Campus Updates

Please visit the Campus Updates page for information on Mount Holyoke’s response to the global pandemic. The Opening the Gates website contains the plan for the fall semester. FAQs are being updated regularly.


An important message from President Sonya Stephens about fall 2020

Last FAQ update: August 10, 2020, 3 pm. Please check regularly for updates.

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Academics for the 2020–2021 academic year

Our faculty and staff are excited to resume our teaching and support for all students in the coming academic year. Although the pandemic has disrupted life as usual, Mount Holyoke continues to draw upon its mission of providing an intellectually adventurous education in the liberal arts and sciences. 

The direction our planning will take for next year will be academic semesters divided into two seven-and-a-half week sessions. Students will take two courses in each session, with an option to take an additional two-credit course or independent study. We will offer a complete and rich curriculum with a full range of courses.

For a more in-depth discussion on the planning process, please read this message from Jon Western, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.

The College has decided that, for the fall 2020 semester, all courses will be remote and delivered online. The only exception to this will be the in-person class requirement that U.S. immigration officials have deemed necessary for new international students.

The adjustments to grades made for spring 2020 were one-time responses and adjustments due to the emergency nature of the spring semester. The faculty are currently discussing grading policies. More information will be forthcoming.

There are no changes to requirements for majors or minors. 

Our hope is to continue to provide peer-to-peer academic support to students for the 2020-2021 academic year, including SAW mentors and tutors. More information will be forthcoming. 

Visit the transferring credit page for information about the transfer credit process.

Advising appointments will be virtual, via Zoom or other video conferencing, regardless of whether you live on campus or not. Many faculty will list their availability within Pathways for students to self-schedule appointments. 

Advisors will be available on an on-going basis in much the same way as they are when we are all on campus — -through appointments and office hours. These supports will be translated to be available in an online environment. You can also schedule appointments or take advantage of drop-in times with academic deans via video conference.

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Studying Remotely

Most students will live at their permanent residence when they are not in residence on campus. All students not living on campus will take their courses remotely. Students not living on campus may not visit any College facility that is not open to the general public, including residential buildings and the library.

Students should monitor their health for COVID-related symptoms and seek appropriate evaluation and care if needed. Flu shots are recommended.

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Technology Needs

The Help Desk team is happy to help you with your technology needs. We have provided a learning guide, teaching guide and working guide for students, faculty and staff.

LITS has a limited number of laptops available for semester loan. These laptops are available to students who do not have access to a personal computer, and who need a device to complete coursework. If there are questions about borrowing a laptop from LITS, please email

Yes, students who are currently overseas can use the Google Suite applications if they use the Mount Holyoke Virtual Private Network (VPN). For more information, connect with the Help Desk team, who is happy to help you with your technology needs. LITS has more information on VPN on its Learn Remotely page.

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Study Abroad

Given the uncertain nature of the global pandemic's continued effects on both public health and on travel between countries, Mount Holyoke College has made the decision to cancel all College-sponsored undergraduate study abroad for fall 2020. This includes Mount Holyoke's Montpellier France program, as well as our students participation (in person or virtually) in approved direct-enroll and partner programs.

This decision was made in consultation with Mount Holyoke College’s Travel Emergency Response Team, as well as the College risk manager and in consideration of a number of factors, including student health and safety, evolving travel restrictions, visa issuances, restrictive entry requirements, and impacts on academic calendars around the world.

We encourage all students who are able to defer applications to the spring 2021 semester to consider doing so. We request all fall students who had planned to study abroad to notify the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives at with your decision by July 13 to either withdraw from study abroad entirely or defer your participation to the spring 2021 semester.

Students will not need to submit another Request to Study Abroad if they defer to the spring 2021 semester. However, if you plan on switching to a program for which you have not already been approved, or you wish to defer beyond the spring 2021 semester, then you will need to complete a new Request to Study Abroad. Contact to ask for a new request to be enabled.

Students will not be able to study at a foreign university and transfer credits back in fall 2020. Mount Holyoke College has made the difficult decision to cancel study abroad this fall. This includes all study abroad programs and no credit will be transferred in from study abroad completed during the fall 2020.

Students who might want to study at a foreign university this fall would need to take a personal leave and no credit will be accepted to transfer toward the Mount Holyoke degree. International students should be aware that their immigration status may be affected by taking a personal leave and should therefore consult with the immigration specialist in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives before applying for a personal leave.

Because all study abroad opportunities have been cancelled for the fall 2020 semester, international students may opt to study in their home country. Students interested in doing this would be well served by contacting their academic dean to discuss their plans in more detail. To ensure that credits will transfer towards the Mount Holyoke degree, pre-approval is also necessary though the Registrar’s Office. 

Note that there is a way to continue with your Mount Holyoke education directly during the coming year by engaging in the College’s flexible semester that allows students to access courses and other experiences from different locations. International students who choose to study in their home country would need to elect a personal leave and should be aware that their US immigration status may be affected. They should therefore consult with the immigration specialist in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives before making a decision about taking a personal leave.

While some study abroad partners and universities are offering remote versions of programs as substitutes for in-person study, these are not an option for Mount Holyoke students at this time.

We have informed Student Financial Services that no Mount Holyoke students will be studying abroad this fall. SFS will process your aid based on your enrollment at Mount Holyoke for the fall semester. If you have any questions, please contact

Students approved for need-based Laurel Fellowships for the fall semester will still receive their Laurel Fellowship if they defer to the spring 2021 semester. 

Students who are deferring to the 2021-2022 academic year will have to complete a new Request to Study Abroad form, which includes the Laurel Fellowship request. Deferral of study abroad plans into the next academic year will be subject to re-assessment of your revised academic plan, Laurel eligibility (based on next year’s FAFSA), and availability of College funds.

