Info for Residency Participants

The Bennington Writing Seminars January residency will be held on campus January 4-14, 2024. Please see below for any updates regarding visitors and COVID-19 protocols specifically for the MFA in Writing community, and please check back as this policy will be revisited and revised as we approach the residency.

Please direct all questions regarding COVID to the College’s COVID Task Force at covid@bennington.edu.

January 2024 | UPDATED Information for Winter 2024

Given the surge in both the flu and COVID expected in January, we will require masking in all lectures, classrooms, and shared spaces for everyone’s safety. Please bring enough KN95 masks and COVID home tests to cover your time at the residency. The College will have a limited number of masks available, and Student Life will have a limited number of COVID tests available. You may request COVID tests from Student Life by emailing alisontartaglia@bennington.edu and a test will be delivered to your dorm room. Please note: The CDC has extended the expiration dates for various home tests listed here.

The College requires the MFA community to be up to date on COVID vaccination (primary series + booster, if eligible) to attend the residency and we highly recommend getting a seasonal flu vaccine and a vaccine for RSV, if you qualify. If you wish to request an exemption from the vaccination requirement based on a medical contraindication or religious reason, please email Health Services at healthservices@bennington.edu and your request will be reviewed.

If You Have Symptoms of COVID

  • Do not assume that it is not COVID until you have produced two negative test results taken at least 48 hours apart.
  • Take a rapid home antigen test immediately and, if negative, repeat the test 48 hours later.
  • While waiting for the second test, you should practice “soft” isolation as follows:
    • Do not go to classes, workshops, readings, or events until COVID has been ruled out.
    • Wear a high-quality mask in the presence of others.
    • Practice diligent hand hygiene.
    • Maintain six feet of distance from others.
    • Take food out of the Commons Dining Hall in To-Go containers to eat in your room.

If You Test Positive for COVID

You should self-isolate in place for at least five days and wear a mask inside and outside for at least 10 days following the day of the positive result.

Immediately contact Dr. Ali Tartaglia at alisontartaglia@bennington.edu and cc: writing@bennington.edu. Please include your dorm name, room number, and any dietary restrictions you have. MFA community members in on-campus COVID isolation may pick up To-Go food from the lobby of the Commons Dining Hall. In the event that a community member is extremely ill, food can be delivered to their door by a staff member or volunteer, prearranged by Dr. Ali and BWS staff.

Students should notify their workshop teacher of their positive test. Students will be able to access their workshop via Zoom if they feel well enough to attend and should communicate with their teacher directly if they require Zoom access. Please note: You cannot attend classes, lectures, readings, or other events during that isolation period.

You may elect to isolate at an off-site location (returning to campus on day six), as long as you do not travel via public transportation, and you've made arrangements with your workshop teacher to attend the mandatory workshops via Zoom.

If a faculty member becomes sick, they should notify their workshop members. If they are teaching in a pair, the other teacher may take over the workshop. If they are teaching alone, arrangements will be made to cover the workshop at a later date.

Visitors to Campus

During the residency, visitors are invited to attend the nightly readings, which are open to the public. All other residency events, including classes, graduate readings, dining, and after-hours activities are for enrolled students, faculty, staff, and invited guests of the Writing Seminars only. Visitors and family of the January 2024 graduating class are allowed to attend the Commencement ceremony and the reception following the ceremony. Our evening Faculty and Guest Readings are open to visitors, but will also be streamed via Zoom. This is for the safety and health of our community.

If You’re a Close Contact or Have Been Exposed

Individuals who have been within six feet of an infected person (someone who has tested positive) for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period and within 48 hours of the development of symptoms and/or a confirmed positive COVID test are considered close contacts.

Regardless of your vaccination status, according to the CDC, you do not need to quarantine. You are required to wear a KN95 or N95 mask for 10 days. Day 0 is the last day you had contact with that person. You will then want to test on days 6 and 8 and 10 with a rapid antigen test. If you develop symptoms at any point, follow the instructions above. Remember that we have discontinued doing contact tracing, so it is the responsibility of the person who has tested positive to contact those they’ve exposed. You may share these instructions with them.

