Campus Updates

Visit the campus updates page for information on Mount Holyoke's response to the global pandemic. The Opening the Gates site contains details about the spring semester.

Mount Holyoke College
Opening the Gates

Community Compact for Students

Students will be able to sign the Community Compact prior to arrival on campus. It will be emailed to all residential students to agree to online.

Updated December 21, 2020. Subject to change.

Mount Holyoke Honor Code: I will honor myself, my fellow students, and Mount Holyoke College by acting responsibly, honestly and respectfully in both my words and deeds.

At Mount Holyoke, our honor code is more than a promise -- it is a covenant in which each student takes responsibility for their own behavior and wellbeing as well as for that of their fellow students and, indeed, the entire college community. This student community compact outlines key behaviors and actions that must be taken due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The College is committed to minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission on campus, but that risk cannot be eliminated entirely. By returning to campus, students accept the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Through this community compact, we commit to be mutually accountable for following all campus health and safety measures. We acknowledge individual and collective responsibility to maintain our own health, protect the health of others and do our part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. If we all work together to stay healthy, it increases the likelihood that students can remain on campus.

These rules and guidelines may be updated and revised as we receive additional guidance from local, state and federal governments.

Campus Arrival and the Start of the Semester

Mount Holyoke students must follow travel guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control. Students should not come to campus if feeling ill or exhibiting signs of any illness and should wait until fully recovered before traveling to campus. In alignment with the current instruction for a 14-day quarantine when arriving in MA, the campus will quarantine together and students will not be permitted to leave campus for 14 days after their move-in day. All residential students will participate regardless of whether they traveled from a state currently exempted from the quarantine.

  • Upon arrival to campus, students will be screened with a symptoms checklist, temperature check and given a COVID-19 test at no charge. No student will be permitted to move into their residence hall prior to receiving their test.
  • All students must quarantine in their assigned room in their residence hall until a negative result is obtained. We anticipate this to be within 24–48 hours. No exemptions from this initial test will be awarded, regardless of where a student spent the previous two weeks and regardless of whether they have had a negative test within 72 hours prior to arrival.
  • Students will each be assigned bathrooms and particular fixtures that they will share with a small group of students for the semester. Students should only use their assigned fixtures when using the restrooms, and wear face coverings when in the space, except when washing their face or brushing their teeth.
  • Meals will be delivered to student living quarters until they receive a negative test result and students may not leave the residence hall until their negative test results have been confirmed. Please note that delivered meals will likely be cold items, such as salads and sandwiches. Food allergies will be accommodated. Students will also have access to off-campus, food delivery options at their own expense, as they would normally.
  • We encourage students to pack lightly for the following reasons:
    • There is no one that can help you move in since no guests are allowed in the halls at any time, so you need to only bring what you can carry up to your room on your own.
    • There is no storage in the halls this year, everything you bring with you must stay in your room the full semester.
    • If the campus is required to close early due to an outbreak or government shutdown, students will need to move out quickly and there will be no on campus storage if that happens, so students will need to clear out their room entirely.
    • Given all of that we suggest you only bring what you can most easily carry with you and take home with you quickly if needed.

In addition:

  • Students are strongly encouraged to follow Safer-at-Home protocol and quarantine at home for 10 to 14 days prior to arrival if at all possible to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 test 72-48 hours before returning to campus if they are available in your area. If a student tests positive, please notify the College and do not arrive for move-in until you have completed your quarantine at home and received clearance from a medical professional.
  • Students will be able to move into the residence halls January 12 or 14 or 16, 2021. Exceptions to the move-in schedule will be made only in the most extenuating of circumstances. Students who believe they need an exception should contact the Division of Student Life for review. Your request will be reviewed and responded to within two to three business days. Submission of a request is not a guarantee it will be approved. No student will be permitted to move onto campus after January 16, 2021. Limited exceptions will be made if someone has delayed coming to campus because they tested positive for COVID-19.
  • No family members or other guests will be allowed in the residence halls at any time, including during move-in. Individuals accompanying students to campus for drop-off will be permitted in designated outdoor areas only and must depart campus prior to the two-hour move-in maximum window for each student.
  • All meals will be to-go at the start of spring semester. If all health and safety guidelines are being met on campus after the quarantine period, the Dining Commons may open for students to sit and eat their meal.
  • Massachusetts mandates that all students must receive the flu vaccine by December 31, 2020. To return to campus in spring, you must show proof that you have received the flu vaccine this season.
  • Students will receive a lanyard and ID holder during move-in; this must be worn and visible at all times when walking around campus.

Required Monitoring, Education, Testing and Tracing

Students agree to:

  • Monitor for the symptoms of COVID-19 and contact Health Services if you experience fever of 100.4º F (38º C) or higher, dry cough, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and/or loss of taste or smell.
  • Participate in twice-weekly testing and contact tracing to preserve the wellness of the community. Respond to texts, emails and calls from contact tracers and answer all questions about contacts honestly and completely.
  • Report to Health Services any close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Participate in any mandatory education sessions that review the expectations for living on campus.

Isolation and Quarantine

Students agree to:

  • Comply when directed to move to isolation or quarantine housing. Students may be required to move as the result of COVID-19 symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test and/or close contact with someone who is symptomatic and/or tests positive.
  • Students may choose to return home to quarantine or isolate at their own expense, and return to campus will require documentation and approval by Health Services. Room and board refunds will not normally be provided. Once approval for return is given, a 14 days on-campus quarantine will likely be required, and is contingent on availability of on campus quarantine spaces.

Distancing, Face Coverings and Behavioral Requirements

Students agree to:

  • Practice physical distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other community members at all times.
  • Masks or cloth face coverings are required when in the presence of others and when outside of your personal room -- including outdoors. Masks should always cover your mouth and nose. Students do not need to wear a mask when alone in their own rooms or when they are washing their faces or brushing their teeth in shared bathrooms.
  • Food should only be eaten outside, in their room, or in designated spaces such as the Dining Commons. No food may be eaten in any open building such as Blanchard Hall, academic buildings, etc., as masks must be worn at all times.
  • Stay in their rooms if students feel ill or after exposure to someone who is ill, and contact Health Services to review your symptoms.
  • Be positive, attentive and helpful to anyone who may be in need of support. Residential students must be particularly sensitive to the fact that their neighbors and/or fellow residents are impacted by their decisions. Strong communication skills and empathy for others are important characteristics to cultivate during this time.
  • Please note, as previously communicated, the campus is now smoke- and tobacco-free. Given that COVID-19 causes respiratory distress and concerns, smoking of any kind anywhere on campus is considered an honor code and student conduct violation and can lead to a student's removal from campus housing and/or other consequences.

Travel, Guests, and Building Access

Students agree to:

  • Residential students must stay within a 10-mile driving distance of campus. Should a student request and receive approval from Student Life to depart campus for extenuating circumstances, they must follow all College and state guidelines for return. All students are expected to practice preventative behavior when off campus including wearing a mask and maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet. This travel perimeter is intended for short and minimal trips off campus to help students access the resources they need for food, personal hygiene, grooming, etc. Students should always avoid close contact with others in confined spaces. This travel limit may change at any time, as we track the course of the pandemic and the risk level.
  • Off-campus employment is strongly discouraged. If a student feels they need to be off campus for extended periods of time, for employment or other purposes, please contact Student Life staff.
  • No guests are permitted in the residence halls. This prohibition includes overnight and daytime guests. Anyone who does not live in your residence hall is considered a guest.
  • Refrain from visiting any other residence halls except the one you live in. You can meet up with those living in other buildings outside.
  • After the initial quarantine period has passed, students are allowed to have one other student, who lives in the same building, visit in the student's room. In order to maintain appropriate physical distancing at all times, no student should ever have more than one student in their room at a time. If residents want to meet with more students, please use the common rooms and follow capacity & face covering guidelines posted in these spaces.
  • Only on-campus students and approved faculty and staff are allowed in non-residential buildings on campus.
  • Students must abide by limits on the size of groups or gatherings that can occur on campus or are defined by any particular space.


Students agree to:

  • Students are expected to practice good hygiene, including thorough and frequent hand washing using soap and lasting at least 20 seconds, along with the use of hand sanitizer, especially when returning from outside, after using a restroom and before meals.
  • Keep their own residential spaces and shared common spaces clean and follow all posted cleaning/hygiene information in all buildings to which you may have access.

For Students Studying Away from Campus

  • Students not living on campus may not visit any College facility that is not open to the general public (including residential buildings and academic buildings including the library.)
  • Students should monitor their health for COVID-related symptoms and seek appropriate evaluation and care if needed.
  • Flu shots are strongly recommended.

Disciplinary Procedures

Disciplinary complaints will follow the procedures set forth in the student handbook. Students may bring any alleged violation of the community compact to our attention by completing this form. Please note that decisions made by the hearing officer or Honor Code Council will be final given the public health and safety consequences of violations. A student who violates this compact may also be in violation of the code of conduct and, consequently, may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the College.

Student Accountability

By signing below, I agree/acknowledge that:

  • I have read and understand the information included in this compact, agree to abide by them and understand they may need to be modified from time to time by the College.
  • If at any point I find I am unable to comply with the rules set forth in this compact, I will remove myself from campus and complete the semester remotely. I understand that, if I do not do this voluntarily, I may be subject to removal from residence by the College. Students may seek reasonable accommodations from AccessAbility Services as applicable. If my requested accommodation(s) cannot be approved, I will follow the College’s expectations or I will make other housing arrangements.
  • In addition, I understand that the violation of any of these guidelines or policies that put at risk the health and safety of others could result in removal from campus housing, in-person classes, or other outcomes. As such, I agree to have a plan of action to leave campus and return home or move to an alternative location if I violate policies and have to leave campus.
  • I acknowledge there is an individual and collective responsibility to maintain our own health, protect the health of others and do our part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, I am responsible for my own actions and I have a duty to report the actions of others that may put other students' health and safety at risk.
  • In the event that Mount Holyoke College and/or the state determines that public health conditions warrant further de-densification of campus and/or a fully remote environment, I will prepare for and fund my own personal travel home or will work with Student Life, as needed.
  • I understand that the College has adopted these requirements to promote the collective health and well-being of our community, and specifically the students, staff and faculty on campus during this time period. I further understand that my ability to enter and remain on the Mount Holyoke campus as a residential student is predicated on my adherence to these policies. I will follow these policies not just for my own health, but also to protect and safeguard the health of those around me, including employees living or working on campus. I acknowledge and agree that these rules and guidelines may change as life on campus and public health guidance evolve and as new testing and tracing methods emerge, and I agree to abide by any new rules and guidelines as needed.

I acknowledge that Mount Holyoke College cannot eliminate the risk of illness during a global pandemic. I voluntarily accept the risks associated with in-person, on-campus study at this time.