Berklee Announces Safety Protocols for Return to Campus

The College and Conservatory announced new updates related to masks, testing, isolation, and other safety guidelines in a community-wide message.

August 17, 2021

Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee have announced new on-campus safety protocols for students, faculty, and staff leading up to the fall semester. In a community-wide message sent today, leaders from Berklee reiterated that current safety measures have resulted in low positivity rates of COVID-19 throughout the summer—rates often similar to or even lower than surrounding higher education institutions throughout Boston.

Berklee previously announced that all of its community members will be required to submit proof of vaccination in order to access Boston campus facilities during the fall. From August 20 through September 17, all students, faculty, staff, and vendor partners will be required to wear a mask indoors, with exemptions for select instrumentalists during specific performances. The time period will encompass check-in, orientation, and the first two weeks of classes for Berklee. In accordance with current guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Health, Berklee intends to return to optional masking indoors for fully vaccinated members of the community once a testing baseline has been established among faculty, staff, and students, but will revisit this plan as September 17 approaches. Masks will be required at the Berklee Testing Center, located at 167 Massachusetts Avenue, throughout the entirety of the fall semester.

Upon arrival to campus, all members of the Berklee community will be required to take two baseline tests: a BinaxNOW rapid test and a traditional PCR test. In order to increase efficiency of the testing process, Berklee will introduce a pooled testing method, mixing together samples from up to 10 different individuals and testing them together in one batch.

Quarantine and isolation protocols have also been updated for the fall semester. Vaccinated students will be notified of potential exposure by Berklee’s Contact Tracing Team, but will not be required to quarantine. Instead, they will be asked to closely monitor their symptoms for 14 days and participate in additional testing at the Berklee Testing Center. Unvaccinated students who have an approved religious or medical exemption will be required to quarantine off campus if they are identified as having potential exposure to Covid-19. Residential students who test positive, whether or not they are vaccinated, will be isolated on campus for 10 days. Nonresidential students who test positive will be required to isolate at home for 10 days.

Additional information about Berklee’s plans for the fall semester is available on the Berklee website.

Update: As of Tuesday, September 14, Berklee has decided to extend all current health and safety measures through Friday, October 1.