Campus Operations and Business Continuity Update

Hi everyone,

Most of today’s Ops update is about vaccination and lots of folks are eager for information, so let’s get to it. Here’s the rundown:

Williams web resources on vaccination

Yesterday we launched two new web pages with vaccination information, for students and for faculty and staff. Please visit them, stat. They include tips on how to find and make appointments plus transportation guidance, etc.

Vaccination transport

College vaccination shuttles will start next Monday. Get on board! For full details, including schedules and how to reserve a seat, check those aforementioned web pages for students and for faculty and staff.

Students, you’re allowed to use personal vehicles to get to any vaccination site where you can obtain an appointment. You can travel alone or with a parent or podmate only. As we’ve noted, you have to make the round trip in one day: no overnights and no stops along the way, including other errands outside the Rte. 2 corridor.

This is oversharing (what’s new), but as someone who totaled a car at your age by driving for way too long without a break, don’t push the definition of a one-day round trip. It would be a cheap and pointless irony to get injured while trying to get vaccinated.

The following is a new change: Students, you no longer need to request pre-approval from the deans for vaccination trips. Just submit a completed travel form and you can head on out.

Questions? Contact the deans, or after hours and on weekends reach out to Campus Safety.

Prep for vaccination day

At the vaccination site you’ll need your ID and insurance info (there’s no charge for the vaccine, and uninsured people are vaccinated, too).

Some folks tell me they’ve breezed through the county sites while others report long lines. Waits could grow as we move into Phase 3. So I suggest planning for a long wait while hoping/praying for a short one.

Site organizers recommend wearing a shirt or top that gives vaccinators quick access to your upper arm. At the same time, shirts are required, no funny business.

They’ll make accommodations in the process for anyone with mobility limitations (see more about this below).

Which vaccine will I get?

The county has supplies of both Pfizer and Moderna, so you might be given one or the other. Anyone younger than 18 will get the Pfizer vaccine, since it’s the only one approved for that age group.

How you’ll get your second shot

Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a second dose. Either someone will make your return appointment while you’re at your first-dose clinic, or they’ll send you an email afterwards with a registration link. They’ll let you know which one while you’re on-site.

Accessibility

If you’re planning to reserve a shuttle ride and depend on an accommodation, please let Krista Jolin know this before you reserve your seat. In most cases the accommodations will already be built in, but we’d like to make sure everything’s in place for your ride.

The county vaccinations sites are required to have basic accessibility features in place. If you need to ensure a specific accommodation, please contact Get Vaccinated Berkshires directly.

Dashboard

A few of you have asked or suggested that the college post data about how many students (or people on campus generally) have been vaccinated. It’s a good idea but unfortunately not feasible at present, so instead we’ve added a link on the dashboard page that points to the state’s weekly vaccination dashboard.

The state data include the percentage of people in Berkshire County who’ve received one or both shots. Hopefully that will help give everyone a picture of the local situation.

Now here are a few updates on other Covid-related topics:

Department/program gatherings

With Commencement only about six weeks away (eek), I hope you saw Carrie Greene’s Daily Message with advice about department and program gatherings. We strongly advise that people schedule any such events for before Memorial Day weekend to avoid conflicts or capacity issues.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Departments and programs can request exceptions via the new faculty and staff event request form. The process will require you to describe public health and other protocols for your gathering.

Relatedly: Prepackaged food is OK, and you can review the college catering guidelines for additional information.

Athletic facilities updates

Athletics has been getting requests for additional access to indoor spaces. Unfortunately this isn’t possible within state and college guidelines. We’ll continue to review and introduce new options when possible.

If you’re doing outdoor activities with other people, please abide by the relevant rules and guidelines for your activity type. You can find details and check the availability of outdoor venues on the Athletics website.

Lastly, we’ll soon reinstall three basketball hoops on the court behind Mission Park. Please use the court responsibly by wearing masks at all times, maintaining six feet of distance from other players (yes, we know that’s hard for one-on-one coverage, I guess these will just be some high-scoring matchups) and adhering to posted rules.

Full pickup games aren’t permitted. If we run into problems with compliance the hoops will be removed, and we’ll tear up the court and replace it with a truck depot from which you’ll be able to hear that backing-up sound 24/7.

Charcoal grills now allowed

The drought conditions have passed and students can now use charcoal grills for cooking food—not campfires or anything stupid. Grills need to be both used and stored at least 25 feet away from any building. You may not bring a grill into any building or dump ashes in the trash bins.

That’s strictly the facts. I hope everyone survived the snow that wasn’t (hardly), and that you’re finding vaccine appointments when you need them. I’m not looking forward to trying once I become eligible on Monday, but I have faith that we’ll all get there with a little patience and persistence.

It’s worth it.

Jim