We have notified all approved program providers, including direct-enrollment programs. of Mount Holyoke College’s cancellation of study abroad for fall 2020. In addition, all students who were planning to study on an approved program must contact their program provider or host university directly to officially withdraw their application or to defer it to a later semester. 

If you have submitted a deposit or other fees, please ask the provider directly if you can receive a refund or apply it to another semester.

Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for health and safety and for travel, Mount Holyoke College will continue to monitor the situation before making any determinations about study abroad for spring 2021. 

We remain optimistic about the ability to offer study abroad programs next spring and encourage students to continue exploring study abroad options for that semester. In the event that study abroad for spring 2021 is restricted, we will convey any decisions with as much advance notice as possible. 

The non-Laurel/non-petition deadline remains October 15, 2020, but all students are encouraged to complete the Request to Study Abroad as soon as possible. Requests will be reviewed on a rolling basis over the summer.

Notifications of approvals and Laurel decisions via email will be delayed from early June to mid-July. The deadline for students to confirm plans to study abroad (or not) through the Study Abroad Decision Form is November 15, 2020

If you have study abroad questions, please contact the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives at or schedule an appointment with April Stroud or Ruby Maddox via Pathways.

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International (F-1 Visas) Students

We strongly encourage international students to enroll in Mount Holyoke courses remotely, with their cohort, in the fall. The College is using FIT to ensure that our students will be able to access the curriculum no matter where they are located or what their particular circumstance may be. The goal is to be flexible enough so that all students may participate, and we will be offering classes that happen between 8 am and 10:30 pm USA EDT (-4 GMT) to allow for students across time zones.

Because of immigration regulations, new F-1 students are not allowed to enter the United States as they will be studying entirely remotely. We will be processing new I-20 forms to defer students' start date (for visa purposes) on their I-20 form later in September. This new guidance covers fall 2020 only. We will not have spring 2021 guidance until later in the year Students with questions should contact Jenny Medina or Bri Rhodes.

Incoming first-year international students
While we strongly encourage all first-year students to begin with their cohort in the fall, you can submit a deferral request at or contact the Admission Office at 413-538-3334 to discuss deferral options.

Unfortunately, we don’t yet know if studying remotely for the fall will have visa implications. The US government has not released new guidance. The McCulloch Center will inform students (via their MHC email accounts) as soon as we receive it. If you have further questions, please contact Jenny Medina or Bri Rhodes.

Unfortunately, we do not have updates about international travel, and would assume that current travel restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Students in China or the Schengen area would need to spend at least 14 days in a third country in order to enter the US. You can stay up-to-date by going to the CDC’s website.

If you are an international student and are approved for fall housing, that does not guarantee you will be able to live on campus for spring semester 2021. Applications for spring housing will be available in late October. We will do our very best to accommodate international students’ campus housing needs via the application process.

For questions for international students regarding billing and finances, please contact Student Financial Services.

Yes, students who are currently overseas can use the Google Suite applications if they use the Mount Holyoke Virtual Private Network (VPN). For more information, connect with the Help Desk team, who is happy to help you with your technology needs. LITS has more information on VPN on its Learn Remotely page.

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First Generation, Low Income Student Support

Yes. The Student Safety Net Fund will reopen on Monday, August 24, 2020. Fall funding will support first generation and/ or low-income students who may have difficulty accessing living necessities and/or technology or resources required for academic success in a remote environment.

Yes, there will be special orientation and community-building sessions for first generation and/or low-income students.

New Student Orientation - “How to Support Your #Fearless First Student” for FGLI family Support and Resources
Monday, August 10, 6:30 pm
The First Gen Network will sponsor a session for families and support systems of new FGLI students. This session will provide families an opportunity to connect with staff and faculty who support FGLI, ask questions, and also discuss how to partner with and support their FGLI students.

New Student Orientation - “ #Fearless First Student Panel ” for New FGLI students
Monday, August 10, 8:30 pm
Students who attend this panel will connect with students from FLIP (First Gen and Low Income Partnership) student organization to learn more about thriving as a first gen and/or low income student at MHC and the resources provided to support FGLI students.

New Student Affinity Group opportunities for FGLI
Saturday, August 22nd, 10:00 am or Sunday, August 23rd, 10:00 am
There will be additional opportunities for students who are FGLI (first gen and/ or low income) to engage in dialogue with other students who also identify as FGLI which will be facilitated by a FGLI staff member. All new students have received a Google form to sign up for sessions.

Cultural Center Meet and Greet for FGLI Community
Wednesday, August 26
This event is open to all FGLI students and is an opportunity to meet and connect with as many members from the FGLI community as possible. More details, along with registration, will be shared soon!

First Gen Network (FGN) and FLIP (First Gen and Low Income Partnership) will continue providing sessions throughout the academic year to engage FGLI students, answer questions and concerns, and create a sense of community.

The FGN in collaboration with FLIP is continuing to update the FGLI resource page. Please continue to review this page to connect with the FGLI community and to learn about resources at MHC and the surrounding community.

Local Food Pantries

Neighbors Helping Neighbors
30 Carew St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Margaret’s Pantry
6 Cabot St.
Holyoke, MA 01040

Amherst Survival Center
138 Sunderland Rd.
North Amherst, MA 01050

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Yes. Students who were planning to live on campus received a new housing application on August 7. Priority will be given to students currently living on campus for whom the College is their permanent residence and/or if traveling home is impossible, and to students who are unable to meet academic outcomes in their home environments. This application is due on Sunday, August 9 by 12:00 noon EST. Notifications will be distributed to applicants by Tuesday, August 11. Revised move-in details, including testing and quarantine plans, will be shared directly with students approved for fall housing.

