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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the summer and fall 2021 semesters.

Smith College A Culture of Care

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: Jun 17, 2021

Please Note: Because the answers to many common questions will change depending on the college’s operating mode, please refer to the Status & Operating Mode page for additional information. If you have further questions, contact covid19info@smith.edu.


Fall 2021 Plans

On April 9, President McCartney announced Smith’s plans for a fully in-person fall semester. Visit the new fall 2021 section for details and guidelines. 


Summer 2021 FAQ

For detailed guidelines, please review the summer guidelines chart.

NEW: How and when may students in residence pick up their mail?
Smith students who have summer housing will be able to retrieve letters and packages from the lockers in the Campus Center during its regular open hours. The Mail Services retail window is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3 p.m.

What coronavirus health and safety protocols will be in place for summer?
The college continues to update our current COVID-19 health and safety protocols, based on federal guidelines and state regulations. Our current protocols are outlined in the summer guidelines chart. Students who are living and/or working on campus must be in the asymptomatic screening program.

Will COVID vaccinations be required in the summer for students or employees living and working on campus?
The college will require all undergraduate and graduate students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester. We will also require all employees to be fully vaccinated by August 1, 2021. Requests for medical or religious exemptions will be reviewed and accommodated on a case-by-case basis. It is our hope that these vaccination requirements for all students and employees will provide additional protection for everyone in our community and be reassuring to you personally as we begin to return to campus in August. We are not requiring vaccinations for the summer.

Who should employees contact if they have questions or concerns regarding working on campus this summer?
As always, employees should work with their supervisors and the Office of Human Resources to discuss workplace concerns. Faculty should contact the Office of the Provost with any questions. Need support during the transition? Staff and employees may reach out to the Employee Assistance Program.

Do I still have to participate in the Culture of Care, including coronavirus screening, after I’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes. Students or employees who have been vaccinated must still participate in the mandatory, regular testing program required for everyone on campus this summer.

Can I take paid leave for COVID vaccine side effects?
Given that COVID-19 vaccine recipients can have a variety of common reactions, the college is offering employees paid leave for up to 2 days off, to support those whose side effects interfere with their ability to engage in their normal work duties. Contact Serena Harris, sharris@smith.edu, if you need to take advantage of this additional time off.

Will faculty and staff continue to be allowed to work on campus?
There are no changes at this time to the college’s Return to Campus policy for employees. Employees must be authorized to return to work on campus.

Can any employee work on campus if they choose to?
No. Faculty and staff must request authorization to work on campus. To initiate this request, employees should submit the Return to Campus form (Smith login required). Once approved to return to campus, the employee will receive communication from the Testing and Tracing Center before they are able to return to work on campus.

Will Northampton community members be allowed on campus?
Outdoor areas of the campus remain open to the public. Campus buildings will remain open only to faculty, staff and students participating in the COVID-19 screening program. Masks are not required.


Fall 2021 FAQ

What coronavirus health and safety protocols will be in place for the fall semester?
The college will review our current COVID-19 health and safety protocols throughout the summer. We will update these based on federal guidelines and state regulations and expect to have more specific information to share by August at the latest.

UPDATED: What vaccines does Smith accept for their vaccine requirement for students and employees?
Based on the current guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, we will accept full courses of World Health Organization–approved vaccines to fulfill our student and employee vaccination requirement, in addition to U.S.-approved vaccines, until further notice. Those students arriving only partially vaccinated or who have been vaccinated with non-approved vaccines should work with the Schacht Center to determine how to meet the college’s requirement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently considers people to be fully vaccinated if they are two weeks past the final dose of these vaccines.

If I am fully vaccinated with a vaccine that is not FDA or WHO-listed, what will I need to do when I arrive at Smith?
The college is awaiting clear guidance on this question and will continue to monitor state, CDC and WHO guidance. It is possible that those who received full doses of international vaccines may be asked to re-vaccinate based on CDC guidance available in late summer. If you need to be vaccinated upon arrival, the Schacht Center will assist you. If you have questions, students should contact the Schacht Center at healthservices@smith.edu or (413) 585-2250; employees should contact Human Resources at hr@smith.edu.

If I have only received one dose of a vaccine upon arrival, can I get the second dose at Smith after I arrive?
The Schacht Center for Health and Wellness will assist students who need to be vaccinated upon arrival with either the first or second dose. If you arrive having only received the first dose of a vaccine that is not on the FDA or WHO lists, you will need to restart your vaccination process with a U.S. vaccine. At this time, CDC guidance indicates that you should restart your re-vaccination schedule in the U.S. at least 28 days after your last dose of the nonapproved vaccine. If you have questions, students should contact the Schacht Center at healthservices@smith.edu or 413-585-2250; employees should contact Human Resources at hr@smith.edu.

