SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)--In about a month, students will start moving back in for their college fall semester.
Boston University and Northeastern University have both announced they'll regularly test students for COVID, whether they've been vaccinated or not. We wondered what western Mass. colleges are planning.
We reached out to nine western mass colleges and universities for their plans on COVID testing. Some are requiring them, others aren't sure yet.
"We have no doubt the first day of classes are going to be full with positive energy," said Western New England University spokesperson Bryan Gross.
Gross told Western Mass News they will have both rapid and PCR testing on campus in the fall, but they aren't sure how frequently yet. However, vaccines will be required with exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
"Right now, we're still awaiting CDC guidance. There's a lot of time between now and the start lf classes. And so the extent to which testing will be required by which population and how often we'll offer testing is still being worked on," said Gross.
Western Mass News reached out to eight other colleges and universities in western Mass.
Amherst College is still in the process of planning what they will do for testing, but all students will be tested upon their arrival to campus for the semester. Their students are required to get the vaccine.
American International College in Springfield will notify their non-vaccinated students about testing when they solidify their plan. Vaccines are required here for students as well.
Elms College in Chicopee will be testing non-vaccinated students. Vaccines are required at Elms, unless for medical or religious reasons.
Holyoke Community College is not mandating vaccines, and they will offer testing through at least September.
Springfield College will conduct regular testing only for their non-vaccinated students. Back to school will look a lot like it did pre-pandemic, but officials say there will be "pandemic adjustments"
Smith College in Northampton will require vaccines for students. They are in the midst of solidifying their plan for testing when students get back this fall.
Westfield State University is requiring vaccines and is planning to test their non-vaccinated students weekly.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is still evaluating its plan for testing. They are requiring vaccines.
Several of these schools are expecting an increase in incoming students this year. The biggest class in the history of Western New England University is coming in this fall, all excited to venture into a more normal school year.
"The entire community, faculty, staff, and students have worked so hard in the past year to really make sure that we are opening up in a way that is safe and that also maximizes the education experience for our students," said Gross.
We’ll continue to bring you updates on the plans of these universities on-air and online.