New students who were already in the United States as of the August 7 announcement may request housing. A small number of new international students who obtained F-1 visas will not be able to enter the country and should plan to study remotely. Returning international students currently in the United States may remain in the country and study remotely. Any international student who takes a leave of absence must leave the U.S. in accordance with federal regulations.

No. Room assignments will be made for all students and no room changes will be possible during the fall.

If a student is living on campus currently, in all likelihood they would have to switch rooms.

A small number of residence halls and the dining commons will be open to students (exclusively take-out). It is likely that most other buildings (Kendall, Library, for example) will remain closed all semester. Health Services will support on-campus residents with limited hours and services, and counseling services will be available virtually.

The College very much hopes to activate original plans for campus housing for the spring semester. If we are able to bring students back to campus in the spring, the commitment to include juniors and seniors in that group remains.

There are no changes at this time to the College’s return to work policy for employees. Employees must be authorized to return to campus as part of department operating plans.

There are no changes at this time to the College’s return to work policy for employees. Employees must be authorized to return to campus as part of department operating plans.

Yes. Mount Holyoke will provide and require asymptomatic screening for employees and students on campus.

If you are approved for fall housing, that does not guarantee you will be able to live on campus for spring semester 2021. Applications for spring housing will be available in late October.

Due to the pandemic, any student who wishes to remain off-campus or is unable to travel to campus is welcome to remain home and participate in our curriculum remotely. In fact, our FIT approach was designed to provide you with a Mount Holyoke academic experience whether you are learning from campus or from a distance.

See the July 31 update for the latest details on travel to campus, move-in and testing.

Mount Holyoke students must follow travel guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 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 support of the campus quarantine, all classes will be accessed remotely by all students —including residential students — from August 24 to 28, 2020. Additionally, most campus buildings, such as Kendall Sports & Dance Complex and the library, will be closed to students through August 30, 2020. Access to other buildings on campus will be limited until all students have finished their quarantine period.

Students who are currently on medical leave and wish to return for the fall should contact the Dean of Students to discuss their options.

You cannot change your residential status to commuter at this time.

A student can make the decision to leave campus at any time. Room and board refunds are typically associated with a formal leave of absence or withdrawal from the College. 

Most students will live at their permanent residence when they are not in residence on campus. All students not living on campus will take their courses remotely. While we hope to invite a limited number of commuter students to enjoy cocurricular experiences in person, students not residing on campus will not be allowed in the residence halls. The Office of Residential Life does not provide assistance in locating off-campus housing. 

Students who live off campus will access the curriculum remotely. We hope to invite a limited number of commuter students to campus for co-curricular events that take place outside of academic or residential spaces. Guests will not be allowed in the residence halls. “Guests” are defined as any person who does not live in that particular hall.

Spring admits will be able to live on campus in the spring. More information will be available later in the fall.

New students who missed the deadline to complete the housing application will be contacted by the Office of Residential Life with instructions and a deadline to complete the form. 

New Frances Perkins scholars are invited to reside on campus with their class cohort.

We sincerely hope that first-year students will be pleased with their room placements. Due to health and safety guidelines, it is unlikely that room changes will be possible.

We will be unable to process room changes this summer.

Students returning in the spring will participate in a housing lottery in January. New incoming students will be placed in housing by the Office of Residential Life.

When possible, students who wish to room near one another should aim to select rooms during the latest time among those seeking proximity. We cannot guarantee placement but please feel free to try.

Students who are alone in a double in the fall and who are approved for spring housing could potentially have a roommate in the spring. If the College increases the number of students invited back in the spring, we may explore double-room occupancy.

Any extra furniture must remain in your room. You may rearrange the furniture but not remove it.

Students who are approved to stay on campus for both semesters may be reassigned to a new housing assignment between the fall and spring semesters.

Our traditional Living-Learning Communities are paused for the 2020-2021 academic year. Instead, we will offer a number of cohort communities. These communities will differ from Living-Learning Communities in that they may not be housed in the same locations, and lounges will be closed. However, we plan to offer robust programming.

There will be a separate process for students with extenuating circumstances who wish to stay on campus during the extended winter break. The College will remain open at these times, but key services, such as campus dining and the health center, may be limited or closed. Students will be responsible for any associated costs for remaining on campus during this extended period.

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Housing Accommodations

Students should apply for accommodations with AccessAbility Services. Students who are approved for a housing accommodation at this point will have their housing placement adjusted on an as-available basis.

A separate housing accommodation lottery process will not be held this summer. Students approved for housing accommodations — and who have previously notified the Office of AccessAbility Services that they wish to use their housing accommodations for the fall 2020 semester by completing either the spring or summer Housing Accommodation Request Form —  will be notified of their fall housing assignment later in July

If you don’t like your current accommodation placement you can participate in the lottery with everyone else. In doing so, your former assignment will be released and cannot be reassigned to you. Your lottery selection time will be based on class-year priority.

A student who needs a single as an accommodation, and who has applied to be on campus for both semesters, will automatically be placed in a true single for the fall. This is to avoid the potential of having a roommate in the spring.

Spring residents will be asked to complete the Housing Accommodation Request Form when it becomes available during the fall 2020 semester. We anticipate being able to meet housing accommodation needs in the spring.

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Fall Move-in

See the July 31 update for details on travel to campus, move-in and testing.

Student leaders such as CAs, SCAs and Orientation Leaders will be assigned an early arrival reservation time that coincides with their training schedules. All other students should plan to arrive at the date and time assigned, if at all possible.

