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.

FAQ

Last updated July 15, 2020, 8:00 am (International Students). 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 emphasized real-time, or synchronous, experiences for students in order to build the relationships with faculty and with one another that are central to the Mount Holyoke experience. Sometimes, those interactions will be in-person and on-campus, dependent on both health and safety protocols as well as the learning goals for the class session and overall course. For instance, discussions with the language faculty made clear the difficulty in practicing speaking a new language while wearing face coverings. In that case, a remote session via Zoom can accomplish more than an in-person session. The educational mission of the College should lead faculty to the best format within these new conditions so that we can continue to offer the best of what the liberal arts can be — small groups of students, working closely with faculty who know them personally and can track and encourage their progress through their education.

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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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 global@mtholyoke.edu 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 global@mtholyoke.edu 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 sfs@mtholyoke.edu.

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 global@mtholyoke.edu or schedule an appointment with April Stroud or Ruby Maddox via Pathways.

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International (F-1 Visas) Students

We know that it will not be possible for some of our international first-year students and returning sophomores to come to campus in the fall. We strongly encourage these students to enroll in Mount Holyoke courses remotely. 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 to allow for students across time zones.

New first-year international students who are not able to come to campus in the fall will be given priority (after juniors and seniors) for campus housing in the spring. These students will be able to apply for spring housing later this fall.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance that was issued on July 6, 2020 has been rescinded after a court hearing on July 14 on the lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT, along with support from over 180 institutions (including Mount Holyoke College), companies and state attorney generals. This means that we will be using the guidance that was issued in Spring 2020 which allows for students to study in the US remotely until further notice. Mount Holyoke will remain a hybrid institution, but this means that students do not have to be on campus to study remotely.

While this is good news, we should caution you that SEVP may still choose to provide additional fall guidance. We hope to have more clarity soon. We will share additional information as soon as we can.

Incoming first-year international students

  • You can submit a deferral request to the Admission office. Contact admission at defer@mtholyoke.edu.

Returning students

  • You would need to take a leave of absence.
  • Consult with your academic dean to find out how it will affect your degree plan. A non-academic leave would require you to be outside of the US for the duration of your leave and you’d probably need a new I-20 visa to come back.If you have questions about how a particular type of leave affects your status, please contact Jenny Medina or Bri Rhodes.

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.

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Housing

First-year students should apply to live on campus online. The housing application is live now and will be available through Residence. You will have until 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, to complete this application.

Returning students in the class of 2023 will have to complete a revised housing application. The housing application is live now and will be available through Residence. Students will have until 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, to complete this application.

This application should also be used by students in the classes of 2021 and 2022 who wish to be in residence this fall. There will be limited available spaces to support students from those classes who wish to be in residence. Examples include: students with home situations that make remote learning impossible; students with personal circumstances, current location, travel or visa concerns; and students with health and safety considerations that create a housing need.

If you are a senior who is graduating in December 2020, we will work with you if you wish to live on campus in the fall. The housing application is live now and will be available through Residence. Students will have until 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, to complete this application. If you have questions, contact the Office of Residential Life.

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.

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.

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.

All first-year students will be placed in their housing assignment by the Office of Residential Life and will receive notification of their housing assignment on July 21, 2020.

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.

New transfer students who are designated as the class of 2024 or class of 2023 are invited to live on campus for the fall semester. Class of 2022 transfer students are invited to live on campus in the spring semester.

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.

Returning students will participate in a new housing lottery that will take place from July 14 to July 16, 2020. More information will be provided directly via email to those students who are eligible for campus housing in fall 2020 and posted on my.mtholyoke.

All available rooms will be included for selection in the lottery. If a room does not appear, it is likely on hold for a specific purpose, such as housing accommodations, first-year student housing, and rooms taken offline because of facilities concerns. Students will be able to select from singles and double rooms, though all rooms will be single occupancy for the fall 2020 semester.

You can try for the room you chose during the previous lottery but we cannot guarantee that you will be able to select it. The majority of students will likely have to reselect their room.

As in past lotteries, selection times will be prioritized by class year. First priority is given to rising seniors, followed by juniors, and then sophomores.

If you are currently living on campus this summer AND your current summer housing assignment is part of the new housing lottery AND you are able to select it during the new lottery, you can stay in that room. Otherwise, you will have to select a new room and move.

 

If you are unable to select your own housing during the lottery time frame, you should complete the Proxy Request Form by 11:59 p.m. on July 12, 2020. In order to select your room via proxy, you will need a minimum of 15 favorite rooms (there is no maximum limit). If, at your selection time, none of your favorite rooms are available, residential life staff will place you in a housing assignment.

We will be unable to process room changes this summer.

We cannot change your housing selection once submitted. Please choose carefully.

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 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.

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.

In accordance with health and safety guidelines, apartments and suites will not be available as part of the housing lottery.

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.

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.

What if I am alone in a double and need a single?   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.

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Fall Move-in

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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Orientation

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

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Transportation

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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Storage

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.

The College has had many inquiries as to whether students will have to quarantine once they arrive on campus. We had hoped to share more by Friday, July 10; however, Mount Holyoke is still seeking clarifying guidance for the higher education sector. We know families are awaiting this information anxiously, and we will share the information as soon as possible.

