Campus Updates

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

Mount Holyoke College
Opening the Gates

Safe On-Campus Living and Housing

Download the self-service COVID-19 safety signs

Living on Campus

We look forward to welcoming those who wish to be in residence in spring 2021! We anticipate approximately 60% of students will live on campus, and while the pandemic means the campus experience will be far different than what we have come to know as typical, we are very much looking forward to your return. Some important guidelines to note for this year include:

  • Students and employees working on campus will be required to wear a mask in all public places (anytime they are outside of their room or office) and must practice physical distancing.
  • All students are required to participate fully in the College’s asymptomatic testing program, which consists of at least twice-a-week testing. Missing tests can result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from campus housing.
  • Students are expected to practice good hygiene, including thorough and frequent hand-washing using soap and lasting at least 20 seconds, along with the use of hand sanitizer, especially when returning from outside, after using the restroom and before meals.
  • The Dining Commons will be open for three to-go meals a day. For more information please visit the Dining Services website
  • All students must agree to all the guidelines outlined in the Community Compact while living on campus. Failure to do so can result in dismissal from campus housing.
  • All students will live in single rooms. On-campus apartments and suites will not be available.
  • All students will participate in a 14-day campus quarantine upon arrival.
  • Visitors are not allowed in residence halls. Students are limited to accessing or entering only their own residence hall and may not visit students who live in other halls. 
  • Students will be required to stay within a designated distance from campus, currently 10 miles.
  • Students will not be able to select their specific residence hall or room; all rooms will be assigned to students by the office of residential life. Students may have the option to create their own small (two to six) group of students who wish to live in the same building.
  • No room changes will be accommodated during the spring semester unless there is a facilities concern that is best remedied by moving to a different location.

Students who expressed an intent to return to campus will receive additional instructions to formalize their intentions on or before November 16, 2020. All students who indicated that they were not interested in living on campus this spring will be considered commuter students for the purposes of campus access, billing and other applicable College processes. Should a student’s plans change, they can withdraw from housing without financial penalty by Monday, January 4, 2021.

Fall move-out

Fall move-out must be complete by noon on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Students currently residing on campus were invited to apply for winter break housing.

Spring move-out

Spring housing move-out is on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at noon Eastern time.  

Additional information about spring move-in will be provided, as it becomes available, to students who plan to live on campus.

Before Travel

  • Students should follow Safer-at-Home protocols and quarantine for 10 -14 days prior to arrival on campus, if at all possible, to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • Students are asked to get a COVID-19 test 72 - 48 hours before returning to campus if available locally. If a student tests positive, they should notify Health Services and should not arrive for move-in until they have completed quarantine at home and received clearance from a medical professional. They must contact Health Services to plan their return to campus.
  • If a student is identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive, they should not come to campus. Notify Health Services and we will help develop next steps.
  • Students who arrive after the scheduled move-in days (only allowed in the case of a positive test) may need to quarantine on campus for 14 days before moving into their spring room assignment.

Move-in dates

Students approved for housing and who are symptom-free need to schedule a move-in time through Embark. After students sign up for a move-in time and they are confirmed for housing, that process will be shared with them.

Campus arrival and required testing

  • Students will begin the move-in process at the testing center in Carr Hall to obtain an asymptomatic COVID-19 test. Documentation of the 2020 flu vaccine and completion of a TB screening form must be received before room keys will be distributed. Students will then proceed to Blanchard Hall to get room keys and other important information.
  • After that, students may retrieve storage items or pick up packages from Auxiliary Services, then head to the hall to move in.
  • No family members or other guests (including MHC students who reside in different halls or live off campus) will be allowed in the residence halls at any time, including during move-in, so we encourage students to pack light. Family or friends may drive students to campus, but they may not enter any building on campus.

Quarantine period

  • Once students have moved into their rooms, they must quarantine in their rooms and should not leave again until they have received a negative test result, which typically will come 24-48 hours after arrival. 
  • Meals will be delivered to the halls in the lobby area until students are cleared to walk to the Dining Commons to pick up to-go meals.
  • During the first two weeks students are on campus, they are not permitted to leave the campus (please note that campus does *not* include the Village Common).  After 14 days, students are restricted to the 10-mile travel limit outlined in the Community Compact. Please note this travel limit is in place during the break between modules and students will not be permitted to travel beyond 10 miles during that time.
  • The residence halls and the Dining Commons are the only campus buildings that will be open to students during the quarantine period. All courses will be delivered remotely only during this period. 

Once the 14-day quarantine time is over, resident students will be required to remain within a designated radius from campus (currently 10 miles), including during the break between modules. All students are expected to practice preventative behavior on and off campus, including wearing a mask and maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 feet. Students should always avoid close contact in confined spaces with those not residing on campus. Please see the student community compact for more information.