Move-in registration will be announced later this summer. Students who are unable to arrive during their scheduled time should contact the Office of Residential Life at 413-538-2088.

Please plan to take all belongings with you at the end of the Fall semester. In some circumstances, students who are approved for fall and spring housing and who live at a great distance may be provided trunk room storage.

Students not approved to be on campus for the spring semester must move out of their room by noon on Wednesday, November 25, 2020.

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Yes, there will be an orientation for spring admits. More information will be available later this fall.

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Students arriving from within the United States should arrange travel all the way to campus. We may be able to arrange for a limited number of shuttles for students arriving from outside of the U.S. We are exploring options for shuttle service when fall housing ends in late November. More information will be available in October

More information about changes in PVTA bus service will be shared as it becomes available. Visit the PVTA website to learn more.

Zipcars will still be available on campus. However, we advise students to use the Zipcars at their own risk. In order to allow members access to vehicles on demand, Zipcar has stated they are not able to clean each vehicle in between each booking.

Most access to fleet vehicles will be suspended in the fall.

Should residence halls close for any reason, students will be responsible for securing travel arrangements at their own expense. As always, the student life staff will work with individual students to ensure a safe departure from campus.

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Students will be able to come to campus to retrieve their belongings in storage. More information about the process and timing of this will be available in mid-July.

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Isolation and Quarantine

Students who test positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19 will be placed into isolation housing. Students determined to be close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases will be placed into quarantine housing. 

Students will bring necessities as well as entertainment and limited personal items with them and will be in contact daily with the health center to assess symptoms and determine next steps. Delivery of food will be arranged with dining each day.  

Students are not permitted to leave their space for the duration of their quarantine or isolation, until it is determined by the health center that the student can return to their housing assignment. Students in isolation or quarantine should participate in classes remotely to the extent that they are feeling up to it.

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Student Employment and Internships

Temporary changes have been made to hiring policies for the year.  See the Student Employment section of the Services and Co-Curriculars page for the full description of these policies.

If you have questions or concerns, please email

Job levels 1 and 2 are the only jobs that are being restricted to work-study students in August. Job levels 3, 4, and 5 all require previous experience or pre-existing skills as well as a high level of responsibility. This fall, only students living on campus have received a work-study package.  Most of the students living on campus will be first-years and sophomores. It is unlikely that most first-years and sophomores will qualify for these job levels 3-5, which means that restricting them could lead to very small to non-existent qualified applicant pools and delay hiring for these important roles. We will, however, encourage supervisors to STRONGLY preference work-study applicants for all jobs at all times, as we usually do.

If supervisors of level 1 and 2 positions discover a need to hire after August 19, they will still be allowed to post but would be required to consider only work-study students for the first two weeks of their hiring process.

If you work remotely for MHC while living in another country, MHC is subject to all of the employment laws of that country. Employment laws vary widely from country to country. For this reason, Mount Holyoke is not able to comply with all of the laws and regulations required to lawfully employ students living in various international locations.

Massachusetts has adopted a COVID-19 relief provision that allows workers who were employed before the COVID-19 disruptions to work remotely from certain other states. This provision allows MHC to offer remote student work positions. Unfortunately, that provision is only available for people who were already employed, not to new hires.  

There may be some states that have also made COVID-19 relief provisions that may allow us to employ students who haven’t previously worked at MHC in those states. We will be assessing the regulations in each state to determine the eligibility of any student not previously employed who wishes to work.

These students would not be working in another state and so there are no compliance issues associated with them working remotely.

Contact the CDC at

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Campus Access and Events

The campus is reopened for outdoor recreation. All visitors are required to wear masks/facial coverings and practice physical distancing. The track and tennis courts remain closed to all. All buildings remain closed to the public and open only to employees with work that cannot be done remotely.

Offices should continue to reserve visitors and deliveries to essentials only. Departments are responsible for ensuring that their guests and vendors they work with follow College public health protocols and complete the visitor checklist.


College buildings are only open to campus residents and employees with pre-approved essential work that must be performed on campus. These restrictions are necessary for the health and safety of the Mount Holyoke community and remain in place until further notice. Please contact your supervisor should you have any questions.

Employees, please remember to display your ID in a visible manner to aid Campus Police in enforcing the "no visitor" policy.

The Community Center will be open daily. Blanchard Hall will be open from 11 am – 7 pm for resident students, essential staff and faculty. Dining hours and menus are posted here.

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While Mount Holyoke College will not be participating in athletic contests during the fall semester, we are exploring opportunities to host virtual team-related activities throughout the academic year.

MHC will not be participating in any fall semester competitions. Winter teams who typically compete in the fall will not participate in competitions during the fall semester; however, it is under consideration that all sport competitions will be moved to the spring semester.

Right now, the NCAA Management Council approved an amended alternate playing seasons model for the 2020-21 academic year proposed by the Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee. The proposal eliminates defined segments and weeks of the playing season and allows institutions to conduct their season at any time during the academic year provided they do not exceed 114 days of athletically related activity. The 114 days do not have to occur in consecutive weeks. As with all of our decisions, MHC will consider national, state, and local health and safety conditions.

We have reviewed the facility scenarios and would be able to accommodate the teams’ schedules should this become an option.

Yes. MHC completes medical clearance and compliance paperwork for all sport season student-athletes over the summer. The Department of Physical Education and Athletics has sent medical and compliance information and we are completing the clearance process, so we are able to pivot quickly when a return to sport is possible and participate in virtual opportunities should the be approved. Student-athletes must complete these requirements to participate in any capacity with their team this academic year.

