Read Smith’s plans for the spring 2021 semester.
Current Operating Mode: BLUE
Student Life & Academics
Student Life & Academics
Co-curricular spaces provide important enrichment and are a central component of the student experience. Adapting this experience in light of public health guidance as we respond to COVID-19 requires significant changes while maintaining Smith’s unique community strengths.
Three to four weeks before the spring semester starts (tentatively expected to begin January 29, 2021)
- Groups of students are brought back to campus in stages.
- Students arriving from high-risk states and from outside the U.S. will reside in isolation/quarantine housing until they are cleared by our screening program. Meals will be provided.
- Campus Life staff will provide programming for all students, including those in isolation.
- Up to two Non-Smith guests arriving from low-risk states may accompany Smith students into the houses during the move-in process. No guests are permitted in any other campus building. Family members are responsible to the Massachusetts travel policy guidelines for travel.
First two weeks of the spring semester (begins February 15, 2021)
- All classes are remote to allow sufficient time for all returning students to clear testing protocols
Community Compliance PlanWe will respond quickly to behaviors that put the safety of the campus community at risk, with particular attention to the following:
- Failure to wear a mask, observe physical distancing, follow hygiene practices or participate in our asymptomatic testing program
- Violations of travel or space restrictions
- Other high risk-behaviors that increase the potential for widespread transmission
Complaints will be managed via formal student and human resources conduct processes. Corrective action for students may include loss of privileges, quarantine, removal from housing and/or suspension, depending on the severity of the behavior and the circumstances.
The majority of spring 2021 classes will be delivered remotely to enable student learning from any location. Faculty members will use a variety of approaches to optimize learning in virtual communities. This remote delivery will extend to classes in the Five College system.
Some courses, designated as “enhanced remote” in the catalog, will incorporate safely-distanced in-person elements. A very small percentage of courses may be delivered in-person only. Students will be able to work in laboratories, studios and other specialized spaces.
Tuition & Aid
In recognition of the financial burdens that COVID-19 has imposed on students and families, we have taken two key actions. We have increased financial aid to help offset the impacts of the pandemic, and we have rolled back our planned tuition increase. Further, we prorated fall room and board charges to reflect a shorter fall semester on campus. We remain committed to meeting every Smith student’s full demonstrated financial need and to reviewing each student’s financial aid award if their financial circumstances have changed. For more information, please see Tuition & Aid.
While athletic teams will be permitted to train in person this spring, the physical distancing required to reduce viral spread precludes our participation in varsity and club sports competition. Athletic facilities and programming will be available to students participating in the COVID-19 screening program.
Where can students pick up their mail and packages?
Students' letters and packages will be loaded into lockers at mail services in the Campus Center. For Items that cannot be loaded into lockers, mail services will contact students directly to coordinate a pickup time. The student pickup window will remain closed until further notice.
When can I pick up my mail or packages?
Students will be able to retrieve their letters and packages from mail lockers during the Campus Center's open hours. Students will receive an email notification when they have items in the lockers.
Can students or employees mail out items or purchase stamps from Smith mail services?
Yes. The retail window will operate with limited services and hours starting the week of February 15. Please review the mail services webpage for updates.
When should students ship personal belongings to Smith?
Students should send their items no sooner than five days before their arrival date at Smith. For example, if a students’ expected arrival date is January 22, they should ship their items on or after January 17.
Can students living on campus get mail or packages if they are in isolation or quarantine?
No. Students who are in quarantine or isolation upon arrival or during the semester cannot retrieve items from Smith mail services during that period. For extenuating circumstances, such as retrieving shipments of prescribed medications, students can call customer service at 413-585-2400 or enter a work order for assistance.
Will students be able to receive perishable items at Smith?
No. Mail services recommends that students avoid receiving or ordering items that are perishable at this time.
If I live locally, off-campus, will I be able to receive mail and packages at my Smith address?
No. Students living locally (off campus) should have their mail sent to their off-campus address. Students should update their address by contacting the registrar's office.
