Awareness of COVID-19 policies and conduct expectations
Information about COVID-19 guidelines and protocols at Brandeis has changed frequently as public health guidance has changed; please be aware that the information in this letter may be outdated. For the latest information, please visit the COVID-19 Response website.
Aug. 16, 2020
We have often noted in previous communications that this semester will be unprecedented and challenging. But the tone of this message is purposefully different and more strict than is usual here at Brandeis. That is because our success this upcoming semester will depend upon universal adherence to Brandeis’ health and safety policies. These include high-frequency, mandatory testing; maintaining appropriate physical distancing; wearing a mask in all public spaces; and many other requirements as outlined in our health and safety guidelines.
For all members of the Brandeis community—students, staff, and faculty members alike—a failure to adhere to these policies will directly and immediately risk the health and safety of every Brandeisian who will spend time on our campus. As a result of these clear, harmful consequences of noncompliance, there will be zero tolerance for violations of Brandeis’ health and safety policies—not only for students, but also for faculty and staff. Violations will result in immediate discipline, which may include suspension, restrictions from campus, removal from campus housing, and/or being withdrawn from one or more classes, and/or revoking parking privileges.
It is vital that we speak honestly about the level of accountability necessary for our community to remain on campus in the fall. We are being so direct because you need to be aware that these rules are more stringent than what you may be accustomed to at Brandeis. This is out of concern for you and your health, and the health of our faculty, staff and neighbors in Waltham and Greater Boston. As a campus community, we bear an enormous responsibility to make sure our wider community, as well as our campus community, avoids a spike in infections.
As leaders at Brandeis, our own compliance and commitment to these efforts is equally as important as yours in supporting the health and wellbeing of our community. We are personally committed to following all of Brandeis’ new policies and procedures in our day-to-day behaviors. We commit to hold ourselves, and our teams, to an extremely high standard of compliance. This fall, our personal health and safety will directly rely upon your adherence to these policies; your health and safety will directly rely upon ours.
As you settle into on-campus life, or prepare to move onto campus in the coming weeks, it’s important for you to understand what this level of compliance will look like in practice. These are also posted in the Rights and Responsibilities section of the Dean of Students’ website. The following violations of Brandeis’ health and safety policies will result in immediate referral to the department of Student Rights and Community Standards for adjudication, which may result in extensive restrictions from living on or coming to campus:
- Missing more than one scheduled COVID-19 test.
- Failure by a student residing in on-campus housing to submit the Daily Health Assessment every day (all students, faculty and staff will be required to demonstrate that they have completed and passed the daily assessment to attend an on-campus class or enter public facilities such as the Library or Gosman).
- Failure by a student residing in off-campus housing to submit the Daily Health Assessment every day the student visits campus.
- Violation of orders to quarantine or isolate as required by a healthcare provider.
- Failure to wearing facial coverings as designated.
- Other serious violations as determined by the Dean of Students Office.
- Travel will be limited, once on campus, to the greater Boston area until November 20. In case of an emergency that requires a student to travel out of state, it will be necessary for the student to notify the Massachusetts state guidelines regarding COVID-19 travel quarantine upon return to campus.
- Massachusetts and other states have identified house parties as super-spreader events that have led to COVID-19 outbreaks. Brandeis has a responsibility to our larger community to prevent such events. Therefore, no outdoor social gatherings of more than ten people are permitted at any time, on or off-campus, unless otherwise officially approved by the university. In any gathering, all attendees must be masked and remain six feet apart. If an off-campus social gathering that violates these policies is reported to the Dean of Students Office, it will be investigated, and organizers and attendees may be subject to disciplinary action.
- No gatherings of more than six people at any time within the residence hall public spaces (lounges, suite/apartment common rooms) are permitted. When gatherings do take place, students are required to remain six feet apart and masked. Students are required to adhere to the posted maximum number of occupants in both shared and common spaces.
- In spaces other than residence halls, no indoor gatherings larger than the posted maximum capacity. If no limit is posted, a maximum of ten people may gather.
- If the university becomes aware of large, unauthorized gatherings that exceed stated requirements indicated above or involve a lack of adherence to public health policies, we will have to take actions such as further limiting the availability of public spaces on campus, such as Gosman or the Library, or reducing the number of students able to live on campus.
- The university will comply with or exceed all state and local public health regulations, and students are required to comply as well. These are changing frequently. It is possible, perhaps likely, that over the course of the semester, Brandeis will have to make some policies stricter for safety, or to comply with revised state rules.
Brandeis will continue to carefully observe the public health situation in Massachusetts and regionally. As we have said since announcing our fall 2020 plans at the end of June, our ability to hold in-person instruction and host students in the residence halls through the Thanksgiving break will remain subject to change as the pandemic continues to evolve in the coming weeks. We may need to change plans at any time.
We very much look forward to a time when we can be more casual about our interactions as a community. We know that the values of and commitment to social solidarity is part of our Brandeis culture. At the same time, if anyone in our community—students, faculty or staff—are not able to commit themselves to our new health and safety protocols, then we strongly encourage them to only engage with the community remotely.
Raymond Lu Ming Ou
Vice President of Student Affairs
Dean of Students