We are confident that, with regular virus testing combined with community adherence to health and safety protocols and behavioral expectations, our faculty and staff can deliver a genuinely Hampshire education, safely
This fall, we are welcoming all of our new and returning students to campus. Our clear plans will create an environment that preserves the immense benefits of a residential campus while minimizing opportunities for potential transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Information will be added here as we have it, and is subject to change.
October 5, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Nearly two months after students began returning to campus, Hampshire College has not recorded any cases of Covid-19. We have performed 2,300 polymerise chain reaction (PCR) tests, and nobody at Hampshire has tested positive. This fact is a testament to the thoughtfulness, care, and diligence with which our community has faced the pandemic. Our students, faculty, and staff have demonstrated abundant commitment to keeping one another safe, carefully maintaining physical distance, wearing masks indoors and out, reporting symptoms, washing or sanitizing hands, and limiting unnecessary travel.
In the last week several events clarify how important it is that we not relax our precautions. Between September 28 and October 2, UMass recorded 77 positive tests, many related to a single off-campus gathering. The rapid growth of this cluster exhibits just how quickly the coronavirus can spread here in Amherst, if people relax physical distancing. The infection of President Trump and many of the people around him illustrates the limitations of testing: despite being tested more than perhaps any other person in the world, the President contracted and spread Covid-19. Testing identifies infections after they occur in order to contain further spread, but testing alone is not a precaution against contracting or spreading the virus. Responsible behavior is the primary means to avoid transmission, and no amount of testing can protect us from people who disregard the safety of others.
I ask everyone in the Hampshire community to continue their commitment to uphold our Community Care Agreement and follow campus safety rules. I want to emphasize in particular two points. First, it is essential to neither host nor attend gatherings that pose a safety risk to you or the community, and to remove yourself from any gathering that becomes unsafe. This issue may become increasingly relevant as the Amherst area enters stage 2 of phase 3 of the state reopening plan, which allows larger public gatherings in some venues. Second, I ask everyone to limit unnecessary personal travel, and to diligently observe both state regulations and safety precautions if you do travel. I also want to let the community know that the College may need to consider further travel restrictions and limitations of campus access, if conditions in the region worsen.
Thank you to everyone in the Hampshire College community. Our commitment to keep one another healthy and safe deserves celebration. The challenge of this pandemic reveals much about people; we should all be proud that our community’s response has been compassionate, caring, and collaborative.
Consistent with our commitment to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, faculty and students, Hampshire College is continuing to strictly limit visitor access to campus.
Outdoor spaces on campus remain open to the public only for passive recreation in compliance with all state and local regulations and our posted rules.
All campus facilities are solely for the use of currently enrolled students and faculty and staff who have completed the most current COVID-19 training, and are in compliance with all requirements (including, but not limited to, complying with face covering and occupancy limit requirements). This will *not* change with the arrival of students on campus, the expansion of campus services, and the beginning of classes.
All activities that involve bringing visitors into campus facilities must be approved by the Division Head prior to the visitor coming to campus. Visits will only be approved if the activity is both time-sensitive and cannot be completed remotely.
With the exception of deliveries that do not involve entering any buildings (Instacart, pizza delivery, etc.), all vendors and contractors (existing or new) should register with our Environmental Health and Safety Manager before their next visit to campus for a review of their health and safety protocols (including, but not limited to, COVID-19 safety policies). Please connect these vendors with Steve Fratoni (firstname.lastname@example.org), and copy Sarah Steely (slsNS@hampshire.edu) for vendors specific to Cole Science operations.
Contractors and vendors who demonstrate non-compliance with COVID-19 safety policies will not be allowed to continue to access our campus.
Services such as Instacart and restaurant deliveries should be done as contactless drop-offs whenever possible, and physically distanced when not possible. Under no circumstances should employees of these services enter our buildings; if you require assistance to bring in these deliveries, please enlist another community member. Hampshire continues to encourage contactless deliveries as an alternative to in-person shopping whenever possible.
