Planning for Fall 2021

Letters to the Community
April 9, 2021

Dear students, staff and faculty:

Over the past months, my team and I have been hard at work preparing for the fall semester.

Informed by Smith’s spring semester experience to date, the increased availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, and current public health guidance, we are planning to invite all students to campus in the fall for in-person classes.

This message is the first of a number of communications you will receive from the college regarding the upcoming semester. We will have much more to share with you in the coming weeks and months as we finalize our plans. Please note that, as always, changes in the larger pandemic context may require us to adjust these plans on short notice.

Fall classes will begin on Thursday, September 2. Other information is provided below and on our COVID-19 website, which we will continue to update as plans develop. We invite you to send questions not addressed on the site to

Learning on campus

Classes will be taught in person, in our campus classrooms, labs, studios and other facilities. However, depending on pandemic conditions during the term, there may be times when classes will revert temporarily to remote instruction.

Living on campus

The Culture of Care under which we have operated for more than a year has served us well; we expect that some level of pandemic precautions (e.g., physical distancing, mask wearing) will still be necessary in the fall. We will provide more information about health and safety protocols as we get closer to the fall semester.

Working on campus

As we look forward to welcoming all of our students back to campus, we also anticipate a return to in-person work for our staff and faculty in advance of the fall semester. In the course of the transition back to campus work, some of our health and safety guidelines are likely to stay in place.


We strongly urge all members of our community who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated as soon possible. We are considering requiring the vaccine for the fall, subject to medical and religious exemptions. If we elect to require the vaccine, we will provide as much advance notice as possible.

I look forward to meeting our new students and to celebrating the joys of living, learning and working together in this remarkable community. I hope you are as encouraged and energized as I am by what awaits us this fall.

Take care and be well.

Kathleen McCartney