October 2023 | Information for Winter 2024

The College is a “mask-friendly” campus. Masks are welcome and encouraged for anyone who wishes to wear one, but they are no longer required. As we get closer to the residency the program may revisit these protocols based on the guidance of health professionals. The College strongly encourages the MFA community to be up to date on COVID vaccination (primary series + booster, if eligible) to attend the residency, as well as encouraging a flu vaccine If you wish to request an exemption from the vaccination requirement based on a medical contraindication or religious reason, please email Health Services at healthservices@bennington.edu and your request will be reviewed.

Given the expected surge in both the flu and COVID in January we may require masking in all spaces for everyone’s safety. Please bring enough KN-95 masks and home tests to cover your time at the residency. The College will also have some masks and Student Life will have tests available as well.

If You Have Symptoms of COVID

  • Do not assume that it is not COVID until you have produced two negative test results taken at least 48 hours apart.
  • Take a rapid home antigen test immediately and, if negative, repeat the test 48 hours later.
  • While waiting for the second test, you should practice “soft” isolation as follows:
    • Do not go to classes, workshops, readings, or events until COVID has been ruled out.
    • Wear a high-quality mask in the presence of others.
    • Practice diligent hand hygiene.
    • Maintain six feet of distance from others.
    • Take food out of the Commons Dining Hall in To-Go containers to eat in your room.

If You Test Positive for COVID

You should self-isolate in place for at least five days and wear a mask inside and outside for at least 10 days following the day of the positive result.

Immediately contact Dr. Ali Tartaglia at alisontartaglia@bennington.edu and cc: writing@bennington.edu. Please include your dorm name, room number, and any dietary restrictions you have. MFA community members in on-campus COVID isolation may pick up To-Go food from the lobby of the Commons Dining Hall. In the event that a community member is extremely ill, food can be delivered to their door by a staff member or volunteer, prearranged by Dr. Ali and BWS staff.

Students should notify their workshop teacher of their positive test. Students will be able to access their workshop via Zoom if they feel well enough to attend and should communicate with their teacher directly if they require Zoom access. Please note: You cannot attend craft classes, readings, or other events during that isolation period.

You may elect to isolate at an off-site location (returning to campus on day six), as long as you do not travel via public transportation, and you've made arrangements with your workshop teacher to attend the mandatory workshops via Zoom.

If a faculty member becomes sick, they should notify their workshop members. If they are teaching in a pair, the other teacher may take over the workshop. If they are teaching alone, arrangements will be made to cover the workshop at a later date.

Visitors to Campus

During the residency, visitors are invited to attend the nightly readings, which are open to the public. All other residency events, including classes, graduate readings, dining, and after-hours activities are for enrolled students, faculty, staff, and invited guests of the Writing Seminars only. Visitors and family of the January 2024 graduating class are allowed to attend the Commencement ceremony and the reception following the ceremony. Our evening Faculty and Guest Readings are open to visitors, but will also be streamed via Zoom. This is for the safety and health of our community.

If You’re a Close Contact or Have Been Exposed

Individuals who have been within six feet of an infected person (someone who has tested positive) for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period and within 48 hours of the development of symptoms and/or a confirmed positive COVID test are considered close contacts.

Regardless of your vaccination status, according to the CDC, you do not need to quarantine. You are required to wear a KN95 or N95 mask for 10 days. Day 0 is the last day you had contact with that person. You will then want to test on days 6 and 8 and 10 with a rapid antigen test. If you develop symptoms at any point, follow the instructions above. Remember that we have discontinued doing contact tracing, so it is the responsibility of the person who has tested positive to contact those they’ve exposed. You may share these instructions with them.

June 2023 | Information for Summer 2023

The College is a “mask-friendly” campus. Masks are welcome and encouraged for anyone who wishes to wear one, but they are no longer required. The College requires the MFA community to be up to date on COVID vaccination (primary series + booster, if eligible) to attend the residency. If you wish to request an exemption from the vaccination requirement based on a medical contraindication or religious reason, please email Health Services at healthservices@bennington.edu and your request will be reviewed.

