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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.
Current Operating Mode: GREEN

In-Person Studio Use COVID-19

Capen Annex is open for limited capacity use by appointment only.

The Design Thinking Initiative will follow best practices for reopening in accordance with college, local, and state guidelines. We commit to making data-driven decisions and upholding the safety of our students and staff in order to build a culture of care at the college.

Operating Modes

We are prepared to adjust our policies at any time to reflect the college’s decisions on remote or in-person learning.

Blue: Access limited to college staff

Green: Open under the guidelines outlined on this page

Yellow: Access limited to professional staff

Red: Closed to all

General Building Use

De-densification has been found to be one of the most effective practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19.  Below we outline our proposed de-densification plan. The bolded number will be our policy for room capacity based on knowledge of our spaces and the 125 sq. ft./person restriction. These numbers were developed with the wellbeing of students in mind, and it is important that we all follow these guidelines so that any student knows exactly the situation they will be in while working in our space. No more than the bolded number of people should work in a space, while wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Staff or other students may pass through rooms at this capacity (for example, to enter and leave the building), but may not remain in the area. We unfortunately will not be able to accommodate any in-person courses at Capen Annex this semester. Only staff will have unrestricted key card access to Capen Annex, and the building will be open during open hours BY APPOINTMENT ONLY and locked all other hours.

Room 101, Classroom Space

2 people maximum
The room will be divided into two making-specific spaces:

  • Multi-purpose crafting and sewing space (1)
  • Vinyl cutting space (1)

Room 102, Downstairs Makerspace

1 person maximum
This room will be limited to one type of making space:

  • Glowforge lasercutting space (1)

Room 201, Upstairs Makerspace

2 people maximum
This room will be divided into two making-specific spaces:

  • Lasercutter space (1)
  • 3D printer space (Both Ultimakers) (1)

Room 202, Upstairs Staff Office

1 person maximum
This room will be limited to single staff occupancy.

  • Staff member (1)

Room 203, Sewing Station

1 person maximum

  • Sewing machine (1)

The porch will be utilized as a covered outdoor space for the pickup and return of tools and materials. Students will not be able to hang out on the porch because this would interfere with curbside pickup.

Kits will be available both to students on and off campus through our MakeKit program. Kits will include as many of our tools and materials as possible that can be safely sent to student’s living spaces, and will include hand-sewing, collage, painting, a toolkit, drill/driver set, jewelry making, and more. Off campus students will be mailed kits, and a contactless curbside pickup model will be implemented for on-campus pickup.

MakeKIT Tool Sign Out

To use our contactless pickup system, a student will reserve a kit online, and be notified when the kit is placed outside for pickup. The student will then be able to pick up their kit at their convenience any time the building is staffed. To return kits, students may drop them off on the porch at their convenience any time the building is staffed.

Kits will be checked out for two weeks to any student, with the option to renew as long as the item is not requested by another student. For an extra level of precaution, students are encouraged to leave their kits for three days untouched before interacting with them.

In-Person Space Use

Before using our spaces, you will be required to complete both our traditional safety training and COVID-19 safety training. After completing training, you will then gain access to our scheduling software in order to book time with our equipment. There will always be a student or professional staff member at Capen Annex during individual space use, and you will always need to follow college guidelines and our safety guidelines while using the space.

Using our space reservation system is extremely important, not only to ensure proper social distancing and meet room capacity requirements, but also to enable contact tracing if anyone were to test positive with COVID-19.


Social Distancing

  1. Smith community members are required to comply with at least 6 feet of social distance at all times while passing through the space to enter, exit, or use the sink or restroom.
  2. While working in the space, you should stay within the taped off boundaries for each workstation.
  3. You cannot bring any visitors with you during independent space use, even if they are friends or family who have been quarantined with you. This is to ensure de-densification of our small spaces.


  1. All persons must wear a face covering at all times, even when alone in a room or in a single-occupancy room. Research shows that wearing a mask can help control the airborne spread of COVID-19 particles which may linger in the air even after you have left the room.
  2. You are welcome to leave Capen Annex for a break at any time to take a breath of fresh air or to eat or drink outside.


  3. Gloves are not required beyond the use of materials that already require gloves.
  4. No eating or drinking in the building, the one exception is for staff members on shift during a meal time; if this is the case eating/drinking must be done in the staff office with the door closed.


  1. You are required to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering Capen Annex.
  2. You should wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching your face, sneezing, eating, etc.
    1. Hand sanitizer is located at the entrance of the building, by the accessible doorway.
    2. Our sink is located in the hallway between the classroom space and small downstairs makerspace just outside the downstairs bathroom.
    3. Hand washing can also happen in either of the two bathrooms in Capen Annex.

