Faith Monahan ’24 and Jack P. Carroll ’24
Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina and Chief of Staff Jason Rojas announced Trinity’s plans to relax some COVID-19 protocols, as well as require students to be fully vaccinated for the fall semester in an email addressed to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, Apr. 28.
In their email, DiChristina and Rojas indicated that by the start of the fall “the vast majority of our community will have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and as a result, we anticipate a semester that’s relatively close to our pre-pandemic normal.”
As a part of Trinity’s plans to relax various COVID-19 protocols for the fall, nearly all classes will be held in person and on campus; indoor physical distancing will be reduced from six feet to three feet. Additionally, students will be able to move into residence halls with the opportunity to live with roommates and to routinely spend time together in common areas, over meals in dining halls, as well as in other spaces across campus. Other facilities and activities such as the Liberal Arts Action Lab, internships, research, and athletics will be open and resumed albeit with continued health and safety protocols in place.
Furthermore, Trinity will not maintain the same level of COVID-19 surveillance testing that has been undertaken this year. Though Trinity is preparing to “carry out protocols for contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation as needed,” the College does not anticipate that weekly or twice-weekly testing will be required for all students who are on campus.
These protocols will be relaxed with the requirement that all students who are living or studying on campus are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. DiChristina and Rojas indicated that students will need to provide documentation of their vaccination prior to returning to campus for the fall semester.
Trinity’s plans to require the vaccine follows the actions of many other colleges and universities across the country. In April, an article in The New York Times reported that more than 100 colleges across the country will require students to receive the coronavirus vaccine in order to attend in-person classes in the fall. Within the NESCAC, Amherst, Wesleyan, Bowdoin, and Tufts are among the list of institutions that are requiring students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester.
Despite these changes, Trinity will require mask-wearing and physical distancing “at least in certain circumstances.” Also, some modifications on college-sponsored/related travel and other measures will be in place.
Regarding Trinity’s plans for study abroad, DiChristina and Rojas reported that it is still too early to know whether study abroad programs will be open to students in the fall. DiChristina and Rojas indicated that the College is currently “evaluating the situation carefully and aiming to make decisions on study away in early May.”
For students who will not be able to return campus in the fall – including international students – due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions or other issues, the College will “work to provide solutions to those students.”
In addition, DiChristina and Rojas indicated that the College will not require faculty and staff to receive the vaccine as a condition of employment at this time. Faculty and staff are advised to plan on returning to campus at the start of the semester.
When asked about Trinity’s plans for the fall, Rojas told the Tripod in an emailed response that “At this time we remain focused on completing the current semester and ensuring the health and safety of the community as we look ahead to Commencement. As we mentioned in our update, we know that the campus experience will be closer to the pre-pandemic experience that so many are looking forward to. We will continue our planning processes into late spring and summer and we will be sure to update the community. We are optimistic about what next academic year has in store for our community.”