effect January 26, 2021

    • All air passengers entering the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, must get a viral test for current infection within three days of boarding their flight to the U.S. and provide written documentation of a negative test result OR proof of having recovered from Covid-19.
    • Proof of immunization will not be sufficient. (The thinking is that vaccines have been shown to prevent serious illness and, in theory, a vaccinated person may still be infected and transmit the virus on a flight.)
    • CDC will not require further testing if a person received a positive test result within three months of travel. Travelers who had been infected within the previous 90 days may travel with documentation of the positive test result and a letter from a health care provider stating that they have been cleared for travel. 

    We strongly urge and recommend that a week or two prior to air travel to the U.S. international students contact their airline to confirm exactly what they need to show to be allowed to board a plane to the U.S. Individual airlines should have the most up-to-date information regarding what they must see from travelers in order to allow you to board. 

    I am a first year international student or a returning international student who started studying on campus after March 2020. I will be studying in the U.S. Can I take a full program of remote instruction?

    No, students who begin studying at Bennington after March 2020, who are studying in the U.S. must take one course/one credit offering in-person instruction. 

    I am a returning international student who studied at Bennington in the Spring 2020. I will be living in the U.S. Can I take a full program of remote instruction?

    Yes, students who were in active status in SEVIS during the Spring 2020 term are able to live and study in the U.S. and take a full program of remote instruction. If you have any questions about whether you were in active status in SEVIS during the Spring 2020 term, please email iss@bennington.edu and we will confirm this for you.

    Can international students study remotely from their home country this Fall?

    The guidance from SEVP and ICE has not changed since. Returning international students are able to study remotely and maintain their F1 status.

    Who do I contact with additional questions?

    Students and families can contact International Student Services with questions and concerns regarding how the new guidance impacts their fall enrollment decisions. 

    Campus Employment and Financial Aid

    What kind of work opportunities will be provided?

    As in previous years, all campus jobs will be posted in Handshake under the job type On-Campus Student Employment. Unless otherwise noted, all jobs are year-long positions offering a consistent 7-8 hours/week, allowing students to earn their full work-study allotment through a single job. The majority of campus jobs for Fall 2021-Spring 2022 are posted now, and will remain posted until filled.

    How many hours can I work per week?

    Our goal is for every work-awarded student to be able to earn their full work allotment. Students with the typical work allotment of $1,150 per term would need to work 7-8 hours per week to earn that allotment during a term. As such, the vast majority of jobs have been restructured so they offer 7-8 hours per week for the duration of the Fall and Spring terms.

    Students are welcome to obtain a second job if they wish, typically totaling 14-16 work hours per week.

    Can I still work if I don’t have a work allotment in my financial aid package?

    Yes. As announced in prior communications, for the 2021-2022 academic year the College is returning to the two-phase hiring process that was in place prior to the pandemic. All work-awarded students were given early access to apply for campus jobs starting in June. All students, including those without work allotments, will have access to apply for campus jobs starting in September. While we cannot guarantee that every non-work-awarded student will secure a job, we anticipate that a substantial number of openings will remain available in the second phase of hiring.

    If students have questions about their work award status, they may contact financial aid or review their aid award on My Financial Aid.

    Can I work remotely?

    Due to employment laws, the College is not able to approve any remote student employment. We understand that students and families rely on the work allotment in their financial aid packages to cover their costs. Given this, for all full-time students who are studying remotely, work allotments will be removed and replaced with comparable Bennington aid. The addition of this aid in place of an allotment will reduce the amount owed on Populi for the term or, in some cases, result in a credit, which will be refunded to students. This aid will be disbursed on the same schedule as all other aid. Students and families should contact financial aid with questions about their individual packages.

    Will there be a change in tuition and fees if a student is remote?

    The same tuition and activities fee will be paid by all students whether in person or remote. Housing, meals, and the health center fee will not be charged for students who study remotely.

    Will there be consequences if families need to retract the student re-enrollment before fall term starts?

    No, students do not incur new costs until they arrive on campus and begin eating meals, living in housing, or taking classes. The student bill and student’s decision to enroll remotely are both due by February 1. Any prior balances will still be due.

    What happens to financial aid if the College shifts to fully remote learning during the term due to a spike in the virus?

    Just as it was calculated in the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 terms, student charges and financial aid will be calculated per day, based on charges and aid being earned-by-attendance. 76% of the financial aid a student receives is offered to assist with tuition. 13% is offered toward housing, and 11% is offered to assist students with meal plans. Aid will be adjusted (per day) in the area where there was a change. If the student remains enrolled in Distance Education (remote learning), then 76% of their aid will remain eligible for the remainder of the term to assist with tuition. 24% will be adjusted on a per-day basis for meals (11%) and housing (13%) not earned-by-attendance. Charges on Populi will be adjusted at the same per-day rate used to calculate standard withdrawals.

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