COVID-19 Updates, From the President

Monday Message from President Walker—April 19, 2021

The following message was sent to Students, Families, Faculty, and Staff on April 19, 2021.

Dear Bennington community,

Today is a big day. The fall curriculum is out, the weather is beautiful and everyone on campus will be eligible for vaccines in 11 days. I completed my post-vaccine waiting period over the weekend and am thrilled to start seeing more of you in person as campus warms up this spring.

This Sunday at 11:00 am in Commons Dining, I want to invite students to join me for a (socially distanced) brunch to better get to know one another. You will find more details on the calendar. If you're interested, please email shannonhowlett@bennington.edu to reserve your spot now!

COVID-19 Update

We currently have just one active case in our community—an employee who works remotely and presents no risk of campus exposure.

In hopeful news, all Vermont residents age 16 and older are eligible for vaccination as of today; and next Friday (4/30) every member of this community will be eligible here in Vermont.

As we shared on Friday, we will require vaccinations for all students in the fall. There will be exemptions. We are strongly urging faculty and staff to be vaccinated as well. Vaccination will be crucial to maintaining a healthy community and returning to a more physically connected learning environment. I am so encouraged by the rate of vaccination among faculty and staff, and the enthusiasm students have expressed for these policies and grateful for your cooperation.

Fall 2021 Planning

With the launch of our Fall 2021 Curriculum today, we are looking forward to a robust return to our in-person classroom and residential experience. 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.

While we look forward to welcoming almost all students back to campus in the fall, we also 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.

Later this week, a form will be sent to all returning students to collect your plans for the Fall 2021 term. All students are asked to complete this form by April 30, 2021. Having clarity on your status for the fall term will allow for smoother registration, housing, and billing processes.

This Thursday: Forests Adrift with Dr. Charles D. Canham

I hope you will tune in for this year’s Woodworth Lecture on Thursday at 7:00 pm titled Forests Adrift: Currents Shaping the Future of Northeastern Trees with Charles D. Canham, PhD and senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. For his lecture, Dr. Canham will provide an analysis of the past, present and future of northeastern forests and the forces that have shaped them.

Remembering Vartan Gregorian

I want to leave you with a quote from Vartan Gregorian, an extraordinary educator and leader who died late last week. He was a brilliant historian, spoke seven languages, and loved talking about big ideas. To me and many others, he was a wonderful colleague and friend. He spearheaded the efforts to revitalize The New York Public Library, and was president of Brown University and the Carnegie Corporation, a major foundation. He believed deeply in the transformative power of education and information.

“In our democratic society, the library stands for hope, for learning, for progress, for literacy, for self-improvement and for civic engagement. The library is a symbol of opportunity, citizenship, equality, freedom of speech and freedom of thought, and hence, is a symbol for democracy itself.” - Vartan Gregorian

Have a great week,

Laura Walker
President