As you prepare to make your way to us, we want to share some recent decisions regarding vaccination and NEC’s current safety measures to support our return to a full and safe in-person experience.
Whilst we know the impact of COVID remains very real for us all, individually and collectively, we are grateful for the resilience, creativity, and optimism so evident in our NEC community. Even with extensive health and safety protocols, we were able to keep in-person music-making happening at NEC this past year only because of the consistent commitment each member of NEC community demonstrated to keeping safe our community—and, indeed, the broader communities in which we live.
As we look forward to a full return to campus in the fall, we know that ensuring public health will require ongoing vigilance, as certainly we will be living with COVID-19 and its variants for the foreseeable future. To that end, NEC will require all students (16 years of age or older) to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As with every vaccination requirement, exemptions will be approved for medical or religious reasons. Students will be required to submit documentation verifying vaccination to the confidential student health portal, and specific instructions and deadlines will be forthcoming next week from the Director of Health Services.
We recognize that International students may receive COVID-19 vaccines that have not been approved for use in the United States. We expect that vaccines with efficacy similar to US-based vaccines will be accepted by NEC, unless federal or state guidelines mandate otherwise. International students with questions should please contact the Health Center or Office of Student Services.
A list of FAQs and updated safety protocols will be maintained on the NEC Resource Center, and as always, staff in the Health Center and Office of Student Services, are available to assist with any questions or concerns, and you can find our staff directory here.
What Types of COVID-19 vaccines are currently available in the U.S.?
There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are currently in use, were granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in December of 2020. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine (Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine) joined their ranks on February 27, 2021 becoming the third vaccine approved for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Click on the links below to learn more about each vaccine:
Will the NEC Health & Counseling Center (NEC HCC) provide COVID-19 vaccines on campus for Students, Faculty and Staff?
Massachusetts is currently in Phase 2 of its vaccination plan. At this time, vaccines will not likely be available until later in the Spring.
In the interim, the NEC HCC has taken steps to become an eligible vaccination site for students when vaccine become available. The Emergency Response Team is considering the best options for making vaccines available to faculty and staff. We will send out future updates as the information becomes available.
We encourage anyone who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine to pursue vaccines that are available to them. Learn more about Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccination phases and how to secure your vaccine.
Will NEC Require COVID-19 vaccination for students, faculty, and staff?
We strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff who are eligible to receive the vaccine to be vaccinated.
Will I still need to participate in NEC’s COVID-19 Testing Program after I am fully vaccinated?
Yes. The effectiveness of vaccines at reducing an individual's likelihood of transmitting infection continues to be studied in the healthcare and scientific communities. As a result, NEC's COVID-19 testing requirements for students, faculty and staff who are coming to campus regularly to study, teach, or work remain the same.
How should I share my COVID-19 vaccination status with the Health Center?
Documentation of COVID-19 vaccination (or any required vaccinations listed in the Student Health Report) should be uploaded to NEC’s Student Health Portal. Learn more about how to register for the portal.
Will travel, self-quarantine, or testing requirements change when I travel to Massachusetts from another state after I have been vaccinated?
At this time, vaccinated individuals must continue to comply with the Massachusetts travel order and related testing and quarantine requirements. Due to the rapidly evolving changes in guidance, please refer to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-advisory.
Individuals who are fully vaccinated with an FDA EUA (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen) approved vaccine or a WHO EUL (Astra-Zeneca, SinoPharm) approved vaccine do not need to quarantine when entering Massachusetts or the US. International travelers are still required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours before traveling and 3-5 days after arrival in Boston or the US https://www.mass.gov/guidance/guidance-for-people-who-are-fully-vaccinated-against-covid-19#isolation-quarantine-and-testing.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide for real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, including quarantining after a possible exposure, covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least six feet away from others.
Why is NEC mandating COVID-19 vaccination for students studying in person in Fall 2021?
By requiring COVID-19 vaccination, NEC has the opportunity for the community to approach herd immunity thresholds (HIT), and decrease infection rates and serious complications associated with COVID-19. Furthermore, this requirement reduces the risk of onsite cases, which could significantly impact the daily operations of the Conservatory.
What are some of the potential benefits of requiring student vaccination?
There are many benefits to requiring COVID-19 vaccination at NEC, especially in a community focused on musical education and due to public health guidance indicating the role of aerosols in viral transmission.
A COVID-19 vaccination requirement is expected to allow NEC to return to an environment that includes more in-person collaboration.
Are there any exceptions to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination?
Students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. A health care provider must verify medical exemptions.
Students requesting a medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination must complete a vaccination declination form and submit it electronically through the NEC Student Health Portal. NEC will notify you whether your request has been approved. NEC expects any such requests to be submitted on or before June 30, 2021.
What is the deadline for submitting documentation confirming that I have received the COVID-19 vaccine?
The deadline for submitting documentation confirming you have received the COVID-19 vaccine is June 30, 2021.
What documentation should I submit to confirm that I have received the COVID-19 vaccine?
Satisfactory proof of COVID-19 vaccination, including the date(s) of vaccination, and the name of the vaccine administered (ex. Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen) must be uploaded to the NEC Student Health Portal by June 30, 2021. Students may satisfy the requirement to upload documentation of the COVID-19 vaccine in two ways:
- Through documentation verified by a healthcare provider and documented in your student health report, including the date(s) of vaccination, and the name of the vaccine administered (ex. Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen) .
- A scanned copy of a government issued vaccination card with your name, the name of the vaccine, and date(s) of administration.
What type of COVID-19 vaccinations are approved for use in the United States?
There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S to prevent COVID-19:
The Pfizer BioN Tech (age 16 and over)
Moderna vaccines (age 18 and over)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine (Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine) (age 18 and over)
The Pfizer BioN Tech and Moderna vaccines require two immunizations to complete the series. Students who receive these vaccines will not be considered fully vaccinated until 2 weeks following their second vaccine. Documentation must show that both vaccines have been administered.
Will I need to be re-vaccinated if I have received a vaccine that has not been approved for use in the United States?
NEC is closely monitoring state and federal directives and guidance from public health experts concerning vaccines that have not been approved for use in the United States. NEC will share updates with the community in accordance with any such mandates and guidance.
At this time, international students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of the United States (U.S) must upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination through the student health portal (See Q. 5 for documentation requirements) for review by the Director of Health Services. NEC will contact such students directly if additional information is required and/or if additional measures must be taken upon the student’s arrival in the United States.
Can students who do not receive the COVID-19 vaccine enroll in courses on campus or live in the Residence Hall?
NEC expects all students to submit documentation confirming they have received the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the Fall 2021 semester. Students who fail to submit this documentation absent an approved exemption or proof of good cause why they could not receive the vaccine (e.g. a student living in a country where there is not access to a vaccine prior to the Fall 2021 semester) may be prohibited from enrolling in in-person courses and prohibited from access to the Residence Hall and other NEC facilities, including classrooms and performance spaces. NEC cannot guarantee any courses will be offered virtually during the Fall 2021 semester or that remote learning will be offered after the Fall 2021 semester.