By Kait Bedell – News Editor
After a year of uncertainty, the community continues to adapt to the most up to date knowledge about COVID-19 amidst the pandemic.
As more students on campus have been vaccinated, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs David Hennessey said a vaccinated community is allowing campus to be “a little more free and open” than it was in the past year.
According to Hennessey, the mandate for the vaccine has put the university at about a 97% vaccination status. Although all students were required to receive the vaccine, there were a few medical and religious exemptions made.
Due to the large percentage of herd immunity, Hennessey said the university is allowed to open up residence halls more than they had previously been opened, with four people allowed in each room. There will also be outside guests allowed on campus starting on October 1.
Hennessey said one COVID-19 protocol the university decided to keep in place was the wearing of masks within a classroom.
“You don’t have a choice about going to class,” Hennessey said. “You don’t have to go to the dining hall at a particular time if it’s too crowded and [if] you don’t feel comfortable going you don’t have to, so there’s a choice in those kinds of things.”
In addition to classrooms, the only other places currently requiring masks on campus are the Brennan Library or indoor sporting events.
Hennessey said Massachusetts currently has a mask mandate for indoor, publicly accessible places. Since the library and sporting events are public resources, Lasell must require them.
Although masks are not required everywhere else on campus for vaccinated students, Hennessey said community members should not hesitate to continue to wear them if they wish to.
“One of the things we want to really emphasize is that people who are unvaccinated we’re telling to wear masks, but everybody can be masked,” Hennessey said. “We want people to feel comfortable wearing masks….”
Along with all the other regulation changes that have taken place this year, Hennessey announced in an email to the community that effective September 30 vaccinated individuals would no longer be required to test once a week.
Athletes and unvaccinated students will still be expected to test weekly, but nobody else will be required to continue to test. If students or faculty members wish to receive a covid test, though, they will still have the ability to do so.
President Alexander is happy the university is taking this step closer to normalcy.
“I’m glad we’re moving in this direction and I’m glad that the data is suggesting we can do it,” Alexander said. “We still have to remain vigilant and we still have to remain willing to adjust on a moment’s notice, but I’m looking forward to the time when we have the virus enough under control that we don’t have to spend our time making these decisions or thinking about it all the time.”