If You Have Symptoms of COVID

  • Do not assume that it is not COVID until you have produced two negative test results taken at least 48 hours apart.
  • Take a rapid home antigen test immediately and, if negative, repeat the test 48 hours later.
  • While waiting for the second test, you should practice “soft” isolation as follows:
    • Do not go to classes, workshops, readings, or events until COVID has been ruled out.
    • Wear a high-quality mask in the presence of others.
    • Practice diligent hand hygiene.
    • Maintain six feet of distance from others.
    • Take food out of the Commons Dining Hall in To-Go containers to eat in your room.

If You Test Positive for COVID

  • You should self-isolate in place for at least five days and wear a mask inside and outside for at least 10 days following the day of the positive result.
  • Immediately contact Dr. Ali Tartaglia at alisontartaglia@bennington.edu and cc: writing@bennington.edu. Please include your dorm name, room number, and any dietary restrictions you have. MFA community members in on-campus COVID isolation may pick up To-Go food from the lobby of the Commons Dining Hall. In the event that a community member is extremely ill, food can be delivered to their door by a staff member or volunteer, prearranged by Dr. Ali and BWS staff.
  • Students should notify their workshop teacher of their positive test. Students will be able to access their workshop via Zoom if they feel well enough to attend and should communicate with their teacher directly if they require Zoom access. Please note: You cannot attend master classes, readings, or other events during that isolation period.
  • You may elect to isolate at an off-site location (returning to campus on day six), as long as you do not travel via public transportation, and you've made arrangements with your workshop teacher to attend the mandatory workshops via Zoom.
  • If a faculty member becomes sick, they should notify their workshop members. If they are teaching in a pair, the other teacher may take over the workshop. If they are teaching alone, arrangements will be made to cover the workshop at a later date.

Visitors to Campus

During the residency, all classes, graduate readings, dining, and after-hours activities are for enrolled students, faculty, staff, and invited guests of the Writing Seminars only. Visitors and family of the June 2023 graduating class are allowed for the Commencement ceremony and at the reception following the ceremony, and our evening faculty Readings are open to visitors, but also being streamed via Zoom. This is for the safety and health of our community.

If You’re a Close Contact or Have Been Exposed

Individuals who have been within six feet of an infected person (someone who has tested positive) for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period and within 48 hours of the development of symptoms and/or a confirmed positive COVID test are considered close contacts.

Regardless of your vaccination status, according to the CDC, you do not need to quarantine. You are required to wear a KN95 or N95 mask for 10 days. Day 0 is the last day you had contact with that person. You will then want to test on days 6 and 8 and 10 with a rapid antigen test. If you develop symptoms at any point, follow the instructions above. Remember that we have discontinued doing contact tracing, so it is the responsibility of the person who has tested positive to contact those they’ve exposed. You may share these instructions with them.

April 2023 | Information for Spring 2023

The College requires the MFA community to be up to date on COVID vaccinations (primary series + booster, if eligible) to attend the residency. Participants are required to submit their documentation. If you wish to request an exemption from the vaccination based on a medical contraindication or religious reason, please email Health Services at healthservices@bennington.edu and your request will be reviewed. The College highly recommends getting a flu shot (during flu season) before coming to campus.

The College is a “mask-friendly” campus. Masks are welcome and encouraged for anyone who wishes to continue to wear one, but are no longer required. See the most recent update for Spring 2023

November 18, 2022 | COVID Policy Updates for the January 2023 BWS Residency

Dear Bennington MFA Community,

We look forward to welcoming you to campus this winter, and we are confident that we can come together safely and effectively.

With the January residency approaching, we want to take this opportunity to outline our winter COVID policy, which may change as circumstances dictate. Experts are predicting a COVID surge and an especially virulent flu season. The College requires all participants be fully vaccinated (including boosters) for COVID, and highly recommends a flu vaccination.

Because of the prevalence of vaccines, Bennington is transitioning its approach and the College is treating COVID-19 as an endemic situation — relaxing some of its stricter protocols in favor of more reliance on personal responsibility. The impact of a COVID outbreak, however, could be more disruptive at the Writing Seminars than at the College in general, because our session is shorter and our demographic different. We are therefore taking a conservative approach in our residential policies. Our aim is to create inclusive campus environments where individuals with different kinds of COVID-related concerns can feel comfortable and where we all can work together to support our community’s wellness.