What happens to a student's mail if they are not confirmed to have residential housing for spring 2021?
Any packages received at Smith mail services for students who will not be returning to Smith residential housing during the spring 2021 semester will be returned to the sender. All first-class domestic mail will continue to be forwarded. All international mail will be returned to the sender.
How will this decision affect graduate and post-bacc students?
Most graduate courses will be taught remotely (courses under the “Enhanced Remote” mode of instruction will have some in-person component and very few courses will be in person.) Graduate students currently living in campus housing may remain on campus and will be subject to the on-campus screening requirements and community health standards. No additional campus housing assignments will be made after January 22.
If I do not return to campus, will my mail be forwarded?
Mail Services is requesting that all students verify their current mailing address. If changes need to be made, please email email@example.com. This will ensure that all first-class mail can be forwarded to the correct address if you are not on campus. Please review the guidelines on the Smith College Mail Services website for additional information. https://www.smith.edu/about-smith/mail-services/for-students
Can students in residence travel outside of Northampton?
In green mode, students in residence are limited to a travel radius of 10 miles from campus for essential travel only (in yellow mode limited to 1 mile from campus). Urgent travel needs (e.g., medical appointments, family emergencies) outside this radius should be brought to the attention of firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I visit the other five colleges?
No. Students who travel from campus should do so only for essential needs including medical/personal care, work or to attend religious services. Students may not leave campus to join social gatherings or visit off-campus residences. The Five College Consortium is not having any in-person classes for students who are cross-enrolled and may not allow visitors to campus.
Can I participate in an off-campus employment or internship?
Yes, within 10 miles of campus. If the college moves to yellow mode, then students will only be allowed to travel 1 mile from campus.
If the college changes its mind before the semester starts, will the college reimburse me 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.
When will I know about Commencement or Reunion?
The college has not yet made a decision regarding Commencement or Reunion. Currently, state guidelines do not permit large gatherings.
Will there be an orientation for first-year and transfer students?
Yes. New student orientation is scheduled for February 11–14, and will include programming for students arriving on campus for the first time.
NEW: Is the housing form that was due on December 1 financially binding?
Because the pandemic may cause students' plans to change unexpectedly, there will be no penalty for students who switch to remote learning before the spring semester begins even if they requested on-campus housing. Students must contact residence life if their plans have changed.
NEW: Where can students eat their meals?
Available dining locations depend on the college's color-coded operating mode. When the campus is in green mode, dining rooms will have limited, physically distanced seating and will be open extended hours. During yellow mode, all food will be take-out only with physically distanced seating available throughout campus. During red mode, meals will be individually packaged to go and delivered to house common rooms; students must then eat in their individual rooms.
If a student returns home mid-semester to study remotely, will they be entitled to a refund?
Yes. Any student who leaves campus early to study remotely will be issued a prorated refund.
Can local, off-campus students join the meal plan?
Yes. Local, off-campus students participating in the COVID-19 screening program may join the 21 meal per week plan for the semester.
Which students will be invited to live on campus?
While we hope to be able to accommodate every student who wishes to return to campus, we need to give special assurance to some groups: first-years, seniors, select student leaders, and students with extraordinary circumstances that impede their learning from home.
Will students living locally or approved to be in residence have access to campus learning resources?
Yes. Students approved to live locally can participate in the same on-campus activities available to students living on campus, as long as they participate in the twice-weekly coronavirus screening.
How will this decision affect graduate and post-bacc students using campus housing?
If a graduate or post-bacc student already lives on campus or has been assigned housing on campus for the spring semester, that housing assignment will remain. If graduate and post-bacc students are interested in on-campus housing even if they didn't ask for it earlier, they should contact the program coordinator via email (email@example.com) as soon as possible; we might have some on-campus housing spaces available. No additional housing spaces will be allocated after January 22. Information about the arrival plan will be made available in mid-December.
Can students have visitors in on-campus housing?
