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Expectations for Our Fall Semester

Note: This is dated information and may not reflect the current policies in place on campus. Please refer to We Are WPI for the latest information.

July 23, 2020

This message was sent to all students and their families.

As the July 26th deadline for completing the Fall Intentions Form approaches, I want to provide more information about our plans for your return to campus and classes. Our faculty and staff have been carefully working and planning for your arrival, and we are excited to welcome you back. But as you all know, COVID will impact our daily lives and the way we learn, live and work together. To best prepare for the fall, please read the material below, and visit the We Are WPI website for more details. 

In my 25 years at WPI, we’ve never experienced the challenges this pandemic poses to our upcoming semester. Now more than ever, the health, safety, and well-being of our campus community must be our highest priority. Each of us plays a role in helping the university stay open and operating for on-campus living and classes during this pandemic, and as such, we’ve established some specific expectations for all members of the campus community. While additional information is forthcoming, I want to share our plans and expectations. 

Basic Safety-Minded Behavioral Expectations

  • Before returning to campus, all students will be required to complete online educational training about COVID-19 signs and symptoms, cleaning protocols, and other best practices for preventing spread of the virus. A hyperlink to this and other training will arrive on July 31. 
  •  All students will be expected to agree to, sign onto, and live by the WPITogether Pledge.
  • We know that many students are eager to return to see their friends. Yet at all times, both on and off campus, students must maintain social distancing (six feet) between themselves and others.
  • Students must also use face coverings that meet CDC guidelines
    • Face coverings must be worn on campus, whether inside or outside buildings.
    • Face coverings are expected to be worn anytime students are outside their residence hall, including within all academic and public spaces and dining facilities (except while eating).
    • Any medical exemption/accommodation must be approved by the Office of Accessibility Services. 

COVID-19 Testing & Reporting Expectations 

  • All students who come to campus, whether they live on or off campus, will participate in regular COVID-19 testing, which is a critical component of our approach to health and safety. While we expect our students will be attentive to this requirement, there will be quick follow-up and consequences for anyone who misses their designated testing time. These consequences will ultimately include fines and losing the opportunity to take classes physically on campus for the fall semester. 
  • There will be some additional requirements for residential students, which will be shared separately by Residential Services in the coming weeks.  
  • On a daily basis, students will use a symptom tracker to report any COVID-19 related symptoms
  • Students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 will be cared for in quarantine or isolation (and will continue with on-line classes, if possible), depending upon the advice of the WPI Health Center staff. Those who live relatively close to campus and can do so will quarantine or isolate at home.

Students Who Live Off-Campus 

Many students live in the local community, where families also reside. As such, it is imperative that WPI students be respectful of their local neighbors, actively considering how noise and social gatherings directly impact the living environment and could contribute to the spread of COVID-19.   

WPI students are expected to comply with Massachusetts State Guidelines for hosting indoor and outdoor events, which limit both the type of activity and number of participants . Large social gatherings/parties that negatively impact the local living environment, jeopardize the safety and welfare of the neighborhood and WPI students, and draw attention from neighbors or the Worcester Police Department and/or the WPI Campus Police Department will be quickly addressed. Gathering/party hosts (at minimum) will be held accountable to the Student Code of Conduct

We Need Your Help

We all have the responsibility and obligation to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic and promote the overall safety of the WPI community by strictly adhering to these expectations. It is only through our consolidated efforts that we can mitigate the risk of COVID transmission on our campus. This endeavor is bigger than any one of us. This is about community—your community. 

Thank you for helping us start this academic year well,

Gregory Snoddy
Dean of Students