COVID-19 Safety Precautions
Revised 8 July 2021, 12 July 2021, and 30 July 2021.
It is especially important that all 2021 Conference attendees read this entire page carefully so that you understand fully and are applying with a complete awareness of what to expect of us and what we expect of you. The only way we can have an in-person Conference in 2021 is if all attendees comply with the precautions that are stated here, regardless of your personal level of concern. These precautions supersede those that were listed in the Online Application Form.
How We Developed These Requirements
These precautions were determined after consultation with experts in the fields of infectious disease, airborne viral spread, and occupational health and safety.
Changes to These Precautions
We are aware of recent CDC guidance related to vaccinated people and are working with our consultants to determine an approach towards possibly relaxing our precautions. Because conditions change, and because we must also remain aligned with state, local, and College requirements, we will wait until the Conference is closer to make a decision about changes to our precautions.
It is possible that additional precautions or cancellation of the Conference may become necessary if conditions worsen between now and the start of the Conference. If we make any changes to the precautions as specified here we will notify all attendees prior to the Conference.
July 8 Update: Revised, after consultation with experts, based on considerations that include lower case rates, continued confirmation of vaccine effectiveness, and relaxation of College requirements. The revisions affect items 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8 below. If conditions worsen significantly or government or College requirements change before the Conference starts, the precautions may be revised again.
July 12 Update: Guidance on fit-tested masks added. See item 3 below.
July 30 Update: Revised, after consultation with experts, due to rising case rates and recent findings regarding transmissibility of the Delta variant among vaccinated people. The revisions affect items 2, 4, 7, and 8 below.
- Vaccination: We require that all Conference attendees be fully vaccinated, and require documentation demonstrating each person’s vaccination status. If there are any other outside groups on campus while we are in-residence, Bennington College will require that their eligible attendees are fully vaccinated. We are aware that a youth tennis day camp will overlap with our residency, but they will not use the dining hall or Commons, and they will be restricted to buildings that we do not use. Bennington College cannot at this time require that their employees are vaccinated, but the vast majority are already.
- Masking: (Revised July 30) We require masks (the specific type is defined in the next item) at all times indoors, with the following exceptions:
- when consuming food or drink
- when alone or with a family bubble in your dorm room
- when engaging in hygiene tasks that preclude masking
- Type of Masks: (Revised July 12) In the situations where we require masks, we require well-fitting, cup-shaped N95 masks without valves. These are now readily available, and supplies are such that health care providers no longer need us to avoid buying these masks. Foldable masks are not acceptable, and KN95 masks are not acceptable. For some people, achieving a seal with the mask might require removing facial hair. We are purchasing masks that meet our specifications and will make them available to all Conference attendees at no charge. July 12 Update: If you have been fit tested and are able to achieve a better fit with a different type of N95 mask you may use that instead.
- Distancing: (Revised July 30) We require 6 feet of distancing whenever possible indoors.
- Coaching Assignments and Free Play: We will not mix winds and non-winds (strings and piano) in coaching assignments, and we will not assign any coached groups larger than five players. For free play sessions, we are not applying restrictions and are instead leaving it up to individuals to decide for themselves which situations they are comfortable joining.
- Playing Spaces: (Revised July 8) All playing spaces that we officially provide will be selected with quality of ventilation in mind. For coaching, wind groups will be assigned playing spaces with the most space and the highest levels of ventilation. July 8 Update: For coaching, we will not use the Jennings music building, and instead we will primarily use newly-constructed, air-conditioned, mechanically-ventilated spaces in Commons.
- Larger Gatherings and Social Events: (Revised July 30) We are currently planning to support a limited number of larger gatherings, such as musicales, faculty concerts, and the general meeting. July 30 Update: Masking will be required for audience members at all gatherings and for performers at concerts and musicales. Masking will not be required for speakers at meetings while they are speaking. Our evening social gatherings will be supported, but in a larger, ventilated space, and with modified food-handling approaches. We will not have the Round Robin events this year, but we will have a different playing activity on Sunday evenings.
- Housing: (Revised July 30) We will be limiting the occupation density of all dorms. As usual, all rooms will be single occupancy unless a double is requested by a couple. July 30 Update: Masking will be required as described above.
- Symptom and Exposure Monitoring Before the Conference: If you experience any of the following within the two weeks prior to your planned arrival at the Conference, we require that you notify us as soon as possible:
- positive COVID-19 test
- COVID-19 symptoms
- close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19
- being directed to isolate or quarantine
We are purchasing masks that meet our specifications and will make them available to all Conference attendees at no charge.
For those who are traveling to the Conference via commercial air/train/bus and for anyone who wishes to purchase N95 masks in advance of the Conference, we have identified some options that meet our specifications: