On Nov. 15, 2021, Vice President Piper Orton announced that campus will reopen College grounds and pathways to visitors and townees starting Nov. 16. As stated by the Keeping Wellesley Healthy page, campus building access, including student residential halls, will continue to be restricted to students and members of the Wellesley College community, requiring swipe access only through OneCards. Restrooms inside campus buildings and athletic facilities will also be closed to public access, given the current status of COVID-19.
In addition, indoor guests, such as guest lecturers, speakers, and cross registered students, will continue to be required to vaccinate and register prior to coming on campus. Outdoor guests, including family and friends, may freely visit outdoor campus grounds without registration.
“We are thankful that the public health situation has improved so that we can once again share our beautiful campus with our neighbors,” Vice President Orton wrote in her email. “However, with the recent rise of cases in Massachusetts, there is still reason to be cautious. Our priority remains the health and safety of the College community, and we will adjust our policies for visitors if needed.”
Wendy* Wellesley ’22 commented on how she felt that the reopening of the campus to visitors and “townies” will not cause much of a disturbance to the campus, but expressed her concern about rising COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts and the recent omicron variant.
“I feel okay with townies and visitors being allowed on our campus again because most of the population is vaccinated,” she said. “Also, students in Wellesley bring and meet their visitors outside of campus buildings, so I think that there is not much of a difference with townies on campus. However, now that the Omicron variant is rising … I am becoming a bit concerned.”
As to issues regarding unleashed dogs and parking, dogs are required to be leashed on campus, and visitors may park only in the Distribution Center Lot 2. Wendy added that in the past she had had an issue with unleashed dogs on campus.
“One problem I had in the past during my first year at Wellesley was when townies would bring their dogs without leashes, but I feel like this has been solved,” Wendy said. “Now, I think people are abiding by the rules because there are lots of signs around campus that dogs must be leashed.”
As the College campus was closed to the public since the outbreak of the pandemic, students expressed how it feels to have visitors and neighbors on campus again, compared to how it was prior to the pandemic. Ashton Craycraft ’23 stated how she does not think the change in policy caused a drastic difference to the campus.
“It does feel a bit strange to see people other than Wellesley students on campus again,” Craycraft said. “The campus felt a little quieter during the restriction, but even after opening the campus back again, there are certainly less people on campus compared to when the campus was completely open to the public before the pandemic started.”
Wendy also commented on this difference after COVID-19.
“I don’t seem to see as many off-campus visitors as before,” she said. “A lot of townies used to visit Wellesley during the weekends, and now it feels like not a lot of people are visiting campus as before. It could possibly be due to continued restrictions to going into campus buildings and residential halls, but I do think that the overall policies are solid, considering the number of COVID-19 cases in the state and the safety of the College community.”
*Name changed to protect student’s privacy