WESTFIELD – Outgoing Interim Westfield State University President Dr. Roy H. Saigo sent a letter to students June 16 with details about how the Fall 2021 semester will unfold in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saigo said in his letter that the main focus in planning for the next semester is effectively communicating the vaccine mandate for students. All students who will have an in-person presence on the Westfield State campus in the fall will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 1 unless they have a legitimate medical or religious exemption.
Saigo said in his letter that international students will be allowed to attend if they have received any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization, including SinoPharm, AstraZeneca, and the Serum Institute of India’s vaccines.
As a way to promote the vaccine among students, Westfield State will participate in the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge. The challenge is organized by The White House and the Department of Education. On the Whitehouse.gov web page describing the challenge, colleges who participate are told to commit to three key actions: “engaging every student, faculty and staff member, organizing their college communities, and delivering vaccine access for all.”
Later in his letter, Saigo said that vaccinated persons will not be required to wear a mask or to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Those who are not vaccinated due to legitimate exemptions will be required to wear masks indoors if they cannot socially distance themselves and take part in weekly COVID-19 testing.
Public access to the Westfield State campus had been restricted due to the pandemic. On June 15, when Gov. Charlie D. Baker’s emergency declaration expired, that restriction was lifted. Visitors from off-campus will now be allowed into residence halls.
Dining services on campus will also return to pre-pandemic service models, though one can still use the GET app for certain locations on campus to schedule or order food.
“I appreciate everyone’s continued cooperation as we look forward to getting back to normal University operations and experiences at Westfield State,” said Saigo.