Additional information about Mount Holyoke College’s coronavirus response

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 3:15pm

Dear Mount Holyoke College community members,

As we reported to the campus community last week, we are closely monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 virus. First: please bookmark https://www.mtholyoke.edu/health/coronavirus. All College communications regarding the coronavirus will be shared there. We will, of course, be in communication with affected groups via email, and this webpage will warehouse the College’s responses to the coronavirus situation.

The College has convened a task force to examine current emergency response plans. This group is engaged in ongoing assessment and discussions regarding College responses and will be considering the potential impacts of this health emergency on our campus. 

This situation is evolving quickly and we remain committed to the health and safety of the campus community. 

College-sponsored and funded travel

  • All members of the community who have traveled, for College-sponsored or personal travel since Sunday, February 23, to countries for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 travel health notice should remain at home and monitor their health for 14 days following their return. At present this list includes China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. 
  • Anyone who has current plans to travel to or through a country with a Level 3 travel health notice from the CDC must cancel those trips. Please note, Japan is currently listed with a CDC Level 2 travel warning. Should the CDC change its level for Japan, or any other country, we will require cancellation of all College-sponsored travel to those countries.
  • The College will reimburse prepaid travel expenses incurred by cancellations due to  travel restrictions related to the coronavirus.  
  • Effective March 3, aligned with practices at many of our peer institutions, any faculty, staff or student who plan College-sponsored, funded or administered travel must notify the College of their travel plans via this online form. Domestic travel applies only to locations beyond a 100-mile radius of the College.
    • Whatever the reason for your travel, registration will ensure that the College is aware when members of the community travel to areas that are currently designated or become designated in the future by the CDC as severely affected. We will then be able to offer advice regarding preventative health measures upon your return. This information will only be used for the stated purpose and will be shared on a need-to-know basis. 
  • A number of academic and professional conferences have recently canceled their meetings. Before you travel, please check with your conference and meeting organizers to see if their schedules have changed.  
  • If you have concerns about traveling or if you are wondering about traveling to U.S. locations with recent outbreaks or in high risk areas, please contact the Dean of Faculty (faculty) or your supervisor (staff).

Spring break

  • Spring break begins Saturday, March 14. The College always offers the option for current on-campus students to stay on campus for all or part of the break. All residence halls will be open and dining will be open for meals, as per usual. Students must, however, register to stay in advance on my.mtholyoke.edu. The registration deadline is March 12. 
  • For those planning to travel, we recommend that you consult the CDC website regularly for current travel advisory information and for their health and safety recommendations.
  • Please see above under “College-sponsored and funded travel” regarding how to notify the College of any upcoming travel. 

Other updates

  • On Friday, February 28, Italy was given a Level 3 travel advisory by the CDC. The College promptly contacted the students studying in Italy, and requested that they return to their homes immediately. We are working with the impacted students on their academic program.
  • Students who are returning early to the United States from study abroad programs cancelled due to coronavirus should not come to campus. They should travel home and, if needed, self-quarantine for 14 days
  • If a student’s study abroad program is cancelled, the program will likely pay for the student’s return home (or the change fee for a round trip already booked). If that is not the case, students should contact the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives by emailing global@mtholyoke.edu. If a program that is not cancelled won’t pay for the student’s return, please contact the McCulloch Center. 
  • Given the extraordinary circumstances that the coronavirus situation has created and its impacts on study abroad programs around the world, the College is already working, and will continue to work with affected study abroad students on their academic plans. Students who have questions or concerns should be in touch directly with the Office of Student Success and Advising at academic-deans@mtholyoke.edu. As usual, students wishing to complete coursework over the summer should seek pre-approval from the registrar’s office by emailing course details to registrar@mtholyoke.edu

Going forward, Mount Holyoke College is building on our existing emergency plans. We are also looking at ways to minimize any potential disruption that may arise should the campus need to be closed for any period of time. We are also reviewing how we can minimize impacts on Commencement and Reunion, as well as on internships, research and summer programming. 

As always, the health and safety of our community is Mount Holyoke’s top priority. 

Sincerely,

Jon Western
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Marcella Runell Hall
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students