Our revised protocols for the January 2023 residency are outlined below. These may change before or during the session, depending on the COVID-19 and the flu situation.

Masking on Campus

Due to the expected surge in COVID cases and the fact that it’s flu season, all MFA community members must wear a mask indoors for all events. Bring enough masks to cover your time here at the residency. Bandanas, balaclavas, and other loose fitting face coverings (ex: scarves) are not acceptable. Those who are considered to have been in close contact with a COVID-positive person before or during the residency are required to wear a KN95 or N95 mask for 10 days while on campus. This includes parents of COVID-positive children.

Vaccination Requirements

The College requires COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters for all faculty, staff, and students per CDC guidance, except in cases of approved religious or medical exemptions. To request an exemption, email healthservices@bennington.edu and your request will be reviewed.

  • For those under the age of 50, you are considered up to date on your vaccinations when you have received all doses in the primary series of an approved vaccine, as well as one booster dose. 
  • For those over the age of 50, you are considered up to date on your vaccinations when you have received all doses in the primary series of an approved vaccine, as well as two booster doses. 
  • We encourage anyone who had a booster more than two months ago to get an additional booster with one of the new bivalent vaccines, as well as a seasonal influenza vaccine. 

Those who have not submitted proof of their vaccinations, including boosters, must do so by December 15, 2022, using this form, managed by Health Services. Please note that vaccinations-on-arrival are not available. You must use your bennington.edu email address. If you are a visiting writer to campus you may email your proof of vaccination to healthservices@bennington.edu — please indicate you will be participating at the January residency.

Testing

We ask that you test negative for COVID (a self-administered home antigen test is fine) within at least 48 hours of your arrival to campus. We are relying on the community's shared goal of staying healthy and will not be requiring reporting of tests. We encourage you to bring a few home antigen tests to campus, in case you develop symptoms mirroring those of COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19 within five days prior to the January 5 arrival date, you should not come to campus. Please notify writing@bennington.edu. We will organize a Zoom link for you to participate in your workshop. You may arrive on campus after the five-day isolation window (day zero is the day your symptoms started, or the day you tested positive, whichever came first) if your symptoms are improving, and you have not had a fever within the previous 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicines, and you will be required to wear a mask at all times, except while eating, through day 10.

While on campus, the MFA community may obtain rapid antigen test kits if they: a) have symptoms of COVID, or b) are close contacts of a known case. If you feel symptomatic and need a test, please email Dr. Ali Tartaglia, Assistant Dean and Director of Wellness, who will arrange for a test to be dropped off outside of your dorm room. See below for further information about what is available at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

At this time, we are not planning to conduct surveillance testing or contact tracing on campus.

If You Have Symptoms of COVID

  • Do not assume that it is not COVID until you have produced two negative test results taken at least 48 hours apart.
  • Take a rapid home antigen test immediately and, if negative, repeat the test 48 hours later. 
  • While waiting for the second test, you should practice “soft” isolation as follows:
  • Do not go to classes, workshops, readings, or events until COVID has been ruled out.
  • Wear a high-quality mask in the presence of others.
  • Practice diligent hand hygiene.
  • Maintain six feet of distance from others.
  • Take food out of the Commons Dining Hall in To-Go containers to eat in your room.

If You Test Positive for COVID

  • If you test positive for COVID, you should self-isolate in place for at least five days and wear a mask inside and outside for at least 10 days following the day of the positive result.
  • If you have tested positive, immediately contact Dr. Ali Tartaglia at alisontartaglia@bennington.edu and cc: writing@bennington.edu. Please include your dorm name, room number, and any dietary restrictions you have. MFA community members in on-campus COVID isolation may pick up To-Go food from the lobby of the Commons Dining Hall. In the event that a community member is extremely ill, food can be delivered to their door by a staff member or volunteer.
  • You may elect to isolate at an off-site location (returning to campus on day six), as long as you do not travel via public transportation.
  • Students should notify their workshop teacher of their positive test. Students will be able to access their workshop via Zoom if they feel well enough to attend and should communicate with their teacher directly if they require Zoom access. 
  • If a faculty member becomes sick, they should notify their workshop members. If they are teaching in a pair, the other teacher may take over the workshop. If they are teaching alone, arrangements will be made to cover the workshop at a later date.

