In an email sent to the Haverford community at 7 pm on Friday, September 13, Interim Dean of the College Joyce Bylander and President Wendy Raymond announced that the College would be moving into Level 2 of the Bi-Co Mitigation Plan, effective at 10 pm that night. This step will last at least one week, with the administration re-evaluating mitigation strategies on September 20.
The message cited large student gatherings and parties that took place over the weekend as the reason for these heightened restrictions, stating that “many members of our student body are not committed fully to the health and safety measures that will mitigate against the risk of COVID-19 on campus.”
The move to Level 2 was not completely unanticipated. An email from Dean Bylander bearing the subject line “LAST NIGHT!” had arrived in students’ inboxes on September 12, in which she expressed dismay at students who had failed to adhere to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines. Multiple people were also treated for alcohol poisoning, she noted.
“For those of you who had lapses in judgement last evening, you need a reset. For those of you contemplating testing my resolve or that of the college, don’t do it,” warned the Dean.
Under the Level 2 guidelines outlined in the September 13 email, in-person classes will continue as scheduled, and students will be permitted to travel between Haverford and Bryn Mawr for the purpose of class attendance.
However, a number of restrictions pertaining to student activities and social life are now in effect. The message states that students may only leave their rooms for “classes, restroom, laundry, mail room, grab-n-go and take-out meals, and distanced outdoor gatherings in groups of 10 or fewer.” All indoor gatherings, including the use of residence hall common spaces and one-on-one visits inside of dorm rooms, are now prohibited, and meals will be served on a takeout-only basis only. Indoor study spaces will be closed, including the libraries.
“We recognize that the change to Level 2 will come as a disappointment to the many students, faculty, and staff who have been making responsible choices to keep themselves and their peers safe,” wrote Dean Bylander and President Raymond.
The move to Level 2 will also affect those who are not living in residence halls and are instead commuting, a group of students whose size has swelled since the pandemic. Under the new guidelines, these students will only be permitted on campus for class and are expected to leave immediately afterwards.
This news comes just as Bryn Mawr College plans to loosen their restrictions. Bryn Mawr had opened at Level 2 as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and will officially move to Level 1 on September 14, after having successfully completed the first week of classes.
Haverford will begin its next round of mass surveillance testing on September 21, just a day before the scheduled re-evaluation of operational levels. The next round of testing will be an essential tool for evaluating the success or failure of Haverford’s COVID-19 prevention methods.
The Clerk intends to provide timely coverage of Haverford’s plans. If you have a tip or want to write an op-ed about Haverford’s COVID-19 response, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.