Yes, you do not use a season of eligibility unless you compete in or practice after the first official contest (excluding scrimmages, non-traditional season contests, and alumnae contests).

Division III student-athletes will not be charged with participation for the 2020-21 season if their team can complete only 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Student-athletes whose teams complete more than 50% of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition during the 2020-21 season would not be eligible for the blanket waiver, regardless of whether the student-athlete competed in 50% or less of the season. However, individual waiver requests could be pursued on a case-by case basis. This waiver will allow student-athletes to have four meaningful seasons of participation opportunities.

Yes, all students who are full-time will use a semester from their ten semester eligibility clock. However, the NCAA has approved a waiver permitting student-athletes to receive a two semester extension of eligibility should certain conditions be met. To be eligible for the waiver student-athletes must have been otherwise eligible and have been unable to participate in their sport due to COVID-19 or have participated in 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition during the 2020-21 season due to the ongoing impact from COVID-19.

If the decision is made to return to sport practices and competitions in the Spring, alterations will be made in the physical layout of the Athletic Training Room (ATR) to allow for physical distancing (i.e., fewer treatment and taping tables so they can be 6 feet apart). With the exception of the pre-practice hour, the athletic trainers will be seen on an appointment basis only. There will be a limit of 3 athletes in the ATR at any one time. Mini ‘Satellite’ athletic training stations will be utilized pre-practice to minimize the volume of student athletes in the ATR and help accommodate the pre-practice rush. Enhanced cleaning procedures will be in place.

The College is expecting to make decisions about the spring term in November/December. The health and safety conditions across the state of Massachusetts and Connecticut will be monitored throughout the fall by the NEWMAC conference members. We expect that the conference will make decisions within the November/December timeframe similar to MHC’s timeline.

NCAA and State of Massachusetts guidelines do have different requirements for contact and non-contact sports. Also, the nature of the sport (e.g., indoor versus outdoor) may alter the precautions in place. A sport like rowing (eights) is considered in a high risk category because of the movement through teammates’ exhalations.

We cannot answer this question at this time. Plans for the spring term have not been made, so there are a number of considerations that may impact this response (e.g., timing of seasons).

Please see above question(s). A season of eligibility is not used when only practices occur.

Yes, the Physical Education requirements are for hours of instruction (i.e., practice or competition).

Mount Holyoke College will not be supporting club sport practices or competitions for the 2020 Fall Semester. Decisions about club sports in the spring semester are forthcoming.

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Equestrian: P.E. Riding

Yes. There will be P.E. riding lessons for students in residence this fall.  Please see the Registrar's new course schedule for Fall 2020. 

Paperwork and class procedure meetings at the very beginning of the semester will be held via Zoom.  Tours of the Equestrian Center for those who are not familiar with the stables will be by appointment only.

There will be procedures that all riding students must adhere to.  These will be clearly laid out at the beginning of the semester.  The Equestrian Center facility will be divided into zones with different behaviors (i.e mask wearing) expected in each zone. A check-in location, maximum occupancy notices, mask reminders and sanitation stations will be clearly marked.

Most likely. However, we may delay the start of these lessons until a few weeks into the semester. This MAY impact their availability for PE credit in the first module. Please contact the Riding Program Manager, Joy Collins, for availability and pricing after August 15, 2020.

You can email the instructor to let them know that you are interested in joining the class. Often, there is movement amongst students and their schedules at the very beginning of the semester. Please do attend the very first information/paperwork class meeting (Zoom) to see if you can get into the class. If there continues to be no room for you, you may work to find another class, inquire about a private lesson or, if there are others such as you, there may be the possibility to make a “new” class if horses, space and instrutor are available. Also, if no solution is apparent, please try for a riding class in the second module.

Please inquire with the Riding Program Manager, Joy Collins at to see if there may be other riding options for you. You may have to wait until the second module.

Normally “yes”, but only for PE051 level students.  Due to heightened sanitization requirements and an effort to reduce sharing equipment, we ask that  riders of all levels purchase their own ASTM-SEI approved helmet and all other personal riding equipment (we will still supply horse equipment - saddle, bridle, girth) until further notice. If this is a financial impossibility please contact the Riding Program Manager, Joy Collins at and we will work to find a solution. 

Online sources for ASTM-SEI approved helmets are:

No. Lockers will not be available. The locker room will be available for changing purposes only, but we recommend coming to class dressed and ready to ride. 

Please put your mask on (if it isn’t already) and ask your instructor for assistance.

It depends. There will be clearly marked zones where masks are mandatory. All riders will need to have their masks on their person and available to wear at all times and upon request by staff members.

Please text your instructor that you will need to go back to your dorm to retrieve your mask. You may end up being late to class.

Due to the overall scheduling of the two modules, our modules do indeed look different from one another. Each though, is worth 1 p.e. unit.

There will be a scholarship application opportunity for both modules.

On a limited basis, yes. Class sizes overall will be smaller and as such, just one TA will be assigned to each 051 and 052 class.


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Equestrian: Varsity and Club Team Riders

There will be no athletic contests for any sports or club teams this fall. More details will be communicated as we know them.

Varsity teams were approved to hold fall practices as of July 13, 2020. There will not be any club sports practices or competitions during the Fall 2020 semester. More details will be communicated as we know them.

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Equestrian: Boarders

Only the students in residence in fall 2020 can board horses at the Equestrian Center. Enrolled students that are not in residence will not be able to board their horses at the Equestrian Center.

Yes. A check-in system, sanitizer stations, mask zones and maximum occupancy areas will be clearly marked. Time blocks for visiting/grooming/riding your horse may be instituted. Boarding at the Equestrian Center is for students in residence only.