Visitors to Campus

During the residency all classes, readings, dining, and after-hours activities are for enrolled students, faculty, and staff of the Writing Seminars only. This is for the safety and health of our community. Visitors and family of the January 2023 graduating class are allowed for the Commencement ceremony and at the reception following the ceremony.

Visitors/family of the January 2023 class must be fully vaccinated/boostered and fill out the visitor form at least 24 hours before they arrive on campus. All visitors must wear a mask when indoors. Visitors/families of the January 2023 class are allowed in public outdoor spaces on Bennington College’s campus, including walking trails and may take meals in the dining hall as long as they follow all COVID protocols.

If You’re a Close Contact or Have Been Exposed

Individuals who have been within six feet of an infected person (someone who has tested positive) for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period and within 48 hours of the development of symptoms and/or a confirmed positive COVID test are considered close contacts.

Regardless of your vaccination status, according to the CDC, you do not need to quarantine. You are required to wear a KN95 or N95 mask for 10 days. Day 0 is the last day you had contact with that person. You will then want to test on days 6 and 8 and 10 with a rapid antigen test. If you develop symptoms at any point, follow the instructions above. Remember that we have discontinued doing contact tracing, so it is the responsibility of the person who has tested positive to contact those they’ve exposed. You may share these instructions with them.

Please be aware that Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is also a resource for COVID.

SVMC’s COVID-19 RESOURCE CENTER
982 Mansion Drive, Bennington, VT
SVMC COVID HOTLINE

802-440-8844

Campus Health Center

In the event of an emergency, call Campus Safety at x767 from a campus phone.

The Student Health Center will be open and staffed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the residency. Times are being determined and will be listed in The Daily among other places.

Non-emergency messages for administrative health staff regarding non-urgent matters can be left at 802-440-4426 (x4426 from on campus), or by emailing healthservices@bennington.edu Messages will be checked and responded to twice per week.

If you require non-emergency medical care, please go to SVMC ExpressCare.

SOUTHWESTERN VERMONT MEDICAL CENTER

EXPRESSCARE

Open seven days a week, 8:00am-6:00pm, for minor illnesses and injuries.

120 Hospital Drive, Bennington, VT

802-440-4077

 

SOUTHWESTERN VERMONT MEDICAL CENTER

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

100 Hospital Drive, Bennington, VT

802-442-6361

 

BEST PRACTICES

To enhance the support available to you, we recommend that you:

  • Discuss your telehealth options with your healthcare providers, to supplement the support that the College can provide;
  • Bring at least two boxes of antigen tests, several high-quality masks, and a pulse-oximeter with you. We will have a limited supply of surgical masks and antigen tests on hand;
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of any prescription drugs you are taking, in case you need to self-isolate during the residency;
  • Have a back-up departure plan in case you get COVID-19 at the end of the residency and need to return home. We won’t be able to house you after the residency ends.

Thank you,
The COVID Task Force and Health Advisory Group

covid@bennington.edu

May 16, 2022 | Message to the MFAW Community from Provost Maurice Hall

Dear MFA Community:

Below you will find the COVID guidelines and protocols, which we outline here in advance of the June on-campus residency (June 2-12, 2022). We look forward to welcoming the Writing Seminars back to campus, while continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our entire community amid an ever-changing pandemic.

Please bookmark the COVID-19 Updates and Information site (see the MFA tab) and check back regularly for updates as this policy will be revisited and revised based on CDC guidance.

Due to a recent upsurge in COVID-19 cases in Vermont and in Bennington County, the College has updated its Visitor and Alumni attendance policy for the MFA June residency.

VISITOR AND ALUMNI POLICY (Updated)

In light of the recent upsurge in COVID cases, campus will be closed to visitors and alumni during the residency. All academic classes and the nightly reading series will be for enrolled students and those in residence on campus only.

At this time, alumni (except those in residence) may not attend any portion of the residency including lectures, master classes, or evening readings. Evening readings will be streamed online. 

REQUIRED STEPS PRIOR TO ARRIVAL

Please take a moment to review the mandatory steps needed for you to return to campus. In order to receive your registration packet and attend the residency, you must have paid your tuition bill in full, and you must sign the Commitment to Shared Responsibility and upload your vaccination card.