Symptoms Monitoring

  1. Do not come to Capen Annex if you are feeling unwell. You may cancel a space reservation at any time.


  1. You can only schedule equipment use after completing our COVID-19 Safety Training and our normal safety training.
  2. You must reserve equipment before arriving at Capen Annex.
  3. All students are required to wipe down the surfaces and equipment they used before leaving the space, this will mean stopping work 10-15 minutes prior to your reserved time period.
  4. Students are required to leave promptly at the designated completion of their appointment as we need to leave space between bookings.
  5. Please read our violation of policy described in the "Violation of Policy" below.

Interesting Fact: There is a difference between a cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting product. Sanitizers reduce bacteria on a surface by at least 99.9%, disinfectants kill a wider range of microorganisms (than sanitizers), and cleaners simply remove dirt, soils, and impurities from surfaces.

  1. The College custodians and housekeepers will perform scheduled and routine cleaning and/or disinfecting in the public areas of our facilities. The College community should participate in the practice of regularly cleaning and disinfecting their work locations and spaces to minimize the spread of coronavirus. Posted signage will guide you through the specifics of the protocols.
  2. Disinfection always starts with good personal hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water whenever you enter a potentially compromised space, office, research area, common space or bathroom.

Workflow for sanitization of your workspace at Capen Annex

  1. Before use: Sanitize all high touch surfaces: chairs, keyboards/mouse, and buttons (recommended).
    We will provide spray bottles of 70% isopropanol (70% Isopropanol SDS here) which has a shorter contact time (1 minute contact time) than many other disinfectants.
  2. After use: Sanitize all high touch surfaces: chairs, keyboards/mouse, and buttons (required).
    We will provide spray bottles of 70% isopropanol (70% Isopropanol SDS here) which has a shorter contact time (1 minute contact time) than many other disinfectants.

How To Use the Spray Bottles

  1. Spray a single use shop towels with the isopropyl alcohol solution.
  2. Wipe down the surfaces so they are WET (they should be shiny).
  3. Time yourself with a phone or stopwatch to wait one minute, applying more disinfectant if the surface dries within this time.
  4. After one minute, you are free to leave the space.
  5. This disinfectant is safe to use on all of our surfaces and equipment, please do not use a different disinfectant.
  6. You may also use the same procedure for isopropyl alcohol disposable wipes provided at the equipment station.
  1. Violation of our sanitization, social distance, or PPE policies will result in a warning, or leaving a station messy without putting away tools and materials. Two warnings will revoke access to Capen Annex.
  2. Major violations of policy will result in the immediate and permanent suspension of access to Capen Annex. These include:
    1. Bringing another student or community member into the space.
    2. Reserving space in our reservation system without completing the required standard and COVID-19 safety trainings.
    3. Entering the space without a reservation or staying beyond your reservation end time, unless you are a Design Thinking staff member.

Our Studio Design Partners will be available for technical questions during independent space use hours via Zoom or our Slack help channel.

  1. Call Campus Safety.
  2. Use the first aid kit.
  3. Notify the staff member and others working in the space by yelling for help.
  4. Our student staff member can call Campus Safety for you and help you self-administer first aid by verbally assisting you from a safe social distance of 6 ft apart.
  5. In any serious or life threatening situations, any student staff member or bystander may approach the injured student and administer CPR, first aid, or other essential medical help. Unless the individual is unresponsive, you must receive verbal consent before violating social distance protocols to help an injured individual. Verbal consent is a simple: “I can help you, is it ok if I come within 6 feet” and a responding “Yes”.
  6. Complete this accident report form.

Safety Training

Once you have completed safety training, you may reserve space at Capen Annex! After safety training, you may use the Glowforge, Ultimaker 3D printers, vinyl cutter, crafting space, and sewing machine independently. Please complete additional equipment specific training to use the zing lasercutter, soldering tools, or power tools.

Step 1: Watch our COVID-specific safety protocol video.

Step 2: Watch building and equipment safety protocol video.

Once you have watched both videos, fill out our google form, certifying that you have completed both trainings. If you have already completed Capen Annex safety training in a prior year at Smith, you will only need to fill out the COVID specific section of the form.


Make an Appointment

Once you have completed safety training, feel free to make an appointment at any time to use our equipment.


Additional Project Time

Reservations are by default an hour long. If you are working on a longer project, feel free to make two consecutive reservations—although your reservations will appear to be 15 minutes apart, you are welcome to keep working during this time. Please don’t continue working on a project past your reserved time unless you have made another reservation.