Student Vaccination Policy—April 2, 2021
The following message was sent to Students, Families, Faculty, and Staff on April 2, 2021.
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Families,
Securing access to COVID-19 vaccinations for all Bennington students is a top priority. The state guidelines are confusing and frustrating. While we had hoped we could offer all students vaccinations on campus, this is not the case. So today, we are writing with an update about vaccine eligibility and distribution for students, following Governor Phil Scott’s statement on Vermont residency and college students, released late Wednesday. The statement clarifies residency requirements and estimates that the state may be able to expand vaccination registration to college students who are residents of other states by April 30. Requirements vary for those living, studying, and working in Vermont now and those planning to stay for the summer.
The information below is organized to help each of you navigate the State of Vermont’s latest vaccination policies. These are, of course, not mutually exclusive categories—many of you will fall into several of them. I encourage you to get vaccinated in whatever way is soonest and easiest for you.
On April 1, BIPOC Vermont residents and members of their household became eligible to sign up for vaccines and I encourage every student who is eligible to do so. If you are a BIPOC student from Vermont or planning to stay in Vermont over the summer, you qualify as a resident. The Vermont State guidelines also indicate that people who live in the same “household” as a BIPOC resident are also eligible and would clearly include roommates. We trust that you will observe this policy with the spirit of its intent in mind—to protect the BIPOC members of our community.
Clinics hosted by the NAACP specifically for BIPOC residents will be held in Bennington at the Second Congregational Church on 4/3, 4/10, 4/24, and 5/1. Eligible students can register for an NAACP sponsored clinic using this form, by email or by phone (802) 379-0511. If you’re planning to try to get vaccinated tomorrow at this clinic (there are limited slots for tomorrow), please register as soon as possible. The clinic on 4/10 has 150+ open slots. BIPOC students who qualify and fill out the registration form for the vaccines at the Second Congregational church will have the opportunity to request transportation to the vaccine site.
Qualifying BIPOC students may also choose to get vaccinated at a local CVS and Walgreens, We are delighted that as of this week Hannaford is offering vaccines to anyone who qualifies. If you decide to go this route, please email Health Services for a qualifying code, which some retailers seem to be requesting.
At this time, the state is not vaccinating BIPOC community members who do not meet the guidelines for in-state residency.
Non BIPOC Students who are Vermont residents OR who are staying over the summer (including BIPOC international students)
At this time, students who do not identify as BIPOC who intend to stay in Vermont for the summer will be eligible for vaccination on April 19, as will any non BIPOC student who is a Vermont resident. This may include international students.
There are several ways to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination through the Vermont Department of Health or local pharmacies. We have also just learned that Hannaford in Bennington is administering vaccines, which may be the most convenient option.
Non BIPOC Students (Including International students) Who Are Not Vermont Residents
As it stands now, Vermont health officials have indicated that they hope that students who are out-of-state residents will be eligible to register to get vaccinated on April 30, although they have made no promises. So if you are returning to another state at the end of Spring Term, you will most likely be eligible on April 30. There is a possibility that this date will move up if vaccination schedules continue to progress swiftly and it may move back if vaccinations are behind. We will let you know as soon as we can confirm a date.
There are several ways to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination through the Vermont Department of Health or local pharmacies and Hannafords in Bennington
New York State residents
New York State residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to make an appointment and to get vaccinated as of Tuesday, April 6. You can make appointments through the state system as well as through Walgreens, CVS and other pharmacies (the Hoosick Falls Walgreens is the closest NY vaccination site to campus).
We are doing our best to help coordinate student rides to vaccine sites, but COVID-19 safety restrictions complicate shuttling significantly. If you have a safe and reliable mode of transport to a vaccine site, we encourage you to take it.
We continue to advocate to have all students—regardless of residence—vaccinated as soon as possible in Vermont. We will let you know if and when we are successful. I know that this is a confusing process and we are doing our best to help students navigate a rapidly-changing situation. So sign up quickly if you believe you may be eligible under any of these criteria—and stay flexible. We are here to help as much as we can.
In the interest of being able to better advocate for our students, we ask you to let us know if you were able to access vaccinations.