No. Houses are open only to Smith College students in residence—no off-campus visitors are allowed under any circumstances. In green mode, guests who are Smith College students in residence are allowed in other students’ rooms so long as they are following our mask and physical distancing guidelines. A maximum of two guests are allowed in one room at a time. Please note that if the campus moves out of the green/low-risk operating mode, further restrictions will be put in place.
Can students in residence travel off campus?
In green mode, off-campus travel must be limited to a radius of 10 miles from campus and reserved for essential needs only. Urgent travel needs outside this radius should be brought to the attention of firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the City of Northampton, like Smith, requires that masks or approved face coverings be worn in public at all times. Please note that if the campus moves out of the green/low-risk operating mode, further restrictions will be put in place.
What happens if I get sick with COVID-19? Will I be able to stay in my own room?
In keeping with CDC guidelines, the college will follow a special protocol for ill students requiring isolation or quarantine in dedicated housing.
Which houses will be used for isolation and quarantine?
Baldwin House, Haven House and the Friedmans will serve as quarantine or isolation spaces.
I am immunocompromised. Can I request a room with a private/semi-private bath or a smaller number of people sharing a bath?
Students who are immunocompromised or who would prefer living in a smaller community may request housing in a designated immunocompromised housing option. These communities will be located in Sessions Annex, Hopkins and Wesley Houses and will be limited to fewer than 20 students per community with three to eight students sharing a communal bath space. Priority will be given to students with medical needs and an Office of Disability Services accommodation on file.
I have an Office of Disability Services (ODS) accommodation. Will I be guaranteed to return to my previous assignment?
While we can guarantee that all ODS accommodations will be met, we cannot guarantee that students will be able to return to their last assigned room. If we are unable to reassign students to their last assigned room, we will contact the student to identify a new assignment that meets the current accommodation on file.
If I currently live on campus will I have to move for spring semester?
All students currently living on campus will be asked to complete a housing preference form. The Office of Residence Life will try its best to meet students’ requests but cannot guarantee that all requests will be met. Some students will need to move for spring semester housing.
Can I keep the room I selected at room draw?
We cannot guarantee that students will be reassigned to any room selected during room draw. All invited students who confirm enrollment with a request for housing for the spring semester will be able to request specific house and/or room preferences, which may include previously assigned rooms. Those students will receive further information about how to indicate their housing preference on their Residence Life Self-Service via email in December.
How can I apply to live off campus?
Students interested in living off campus may apply via the Petition to Live Off Campus form, which will be available on your Residence Life Self-Service on November 23. The priority deadline is December 15. Petitions received after this date will only be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with final decision made at the end of January.
When will I receive my spring housing assignment?
Students should expect to receive their spring housing assignments via email no later than Monday, January 18. (Note: return-to-campus decisions will be released on December 7, but housing assignments will not yet be available.) Please note that there will be no room changes for the spring 2021 semester.
Will students who were previously assigned to a now-closed house receive priority to live in their first-choice house?
Students who have been previously assigned to a house/apartment that will be closed for the spring 2021 semester will be able to request a new house when submitting their housing preference information. While the Office of Residence Life cannot guarantee that students will be placed in their first-choice house, we will do our best to accommodate those students in one of their top house preferences.
You may retrieve items from trunk rooms upon returning to campus. Please note that trunk rooms will not be available to store items at the end of the spring semester. Students should bring to campus only what they absolutely need for the spring semester.
I can’t decide whether to study remotely or on campus until I know what my financial aid award will be. When will I know that?
Your financial aid award will not be revised until we know whether you intend to live on campus. In most cases, the amount your family will be asked to pay will be very similar whether you live on campus or at home. If your preference is to return to campus, please fill out the form indicating that is your plan. Most seniors and juniors have aid awards reflecting on-campus residence in the spring, while sophomores and first-years have aid awards reflecting study-at-home. After you receive your adjusted award, you may decide to study remotely; however, there may not be available space on campus if you indicate you plan to study remotely and subsequently change your mind.
