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A Culture of Care
Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2020 semester
and the college’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith College A Culture of Care

Academic Planning

Academic Planning

To enable student learning from any location, most fall 2020 courses will be designed to be delivered both remotely and in person, with students and faculty members choosing the mode(s) they prefer. Faculty members will use a variety of approaches to optimize learning in in-person and virtual communities.

Quick Facts

  • Faculty may opt to teach courses fully remotely or via a multimodal (in-person and remote) model. 
  • Most courses will be open to—and designed for—both in-person and remote learning.
  • Smith students may only attend Five College courses remotely. Similarly, Five College students may only attend Smith courses remotely. 
  • Courses will be capped at 30 in-person participants to permit physical distancing.
  • Students may elect to take three—versus four—courses in the fall term, for a total of 12 credits, and will have the opportunity to take an additional four-to-six credits during a six-week January/February interterm.
  • Faculty may choose to deliver their courses in-person, remotely or through a blended (multimodal) model.
  • Students in residence may choose whether to attend most courses in person or remotely.

Which Students Will Be Invited to Live on or Near Campus?

  September 1–November 24, 2020 November 25–December 17, 2020 Winter Break Interterm Spring Semester
First-Years In residence Not in residence
Sophomores In residence Not in residence
Juniors Not in residence In residence
Seniors Not in residence In residence
January Graduates In residence Not in residence
Select Student Leadership In residence Not in residence In residence
New Transfers In residence Not in residence In residence
Students With Extraordinary Circumstances In residence and by application only
Adas in On-Campus Housing In residence
Graduate and Special Programs Students in On-Campus Housing In residence

Course Registration

Academic Calendar

Smith’s COVID-19 Response Plan: A Culture of Care provided key dates of the revised 2020-21 academic calendar. The full academic calendar, with pertinent dates and deadlines, will be available on the registrar’s office website.

Fall and Interterm Registration

Registration is scheduled for August 10–14 for fall and interterm courses. Detailed schedule below.
Course information is available through the BannerWeb Browse Classes and Register for Classes views and the online Course Catalog/Course Search. The Course Catalog/Course Search updates automatically as changes are made in Banner.

Registration codes (REG codes) are not required for August registration, but you are strongly encouraged to discuss course selection with your academic adviser.

Monday, August 10, 10:30 a.m. (EDT)–Friday, August 14, midnight (EDT): registration—class of 2021/21J, graduate students and Ada Comstock Scholars with 96 or more total credits.

Tuesday, August 11, 10:30 a.m.(EDT)–Friday, August 14, midnight (EDT): registration—class of 2022/22J, Ada Comstock Scholars with 64-95 total credits and entering Ada Comstock Scholars and transfer students.

Wednesday, August 12, 10:30 a.m. (EDT)–Friday, August 14, midnight (EDT): registration—class of 2023/23J, 2024J and Ada Comstock Scholars with 63 or fewer total credits.

If you have difficulty registering during the above time frame due to internet access issues, you can email us your registration using the registration form, or email us the CRN, Dept, Course and section number, and title of the courses you wish to be registered. Please be sure to include alternate course selections, in case your primary choices are closed.

As described in the Smith plan, you may elect to register for only three 4-credit courses, then take an additional 4-credit course during the extended interterm, to meet your expected course load of 16 credits. Registration in interterm is not required, however, and you are free to enroll for your full course load in the fall semester only. Please note that all students (except part-time Ada Comstock Scholars) must register for a minimum of 12 credits in the fall semester to maintain full-time enrollment.

During August registration, you may register for up to 19 credits in the fall semester and up to 4 credits during interterm. These credit caps will be raised during the add/drop period to allow you to register for up to 20 credits in fall and 6 credits in interterm. However, you may not exceed a combined total of 24 credits in fall 2020 and interterm 2021.

Instructional Method

New course information, including instructional method (multimodal, remote, or in-person), was added to the catalog course search and BannerWeb class search to help you and your faculty adviser make informed decisions about the upcoming terms.

