Campus Operations and Business Continuity Update

Hi everyone,

You know the old line about “slow news day”? Well, this one’s a fast news day. So put on your potato helmets and let’s ride:

Vaccine stuff

  • Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) will offer a free “high-capacity” vaccination clinic this Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s open to all, regardless of state residency. Appointments are encouraged but not required. The location is 981 Mansion Drive in Bennington, in the gym of the former Southern Vermont College. Visit the clinic’s web page for details and appointments.
  • Beginning Tuesday, June 1, college Covid testing will move to Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. only.  You’ll still have both the indoor and drive-through options and appointments should still be made through Coverified. The obvious next question is “who will be required to continue testing, and for how long?” The answers are somewhat less obvious for the moment, but look for more about this (and everything else in creation) in a future edition.
  • Testing will also be offered on Wednesday evenings during the summer for second- and third-shift staff and faculty with late hours. Staff colleagues, if you need this option please ask your department manager to contact Heather Main to coordinate. Faculty colleagues, you should contact Heather directly.
  • Students, your testing compliance is starting to stink up the joint. (I mean “become less reliable toward the end of this unprecedented academic semester.”) I know some of you are switching to remote or are just mentally out the door. That’s great, you do your thing. But on the way out, go into the CoVerified app one last glorious time, thumb that checkmark icon at the bottom, and then in the upper right of the new window choose “Go Remote.”
  • If you don’t, when you graduate I’ll make sure your diploma says you graduated from Amherst. (I’m in charge of Communications, you wouldn’t believe what I can do.)

Masking

  • Don’t throw away those masks in a moment of ill-judged post-state-regulatory euphoria. Masks will still be required at the college testing site even after our general campus policy changes on May 29.
  • Speaking of: As the masking mandate ends we’re going to see a great deal more individual choice or necessity on display, in terms of who continues to wear a mask and when. It’s good that folks can make the choices that are right for them. But these are also the moments when folks can get kind of judgy. So it seems like the right moment to remind our community that each of us leads a rich and complex life, full of decisions made for reasons only they understand. So be chill about it (Sorry, I’m 54 years old, and that was embarrassing.). You can still judge everyone’s taste in glasses and clothes and pets and food and music and friends and politics and whatever if you really need to get your ya-yas out.

Other things very worth knowing about

  • Food! Dining will hold Whitman’s open until 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 23, to accommodate late-arriving seniors. After all, we wouldn’t not feed you.
  • Sport! See the college’s Covid site for information about plans in the works for summer access to our fitness and athletics facilities. The upper fitness center in Lasell will remain open to students throughout the spring-to-summer transition. Relatedly, pool access will end today and the weight tent will close next Wednesday, May 26. More information to come.
  • Stuff! “Don’t throw it away… Give It Up!”* For those new to the program, this is an annual campus-wide donation campaign that starts during reading period and runs through Commencement (this year, a/k/a Senior Celebration). The pods await! Bring unto them your offerings of clothing, books, school supplies, tag-salable items and all that other stuff that you were going to abandon because it’s inconvenient to move or you don’t need it anymore. Respect the pods! Obey the pods! Drop your stuff in the pods! Then we (CLiA, Zilkha Center and Facilities staff, definitely not probably the pod people maybe) will use it to benefit local and international charities. Pods with “Give It Up!” signs are found all around campus and are open to your oblations 7am-7pm.

*A somewhat catchier slogan than, “Don’t throw it up… Give it away!”

All the news that fits, we print. And that’s what we’ve got to print, fittingly. Good luck with exams and papers if you’ve got ’em, and if you don’t: mazel tov. Enjoy the weekend, regardless.

Jim