Hampshire recognizes that departments may need to, on a limited basis, welcome individuals onto campus for time-sensitive work that requires an on-campus presence. These visits must meet the following criteria:
All activities not meeting these criteria should be conducted remotely or postponed. If an in-person visit is necessary, guests must:
These requests should be directed to Division Heads for consideration on a case-by-case basis.
Requests for campus access not falling clearly into the above categories should be directed to the Covid Response Team (CRT) via Elizabeth Craun (ecPP@hampshire.edu). Some examples of recently approved activities include CSA pick-your-own field opening, rental of the RCC pool, and several outdoor only service projects by alumni groups. Please provide at least 2 weeks lead time on requests. The CRT may approve activities as proposed, deny activities altogether, or approve activities with additional restrictions.
August 31, 2020
Colorado, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia no longer have to quarantine for 14 days or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours upon visiting Massachusetts.
Rhode Island and Hawaii have been removed from the list of lower-risk states. Find updates to the Travel Order here.
On Friday Massachusetts Governor Baker announced a new travel order that will apply to all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts, effective August 1, 2020. Unlike the previous travel instruction, the new policy is mandatory. The new order will require modification of arrival policies for some students. The rest of this letter discusses these changes in more detail, but here is a summary:
The State order applies to all people entering Massachusetts from areas other than those states designated as lower-risk. That list currently includes New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Hawaii; the list may change as conditions evolve. The order requires that travelers to Massachusetts from any other state either produce a negative COVID-19 test result from a test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival in the state, or quarantine for 14 days. The order allows for testing after arrival in Massachusetts, but requires quarantine until a negative result is obtained.
To conform to the new travel order, Hampshire has made the following changes to the arrival process for new and returning students. Because the travel order has different requirements based on point of origin, our policies also need to distinguish between students arriving from lower-risk states, and all others. Every student will be tested for COVID-19 on the day of arrival, regardless of where their travel originated.
If you have further questions about the details of moving into campus residences, please contact email@example.com.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
July 20, 2020
We continue to work on plans to provide a safe and rewarding Hampshire College experience this fall. While the fall will involve some significant differences, Hampshire College is better situated than almost any other college to provide a safe and viable residential experience. Because of our size and residential configuration, we can invite back all of our students while ensuring that everyone has a private living space, providing access to important academic and social spaces, regularly testing all students to detect and control community spread, reserving space for isolation and quarantine, and offering student life programming and co-curricular activities. Everyone will need to follow basic safety and social distancing expectations in public spaces, but with some creativity and innovation (things Hampshire does well!) we will create together an intellectually and socially vibrant campus community.
Ensuring facilities are available to students is a priority. We expect all academic spaces and facilities to be open for student use this fall, including the Art Barn, the library, computer and media labs, music and dance spaces, and other areas that support learning. There will be some restrictions on how spaces are used and by how many people at any one time. All students will be expected to observe face-covering and social distancing rules.
All students will be tested for COVID- 19 with a RT-PCR test on the first day of arrival on campus. After the initial on-boarding testing, every resident and commuter student at Hampshire College must participate in the bi-weekly COVID-19 testing program. Participating in the testing program includes registering with an application that allows scheduling of tests and reporting of results. The app can be installed on a smartphone or accessed using a web browser; if installed on a smartphone, the app does not track the location of students. Any student who has close contact with someone who has tested positively for COVID-19 should inform Student Affairs immediately (the CDC currently defines a close contact as being within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes). Every resident and commuter student is expected to cooperate with the UMass contact tracing team should a case be detected on campus, including responding to texts, calls, and emails, and answering completely and honestly all questions about contacts. Students directed to move to isolation or quarantine housing must do so without delay; if a student elects to return home for isolation or quarantine, they must do so without any further direct personal contact with other members of the campus community.
The State instructs all travelers arriving in Massachusetts from outside of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, or New Jersey to quarantine for 14 days. Along with other colleges and universities, we are engaged in discussions with the Department of Public Health and Department of Higher Education about what this instruction means for college students living on campus; the state has not provided firm guidance. We plan to ask all students, including those arriving from outside RI, CT, VT, NH, ME, NY, or NJ, to stay on campus and limit close contacts for the first 14 days after arriving on campus. If possible, we encourage all students to self-quarantine before coming to campus, to minimize the likelihood of contracting the virus. Should the state issue further clarification we will reevaluate our policy.
