Institutional News

An Update on Spring 2021

The following update regarding plans for Spring 2021 was sent on October 26, 2020 to our community from Acting Provost and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs John Bullock and Acting Dean of the College and Dean of the Library Oceana Wilson. For more information, please see our COVID Updates and Information page.

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families,

Spring 2021 is still a few months away and the state of the pandemic remains in flux, but we wanted to let you know what we anticipate for next term.

The policies we enacted this fall have been successful in protecting our community and supporting the academic needs of our students. At a time when colleges around the world have had to reinvent the classroom experience, we have successfully maintained an intimate, collaborative, and rigorous liberal arts education here at Bennington. This was only possible because of the flexibility and compassion demonstrated by the people in this community. Your willingness to adapt to challenges in the interest of our collective health has made us stronger, for which you should be very proud.

Here is what the Spring 2021 term will look like:

  • Students are encouraged to join us safely on campus, and those who cannot will again have the option to learn remotely. Students who wish to make a change to their on-campus or remote status should fill out this form by Sunday, November 1.
  • We will return to a full 14-week term. The two seven-week terms were designed to make it easier for students and faculty to respond to sudden increases in remote learning, either for individuals who needed to quarantine or in the event of outbreaks on campus. Fortunately, that was not necessary, so we are pleased to announce a return to the standard full term structure.
  • Students will quarantine until negative test results are in. All students returning after break will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and then again on day seven; they will quarantine in their rooms until the first negative test result is in, and quarantine on campus until the second one is in. This plan was informed by the lessons of our initial quarantine procedure in the fall, in which we detected all COVID-19 infections in the first round of testing; it’s consistent with the experiences of our peer colleges as well.
  • All courses will begin remotely to allow students complete the quarantine process before in-person instruction begins.
  • Campus will open for the Spring 2021 term the weekend of February 13, 2021. Students will be asked to sign up for a specific time to arrive and complete the move-in process. We are currently planning that students who did not live on campus for the fall term will arrive on February 13, and students who lived on campus for the fall will return on February 14. (As was the case in the Fall, we will work with International students who can not arrive in February due to restricted travel or delayed visa processing as a result of closed embassies.)
  • Long Weekend will change to be two 3-day weekends to comply with Vermont mandatory guidance.
  • The Commitment of Shared Responsibility will remain in place for the Spring 2021 term.

We will be holding Q&A sessions for students and families to answer any questions they have:

  • Tuesday, October 27, 2:00-3:00 pm ET—register
  • Friday, October 30, 3:00-4:00 pm ET—register

Please submit any questions you have and register to attend.

All of our procedures are compliant with the State of Vermont’s current travel requirements and our own on-campus rules. As before, every on-campus student, faculty, and staff member is expected to continue to report daily symptom changes with CoVerified and follow current masking and distancing requirements.

Please keep in mind these policies have been designed to be flexible and respond to public health needs, so any dramatic changes in the course of the coronavirus could prompt further changes. We will keep you apprised of the details as Spring 2021 approaches.

Thank you for your continued commitment to our collective health and well-being,

John Bullock, Acting Provost and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
Oceana Wilson, Acting Dean of the College and Dean of the Library