Possibly. We will keep you informed.

All people in the Equestrian Center  will be required to have a mask on their person at all times.  Mask wearing will be required in certain zones and in all cases where social distancing of 6 feet or great cannot be maintained. Zones where mask wearing is mandatory will be clearly marked.

Should you have to go into quarantine or are sent home, your horse will be cared for as usual for feeding, turnout and stall cleaning.  You may consider asking a fellow boarder to provide additional care.

No.  Not at this time.

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Financial Matters

Need-based aid is made available by the College to assist families in meeting educational costs. If a student's calculated family contribution does not cover the Cost of Attendance (COA), Mount Holyoke provides need-based financial aid funding to cover the difference.

Following the release of financial aid packages in mid-July, there have been questions from students and families about COVID-19 related cost reductions and family contributions.

Questions about individual situations should be directed to

Yes. Students who will not be on-campus in the fall will no longer be billed for room, board or student activity fee. This reduction in costs will also reduce student eligibility for need-based financial aid. Students will be able to request a refund if a credit balance exists after all room and board and financial aid adjustments have been applied. Payment plan installments will automatically adjust based on these changes.

Students who will not be on campus for the fall 2020 semester will not be charged for room and board. This includes the majority of students for fall 2020.  Lower fall charges also reduces need-based aid eligibility.

Work study for all remote students will be replaced by grant aid for the period they are not living on campus.

Students who have secured on-campus student jobs and were anticipating working on campus in-person in the fall will receive more information about next steps by August 14, and should watch for information from Students interested in working remotely during the fall should also complete the location form as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, the College is not able to reimburse personal expenses. Many airlines are waiving change fees and offering credits due to the pandemic; be certain to check with your travel provider.

Yes. The Student Safety Net Fund will reopen on Monday, August 24, 2020. Fall funding will support first generation and/or low-income students who may have difficulty accessing living necessities and/or technology or resources required for academic success in a remote environment.

Mount Holyoke’s underlying financial condition is stable, and we will continue to review the additional financial implications of a remote semester and impact on our workforce.

If a student’s family income increased between 2017 and 2018 or their reported assets are higher than last year, it results in a higher contribution. Similarly, if a student has siblings who will no longer be in college in 2020-21, the family contribution, which had previously been adjusted for the number in college, increases.

Yes, if a student has received a global loan reduction grant and they would like to reinstate the full global loan (additional $1,376), please email Student Financial Services with the request.

When a student is not living on campus for a semester or for the year, their Cost of Attendance (COA) is reduced by the amount of the room and board that is no longer billed to the student. A modest living allowance is added to reflect additional personal expenses that a student may have, even though they are not billed by the College. The net result is that the student’s total COA is lower. The Total Family Contribution (TFC), which is calculated based on the family financial information provided on the student's financial aid application, remains the same. Therefore need-based aid eligibility, calculated as COA (lower) minus TFC (unchanged), is reduced. 

Our adjustments — replacing work-study with grant funding when studying remotely and lowering the minimum student contribution or international student loan to replace with grant aid — is meant to counteract this, to ensure that need-based aid recipients also benefit from the reduction in tuition cost. 

As an example: 

  • On-campus all year:  $72,000 COA - $30,000 TFC = $42,000 eligibility for need-based aid
  • Off-campus all year:  $59,000 COA - $30,000 TFC = $29,000 eligibility for need-based aid. 

The adjustment or replacement grants provide:  

  • For domestic students, a reduction in the minimum student contribution of $1376, replaced with grant aid
  • For international students with a zero minimum student contribution, an international/global student loan reduction of $1376, replaced with grant aid
  • Elimination of work awards for students who are not on campus, replaced by grant aid.

Domestic students living and studying in Massachusetts (on campus or remotely) are required to have health insurance that meets the Massachusetts standard. If the student is already covered by a comparable plan, they may apply for a waiver of the College insurance. If a student lives outside of Massachusetts (in the US or abroad), they may complete a waiver attesting to sufficient coverage for their current location. This includes international students who will be studying at home. We are in communication with Gallagher Insurance and will provide an updated waiver attestation soon.

The payment plan start date was delayed due to the delay in updating the fall semester bill to account for residency changes. Families with a July payment on the traditional five payment plan can spread that payment out over the August-November payments.

Five-month payment plans will resume for the spring 2021 semester.

The due date has been changed to August 31. The fall semester bill includes charges for the entire semester. Students should plan to pay the balance, enroll in payment plans and/or secure educational financing by that time.

Given the rapidly changing economic situations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will review changes in student and family financial circumstances that occur in the current calendar year at year-end. Students and families who are currently experiencing loss of income, permanent decreases in assets or other hardships stemming from COVID-19 related disruption may submit a request to Student Financial Services for review toward the end of the calendar year.

Requests for reconsideration based on significant changes to income in 2019, significant unreimbursed medical expenses in 2018 or 2019, ongoing support for family members living outside the household or other situations that affected the family circumstances prior to 2020 have started to be reviewed. Please contact Student Financial Services to discuss your situation.

Please send requests to with the subject line: Password Reset Request. This way we can quickly identify they specific need. 

Students with a credit balance after all adjustments may choose to leave the credit on the account for the spring semester or ask for it to be refunded. An online form to request credit balances will be available on before the end of the month.

We are working with Gallagher Insurance. As soon as we receive instructions and/or more information, we will inform the community.

If you previously waived the Mount Holyoke Student Health Insurance Plan and elected to enroll in the Prepaid Health Center Plan and will not be living on campus, the Plan will be cancelled and the prepaid plan charge of $110 will be credited back to your account.