Residential students who are able to get vaccinated but the vaccination site is outside the 10 mile travel limit should email to seek a travel exemption.  

Our no-guest policy is in place for everyone’s health and safety and means that students will not have assistance moving items into their rooms. Therefore, each student should bring only what they can carry independently, recognizing that most halls do not have elevators. Storage is not available in residence halls this year, so all items must stay in a student’s room for the full semester, including any “extra” furniture that may be in place. Should the campus be required to close (due to a government-required shutdown, for example), students will need to move out quickly and clear out their room entirely. Given these unique circumstances, students should bring only what they can most easily carry with them and take home quickly if needed.

Massachusetts has mandated that college students are required to have an influenza vaccination by Dec. 31, 2020 unless they are completely off-campus and engaged in remote learning only. Students should send proof of their vaccine to Health Services prior to their arrival or bring verification with them when they come to campus.

Students currently on medical leave need to complete the medical clearance process by contacting the person who approved their initial leave. They must be medically cleared before they can proceed with housing placement or course registration. Please see the student handbook for more information on returning from a leave of absence.

Students in need of housing accommodations for a disability or medical condition should contact AccessAbility Services. All accommodation requests must be made through this office, which works closely with the Office of Residential Life to make every effort to accommodate the needs of the student.

Given the individual needs of these accommodations, students must complete the spring Housing Accommodation Request Form by December 4, 2020. Once the Office of AccessAbility Services has processed this notification, students will be placed in their housing assignment.

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.

Arriving by air

Students traveling via Bradley International Airport in Connecticut should be aware of Connecticut travel guidelines.

Shuttle services

The College will be offering shuttles from the airport to campus for a small fee. Shuttles from Bradley Airport in Hartford, CT will be $25 and shuttles from Logan Airport in Boston, MA will be $45. Shuttles will only be offered on the scheduled move-in days of January 12, 14, 16 and 18, 2021 at the following times.

  • Bradley Airport: 10:00am and 3:00pm
  • Logan Airport: 2:00pm

Students must complete this shuttle sign up form to reserve space on a shuttle and will be billed to their student account.  Please sign up by January 6, 2021.

Information about changes in PVTA bus service will be shared as it becomes available. 


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.

Living off-campus

Students are welcome to live off campus during the spring semester. Students not living on campus cannot enter any campus buildings and will take all classes remotely. The Office of Residential Life does not provide assistance in locating off-campus housing.

Campus access and events

Currently, guests on campus are limited to those sponsored by the Office of Admission, which is sponsoring admitted student visits in alignment with College COVID policies.

The campus is currently open to non-sponsored visitors for outdoor recreation purposes only.

All visitors are required to wear masks/facial coverings outdoors in accordance with Massachusetts state guidelines. The track and tennis courts remain closed to all. All buildings remain closed to the public. No campus visitors are allowed at in-person meetings or events, whether inside or outside. We will review whether we can continue to welcome visitors for outdoor recreation in advance of students’ returning to campus for the spring 2021 semester. The public should be aware that all campus access will be restricted during the student quarantine period and those restrictions may continue indefinitely. 

Offices should continue to reserve visitors, vendors and deliveries to essential activities only. Departments are responsible for ensuring that their guests and vendors follow College public health protocols and complete the vendor/contractor checklist.

Campus visitors are defined as anyone who does not live or work on campus and includes external community members, alums who are not College employees, parents and families of students, and students who are living off-campus.

College buildings are only open to campus residents and employees with pre-approved 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. Employees should contact their supervisors with any questions regarding campus access.

The Equestrian Center will continue to invite local community members to exercise horses and the Office of Admission may hold in-person tours while observing COVID-19 precautions.

Students can anticipate having access to the Community Center, Kendall Sports and Dance Complex for recreation, and the Library, along with certain spaces within academic buildings designated specifically for students. The majority of these spaces will require an advance reservation. More information will be available following move-in.

Large in-person, on-campus events are generally cancelled. Decisions regarding Commencement and Reunion 2021 will be announced at a later date. 

Residential students can anticipate having the opportunity for some in-person, small-group activities that enrich the experience for everyone on campus. There will be some resident access to indoor and, weather permitting, outdoor fitness facilities and recreational activities. Students should plan to continue participating in cocurricular and social events and activities offered online as well.

Following the residential quarantine at the start of the semester, recognized student groups and College departments and offices may request approval to hold limited in-person activities. Any student organization requesting an in-person event must have a residential student as the day-of event coordinator. Only residential students may attend on-campus events.

All meetings and events must follow meeting and event policy and procedures. Policies are subject to review and may be updated at any time.


Students who are moving back to campus and have things in storage will be able to collect their belongings on their move-in day. Students who are not moving back to campus but who wish to collect their belongings will be given an opportunity to pick up their items after February 1. Students with items in storage will be contacted directly to set this up.