FAQ for Students

Last updated on July 29, 2021 at 10:13 am EST.

Fall 2021 Information 

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.

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 I have to quarantine when I arrive if I’m not vaccinated?

No. Since a significant majority of students will be vaccinated by the fall there will not be a quarantine for unvaccinated students. There will be testing. The College will work with students who were unable to be vaccinated prior to arrival to get vaccinated. 

Will I have to wear a mask I’m vaccinated?

We are currently reviewing our mask policy and will update the community in the near future. 

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.

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.

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. 

Campus Life During the Term

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.

Are visitors/guests allowed on campus?

The College is presently reviewing our protocol related to guests and visitors. We will provide an update in the near future. 

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 goes 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 in initial status in SEVIS. 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. If you are a first year international student and believe that your entire course schedule will be offered remotely for the duration of the Spring 2021 term, please email iss@bennington.edu and we will review and offer you registration assistance before the start of the term.

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 Spring?

The guidance from SEVP and ICE has not changed since the Fall. 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 the Fall, students are eligible for campus employment if they have a work allotment in their financial aid package, and will be studying on-campus in the Spring (remote student employment is not available).

To assist students in earning their full work-study allotment through a single campus job, the vast majority of campus jobs have been restructured as year-long positions, each offering 7-8 hours/week. If you are a work-eligible student who worked in the Fall, you do not need to reapply for your job(s); you are automatically re-hired for the Spring term.

If you are a new student entering Bennington in the Spring and you are work-eligible, you have been assigned a campus job. Contact campusjobs@bennington.edu with any questions.

If you are a returning student who did not work in the Fall and you are work-eligible, openings in the role of Dining Hall Food Service Worker are available for immediate hire via Handshake. Applications are processed on a first-come-first-served basis, so students are encouraged to apply early. All dining positions are fully compliant with COVID workplace safety guidelines, and have added protocol in place including enhanced PPE and other measures.

 

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 between 7-8 hours per week to earn that allotment during a term. As such, the vast majority of campus jobs have been restructured so they offer 7-8 hours per week, allowing work-eligible students to hold one job to meet their allotment.

To help meet hiring gaps, work-eligible returning students who wish to obtain a second 7-8 hour weekly job (totaling 14-16 hours weekly) can now be approved to do so.

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

With a goal of providing earning access to our neediest students, students without need-based work allotments in their financial aid packages will no longer be eligible to apply for work. We understand that this is a significant shift. 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?

The College is not able to approve any remote student employment, due to budget constraints and employment laws. 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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