Commitment to Shared Responsibility

In order to support a culture of safety, responsibility, and accountability, we will require that all members of the community (students, staff, and faculty) sign a Commitment to Shared Responsibility.

Vaccination and booster reporting for MFA students

  • MFA students must be up to date on COVID vaccination (primary series + booster(s) if eligible), to attend the residency. Students must submit their documentation by Monday, May 23, 2022—one week prior to the residency that begins on June 2, 2022.
  • 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.
  • We strongly encourage those who are eligible for a second vaccination booster to receive one prior to the June residency.  

Vaccination and boosting for faculty and staff

  • Employees are required to get a booster within 30 days of their eligibility date. Please upload proof of booster vaccination to ADP.

PRE-ARRIVAL AND TESTING

All members of the MFA Community must do pre-arrival testing. All participants must produce one negative PCR or two negative Rapid Antigen Tests (taken 24-48 hours apart) within 72 hours prior to arrival. At-home tests are acceptable. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID within 90 days of the beginning of the residency should present documentation of their previous positive COVID test; these individuals are only required to produce one negative Rapid Antigen test prior to arrival. Please upload documentation (photo) of your negative test(s) by May 30 using this form monitored by Health Services.

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. We strongly recommend you wear a mask during travel to ensure the public health of our campus community.

ON-CAMPUS TESTING

The College is no longer requiring surveillance testing. While on campus, if you develop symptoms (fever, sore throat, chills, loss of smell or taste, GI complaints, etc.), we ask that you self-test. The College will provide Rapid Antigen Tests that will be available at the Campus Safety booth, which is open and staffed 24 hours a day. The tests are located just inside the door. Please take only what is needed. Again, these tests are only for those with symptoms—do not test yourself just out of curiosity.

For MFA community members with symptoms: If you are having symptoms, including fatigue, a runny nose, a cough, loss of taste of smell, or a sore throat:

  • Do not assume that it is not COVID until you have produced a negative test result.
  • If you are ill, do not attend any classes, workshops, social events, etc. until COVID has been ruled out. Also, if you are ill, please do not enter the dining hall.  
  • If you are sick with COVID, please notify writing@bennington.edu immediately and then your teacher to arrange for a Zoom link to your workshop, if necessary.
  • Health Services will be available on campus during the residency. 

MASKING

  • 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.
  • Bring enough masks to cover your time here at the residency.
  • 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. You may also remove your mask in private single-occupancy rooms/offices. 

WHAT IF A PERSON TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID? 

If a person tests positive, we will follow the new guidelines from the Vermont Department of Health:

  • Members of the MFA community who test positive will be expected to isolate themselves in their room for five days following the positive test result. (Your test-day is day 0.)
  • Email writing@bennington.edu immediately with your name, dorm name, room number, and any dietary restrictions you have.
  • You can be released if you test negative with antigen tests on days 4 and 5 and are asymptomatic. 
  • You can leave isolation after day 5 if your symptoms have improved AND you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.

DURING ISOLATION

  • Students in isolation (i.e., who have COVID) will have food delivered by a staff member or a volunteer.
  • Students will be able to access their workshop via Zoom if they have COVID and feel well enough to attend. 
  • Students will need to communicate with their teacher directly if they require Zoom access for their workshop. 

General Prevention Measures

The College encourages 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.

COMMENCEMENT (Visitor and guest policy updated)

Commencement visitors will be limited to the families of the June 2022 graduating class only. Alumni who graduated during the virtual residencies who have been invited back may take part in Commencement and the reception, but are not allowed to bring guests or visitors. The campus will be closed to all other visitors and alumni. 

Visitors/family of the June 2022 class must be fully vaccinated/boostered and fill out the visitor form—at least 24 hours before they arrive on campus. All visitors must wear a mask when indoors and when outdoors, but unable to maintain social distancing while on campus. 

Visitors/families of the June 2022 class are allowed in public outdoor spaces on Bennington College’s campus, including walking trails. 

Visitors are not allowed in workshops, classes, lectures, or faculty readings (evening readings will be streamed online). These events are for enrolled students only. 

This policy will be revisited and revised based on CDC guidance.

