FAQ for Students
Last updated on March 7, 2022 at 5:04 pm EST.
What is the vaccination policy for students?
Students must be fully vaccinated* (i.e. including their boosters.) Students are asked to submit their documentation if they have not done so already. Please make sure that you upload a photo of your vaccination card on the google form, and do not email it.
*Please note the the definition of fully vaccinated has changed—fully vaccinated now means boosted. Boosters are required when students become eligible.
If you wish to request an exemption from the vaccination based on a medical contraindication or religious reason, reach out to Health Services and your request will be reviewed.
What should I do if I haven't been able to access a booster shot?
If you have not been able to access a booster once you were eligible, you will be able to get that on campus. Please email Health Services to set this up and reach out to them at email@example.com with any questions.
Will I need to wear a mask on campus? (Updated 3/7/22)
Yes. Here are the guidelines:
- Masking indoors is required in any shared spaces, including in the houses.
- We note that the CDC is encouraging people to wear higher-quality masks, like KN95s masks or surgical masks, if possible.
- Cloth or disposable masks should fit securely above the nose and below the chin. Bandanas, balaclavas and other loose fitting face coverings (ex: scarves) are not acceptable.
- Masking outdoors is optional.
Note that the federal government is expected to begin giving away N95 masks next week.
What should I do if I had COVID within that last 90 days?
Students who have had COVID should let us know, as they will be exempt from arrival and surveillance testing for 90 days after they tested positive.
Will there be a weekly testing schedule?
Yes. Everyone—students, faculty and staff—on campus should be tested weekly.
From Monday, February 21, we will resume a 4-day testing schedule for the term: Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, in the Atrium in Commons.
Will the College be using CoVerified?
Yes. The College will be using CoVerified, a COVID-19 Campus Management Platform, as we did in years past 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.
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?
- If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download and install the CoVerified app from the iOS App Store. Otherwise, in a web browser, navigate to the CoVerified login page. Review the App tutorial.
- Login to Coverified using your Bennington email address. This is true for both the app and the web site.
- When you are redirected to the single-sign on page, login with your Bennington credentials, just as you would login to your email account.
- You are now logged into CoVerified.
- Bookmark the CoVerified login instructions so you can refer to them as needed.
Will the College be requiring symptom reporting?
No, daily symptom reporting will not be required for fully vaccinated students during the Spring 2022 term.
However, people who are not-yet-fully-vaccinated or who have exemptions should do daily reporting of symptoms.
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 happens if a student tests positive?
If a student tests positive, we will follow the new guidelines from the Vermont Department of Health:
- Students who test positive will be expected to isolate until Day 5, when they can be released if they test negative with antigen tests on days 4 and 5 and are asymptomatic. Students will receive direction from Student Life about where they will isolate and will be connected with Academic Services to assist with coursework.
- If they continue to test positive or have symptoms, they will continue to isolate.
- While the State of Vermont has discontinued for students, the College will continue contact tracing for any students or employees on campus who are identified as positive.
- Close contacts who have received the booster will not be required to quarantine. They will be tested on Day 5.
- People who are vaccinated and eligible for their booster but have not received it will be required to quarantine for 5 days. They will be tested on Day 5.
- People who are unvaccinated will be required to quarantine for 7 days. They will be tested on Day 7.
During isolation and quarantine
- Health Services will provide care for any students in isolation or quarantine.
- A member of the Academic Services staff will contact students in isolation or quarantine to discuss temporary accommodations and provide academic support.
- Students in quarantine (i.e, who have been a close contact of a COVID case) will have food delivered daily by a friend. Student Life will be in touch to coordinate that once the student is identified as a close contact.
- Students in isolation (i.e., who have COVID) will have food delivered by a staff member.
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.)
Are there travel restrictions?
We recommend that you adhere to the CDC guidance on travel recommendations domestically and internationally, but travel is not restricted. Before you travel, be sure to check country-specific requirements related to COVID.
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.
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.
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.
We are asking students, faculty and staff to read and sign the Commitment of Shared Responsibility (CSR) for the Spring Term. A COVID CSR Panel will review instances and reports of non compliance and determine any consequences.
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.
What International Students Should Know
International Services is watching information regarding international travel closely and will email international students directly and update this FAQ if any new information arises.
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.
Please take note of the CDC rule that went into effect January 4, 2022.
- You must be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States by plane or over a land border.
- You are required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than one day before air travel to the U.S. As of January, 20, 2022 COVID-19 testing is not required for entry via a land or ferry port of entry. Learn more about this requirement.
- There are a limited number of exceptions to the requirement to show proof of vaccination. If you need to request an exception, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
- 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 recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).
- You must wear a mask over your nose and mouth at all times while traveling.
- Provide contact information to airlines before boarding flights to the United States for contact tracing purposes.
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
You are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine
- 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series
- 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial
- 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart*
A person who has received only one dose of an accepted 2-dose series and has recovered from COVID-19 does not meet this definition, and therefore is NOT considered fully vaccinated.
What types of tests are acceptable?
As per CDC guidelines all passengers traveling to the U.S. must be tested with a viral test to look for current infection – these include an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Please see FAQ’s for more details.
Phrases indicating a test is an antigen test could include, but not are not limited to:
- Rapid antigen test
- Viral antigen test
- Also, could be noted as Antigen Chromatographic Digital Immunoassay, Antigen Chemiluminescence Immunoassay, or Antigen Lateral Flow Fluorescence
Examples of available NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 include but are not restricted to:
- Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
- Isothermal amplification including:
- Nicking endonuclease amplification reaction (NEAR)
- Transcription mediated amplification (TMA)
- Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP)
- Helicase-dependent amplification (HDA)
- Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)
- Strand displacement amplification (SDA)
The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered.
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 and 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 email@example.com 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.
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.