  • Most courses have an instructional method of remote or multimodal (i.e., both in-person and remote) and are open both to students on-campus/local and off-campus/remote.
  • Students living on campus or approved to live locally also have the option of participating in multimodal courses in person or remotely.
  • A very small number of in-person only courses, primarily performance courses, are available only to on-campus/local students.

Course Changes and Cancellations

A significant number of course sections were canceled or rescheduled, so your current fall registration may be impacted. Please check your schedule in BannerWeb well in advance of registration so you are aware of any course status changes.

  • Canceled courses will not be offered during the fall semester or interterm. These courses would appear on your schedule with a registration status of “Canceled Course.”
  • Canceled/rescheduled courses are being offered in fall or interterm. The original course sections were canceled, and a revised section was created and is available for registration. These courses would appear on your schedule with a registration status of “Canceled--Course Rescheduled.”

Waivers for Smith College Courses

If you need a waiver to register for a Smith course because of pre-requisites, permission or other restrictions, please use this form to send a request for instructor permission: Waiver of Restrictions

Special Studies

Completed special studies forms with instructor approval are due to the registrar’s office by the end of the fifth day of classes (September 7). The special studies will be added to your schedule following administrative review and approval.

Five College Courses

All previous Five College registrations and pending requests were canceled due to significant adjustments to course offerings at the other institutions.

You will be able to request Five College courses via BannerWeb when registration begins on August 10. Permission is required for all Five College courses. Permissions submitted in April are no longer valid, so new permission is required for any course requested now. You can use the Five College course permission form to request instructor permission or forward an email from the instructor to

Participation in all Five College courses must be done remotely. The other institutions start classes the week of August 24, so you should plan accordingly. This fall, each institution has a separate add deadline—all of which are earlier than Smith’s—so please check Dates and Deadlines for detailed information.

BannerWeb Registration

Please check that you can access BannerWeb prior to registration using the following steps:

  1. Go to the Smith Portaland sign in using your Smith network credentials.
  2. Go to the My Student Info tab and under Academics click the Registration link.
  3. Click on Prepare for Registration. If you get the “select a term” dialogue box, you are all set.

Step-by-step instructions for BannerWeb registration are available on the Registrar’s website. Please read through these materials before you register.

Please email us should you have any questions at

Academic Planning FAQ

What options has Smith made available for international students in light of recent ICE guidance on remote coursework?
International students, along with U.S. residents or citizens residing outside the U.S., may be granted exceptions to study abroad locally at universities or programs in their home countries and to apply for transfer of the credits to Smith.

Will I have to re-register for all classes?
No. Students should check their schedules on BannerWeb to see which courses have been canceled or rescheduled. Reregistration is only required for courses that do not appear as registered or web registered. 

Are there changes to the fall catalog?
Yes. As faculty have spent the summer reconfiguring their courses, updated course offerings will be posted to the online course catalog and BannerWeb by August.

How can students find out which classes are canceled, being taught fully remotely or are multi-modal? 
Students’ advisers have the latest information on courses. Courses are being updated now, and the finalized offerings will be available via the online course catalog by August 1. The instructional method of each course will be included in the course detail.

Are students limited to only taking 12 credits in the fall?
No. The limit is 20 credits in the fall and a total limit of 24 across fall and interterm. 

Will the school still have the add/drop period and the change of grading options (letter grade to S/U)? If so, what’s the timeline for that?
Yes. There will be a two-week add/drop period, Tuesday–Monday, September 1–14. The change of grading option (S/U) for full semester Smith courses can be elected until Monday, November 2. Check the registrar's website for all registration Dates and Deadlines.

When will students be able to access physical library books?
Students access will begin before the start of the fall semester. All details will be posted on the Libraries' COVID-19 webpage.

If a student is invited to be in residence, can they choose to study remotely instead?
Yes. Any student may choose to study remotely without penalty. 