If you have already signed up and made the first payment, subsequent payments will automatically adjust to reflect revised charges in the fall. If you have not already enrolled in a payment plan, we recommend that you wait to enroll until your charges and aid have been adjusted.

Once Student Financial Services receives a final list of students who will no longer be on-campus for the fall, financial aid packages  will be recalculated based on the lower cost of attendance.  We expect all adjustments to be completed by August 17.  When your financial aid revision is ready to view on Financial Aid Online, you will receive an email notification from Student Financial Services.

Understanding that there may be little time between the receipt of a revised financial aid package or bill and the due date, no student will be held from participating in add/drop for unpaid fall semester charges. In addition, there will not be a late penalty applied to the student account during the month of September for fall charges.

If your current financial aid package was based on being on-campus in the fall and remote/at-home in the spring, your adjusted financial aid package for the fall will match your current spring financial aid package. You may view your current package by semester on Financial Aid Online.

If your current financial aid package was based on being on-campus for the full year, it will be recalculated based on your lower cost of attendance. Please see the Financial Matters FAQ, which explains how need-based aid eligibility is calculated based on residency status.

We will begin updating financial aid packages the week of August 10, once Residential Life confirms which students will no longer be on-campus in the fall term.

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Traveling on College Business

Yes. The following restrictions are in place through December 31, 2020:

  • All College-sponsored nonessential domestic travel to destinations more than 100 miles from campus is suspended. Essential activities are, generally, those that are critical to business continuation. Nonessential business activities may include, but are not limited to, travel for professional conferences and meetings, research presentations and curricular or cocurricular activities. 
  • No College-sponsored group travel outside of a 100-mile radius of campus is permitted. For this purpose, groups are defined as five people or more. Athletics competitions with special permission are currently exempt from this travel restriction.
  • Any travel that is being booked requires advance approval by a Vice President or the President.

Yes. All College-sponsored international travel is suspended through December 31, 2020, regardless of the destination.

Any travel that is being booked requires advance approval by a Vice President or the President.

We understand that members of the community are facing cancellations of conferences and events, and may be wondering about travel costs. The College will cover the cost of travel that has already been booked and will now need to be canceled. Please make every effort to get any available travel credits, travel vouchers and refunds that are possible. Travel vouchers should be used for future College business and may be utilized if/when events are rescheduled. Please submit travel expenses, less any refunds received, to Accounts Payable with a note describing that the cancelation is related to the travel restrictions due to COVID-19. If you have a question or need support, please call x3043 or x2901.

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Health & Prevention

Yes.  See details on the section Services and Cocurriculars page.

Any student with concerns about respiratory infection should call 413-538-2242. We will then be able to determine the appropriate level of care.

Under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the following individuals may be tested

  • Anyone with known contact with a positive or presumptive test for COVID-19
  • Anyone who has symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath AND has travelled to an area designated as level 2, 3 or 4 by the CDC.

Call Health Services at 413-538-2242 to speak with a staff member regarding symptoms and possible risk for COVID-19 or other respiratory illness.

The transmission of COVID-19 is similar to that of other viral illnesses. We recommend taking preventive actions every day to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — especially after you cough and sneeze and before you eat. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • If you are sick, avoid contact with others (in classes, group meetings, work settings, common areas, etc.). 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or sleeve or with a tissue, and throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched, including laptops and mobile devices. LITS recommends using damp antimicrobial wipes, such as Clorox wipes, alcohol wipes, generic wipes, to disinfect your phone, laptop, mouse, keyboard, and tablet. To prevent liquid from getting into devices wring out the wipe before you clean.

You are eligible to be enrolled in the student health insurance if you meet the following criteria: students who are on an approved medical leave and have carried the student health insurance for at least one year prior to the leave can have the insurance for up to two consecutive semesters. Students taking a personal leave of absence and not enrolled for the fall semester are not eligible for the Student Health Insurance Plan.

Understanding the Requirements

On April 3, 2020, the U.S. Center for Disease Control issued a voluntary recommendation for the use of cloth face coverings to supplement other prevention strategies to slow community transmission of COVID-19. On May 1, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an Executive Order, effective May 6, 2020, REQUIRING face coverings in areas where social distancing is not possible.

Important elements:

  • At Mount Holyoke, face coverings must be worn:
    • Prior to entering ALL buildings 
    • In the Dining Commons 
    • In common areas of ALL buildings (hallways, elevators, stairwells, restrooms, lounges, kitchenettes, copier/printer areas, etc.) 
    • In multiple passenger vehicles
    • Outdoors in all areas where a minimum of six (6) feet of separation is not consistent
  • Cloth face coverings must be worn by all persons over the age of two.  Children younger than two and individuals that cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition are exempted
  • You must provide your own. Cloth face coverings are considered part of our regular attire for the foreseeable future and you should have one prior to coming to campus.  Do not enter any College building without your face covering on.
  • We must still maintain physical distance (at least six feet), practice respiratory etiquette (cover coughs and sneezes) and wash our hands frequently and thoroughly (at least 20 seconds with soap and water) - These are the best measures we can take to decrease community transmission
  • Cloth face coverings are not personal protective equipment (PPE).  Their purpose is to prevent transmission by the person wearing the covering - WE WEAR BECAUSE WE CARE
  • Surgical/procedure and N95 masks continue to be in short supply and should be reserved for use by healthcare workers and emergency responders
  • Questions about face coverings should be directed to Environmental Health & Safety (

Please see information from CDC regarding the proper wearing of cloth face covers and how to make your own. Learn more on the news site.

