Westfield State University Student Code of Conduct COVID-19 Addendum
Westfield State University remains committed to mitigating the risks of COVID-19 and maintaining a positive campus community and online environment for living, learning, and working. The Student Code of Conduct supports this goal by identifying shared expectations that keep our community healthy.
The COVID-19 pandemic is ever changing. Students should stay informed and pay close attention to the Westfield State University communications that provide updates and specific instructions. As with all of its codes, policies, and standards, Westfield State University reserves the right to modify this code based on the current pandemic situation.
All students are expected to abide by all federal, state, local, and Westfield State University guidelines and regulations implemented to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 including but not limited to wearing face coverings, washing or sanitizing hands, physical distancing, monitoring of symptoms, and self-reporting of symptoms or a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Failure to comply with these rules and precautions will be considered a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and failure to comply could subject a student to sanctions up to and including expulsion from the University.
The following addendums, in addition to the current code of conduct outlined in the 2020-2021 Student Handbook, are expectations of the University and its students with regard to behaviors and COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Violations will be referred to and reviewed by the Student Conduct Office.
COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies Addendum
Restrictions on Social Gatherings
In order to decrease the number of individuals who could become infected with COVID- 19, the University will have limits on the number of individuals who may congregate in one place based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has advised that wearing a cloth face covering can slow the spread of COVID-19. All students are expected to follow guidelines related to face coverings. Students are required always to wear a cloth face covering while indoors (with the exception of their own residence hall room, while eating, and other specifically designated areas/circumstances). Students are also expected to wear their cloth face covering when outdoors, if they cannot engage in appropriate physical distancing. Students are expected to follow the direction of University officials regarding the use of face coverings on campus.
Physical Distancing Guidelines
The CDC recommends that you limit close contact to other individuals. Specifically, you should maintain a 6-foot distance from others, in both indoor and outdoor spaces. It is important that you are respectful of other people’s space and maintain the appropriate amount of distance. Students are expected to follow the identified travel patterns in all University buildings/locations.
Off-Campus Housing - Commuter Students
Students living in off-campus housing should adhere to federal, state, and local guidelines limiting the number of people who may gather together. Additionally, students should consider limiting the number of external guests visiting their off-campus residence. As a reminder, the University’s off-campus jurisdiction is as follows:
Off-Campus Jurisdiction - When a criminal violation is committed off campus and a court conviction ensues, the violator may be subject to the Board’s disciplinary jurisdiction if the University President/designee determines that the criminal violation interferes with the integrity of the University’s rightful responsibilities and activities. Further, an off-campus criminal violation, regardless of any court status, may subject the alleged violator to the Board’s disciplinary jurisdiction if the University President/designee at his/her discretion determines that the alleged violator constitutes a danger to persons or property on or off campus or has engaged in off-campus conduct that affects the welfare of the campus community. Such behaviors that may be subject to University disciplinary action include, but are not limited to, physical assault and battery, sexual assault, harassing or intimidating behavior, damage to other’s property, unlawful alcohol gatherings, disruptive behavior, selling or distributing drugs, and any drug possession where the evidence indicates intent to sell or distribute controlled substances. Also, any student who exhibits chronic behavioral issues off campus may be subject to University disciplinary action under these guidelines.
Residential Life - Housing Operations and Residential Engagement Policies
Students living in Westfield State University residence halls must abide by the rules put in place to keep their residential community safe. Specific policies and expectations related to guests, group gatherings, and other responses to COVID-19 must be followed. Until further notice, students are not permitted to have any guests, both student and non-student, in their designated residence hall. Students are also prohibited from visiting other residence halls outside of their assigned building.
Students are expected to monitor their health for any symptoms associated with COVID-19 (which includes temperature checking) on a daily basis. When asked, students must accurately and honestly report symptoms or risk factors for COVID-19. Students who feel ill or have a fever may not attend classes or events and must contact Health Services for further instruction. The University will give additional instructions about health monitoring/reporting in the future as appropriate, and students will be required to follow any such instructions. Such monitoring may require the use of technology (such as telephone apps, digital displays, etc.) or may entail other means of
monitoring. Even if not required, when available, students are strongly encouraged to utilize technology (such as telephone apps, digital displays, etc.) that is made available through state and local government to assist in contact tracing and resource sharing.
