Important Changes to Interterm (Jan. 3–21) For Students and Employees
Letters to the Community
December 20, 2021
Dear students, staff and faculty:
We write to update you on changes to our Culture of Care plan, given the prevalence of the delta and the rapidly emerging omicron variants. We have learned much about COVID-19 during the past 19 months—mainly that vaccination with boosters, masking and testing have kept our case numbers low; nevertheless, we are now dealing with a new coronavirus variant with some unknowns.
Public health conditions are changing rapidly. As you know, we are heading into a period where the vast majority of our community will be traveling for the holidays. We don't yet know what conditions will be like at the start of interterm; therefore, we have decided, out of an abundance of caution, to update our Culture of Care plan, beginning Monday, January 3, 2022.
Learning at Smith
- Interterm courses will be held as scheduled. We strongly encourage instructors to move to remote instruction, whenever possible. We expect most interterm classes will meet remotely most of the time. For questions regarding technology support for remote learning and teaching, please visit the Digital Support website. We ask instructors to inform students as soon as possible whether their interterm courses will be remote or in-person.
- Students whose interterm classes will meet remotely are strongly encouraged to remain home rather than return to campus for interterm. The following groups of students are permitted on campus during interterm: students who are currently approved to stay on campus over the winter recess, students who cannot return home, students working on research projects and approved curricular and co-curricular work, students who have confirmed interterm jobs that require them to be on campus, and students participating in varsity athletics. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Instructor and student travel for academic purposes must now be approved by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty. This includes all Smith-sponsored travel beyond Northampton, including travel that may already be planned or booked.
Living at Smith
- Testing: Before returning to Northampton, all students should try to get tested for COVID-19. Students will be required to take a rapid antigen test and their first PCR test immediately upon arrival. Twice-weekly testing will continue to be mandatory for all students once they return to campus.
- Minimizing contact upon return: Students must minimize nonessential contact until they have received their second negative PCR COVID-19 test through the on-campus testing program.
- Dining: All dining will be to-go only throughout interterm. There will be no seating in dining rooms, and meals should be eaten either in individual rooms or areas where physical distancing can be maintained.
- Travel: Once on campus, students may not travel beyond Northampton. Exceptions to this rule may only be granted by the Office of Student Affairs.
Working at Smith
- Remote work: During interterm (January 3–21), employees who can do their work remotely are encouraged to do so. We ask managers to discuss work plans with their staff this week.
- Twice-weekly testing will be required for all employees who are working on campus, beginning January 3.
- Meetings should be held remotely, if possible.
It is our hope that it will be safe for all Smith classes to be offered in person in the spring. Students who are not returning to campus for interterm should continue to plan to arrive before the start of the spring semester following the spring arrival plan.
As always, we will monitor pandemic conditions locally, regionally and nationally, and adjust our plans accordingly. We will, of course, keep you informed; we invite all members of our community to a meeting this Wednesday, December 22, at 12:15 p.m. at https://smith.zoom.us/j/93293837876.
We want to acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant uncertainty in our lives, both personally and professionally. We have all been asked to adjust our plans and behavior repeatedly in response to changing risks and guidelines—and we understand how frustrating this has been for everyone. Nevertheless, the Smith community has been resilient, even during the most challenging of times. Let us continue to support and care for one another.
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life
Provost and Dean of the Faculty