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Student Employment and Internships

As of June 15, most remote summer student employment is paused.

Limited on-campus student employment for the academic year may resume on or about August 15. (Positions that have already received an exception for summer on-campus work may continue.) Remote student employment and state requirements for the coming academic year are under review. We know that student employment is an important part of many students’ plans, and we are working as quickly as possible to clarify what will be possible in the coming year.

If you have questions or concerns, please email student-employment@mtholyoke.edu.

The Lynk funding deadline is currently rolling. Students can complete Step 2 and apply for funding. Students need to apply and start their internship by mid to late July in order to meet the reduced time requirement of 120 hours of work. Please contact the CDC for any questions or concerns you might have.

While remote internships have been discouraged in the past, this summer we are strongly encouraging them.  

Many internships have been already moved to a remote format.  If you have been offered an internship that has not yet been moved to a remote format, we recommend asking your employers if remote might be possible. We have developed this guide for communicating with your employer for your reference, along with an accompanying remote internship guide for employers.

For those who have not yet secured an internship, MHConnect partners across campus are now actively asking alumnae and other employers to build new remote internships.  These opportunities will be posted in Handshake as they become available.

Because they can be completed at home, remote internships will be eligible for a Lynk award of $3,000 regardless of whether they are domestic or international, and will not be eligible for any travel adjustments or cost-of-living adjustments.

While we still strongly recommend that students pursue internships of 240 hours or more, we recognize that some employers may not be prepared to move their entire internship program online, but may be able to design a shorter project that could be worked remotely.  We also recognize that many internships may be delayed until later in the summer, thereby making it difficult for students to secure a summer internship of 240 hours or more. Therefore, for the Lynk 2020 program year only, we will accept Lynk proposals of 120 hours.

Contact the CDC at cdc@mtholyoke.edu.

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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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Summer Programs

In-person, on-campus internship and research experiences are suspended for the summer. Graduate programs will be held online for the entire summer.

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Athletics

While Mount Holyoke will not be participating in intercollegiate varsity or club sports contests in the fall 2020 semester, we will be conducting varsity practices and will continue in our planning to return to our competitive conference schedule in the spring semester should conditions improve.

Additionally, the Equestrian Center will be opened in a limited capacity this fall and will be in compliance with state guidelines. There will be no equestrian competitions, only Physical Education and practices.

Mount Holyoke College will not be participating in any fall semester competitions. Winter teams which typically compete in both the fall and spring semesters will not participate in competitions during the fall semester. It is under consideration that all winter sport competitions will be moved to the spring semester.

There is discussion about flipping the nontraditional and traditional seasons for fall sports (i.e., move the competition season to the spring). This requires an NCAA waiver that is under consideration as well as agreement among conference peers who would also compete in the new season. As with all of our decisions, MHC will consider national, state and local health and safety conditions.

There is discussion about flipping the nontraditional and traditional seasons for fall sports (i.e., move the competition season to the spring). This requires an NCAA waiver that is under consideration as well as agreement among conference peers who would also compete in the new season. 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.

We are monitoring the evolving state, regional, and national conditions as well the NCAA Resocialization protocols and Massachusetts gating criteria allowing for safe practices to occur. MHC’s Department of Physical Education and Athletics has developed return to play plans and reopening plans for our athletic facilities. They are informed by state guidelines, the NCAA Resocialization of Collegiate Sport plan, and higher education planning groups’ documents. These plans have been reviewed by MHC’s Department of Physical Education and Athletics’ administrative team, athletic training staff, and team physician. The NEWMAC athletic conference also developed a COVID-19 working group consisting of Directors of Athletics, athletics administrators, athletic trainers, and team physicians to review protocols across institutions that would allow for a safe return to sport. We would caution everyone that these conditions can change and adjustments may need to be made throughout the season (e.g., types of activities, number of participants at a time) to meet health and safety requirements.

There will not be a typical fall preseason. All students will have a prescribed College entrance routine to include testing to support the safe return to campus. If student-athletes are allowed to practice, the earliest start date would be September 1. The NCAA’s Resocialization of College Sport plan requires a progression of activities to improve one’s fitness and readiness for their sport.

MHC completes medical clearance and compliance paperwork for all student-athletes over the summer. Changes have been made to include some pre-screening information regarding COVID-19. The Department of Physical Education and Athletics will be sending medical clearance information out the week of July 1 with altered deadlines (August 1) to reflect the delay in sharing the medical clearance information due to the development of COVID-19 protocols. We are completing the clearance process, so we are able to pivot quickly when a return to sport is possible.

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.

At the moment, yes, all students who are enrolled full-time will use a semester from their ten semester eligibility clock. Note: You have exhausted your eligibility when you have either competed in four seasons in a sport or have been a student for ten full-time semesters (part-time and summer semesters do not count).

We don’t know at this time how you can still be involved with your team if you’re off campus, either studying remotely or having a gap year or semester. Typically, unless students are currently enrolled they may not take part in team activities. However, we’re tracking on this question with the NCAA and the changes that may be presented due to COVID-19.