Conduct in On-Line and Virtual Settings
As always, students are expected to act civilly and respectfully, in all environments, including on-line, social media, and virtual settings. Students should be mindful of their communication (phone, videoconferencing, email, etc.) with faculty, staff, and other students. Recordings of any nature in these settings without the party’s consent is against Massachusetts State General Laws and University policy.
Student Release and Acknowledgement
Massachusetts is fighting the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a highly infectious, life- threatening disease declared to be a global pandemic. There currently is no known treatment, cure or vaccine for COVID-19. The disease may be contracted through contact with infected persons who may be asymptomatic, or from contact with the virus left on surfaces. In accordance with the recommendations and guidance of the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Health, as well as the guidance provided in Massachusetts’s Safe on Campus Guide, the University has taken steps to limit the spread of COVID-19, but the health and safety of the community depend upon all its members accepting the shared risk associated with the disease.
Aware of the contagiousness of COVID-19 and the inherent risks of being exposed to a person who may be infected with the disease, I am voluntarily choosing to live in a residence hall and/or attend both curricular and non-curricular activities assuming the risk that I may be exposed to COVID-19 upon my return including the possibility that exposure or infection may result in illness, permanent disability and/or even death. I acknowledge that in choosing to live in a residence hall and/or attend both curricular and non-curricular activities, I have relied on my own judgment and not on any representations regarding the safety of, or risks of returning to campus in any capacity made by the University or any of its trustees, officers, employees, agents, volunteers, or students.
I acknowledge that it may not be possible for the University to limit all potential sources of COVID-19 infection, and that the risk of exposure to or infection with COVID-19 in the residence halls and on campus may result from the actions, omissions, or negligence of myself and others, including, but not limited to, University trustees, employees, agents, contractors, volunteers, and students. I understand that the University is an open campus, which necessarily limits the University’s ability to control students and visitors to campus. I understand that if living in the residence halls, I am not permitted to have any guests, both student and non-student, in my residence hall. I understand this includes me being prohibited from visiting other residence halls.
I acknowledge that if I am living in the residence halls, should a semester on campus be interrupted by COVID-19 so as to preclude continued residence on campus, I shall be
entitled to a pro rata refund of room and board payments based on the length of time I lived in the residence halls.
I understand that the safety of the campus community in respect to COVID-19 is a shared risk and that all community members must do their part to contribute to the health and safety of the community. To that end, I understand that the University has implemented certain policies and regulations intended to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 in the residence halls, and the University may update or revise these policies and regulations at any time in response to new information, recommendations or guidance from the CDC or Massachusetts Department of Health. I agree that I will comply with all rules and precautions mandated by the University, including, but not limited to, wearing face coverings, sanitizing hands, physical distancing, monitoring of symptoms and self-reporting of symptoms or a positive COVID diagnosis.
I understand that should I fail to comply with the University’s policies and regulations regarding COVID-19, I will be in violation of the University’s Students Code of Conduct and/or the Housing Contract, and that as a result I could be subject to sanctions up to and including an immediate removal from the residence hall and expulsion from the University. I acknowledge that should I be required to vacate a residence hall as a result of my failure to comply with the University’s polices and regulations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, I shall not be entitled to any refund of my room and board payment.
I understand that I must have a personal “Isolation and Quarantine Plan” should I test positive for COVID-19 or be exposed to a person testing positive for COVID-19. I understand that I am expected to follow the University’s procedures as outlined in the “Positive Reporting Procedure.”
Finally, I release the University, its trustees, officers, employees, agents, and contractors from any and all legal responsibility associated with exposure to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, any personal injury, disability, illness, damage, or death, whether such exposure occurs before, during or after I move into a residence hall. I also agree, on behalf of myself, my personal representatives, and heirs not to make any kind of legal or equitable claim against the University, or any of its trustees, officers, employees, agents, or contractors with respect to any exposure to COVID-19, regardless of how such exposure occurs.
I have read and understand this agreement, and I am aware that by signing this agreement I may be waiving certain legal rights, including the right to sue. This agreement shall be binding upon me and my heirs, legal representatives and assigns, and shall inure to the benefit of the University and its successors and assigns.
My electronic signature below indicates that I have carefully read and understand the above statements and intend to be bound legally by its terms.