Will COVID vaccines be required by the fall for students?
Yes. Smith College will require all undergraduate and graduate students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester. Students should verify that they are fully vaccinated prior to their fall 2021 arrival by uploading vaccine records to the Schacht Center’s confidential patient portal. Instructions can be found on the center’s website. As with other required vaccinations, requests for medical or religious exemptions will be reviewed and accommodated on a case-by-case basis. The college will help international students or others who cannot get a U.S.-approved full vaccination prior to arrival to meet this requirement. Smith will have additional details about the overall return-to-campus process, including the vaccination requirement, by mid-June.

Will COVID vaccines be required by the fall for employees?
The college will require all employees to be fully vaccinated by August 1, 2021. Requests for medical or religious exemptions will be reviewed and accommodated on a case-by-case basis. It is our hope that these vaccination requirements for all employees will provide additional protection for everyone in our community and be reassuring to you personally as we begin to return to campus in August.

Information on confirming vaccination status can be found in the June 9th letter to the community.

What is the status of study abroad for Fall 2021?
The Office for International Study is offering conditional approval for study abroad in a limited number of countries. This decision is based on an extensive review of the pandemic risk for study abroad, which includes an assessment of each program’s COVID-19 contingency plans and protocols, refund policies, academic continuity guarantees and coronavirus precautions in program-regulated housing. Continued approval of these destinations is contingent upon ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 public health metrics and indications that the risk is low or moderate based on global health criteria. Up to date information on the programs can be found on the Study Abroad website.

What does in-person instruction mean?
Classes will be held on campus in classrooms, labs, studios and other facilities.

Will the college be flexible in allowing gap years for admitted students?
Smith allows students to request a gap year or semester (for fall 2022 or January 2022 entrance). Requests should be sent to admission@smith.edu by June 1. Students requesting a gap year or semester should include a plan for their semester or year with their request.

Will all students be invited back to campus in the fall?
Yes, we are planning for a fully in-person fall, and we plan to invite all students back to campus.

Will students have the choice to attend in-person or remotely as they did this spring?
No. All students will be expected to attend in person.

If pandemic conditions force a change of plans before the semester begins, will the college reimburse students for travel expenses?
No. The college is unable to reimburse students for travel expenses and encourages all students to book flexible, refundable travel in the event that pandemic conditions worsen.

As we return to a fully in-person fall semester, we expect that the vast majority of students will live on campus.

Will students be required to live on campus?
We expect all students to return to on-campus living unless they have been granted off-campus approval through the Off-Campus Lottery or Petition to Live Off-Campus processes managed by Residence Life, confirmed for study away/abroad programs or granted a leave of absence.

Will all students live in singles?
Residences will return to their traditional density.

How can students request housing accommodations?
All returning students with housing accommodations will be required to complete the Housing Accommodations Form (HAF), which will be available on Residence Life Self-Service on April 5 and must be completed no later than Sunday, April 18, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. If you need to seek a housing accommodation through the Office of Disability Services and do not already have one on file, you must complete all meetings with ODS by April 16, 2021. If you are not approved by April 16, we will work with you on next steps.

When will I receive my housing assignment?
Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors will select their housing through our annual Room Draw process. New students will receive their room assignments in early August.

Since I was assigned to a new house for spring 2021, am I guaranteed a room in my preferred house for fall 2021?
Returning students must complete the Room Draw House Request Form, which will go live on Monday, April 19 at 10 a.m. Eastern, on the Residence Life Self-Service page. Only the following students are exempt from the requirement to complete this form: those assigned a room through an accommodation process with the Office of Disability Services or through a special lottery process (affinity housing, co-op housing, substance-free housing, the Friedman apartment complex, off-campus housing and Ada Comstock Scholars.).

The Room Draw House Request Form will replace both the Remain in House and Change of House forms from previous years. The Room Draw House Request Form will allow students to select up to five house preferences, from which they will be assigned to a house for room selection. Due to anticipated higher than normal enrollment, we are unable to guarantee that students will be able to return to their current or last assigned house, including students returning from leave. We will do our best to assign students based on their preferences, prioritizing house assignments according to class year (assigning rising-seniors first, then rising-juniors, then rising-sophomores).

How do I apply to live off-campus?
Students may continue to request an official off-campus housing assignment via the Off-Campus Lottery (rising seniors only) and Petition to Live-Off-Campus (all class years). Each group will receive a modest increase of spaces available for those who apply through Residence Life, although spaces will continue to be limited. Students who apply for off-campus housing through the Petition to Live Off-Campus must meet certain criteria (e.g., be living at home within 20 miles of campus, be married or in a civil union, have a substantial change to financial status, have a medical/mental health need approved by ODS or be experiencing extenuating circumstances) for approval. Further documentation to support your request may be required. Entering first-year students and rising sophomores are rarely approved.

Is the college adjusting its pricing structure for 2021–22 in response to COVID-19?
No.

How much will room and board cost for the fall? How much will tuition cost?
Tuition, housing and meal costs are available via Student Financial Services.

Will staff and faculty return to on-campus work?
Yes. Staff and faculty will be expected to return to on-campus work before the fall semester begins. The process and timeline will be communicated over the summer.

Who should employees contact if they have questions or concerns regarding the return to work process?
As always, employees should work with their supervisors and the Office of Human Resources to discuss workplace concerns.