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Elms College Plans Full On-campus Experience for Fall Semester

CHICOPEE — Elms College announced it will offer students a full on-campus living and learning experience for the fall 2021 semester.

“The college successfully had students living and taking classes safely on campus at the height of the pandemic, and due to our ElmsSafe health protocols, we completed the 2020-21 academic year that way,” Elms College President Harry Dumay said. “With the vaccine readily available and state COVID restrictions easing, I feel confident that we can provide students with an on-campus experience that includes residence halls at pre-pandemic capacities, on-campus classes, competitive sports, and more.”

Plans are now underway to also ensure that the dining hall is fully operational and students will be allowed to gather on campus for various activities and clubs.

“Our top priority has always been the health and safety of the entire Elms community — students, faculty, and staff — and it is because of their diligence and hard work over the past year that we are able to make this important decision,” Dumay added.

The college is requiring all students who are planning to attend classes in person and those who will reside in residence halls to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination prior to the start of the fall semester. Students whose coursework is entirely online and are not required to be on campus are exempt from this requirement.

The decision was made based on guidance provided by the Massachusetts Higher Education Testing Group, as well as discussions with faculty and staff across the Elms College campus. The Massachusetts Higher Education Testing Group has found that vaccination levels above 80% are essential — and levels above 90% will be most effective — in controlling infections on residential campuses.

Since the college will be fully open in the fall semester, Elms is also requiring that all staff and faculty get a COVID-19 vaccination before returning to campus.

“We made the decision to require everyone on campus to be fully inoculated in order to facilitate a vibrant and supportive learning environment that is as close to normal as possible,” Dumay said. “That is what makes the educational experience at Elms so special.”

To help facilitate vaccinations, the college scheduled a vaccination clinic on June 15 as part of its COVID vaccination partnership with Big Y supermarkets.

Elms is awaiting confirmation by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference and the NCAA regarding the announcement of the fall sports schedule.