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Vassar Campus to Be Closed to Visitors Beginning August 8

To help ensure the safety of students and local residents alike, Vassar College’s campus will be closed to visitors from August 8 through at least September 7, pending consultation with county health officials, President Elizabeth Bradley announced.

Vassar’s campus will be closed to the community for at least one month starting August 8.Photo: Tamar Thibodeau

Students will begin arriving for the fall semester in staggered groups over a three-week period starting August 8. All students will be tested for the COVID-19 virus before they arrive, and they will be tested two additional times before classes begin, Bradley said. And, students from states on New York State’s travel advisory list will be required to quarantine for 14 days before being allowed to attend classes at Vassar.

The President said the College’s Community Care plan calls for the campus, including the Ecological Preserve, to remain closed to non-essential visitors starting August 8 and continuing through the first week of September, or longer, pending county health guidance. “We have formulated this plan in consultation with county health officials, who believe it is best for the safety of both the community, Vassar students and employees,” Bradley said.

Chair of the Vassar Board of Trustees Anthony J. Friscia noted that the College did not come to the decision easily.

“We know the campus is an important community resource and want that to be true in the future,” Friscia said. “But for the short-term, it is recommended by local public health officials that we close to non-essential visitors in order to continue the success of Dutchess County and New York State in minimizing the spread of COVID-19.”

“The College remains committed to maintaining a fruitful and collaborative relationship with the local community and looks forward to the time when the public can be welcomed back to fully enjoy the beauty of our campus,” Friscia added.

The Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Community Gardens and Vassar Golf Course will remain open as usual, but cordoned off from the rest of the campus. In addition, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will be open to the public on weekends, with access from an entrance on Raymond Avenue, just off campus.  The Wimpfheimer Nursery School and Infant Toddler Center will also open to enrolled families towards the end of August as planned.

The Community Care plan also prohibits students from leaving the campus from the time they arrive until the end of the semester. “This protocol has been established to maintain the health and safety of surrounding communities and to limit students’ exposure as well,” Bradley said. She added that students would continue to work remotely with community organizations and with the Poughkeepsie City School District through the Vassar Urban Education Initiative. Vassar also recognizes its importance as a resource in the community and is working on plans to continue to support local businesses, through deliveries, an expanded on-campus restaurant presence and more.