We’re ready to launch a productive and enjoyable semester together as we return to in-person classes, full athletics and activities schedules, and the establishment of the Becker School of Design & Technology at Clark. As you know, the reality of COVID-19 persists in all our lives, which means that as we progress through the semester we will take the necessary precautions to keep our community safe and healthy.
While we don’t wish to add to your start-of-semester information overload, we thought you might be interested to know a few things about what you’ll experience when classes begin.
1. Thank you for masking up
We’d hoped that we’d left mask-wearing in the rearview mirror, but COVID has other plans. Masks will continue to play a crucial role in our ability to maintain the health and well-being of our campus community at a time when COVID-19 refuses to let go. Our masking policy may be subject to change as we monitor the trends and impact of the virus and receive guidance from local and national public health entities. To begin the fall semester, we have put these protocols in place:
- All who are on campus will wear masks indoors in common areas of University buildings.
- Those who were granted exemptions from vaccination are required to wear a mask at all times — both indoors and outdoors — except when eating, and must practice physical distancing.
- On student move-in days, all students, family members, staff, and guests must wear masks when indoors, and also when outside if they are unable to maintain physical distancing.
2. Time to get tested
Clark is reintroducing COVID-19 surveillance testing to start the fall semester, though for students it will be at a less-frequent rate than last year. Beginning Aug. 16, all vaccinated Clark students, faculty, and staff taking classes or working on campus will be part of a once-a-week testing protocol, conducted through the Broad Institute. Those who were granted exemptions from vaccination will test twice weekly. The nasal swab will be self-administered at the testing facility located in the Grace and Lurie conference rooms on the ground floor of the Higgins University Center; testing hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
3. Welcome to the Café
There may be nobody more excited about the start of the 2021-22 academic year than Michael Newmark, general manager of Clark Dining. “Our mantra is, ‘We’re getting back to normal!’” he says. That means a fully open and operational Higgins Café, with distinct changes — from ceiling (the installation of virus-battling fans) to table (the return of china service). And a short drive from Clark, students in the Becker School of Design & Technology facilities at the former Becker campus can dine at the newly opened Hawk’s Nest. As always, Clark Dining designs its menu with offerings that are tasty, nutritious, sustainable, and prepared with sensitivity toward meeting specific dietary requirements. The Taste of Home station will even prepare your personal favorite — like your grandmother’s lasagna — if you provide the recipe in advance. For more reasons to be enthusiastic about what Clark Dining has to offer this year, check out @clarkdining on Instagram.
4. Find your fit
With more than 130 student clubs and organizations, it’s easy to get involved in campus life. Save the date for Clark’s annual Club Fair, which will take place Sept. 1 from 2 to 6 p.m. on the Green. Students can also visit Clark Engage to explore upcoming events and register for clubs and organizations, including club/intramural sports and volunteer opportunities. Don’t see what you’re looking for? It’s easy to create your own club!
Make sure to check out welcome-back events during move-in weekend, including an Aug. 22 BBQ for all members of the Clark community. The Student Activities Board will also host a Welcome Back Week Kickoff — with free ice cream — on Aug. 23 at 1 p.m., as well as a First Week Fair on Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m.
5. Fully furnished classrooms
Returning students will notice some changes when they arrive for the first day of classes. Over the past few months, Campus Services has “re-densified” classrooms, moving furniture back to its pre-pandemic location and refurbishing 10 classrooms in Jonas Clark Hall. During the process, Clark donated more than 200 desks and chairs, as well as computer tables, to the Worcester Public Schools. “Clark is so happy to be able to provide to our community in that way — by giving them good stuff that they’ll be able to use for the next 20 years,” says Jenny Isler, capital planning coordinator. In Jonas Clark Hall, eight classrooms were overhauled with new carpet, paint, glass boards, dual shades, and furniture — including swivel desks and chairs. The building’s two computer labs have also been outfitted with new computer tables and chairs, as well as updated carpet, paint, and shades. “It’s almost a whole new first and second floor,” Isler says.
6. Tents are here
One carryover from last year will be the presence of two tents on campus. A tent is stationed outside the Alumni Student and Engagement Center to accommodate academic and social activities (as well as student check-in during move-in days). A second tent will be set up on the Kresge Quad outside of the Bistro — a perfect spot for outdoor dining in the mild temps of late summer and fall.
7. Students hold the key
Your room door is locked and you forgot your key. No worries, help is on the way. Clark this year has created a team of student Lockout Assistants who will help fellow students who have locked themselves out of their residence hall, room, or Clark apartment. Lockout Assistants are available seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., by calling 508-735-2413; the resident adviser on duty can help from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. After hours and throughout the early morning, University Police will respond to lockout calls.
8. Need a lift?
ClarkRIDE, formerly known as the Clark University Student Safety Escort Service, provides safe transportation for students to and from off-campus housing within the Main South neighborhood and the Clark campus area. Clark has partnered with Lyft so students can choose to use a Lyft ride or a Clark-operated van. The Clark Shuttle provides transportation between the Clark main campus and the Becker School of Design & Technology classrooms at 80 William St. and 61 Sever St. It also stops at commercial locations during weekday evenings and popular Worcester destinations on the weekends. A timetable will be published soon, but for accuracy, students will be able to download a tracker app. Visit Clark’s transportation website to learn more.
9. Back in the game
Clark offers plenty of ways to stay active, burn some energy, and find balance. The Kneller Athletic Center and the Dolan Field House will be fully operational this semester. You can hit your stride or pump some iron at the Bickman Fitness Center, work up a sweat on the racquetball and squash courts, or swim some laps in the pool. Please remember that masks are required inside Clark athletic facilities (though not in the pool!). View athletic facilities hours »
10. Curtain down — for now
Clark’s Little Center, including the Michelson Theater, will be closed for renovations this academic year, and performances will be moved to the Daniels Theater in Atwood Hall. When it reopens, the Michelson Theater will have undergone a significant transformation that includes new staging, seating, and lighting/AV equipment, as well as the creation of an attractive and welcoming lobby. New offices, the installation of an elevator, and systems upgrades will improve function and accessibility in the building, which, like any long-standing space with a robust theatrical history, deserves a strong second act.