Can students in residence choose to attend courses remotely?

Will the spring semester mandatory S/U grading policy be carried into the fall?
No. Courses will no longer be mandatory S/U.

Can students attend Five College classes?
Yes, however, the Five College institutions have decided that students may enroll in interchange courses remotely only. Students will have access to the updated Five College course offerings by August 1 and may request Five College courses via BannerWeb during the August 10-14 registration.

Will the six-week January/February interterm be offered in person?
No. Interterm courses will be offered fully remotely. Four-credit courses will be offered in addition to 1- and 2-credit courses. Students may register for a maximum of 6 credits during interterm, but may not exceed a combined total of 24 credits in fall 2020 and interterm 2021.

Will any classes be automatically closed to students studying remotely?
A very small number of in-person-only, performance-based courses may be offered in such departments as dance, exercise and sport studies, and theatre. A wide variety of multimodal and fully remote performance courses will be available to students as well.

How can students in different time zones participate in remote learning?
Courses will be scheduled to increase access to real-time participation to the extent possible. Additionally, many courses will include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous activity to enable students in different time zones to engage in coursework.

How will classroom spaces adapt to new public health guidance?
In following the college’s COVID-19 control plan, all learning spaces will be modified to permit 45–55 square feet per person, to promote distancing. Classroom spaces will meet these guidelines by relocating to larger spaces (e.g., the Carroll Room, the Conference Center and more). Additionally, classrooms will spread out available seating and, wherever possible, establish dedicated entrances and exits.

How will courses with hands-on elements adapt to multimodal teaching and the need for physical distancing?
Each faculty member will develop a plan to maximize learning opportunities for both in-person and remote students. For example, some courses will consist of remote lectures and small, in-person “tutorials.” Some courses will assign alternating groups of students to attend in person on alternating days. Some lab-based courses will break large groups into smaller cohorts, enabling every student to have hands-on learning with fewer person-to-person contacts.

Will all courses have in-person learning components?
No. Faculty may choose to teach courses fully remotely.

Deferment and Leave questions

How can students request a leave of absence due to COVID-19?
Students may apply for a personal leave of absence this fall by completing the leave of absence form and submitting it to  

Can students take a semester leave or do they need to take a full year? 
Students can take a single semester as a personal leave. If you have questions about taking a personal leave of absence, please the Class Deans webpage.

Will students who take a semester personal leave have the option to be enrolled in the Smith health plan?
Students on personal leave will not be charged and will not be able to enroll in the Smith health insurance plan. Smith health insurance will be available once the student returns from personal leave.

What is the risk of not getting approved for personal leave? Will the number of leaves granted be capped?
As long as a student has not been on two consecutive leaves, the student can pursue a personal leave. There are no caps on leaves.

Will there be any penalty for taking a leave of absence? Do students keep their housing assignment and priority? Will they lose their financial aid?
If you are approved to take a personal leave, you will not be penalized.  

How are STRIDE/other scholarships handled with a leave of absence? 
Merit-based awards will continue upon a student’s return.

What is the status of 2020-21 study-abroad programs?
All study-abroad programs for fall 2020 have been canceled. A decision has not been made yet for spring 2021.

What options has Smith made available for international students in light of recent ICE guidance on remote coursework?
International students, along with U.S. residents or citizens residing outside the U.S., may be granted exceptions to study abroad locally at universities or programs in their home countries and to apply for transfer of the credits to Smith.

Are there any changes to the approval process for study abroad that starts in spring 2021?
No decisions about spring study abroad have been made. However, as long as the U.S. Department of State keeps its Global Level-4 Health Advisory in place, the college will be unable to support study abroad. Because of this, the study-abroad approval process has been delayed. The college will continue to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travel Recommendations. Study abroad will not be approved in any country where a CDC level-3 Travel Health Notice remains in place. Should the global situation improve, the Office for International Study will proceed to notify students of their study abroad approval.