For the fall 2020 semester, students who have health concerns about being on campus may opt not to live on campus while taking courses that support entirely remote participation. Given their health concerns, students who opt for an entirely remote semester may not come to campus during the semester. Some Hampshire courses (for example, some performing arts courses, some science courses with labs, and other courses with significant in-person expectations) may not be available to remote learning students. Five College courses will continue to be available to Hampshire students in a remote format; none of the Five Colleges are permitting students from the other campuses to take courses in person. Students choosing a remote semester are not part of the College COVID-19 testing program and will not be charged the Café Card fee, EMT fee, or Health Services fee.
Students who opt for a fully remote fall semester must notify the Center for Academic Support and Advising at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 14, 2020.
Hampshire is also planning an intensive January term, during which all courses will be fully remote; this additional term is included in tuition and is available to all students.
We recognize that international students face continuing difficulties acquiring visas and traveling to the United States. International students who are unable to arrive at Hampshire College before classes start may begin the semester remotely. International students may arrive on campus as late as the fall drop date, September 11, 2020. Any international student who cannot arrive by September 11, 2020 may continue the semester as a remote learning student (see above).
On July 14, 2020, the federal government withdrew the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance that was issued by ICE on July 6, 2020. As a result of the withdrawal, the guidance issued in March 2020 allowing international students to study remotely if a college moves to fully remote offerings, remains in effect. If SEVP guidance changes, we will contact our international students immediately.
As we adjust to the new circumstances this fall, many course offerings have changed, new courses have been added, and other courses have been cancelled. Some course descriptions have changed. Meeting times and room assignments have been adjusted to accommodate social distancing and student safety. Current course registrations have been cancelled to give all students the same opportunity to re-register for the revised course offerings and add their name to course wait lists. The re-registration period will occur prior to arrival during the week of August 10. The wait list will start to run at the beginning of the add/drop period on August 24.
Students may check the course offerings on TheHub anytime, but keep in mind that we are not yet finished with our updates. We plan to have the curriculum finalized on TheHub by August 7. Students may request Five College courses on TheHub beginning on August 10. Because we will not be accepting paper forms in Central Records, students will need to have the instructor of the course email permission to email@example.com. Note that we will not process a Five College request until we receive email permission.
Students will find their time to begin registering on their “approvals and holds” menu item on TheHub at the end of July. We will send out another announcement at that time as a reminder.
All students, staff, faculty, and visitors must wear a face covering in all indoor spaces at all times, and outside if unable remain more than six feet away from other people. Face-coverings do not need to be worn in a private room or office when alone with the door closed. Face coverings must cover the mouth and nose. If you cannot wear a face covering due to a health condition, contact the Dean of Students Office to discuss possible accommodations. In no circumstances will anyone be permitted to attend classes or other indoor gatherings in person without some form of face covering.
The safety of everyone on campus, staff, faculty, and students alike, depends upon a shared commitment to follow the prevention measures the College has put in place. While Hampshire emphasizes personal responsibility and community education and hopes that students will observe these guidelines because they value the safety of our community, behavior or actions that place others at risk are accountable to policies in the Hampshire College Student Handbook and the “Norms for Community Living.”
July 10, 2020
On June 18, we announced Hampshire’s plans to invite all students to return to campus this fall, and shared some of the policies we have adopted to do so safely. Our Academic Continuity Committee, COVID-19 Response Team, and Student Life Continuity Committee have been working together to prepare the campus and faculty for the coming year. These committees have consulted with local and national health experts, discussed plans with our Five College partners, and carefully surveyed our residential, classroom, and community spaces. The 2020–21 academic year is bound to be unusual and will require our community to adopt new behaviors and practices. But we are confident that, with regular virus testing combined with community adherence to health and safety protocols and behavioral expectations, our faculty and staff can deliver a genuinely Hampshire education.
Every student will have their own single room. Occupied rooms will be spread out within campus residences, maintaining all areas below 50% capacity. The number of students sharing any bathroom will be strictly limited. Ensuring that every student has the space to maintain physical distancing in their daily living situation is the minimum expectation any college should have in order to open — we will more than meet that standard.