There are a number of documents providing guidance to the health and safety changes that student-athlete can expect. The NCAA, under the guidance of a national advisory team, created a Resocialization of Collegiate Sport plan that not only addresses health and safety considerations raised by COVID-19, but also the acclimatization of student-athletes to sport who may have been out of their normal training routines for an extended period of time. Specific practice guidelines will be in place for each team requiring modifications to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, such as the use of face coverings, physical distancing and small group work. Detailed progressions in workload will be adhered to allowing for a gradual transition to full workouts. State of Massachusetts and Center for Disease Control guidelines also inform the return to sport plans. Individual sport governing bodies have developed sport-specific guidelines for sports to return to play safely.

If the decision is made to return to practices and competitions, 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 six 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 four athletes in the ATR at any one time. Additional 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 members. We expect that the conference will make decisions within the November/December time frame 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.

Lockers will not be issued for the fall semester. Restrooms and changing spaces will be available.

Kendall touchless water stations will be available; however, typical water coolers will not be present at practices. Student-athletes will be expected to bring their filled water bottles to practices.

Outdoor facilities will be available for use by students in residence by reservation through the Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities. State mandates limiting the number of participants allowed to gather, the wearing of masks, and physical distancing will be in place.

The Lyons Den will be accessible for varsity student-athletes in residence. State mandates limiting the number of participants allowed to gather, the wearing of face masks, and physical distancing will be in place.

The ability to include first years and sophomores in the return to campus plan for spring will be a consideration in the decision to allow for spring competition. Those plans have not been made, yet.

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. Even though teams can only practice, the Physical Education requirements are for hours of instruction (i.e., practice or competition).

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Financial Matters

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides emergency funds to colleges and universities, including Mount Holyoke, to support students whose lives and education have been disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This federal funding is designed to prioritize students with the greatest need. Soon, the College will receive $794,402 to distribute directly to students via emergency grants that will range from $200 to $1,200 per student.

How will I know how much I will get? 

A work group that included representatives from 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 2019-20 is less than $35,000. Mount Holyoke College uses Institutional Methodology (IM) to determine the family contribution. Grants will be calculated using family contribution and will range from $200 to $1,200.

Does this replace the emergency fund which has been used to support students in need due to COVID-19?

No, the safety net funding has been supported by gifts and restricted funds and available to any Mount Holyoke student via an application process. The emergency funding was made available due to the generous donations of alumnae, families, friends and the Student Government Association.

How will I receive my CARES Act grant?  Do I need to request it?

Students eligible for direct support do not need to request their grant; 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. Funds will be distributed from the College through ZellePay. Information regarding Zellepay can be found at https://www.zellepay.com/. It is very important for students to link their MHC email address to the Zelle account to receive payment.

In mid-July, 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, which requires a password.

These credits will be listed as “reduction grants” on student accounts. For need-based financial aid recipients, the grants will be included as part of your financial aid package. For students with full tuition scholarships, the tuition reduction grant plus your tuition scholarship will equal the full tuition cost.

Financial aid packages for returning students are in process and are expected to be released by July 17. Initial financial aid packages for first-year students and incoming transfer students were issued at the time of admission. Adjustments to those awards will be completed by July 17 as well.

  • Domestic students (including DACA students) who apply for need-based aid have an annual minimum student contribution of $2,750. This amount will be reduced by $1,376 for these students.
  • International students’ family contributions will not change, however the MHC Global Loan will be reduced by $1,376 for the year for participating students.

For each semester you are not in residence, room and board expenses will be removed from the total cost of attendance and replaced with an additional personal allowance of $1,200 for most undergraduate students. (Frances Perkins scholars who live off campus are aided differently.) The financial aid package will be adjusted accordingly and the work-study portion of the financial aid package, if any, will be replaced with grant aid.

Massachusetts state law requires students to have health insurance even if they are studying remotely. Because residency status will be changing each semester for many students, health insurance will be billed by the semester this year. The fall semester health insurance will be billed at the same time as other fall semester charges. 

 

Students who have qualifying health insurance will need to waive each semester. Eligibility for the waiver may be different each semester depending on where the student is in residence. For example, living at home may make some health insurance plans eligible for the waiver when they would not be if the student were living on campus.

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 will be reviewed beginning in mid-July. Please contact Student Financial Services to discuss your situation.

The fall semester bill will include charges for the entire semester and will be due August 20. Students should plan to pay the balance, enroll in payment plans and/or secure educational financing by that time.

Yes, there will be changes to the payment plan. The payment plan for the fall will be four payments instead of five. The plan enrollment and first payment (down payment) deadline is August 20. Remaining installments are due at the end of September, October and November. If you have any questions or would like to discuss payment plan options, please contact Student Financial Services at sfs@mtholyoke.edu.

Now that decisions about campus density and fees have been made, packaging may begin, with adjustments based on each student’s anticipated residency. Given that most students will have a mixed residency status during the year, each record requires a manual review and adjustments. We are working through this as quickly as possible.

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Traveling on College Business

Yes. The following restrictions are in place until further notice:

  • 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 until further notice, 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 (lbsmith@mtholyoke.edu)

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

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 mid-July, 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.