The Office of Student Financial Services (SFS) will begin the process of adjusting financial aid awards the week of December 7. It will take some time to revise all awards to align with each student’s housing status, and you will be notified as soon as your award has been adjusted. We expect to have all aid awards and charges adjusted before the spring semester bill goes out on January 15, 2021. If you change your plans after December 1, please know that it will require another adjustment to your aid award and bill. SFS will be informed of the housing change and send another revised award for those adjustments after December 1.
For those seeking special approval to be considered "Approved, Local Off-Campus," the supplemental application deadline is December 15. SFS will not make any award adjustments until these requests have been finalized.
Is the college adjusting its pricing structure for 2020–21 in response to COVID-19?
In all decisions related to planning around the pandemic, Smith is prioritizing the health and safety of community members. The college has taken steps to address cost and pricing issues. Specifically, in recognition of the financial burdens that COVID-19 has imposed on students and families, we have taken two key actions: We have increased financial aid to help offset the impacts of the pandemic, and we have rolled back our planned tuition increase.
We remain committed to meeting every Smith student’s full demonstrated financial need and to reviewing each student’s award if their financial circumstances have changed. Students with questions about financial aid are encouraged to contact email@example.com.
Throughout 2020–21, whether working in person or remotely, our faculty and staff will continue to teach and support students with the dedication and individual attention that has long been a hallmark of the Smith experience. Our students will continue to graduate with a degree that retains its value and with the capacities and skills for lifelong success.
How much will room and board cost for the spring? How much will tuition cost?
Our tuition, room and board costs are available via Student Financial Services.
How are work-study expectations affected by the move to remote learning for the spring semester?
Work-study expectations for first-year and sophomore students have been eliminated and replaced by grants. Work-study expectations for juniors and seniors have been reduced by 50 percent.
What adjustments will be made to financial aid packages to reflect the change in the college’s operations?
For students on financial aid, we have made two important adjustments for 2020–21. We have increased the allowance for personal expenses by $2,000 per year, regardless of whether the student is residing on or near campus or at home, and we have reduced the work-study earnings expectation by 50 percent.
Where can I find details about Smith’s participation in the CARES Act?
Detailed reporting is available here.
Residence Life Operating Modes
|Traditional Housing||On-campus resident students may host another on-campus resident in their houses or rooms (limited to two guests in a residential room). These visitors must be accompanied by the host at all times. House kitchens available via sign-up, common spaces available during designated hours. Food and grocery drivers may not enter building; recipient must meet driver outside.||Students may not visit other houses or rooms. Kitchens and common spaces are closed. Food and grocery drivers may not enter buildings; recipient must meet driver outside.||Students asked to remain in their own rooms (except for testing and meal pick-up). No food and grocery delivery services.|
|Ada Comstock Scholars and Graduate Students in On-Campus Apartments||On-campus students may visit other on-campus students’ rooms, houses and apartments. Common spaces available during designated hours. Food and grocery drivers may not enter buildings; recipient must meet driver outside.||Students may not visit other residences. Common spaces closed. Food and grocery drivers may not enter building; recipient must meet driver outside.||Students asked to remain in their own apartments (except for testing or essential trips). Food and grocery drivers may not enter building; recipient must meet driver outside.|
|Off-Campus Undergraduates, Ada Comstock and Graduate Students in Testing Program||Students may access academic and administrative buildings including classrooms, laboratories, studios, Campus Center, library and Schacht Health Center. Off-campus students do not have access to Smith residential houses.||Students may only access testing site or Schacht Health Center.||Students may only access testing site. Off-campus students are asked to stay in their residences to the extent possible and follow state and local guidance.|
Student Life Operating Modes
