Dear Babson Community:
Working to safeguard the wellbeing of our community and maintaining academic continuity and excellence remain our top priorities as COVID-19 cases increase in Massachusetts and around the country.
While our community’s compliance with safety protocols remains high and our seven-day average positivity rate remains under 1%, we have experienced an uptick in cases this week and see some concerning trends among the metrics we evaluate daily – including indicators that project an increase in cases in Massachusetts over the coming weeks. We also are particularly focused on helping students make a safe transition home and helping employees stay safe and well as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday.
Those factors -- coupled with the guidance of EHE, our external health consultants -- have informed our decision to conclude in-person instruction today and shift classes 100% online as of Friday, November 13. This includes both Undergraduate and Graduate classes across all three of Babson’s campuses -- Wellesley, Boston and Miami.
Since the onset of this crisis, our COVID-19 response and planning efforts have been informed by outside public health experts and continuously refined based on the data and information available to us. This remains a dynamic public health situation, and we have made an informed and responsible management decision intended to mitigate risk to our community.
Importantly, this shift to remote learning does not mean that campus is closed. Students living on campus can proceed with their previously scheduled move-out plans, and campus services such as dining, BRAC and Horn Library will remain operational with appropriate modifications in place. We do ask, however, that employees who are not student-facing transition to off-campus remote work, and that students who commute to Babson (including Graduate students) remain off campus with the exception of completing testing.
Back in August, we kicked off our semester with a week of 100% online learning. It was a key component of our strategy for safely transitioning to campus and our in-person experience. Now, grounded in the successful outcome of that decision, plus nearly three months of data and lived experience, this same tactic will help us facilitate a safe transition off campus.
As an added safety measure, we are also increasing testing availability and implementing additional testing protocols. We strongly recommend that students returning home for Thanksgiving get tested within 72 hours of planned departure from campus and we are allowing students to test twice during a seven day period to facilitate this service. We also will increase testing frequency for all on campus students and staff next week. Detailed information for Undergraduates, Graduate students, faculty and staff will be shared momentarily in follow up communications.
We must remain vigilant about ongoing testing, symptoms monitoring, physical distancing, face covering, and hand washing. We must also be mindful of Governor Baker’s stay-at-home advisory, and we expect our community to continue to adhere to revised gathering limits and additional executive orders.
Our community has done an extraordinary job of maintaining health and safety protocols and supporting each other through this semester. When we look back on this time, we will remember the entrepreneurial spirit that led us through the intensity of these moments. We will be proud of the way we came together as One Babson. Please stay safe and continue to support each other.