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Combating Discrimination

We must not translate fear of COVID-19 into xenophobia, stereotypes and distrust of one another, or into targeted bias against people of any racial or ethnic group, particularly those most affected by this outbreak. 

We must resist misinformation and challenge incidents of bias, responding to both with  inquiry, integrity, and compassion. We are deeply concerned for those that may be experiencing bias and we encourage you to report any challenges that you face the Division of Student Life (Latrina Denson), the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives (Bri Rhodes) and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Kijua Sanders-McMurtry) so we can directly address these issues.

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Students have received support through the student emergency relief fund (link to story) and soon, direct grants through CARES will be distributed.

Thank you so much for wanting to help our students during this rapidly evolving situation. Right now, the best way to help our students affected by the outbreak is by a donation to the Emergency Student Relief (COVID-19) fund. As we move forward, we will publish other ways to help our students as we grapple with this outbreak.

Graduate Student Information

While there have been changes to the undergraduate academic schedule, the graduate programs will be following the semester calendar as originally published earlier this year, with classes beginning Wednesday, September 9, and finishing December 15. The academic calendar has more information.

Due to concerns about the health and safety of our students, the graduate programs courses will use an interactive online format, where courses are held completely online, and include components that are both:

  • Synchronous: on a set schedule where all students must be online at the same time to participate (e.g. for a videoconference lecture or discussion) 
  • Asynchronous: students choose when to engage and complete their work, within predefined time frames, often a few days or a one-week window.

Because of the rapidly changing situation and the many uncertainties, we will not make decisions about the spring semester until late November or early December. We do know that we hope to begin the spring semester in mid-January and conclude the academic year in May.

Once we can participate in academic activities in person, we will be asking all students to uphold the honor code and share in the collective responsibility of adhering to additional guidelines that come from the best guidance on harm reduction and safety practices during this pandemic. For the health and safety of the campus community, all members are expected to engage in all of the recommended prevention strategies when on campus or during College-sponsored off-site academic activities, including:

  • Mandatory testing at regular intervals throughout the semester.  
  • Conducting a daily self-review and symptoms checklist for COVID-19, including monitoring body temperature.
  • Maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from others at all times.
  • Wearing a cloth face covering or mask.
  • Frequent handwashing, and cleaning of high-touch objects after use.

The directors of the M.A.T. Initial Licensure Program have been working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and their local school district partners to establish avenues to allow students to complete the requirements needed for their initial licensure during the 2020-2021 school year. More information will be announced as these plans are finalized.

Though the Board of Trustees approved an increase in tuition for 2020-2021, we acknowledge the challenging economic circumstances that our students and their families are facing. Mount Holyoke is offering a universal discount on the agreed 2020-2021 Mount Holyoke tuition rate to lower it to the level charged in 2019-2020 ($775 a credit, or a 4.5% discount).

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes emergency funds for colleges and universities, including Mount Holyoke, to support students on campus whose lives and education have been disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

According to the IRS, “Section 3504 of the CARES Act allows higher education institutions to use additional supplemental educational opportunity grant funds they receive through the Higher Education Act to award emergency financial aid grants to support graduate and undergraduate students experiencing ‘unexpected expenses and unmet financial need’ as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A working group that included representatives from the offices of Finance, Student Life, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Student Financial Services studied the federal government’s guidelines, determined Mount Holyoke’s approach and consulted the student members of the Financial Review Group for feedback. 

For the first round of grants, eligible students are those who were enrolled in the spring 2020 semester, received institutional grant funding, and whose family contribution for the academic year 2019-2020 was less than $35,000. Mount Holyoke College uses institutional methodology to determine the family contribution. Grants will be calculated using family contributions and will be approximately $200.

Eligible students will receive advance notice of their grant, along with instructions for declining the funds if they did not incur costs related to the COVID-19 disruption, or if they would prefer not to accept the funding. Students eligible for direct support do not need to request their grant. 

Funds will be distributed from the College through ZellePay. In order to receive payment, it is very important for students to link their Mount Holyoke email address to the Zelle account. 

In late-August, current students who did not receive direct support will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $200 per student.

For full details on the CARES Act funding, students should visit my.mtholyoke.

Funding their education is a concern for many students, and a range of resources are available to help make it affordable. You may be eligible to take out additional federal loans to help cover living expenses and child care costs. Mount Holyoke's Office of Student Financial Services works closely with students to help them meet their needs. 

More information can be found online.

Eligible students are still able to receive health insurance through the Mount Holyoke College Student Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan. Enrollment in the annual plan will begin August 15, 2020. Rates for 2020-2021 will be announced soon. More information about the student health insurance can be found online.

All students regardless of their location have access to consultation with the College’s counseling service clinicians, who will respond to immediate needs and work with the student to identify options for ongoing treatment, when applicable. Whether or not remote students can receive services beyond consultation varies depending on state laws.

Access to campus buildings for faculty, staff and students will be limited and strictly controlled by OneCard access and restricted opening hours. At this time the Kendall Sports & Dance Complex, the Dining Commons and the Community Center are closed. While faculty, staff and enrolled students can enjoy the outdoor recreation spaces, the track and tennis courts remain closed to all. 

The library buildings are closed, but LITS staff are working remotely and available to provide help and support.

Graduate faculty and staff who can do their work remotely will continue to do so, in order to mitigate risk for the campus community. Please do not come to campus in anticipation of meeting with faculty or staff. 

Opportunities to make meaningful connections with faculty, staff, and each other will continue. Access to intellectually challenging courses, imaginative and engaging co-curricular experiences, career preparation, our beloved College traditions and our global network of amazing alums will all continue. 

If you feel that you need to come to campus for some reason, please feel free to contact us and we can provide you with guidance about it.