|Off-Campus Travel||Students may travel up to 10 miles from campus for essential services (e.g., personal care, groceries, religious services). Students may not visit any off-campus residence or participate in off-campus social gatherings of any kind.||Students must remain on campus. They may travel up to 1 mile from campus for work or to purchase essential commodities like groceries and medicine. Students may not visit any off-campus residence or participate in off-campus social gatherings of any kind.||On-campus students must remain on campus and primarily in their own rooms. Off-campus students are asked to stay in their residences to the extent possible and follow state and local guidance.|
|Dining||Open to those on the meal plan, limited internal seating.||Grab and Go only, for those on the meal plan.||Phased delivery to house common rooms.|
|Visitors||No external visitors allowed in campus buildings.||No external visitors allowed in campus buildings.||No external visitors allowed in campus buildings.|
|Campus Center||Open to the Smith community in testing protocol. The Student Kitchen and Resource Room will be open only when the college's operating mode is Green. Students will be able to access these spaces by making a reservation in the Office of Student Engagement.||Limited hours and services available.||Closed except for the testing center.|
|Campus Center Café||Open to the Smith Community in the testing program.||Closed.||Closed.|
|Meetings/Gatherings/Student Activities & Affinity Groups||With Student Affairs approval: Indoor (limit based on room capacity of 125 sq.ft./ person and not to exceed 10 people) and outdoor (limit of 25 people). Student-initiated activities allowed up to 5 people indoors and 10 people outdoors. No food at indoor gatherings.||Remote activities only, except for one-on-one emergency meetings with a college official.||Remote activities only, except for one-on-one emergency meetings with a college official.|
|Testing Center||Open to those in the testing program.||Open to those in the testing program.||Open to those in the testing program.|
|Medical Services from the Schacht Center||Open for remote care for students residing in Mass. Open for in-person care for students living on and off campus within a 10-mile radius.||Open for remote care for students residing in Mass. Open for in-person care for students living on and off campus within a 10-mile radius.||Open for remote care for students residing in Mass. Open for in-person care for sick appointments ONLY for students living on and off campus within a 10-mile radius.|
|Counseling Services from the Schacht Center||Mostly remote, in-person as needed and in crisis.||Remote with exceptions for crises.||Remote only.|
|Disability Services||Open for some face-to-face appointments with the majority of services remote.||Remote with exceptions for crises.||Remote only.|
|Olin Fitness Center and Athletic Facilities||Available for on-campus and local off-campus students in the testing program by reservation only. Available facilities: Olin Fitness Center, restrooms, Ainsworth locker rooms for changing only—no shower use. Climbing wall hours and boathouse programs will be offered. Get Fit Smith classes will be offered to the Smith community remotely. Low-exertion classes offered in person to students.||Available to on-campus students by reservation at low capacity. Get Fit Smith classes will be offered remotely. Climbing wall hours will be limited.||Closed.|
|Athletics (Varsity)||NO COMPETITION
Team practices will be permitted. Masks must be worn at all times, including during practice sessions. Lockers available, no showers available. Specialized equipment will be moved to the ITT and outside. The squash courts will be converted into athletic training space. Appointment system will be used.
Club sports may begin practice sessions and are required to abide by the testing and screening protocols outlined above for varsity teams.
Crew team will be permitted to use athletics vans to transport small numbers of rowers (5–6 at a time) by shuttle to the Sportsman’s Marina Boathouse for practice.
|On-campus varsity athletes will have access to Olin and specialized equipment by a reservation system. Teams may have group outdoor work-outs with a maximum of 10.||All athletics activity will be virtual. No in-person practices, meetings or competitions.|
|Outdoor Athletic Facilities||Outdoor tennis courts are available to anyone who carries a current Smith OneCard. Priority given to athletics program use. No community passes available.||Outdoor tennis courts are available to anyone who carries a current Smith OneCard. Priority given to athletics program use. No community passes available.||Closed.|
|On-Campus Employment||In-person student employment permitted for roles that require it. Approval by Cabinet member.||Limited in-person student employment for essential functions.||Remote employment only.|
|Off-Campus Employment and Internships||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Campus Van Use (Access Van and Off-Campus Program Transportation)||TBD||Not available.||Not available.|