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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s UPDATED plans as of November 23, 2020,
for the spring 2021 semester.

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Smith College A Culture of Care

COVID-19 Response Plan

Following extensive benchmarking, planning and analysis, Smith College is preparing to welcome students back to campus for the spring 2021 semester. The college’s “Culture of Care” COVID-19 Response Plan underscores the core value that must guide every member of the Smith community—caring for ourselves and for one another to promote a safe and healthy campus environment.

Recent Updates

What You Need to Know

A Return to a Residential Campus

For the spring 2021 semester, the college will welcome to campus most if not all students who wish to return. The college is prepared to host as many as 1,830 undergraduate students based on the availability of single rooms and designated quarantine space. Any student who wishes to study remotely may do so without penalty.

A Primarily Remote Learning Model

Based on surveys of faculty, about half of spring courses will be remote only, while the other half will be offered as “enhanced remote.” Enhanced remote courses will incorporate some in-person meetings, which may include office hours, small-group discussions, labs, and projects with the Smith College Museum of Art, Botanic Garden or other campus partners. A small number of performance and lab courses will be fully in-person with appropriate safety protocols. Note: All courses will be remote for the first two weeks of the term, to allow sufficient time for all returning students to clear testing protocols. Also, depending on pandemic conditions during the term, there may be times when all classes will shift to remote.

An Adaptive Health and Safety Program

Smith’s operations—including academic delivery, dining and recreational offerings—will follow the college’s COVID-19 operating plan, which designates three potential operating modes: green (low risk), yellow (moderate risk) and red (high risk). Operating modes will change based on local and campus health and safety conditions.

Engaging Co-curricular Offerings and Traditional Events

This spring, students can expect primarily virtual recreational opportunities, social gatherings, leadership workshops and more. A small number of offerings will be in-person, including health and wellness opportunities, cultural programming and more.

Regular Coronavirus Screenings

Students and employees who are either in residence or approved to spend time on campus are required to participate in the college’s COVID-19 screening program. Students will be screened twice per week and employees up to twice per week. Aggregated screening results will be reported via the college’s new Coronavirus Screening Activity dashboard, which will be activated in January.

Note: The table below refers to the campus during the green/low-risk operational mode only.

Building Name Details
Administrative Buildings Closed to the public. Open for essential services only to those in the COVID-19 screening program; many offices may operate in a fully-remote mode. See departmental websites for more information. 
Campus Center Open to any students or employees participating in the college’s COVID-19 screening program.
Conference Center No external events or visitors.
Libraries Closed to the public. Open to Smith College community members in the COVID-19 screening program.
Lyman Plant House Closed to the public.
Residential Houses Only open to students living on campus. No off-campus guests.
Smith College Museum of Art Closed to the public.
Outdoor athletic facilities (including the tennis courts and track) Open to any member of the Smith community; closed to the public. Masks must be worn at all times and physical distancing must be practiced.


Please note: Outdoor walkways are open to the public. All visitors are required to wear masks while on campus and maintain physical distancing of 6 feet.

Operating Modes: Blue/Green/Yellow/Red

From arrival through the end of the second week of classes, the campus will operate in a one-time mode (blue) to allow all arriving students to clear isolation/quarantine in accordance with state guidelines. Following the second week of classes, the campus will be guided by green/yellow/red operating modes, with the progression of colors designating least to most restrictive modes. 

Explore the Operating Mode Guidelines  Learn More About the Initial Blue Operating Mode


Return to Campus Priority

While the college hopes to accommodate all students who wish to return for the spring 2021 semester, priority will be given in the following order.

Note: Students with exceptional circumstances who were granted housing for the fall 2020 semester are automatically granted housing for spring 2021.

  1. First-year students, seniors, Ada Comstock scholars, transfer students and select student leaders
  2. Sophomores and juniors
  3. Students who deferred fall 2020 admission
  4. Students who were approved for local, off-campus housing for fall 2020

Should demand exceed capacity (approximately 1,830 rooms), the college will approve all students in category 1 and hold a lottery for students in category 2. Students in categories 3 and 4 will not be eligible for on-campus housing if a lottery is required.

Important Dates

Date Time (all times EST) Event
November 23, 2020 6 p.m. First all-student webinar
November 23, 2020 7 p.m. Housing invitation sent to all students currently registered

Housing form opens
November 30, 2020 6 p.m. Second all-student webinar
December 1, 2020 7 p.m. Housing form closes
December 7, 2020 TBD Housing decisions sent to students
Thursday, February 11–Sunday, February 14   Orientation for entering students
Monday, February 15   First day of classes


More Information