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What to Expect for Fall: A Message to WPI Students

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 13, 2021

This message was sent to WPI students.

  • Join us for a Town Hall on July 14 at 12 noon EDT to learn what to expect when you return.
  • Remember: the deadline to submit vaccination information is August 1; if your information is not submitted, you won’t be permitted on campus and will be unenrolled from your classes.
  • Orientation, early arrival, and move-in dates are outlined on the Move-In page.
  • Log onto MyTechFlex to sign required consent forms and see your assigned onboarding date.
  • All students will participate in weekly routine testing after onboarding.
  • Student clubs and activities are back at full capacity; facilities like the Rec Center will be open at full capacity as well.
  • Face coverings are optional if you’re fully vaccinated; they’re required indoors if you’re unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

​​​​​​Are You Ready for the Fall?
​​​​​​We remain focused on our values and our commitment to offer a positive experience for students. Having carefully considered student feedback along with state and national guidance, we are pleased to share the following information on what to expect when you return to campus this fall. There’s a lot to know, so please take the time to review it all.  

You’re Invited: A Student Experience Town Hall 
A student-focused town hall with CERT leaders will be held Wednesday, July 14 at 12 noon EDT to give you more details on the information below and to give you a chance to ask questions about the upcoming academic year. Join us via Zoom or live stream on YouTube. A recording of the Town Hall will be available for those unable to log-in.

Onboard Testing 

  • Students will not need to have a pre-arrival test prior to coming back to WPI (unless traveling from an international location), but everyone should comply with state and federal travel guidelines for testing and vaccination as they make their way to campus. 
  • ALL students (undergraduate and graduate living both on- and off-campus), as well as all faculty and staff, will need to take a COVID-19 onboard test on campus as part of their return to WPI. 
  • Go to your MyTechFlex dashboard on the WPI Hub to get personalized information and instructions about your onboarding date; for residential students, your onboarding date will also be your move-in date. Move-in times will be selected later. Please do not select a testing appointment until that time.
  • You must review and sign the new COVID-19 testing forms in MyTechFlex in order to be included in the testing program. Even if you have signed these forms previously, you need to sign them for this academic year. 
  • Orientation, early arrival, and move-in dates are outlined on the Move-In page.

Routine Testing 

  • In alignment with the Massachusetts Higher Education Testing Group recommendations, all students and employees, even those who are vaccinated, will still participate in weekly testing.  
  • The good news is you won’t have an assigned testing day—you just need to make an appointment and get tested at your convenience once every 7 days.  
  • We’re moving to pooled testing, which uses the same nasal swab procedure but processes a number of swabs together; if your pool of swabs produces a positive test, you’ll be called back for individual retesting, using the rapid Abbott BinaxNOW test, as well as an individual PCR test. 
  • Coming soon: on MyTechFlex, you’ll be able to track your testing compliance. 
  • You’ll still need to use the symptom tracker to report any COVID-like symptoms or close contact with a COVID positive person. 
  • Anyone who tests positive or is an unvaccinated close contact for a COVID-positive person will need to isolate and/or quarantine in accordance with current health guidelines, as outlined here.

Vaccination Information Reminder 

  • All students are required to be fully vaccinated or have submitted a religious or medical exemption and must upload their information in the Health Portal by August 1. If you do not provide your information by August 1, you will be unenrolled from classes and placed on administrative leave for A and B Term and will not be permitted on campus. See the June 22 message for details.

Face Coverings 

  • Anyone can and should wear a face covering if they prefer to at any time or in any situation. Please remember that someone may wear a face covering out of requirement or preference. We encourage everyone to wear face coverings in densely populated areas. 
  • Unvaccinated students will be required to wear masks indoors, except within their personal residences where 6-foot distancing can be maintained.  
  • Masks will still be required for all students in a few select places, even those who are vaccinated. This includes transportation like the campus shuttle or SNAP and Health Services.

​​​​​​Classroom Experience 

  • All on-campus classrooms, teaching labs, tech suites, and project and study spaces will be back to full capacity with no distancing required. 
  • Course delivery formats will return to pre-pandemic methods: on-campus or online; there is no expectation for full hybrid format. We do plan to incorporate lessons learned from hybrid delivery to help improve student learning outcomes. For example, look for wider use of lecture capture, which can benefit students who may need to miss an in-person lecture. 
  • Global Project travel: The Global Experience Office (GEO) evaluates risk with a multistep decision process that considers factors specific to each site. These include national entry restrictions, rate of COVID-19 infection in the surrounding area, status of operations for the local project partner, and quality of available local medical care. The goal is for everyone to complete their IQP requirement while staying safe and healthy. Watch for information from the GEO if you’re planning project travel this year. 
  • Students with approved accommodations through the Office of Accessibility Services should continue to follow the usual process for requesting accommodations. 

​​​​​​Student Life Experience 
Here are some other exciting updates that you can expect to see on campus that will impact your student experience: 

  • Adirondack chairs are here to stay—enjoy and take advantage of this outdoor seating opportunity with friends. 
  • Be sure to explore the 100 things to do in Worcester once you are back on campus. 
  • You will still see cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer around campus; WPI will still be following our rigorous cleaning protocols.  

​​​​​​Sports and Recreation 
Looking forward to staying fit in the upcoming academic year? We have heard how eager students are to get back into the Sports & Recreation Center and connect with the teams. 

  • Physical Education classes will be in-person and fully active (except online courses, of course). 
  • Intramurals are back! Look for more details as A-Term commences.
  • The Rec Center and outdoor fields will be fully accessible to the WPI community with no reservations after onboarding is complete.   
  • Varsity and club sports will be fully back in action with daily practices and competitions. 

​​​​​​Dining on Campus 

  • All dining locations will be open, including the newly renovated Goat’s Head—which includes a brand-new Starbucks and the Innovation Kitchen. 
  • No dining reservations are required.  
  • Mobile ordering through the GET app and campus delivery are here to stay. 
  • All transactions will remain cashless. Use your debit/credit card, Goat Bucks, or meal plan to purchase food on campus.


​​​​​​Living on Campus 

  • We are so excited to have you living on campus and cannot wait for opening weekend, August 21-24. Our sense of community is one of WPI’s strongest qualities and you’re an important part of that community.  

  • We encourage residents to keep their doors open when in their rooms, hang out with their neighbors down the hall and get to know new friends.  
  • Residential students are welcome to have guests from within the WPI community visit them in their residence hall.  
  • Residence hall lounges and tech suites will be available for individual and group use.  
  • Resident Advisors will host programs and events for their residents both in and outside of the residence halls. In first-year areas, Community Advisors and Insight Advisors will be joining in on the fun. 
  • On-campus laundry facilities will be available to all residential students.

​​​​​​Student Organizations and Events 
There is a lot to look forward to as we prepare for the upcoming academic year. The Student Activities Office is excited that students and student organizations will again be able to: 

  • Participate in an in-person Student Activities Fair in August.  
  • Meet, gather, and sponsor programs at full capacity starting on August 15.  
  • Participate in community service programs and access the Community Service Van. 
  • Engage in student organization-sponsored travel, pending approval through the standard registration process.
  • Student organizations should keep an eye out for a student leader meeting to include event guidance and what to expect for program planning in the fall soon.​

​​​​​​Friendly Reminders 
While we are looking forward to a better normal, there are important deadlines associated with our ability to keep the herd together. Please carefully review this message and adhere to the deadlines outlined above. We look forward to seeing you at the town hall next week.  
Thank you.
Dean of Students