We are fortunate to have entered into an agreement with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to provide asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 throughout the semester. Every student enrolled in the fall will be required to participate in the testing program, which should allow us to identify and mitigate possible virus outbreaks. All students will be tested after arriving on campus; thereafter students will be tested biweekly. We will stagger testing so that students in each mod or dormitory area are tested each week. Testing will include commuter students and employees with a high level of student contact.
In addition to asymptomatic monitoring testing, all community members will be reminded to do a COVID-19 symptom self-check daily. Any student with COVID-19 symptoms or an identified close contact to someone with COVID-19 will be tested at Health Services on campus, with same or next day results available, and billed to the students’ health insurance.
Hampshire has plans in place to work with the UMass Contact Tracing team to effectively trace contacts of any student who tests positive for COVID-19. This team will provide seven-day-a-week coverage to follow up on any positive cases and promptly trace all contacts. We will require testing of all close contacts of positive cases, following Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the campus community, Hampshire College has designated residential spaces on campus to be used for isolation of any student who tests positive for COVID-19. Additional spaces have been designated to quarantine students identified as close contacts of a student who tests positive. Hampshire will follow the latest guidance developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Massachusetts Department of Public Health for required length of isolation and quarantine periods after a positive case.
All Hampshire students in isolation or quarantine will receive daily wellness check-in and support from Health and Counseling Services and Residential Life staff, as well as meals delivered daily from Dining Services. All isolation and quarantine spaces have sufficient internet connection to allow for ongoing access to online learning. Students will not be able to leave these spaces or have any visitors during the specified isolation or quarantine time. We recommend that students review the “Isolation and Quarantine Planning Guide for Students” to prepare needed items for quarantine or isolation before arriving on campus.
High-touch surfaces and bathrooms in high-traffic areas will be cleaned multiple times daily. This includes the bathrooms and door handles in Merrill and Dakin residences. Mod cleaning will remain the responsibility of student residents. Classrooms and other common spaces will be outfitted with cleaning kits; users are expected to clean high-touch surfaces before leaving.
We will welcome new students to campus on Thursday, August 20, and continuing students on Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23. All students moving onto campus will be assigned staggered arrival times, to be communicated in late-July. Students may have up to two non-student guests assist with moving for the duration of the assigned arrival time. All students and guests will be required to provide and wear their own mask or facial covering for the duration of the move-in process.
Since March 2020, all travelers arriving in Massachusetts — including students who leave and return to Massachusetts — are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days, except that, beginning July 1, 2020, travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey arriving in Massachusetts are exempt from this directive. At this point, students arriving at Hampshire College from outside MA, RI, CT, VT, NH, ME, NY, or NJ, should plan to remain on campus for at least 14 days and limit their close contacts. This Massachusetts directive may change by the August move-in dates, and we will help students to comply with state directives as they arrive.
As you may have seen in the news, the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), the U.S. government branch of Homeland Security that oversees the F-1 visa regulations, announced new guidance for colleges and universities in issuing visas to international students for fall 2020. We understand that many of you may have questions and concerns about your current F-1 visa status and your ability to continue or start at Hampshire College this fall. First, as important members of our community, we are committed to doing everything necessary to support and enable you to continue or enroll at Hampshire this fall. Your international student advisors continue to review the new information and will provide concrete and helpful guidance in upcoming weeks as you plan for your fall academic semester. In the meantime, we would like to emphasize the following:
Dining Services will offer take-out food service and a variety of groceries through an online ordering system. The Hampstore will continue to stock limited food items, and the Bridge Café will be closed for food service. Dining Services will continue to offer accommodations for all dietary needs. Contact Andrew Fleischer, dining services director.
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
Monday–Friday, Breakfast: 7:30–9 a.m.; Lunch: 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.; Dinner: 5–9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, Brunch: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; Dinner: 5–8 p.m.
Monday–Friday, 4–10:30 p.m.