Please direct all questions about COVID policies to the COVID task force at covid@bennington.edu

The COVID Task Force

The COVID Task Force has been working throughout the pandemic to monitor, assess, and adjust our policies to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. The Task Force is a team of committed staff and administrators co-chaired by Alison (Ali) Tartaglia, DrPH, our Director of Student Health Promotion and resident public health expert, and Dr. Randy Anselmo, Director of Health Services. Please know that like other college campuses throughout the nation, we anticipate that Omicron will have a continued impact on our community, and with this in mind, we will continue to update a number of health and safety protocols in anticipation of your arrival.

April 2, 2022 | Message to the MFAW Community from Provost Maurice Hall

Dear MFA Community:

I write to you today with initial information regarding our current COVID protocols in advance of the June on-campus residency (June 2-12, 2022.) We look forward to welcoming our MFA students and faculty back to campus, while continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our entire community amid an ever-changing pandemic.

Plans for arrival testing and/or ongoing testing will be determined in the coming months and in consultation with campus health services, CDC guidelines, and state policy. Please bookmark the COVID-19 Updates and Information site and check back regularly for updates as this policy will be revisited and revised based on CDC guidance.

Please direct all questions to the COVID task force at covid@bennington.edu

The COVID Task Force

The COVID Task Force has been working throughout the pandemic to monitor, assess and adjust our policies to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff. The Task Force is a team of committed staff and administrators co-chaired by Alison (Ali) Tartaglia, DrPH, our Director of Student Health Promotion and resident public health expert, and Dr. Randy Anselmo, Director of Health Services. Please know that like other college campuses throughout the nation, we do anticipate that Omicron will have a continued impact on our community, and with this in mind, we will continue to update a number of health and safety protocols in anticipation of your arrival. Preliminary procedures are outlined below. Keep in mind these will change as the situation changes. 

Please take a moment to review the initial mandatory steps needed for you to return to campus:

Commitment of Shared Responsibility

In order to support a culture of safety, responsibility, and accountability, we will require that all members of the community (students, staff, and faculty) sign a Commitment to Shared Responsibility.

Vaccination and booster reporting for MFA students

  • MFA students must be up to date on COVID vaccination (primary series + booster if eligible), to attend the residency. Students must submit their documentation by Monday May 16, 2022–two weeks prior to the residency that begins on June 2, 2022
  • 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.
  • If anyone vaccinated or unvaccinated has any symptoms of COVID-19, they should isolate in their room and  immediately contact Ali Tartaglia in Student Life for further instructions. 

Vaccination and boosting for faculty and staff

  • Employees are required to get a booster within 30 days of their eligibility date. Please upload proof of booster vaccination to ADP.

Masks

If a student tests positive

COVID positive cases

  • At this time, students who test positive will be expected to isolate until Day 5, when they can be released if they are asymptomatic. Students will receive direction from Student Life about where they will isolate, and about food delivery.
     
  • They will be able to access their workshop via Zoom. Students will need to communicate with their teacher directly if they require Zoom access for their workshop.
     
  • If they continue to have symptoms, they will continue to isolate up to 10 days.

Close contacts

  • While the State of Vermont has discontinued for students, the College currently provides information regarding how to contact trace and information about what to share with those considered close contacts of those who are identified as positive. 
  • Close contacts who are up to date on vaccination will not be required to quarantine or test.
  • People who are not up to date on vaccination should observe careful precautions and be tested on Day 5.

Daily symptom reporting

At the moment, fully vaccinated students will not be required to do daily symptom reporting during the Spring 2022 term. Those who are not-yet-fully-vaccinated or who have exemptions should continue to do daily reporting of symptoms.

Visitor Policy

To enter into a campus building, visitors need to be fully vaccinated/boostered and to fill out the visitor form—at least 24 hours before they arrive on campus. All visitors should wear a mask when indoors and when outdoors but unable to maintain social distancing at all times while on campus. 

Visitors are allowed in public outdoor spaces on Bennington College’s campus, including walking trails. Visitors are not allowed in workshops, classes or lectures. These events are for enrolled students only. 

This policy will be revisited and revised based on CDC guidance.

Sincerely,

Maurice Hall

Provost