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#FlattenTheCurve: Accelerating Smith's COVID-19 Response, March 15, 2020

#FlattenTheCurve: Accelerating Smith’s COVID-19 Response, March 15, 2020

Dear students, staff and faculty:

I write to share important updates about the college’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and the urgent need to flatten the curve.

Due to the extraordinary spread of COVID-19 and the rapid emergence of community spread in western Massachusetts, we are accelerating our response.

Students: We ask you to strongly consider accelerating your departure to support your own safety and the safety of our community. Students who have been approved to remain on campus may not travel outside of Northampton. Doing so will forfeit the right to retain on-campus housing and dining. Urgent travel needs should be brought to the attention of reslife@smith.edu.

Staff: The college is preparing to move to an environment in which only limited, critical operations will continue on campus. All other operations, including the majority of our work, will be done remotely. Ideally, this transition will be completed by the close of business Wednesday, March 18, if not sooner. Employees are asked to reach out to their managers for further guidance. Effective immediately, all recruitment, hiring and onboarding of new employees must be done remotely. In-person interviews are not permitted until further notice.

Faculty: Please work with the Office of the Provost and the academic continuity team led by ITS to continue transitioning the curriculum to alternate modes of instruction. Faculty will retain access to research labs and other facilities for urgent curricular needs, with the expectation that there will be little to no on-site staff support.

Additionally, in order to promote social distancing and ensure that we can continue to support the health and safety of our entire community, we are announcing the following changes effective until further notice.

All college buildings - including academic buildings and residential houses - are now closed to the public. Visitors - including families of employees - are not permitted. Families may assist students moving out until Friday, March 20.

The Lyman Plant House, the Smith College Museum of Art, the Bechtel Environmental Classroom and all athletic and recreational facilities are now closed. Only employees whose offices are in those buildings - or employees providing support to those whose offices are in those buildings - will be permitted inside.

Effective Saturday, March 21, all academic and administrative buildings will be closed. Only employees whose offices are in those buildings - or employees providing support to those whose offices are in those buildings - will be permitted inside.

The Campus Center will remain open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will require a Smith College ID for entrance. Limited postal and café services will be available. Should the situation require it, the Campus Center may be closed to reduce community spread of COVID-19.

The Schacht Center for Health and Wellness will remain open by appointment only between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for urgent care needs. Walk-in care will not be available. Students who require medical care are asked to call 413-585-2250 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to schedule an urgent appointment. After-hours care is available by calling 413-585-1260. Counseling services are available by calling 413-585-2840.

All in-person gatherings - both for students and employees - are strongly discouraged. Social distancing remains a critical factor in reducing community spread, and we ask that all members of our community interact with as few people as possible.

Effective immediately, all college-sponsored travel, including domestic travel, is prohibited.

Personal travel for employees is strongly discouraged due to the significant risk it poses to the entire Smith community. Given the increased travel restrictions, students and employees are asked to re-submit any non-cancelled personal travel to the college’s travel registry using this form.

Please continue to monitor your email and smith.edu/coronavirus/ for additional information and direction.

David DeSwert
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Chair, COVID-19 Incident Response Team

Susan Etheredge
Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life

Michael Thurston
Provost and Dean of the Faculty