Students will continue to have opportunities to engage in a variety of community building and co-curricular activities both in small groups and virtually. Campus Leadership and Activities encourages student group signers to register their group and to keep their HampEngage page updated, and will work with members to create meaningful opportunities for community connections. Signers and other campus center student leaders will be trained in how to create effective events and meetings for smaller groups, and how to create virtual events for larger groups.
The residence halls are open only to Hampshire College students in residence. No off-campus visitors are allowed. Guests who are Hampshire College students living on campus are allowed to visit other students’ rooms so long as they are following physical distancing guidelines. A maximum of one guest is allowed at a time in a student's room.
Students approved to live off campus may participate in in-person classes and access academic and public spaces on campus. Off-campus students will not be allowed in the residence halls as guests.
While we discourage students living in residence from traveling, we recognize that there are legitimate reasons why students need to leave campus. We support students' ability to maintain off-campus employment, shop for essential items not available on campus, access health-related referrals, tend to urgent family matters, and other needs that may arise. While traveling, students must maintain the same safety precautions expected on campus.
Due to changes in policies regarding visiting the other Five College campuses, and because students will be discouraged from leaving campus, the Pioneer Valley Transport Authority (PVTA) has reduced the frequency of buses on most Five College routes. Those changes are outlined here. Details can also be found at pvta.com.
Fall all classes will begin on Tuesday, August 25, and end on Friday, November 20, the Friday before Thanksgiving. The College will observe Yom Kippur, but there will not be an extended fall break. Students who leave campus for Thanksgiving will not return until the beginning of the spring term, but students may remain on campus until the official end of the term on December 4. This schedule aligns with those of Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts, and allows us to offer a full semester within a compressed time frame.
In January, we are planning an intensive 14-day term (January 4–22, 2021) with a small set of courses that will be taught remotely. This will de-densify the teaching schedule and allow flexibility for faculty and students, enabling first-year students to make further progress toward completing Division I, Division II students to add to their portfolios, and Division III students to fulfill Advanced Educational Activities. Jan Term courses are included in the tuition for the academic year.
Spring classes are set to start on Tuesday, February 2, and to run through Thursday, April 29. There will be no extended Spring Break. Commencement is still scheduled for May 15, 2021.
August 20: New Student Move-In
August 20–23: New Student Orientation Programming
August 22–23: Continuing Students Move-In
August 24: Community Orientation/Advising Day
August 25: Classes Start
November 20: Classes End
In January, we are planning an intensive 14-day term (January 4–22, 2021) with a small set of courses that will be taught remotely. This will de-densify the teaching schedule and allow flexibility for faculty and students, enabling first-year students to make further progress toward completing Division I, Division II students to add to their portfolios, and Division III students to fulfill Advanced Educational Activities.
Spring classes are set to start on Tuesday, February 2, and to run through Thursday, April 29. There will be no extended Spring Break. Commencement is still scheduled for May 15, 2021.
We have revised our class schedule to provide more time between class periods, allowing more time for surfaces to be cleaned and for classrooms to be aerated. We have also added more class periods in the evenings and have distributed classes more evenly from Monday through Friday.
Faculty are building course options and schedules that support students’ needs and are adaptable in the event of changing circumstances. Courses will be offered in one of three different hybrid teaching modes:
In each of these teaching modes, students have the option of accessing courses remotely or online. Some course elements may not be fully available in the online setting, but faculty are working to ensure that all students will be able to meet the learning goals of their courses. Five College courses will continue to be available to Hampshire students, though solely in a remote format.
Due to the revised class schedule and the need for faculty to rethink and redesign their courses for next year, Hampshire students will need to re-register for fall courses. Students will also have to re-register for courses at the other Five Colleges, all of which have revised their schedules and changed course offerings. We know that this is inconvenient, but it is also necessary. We will update you soon on the dates and procedure for Hampshire and Five College course re-registration.
We know that no community can eliminate the risk of the virus. But we believe that our careful planning combined with community adherence to health and behavioral standards will allow us to lower that risk substantially and to offer a robust, exciting, and uniquely Hampshire on-campus experience in the coming year. We will continue to provide regular updates as our plans proceed. If circumstances change, we will adapt creatively to meet them. We are excited to welcome students back to campus this fall for what will be an unusual but also an exciting and fulfilling year at Hampshire.