Spring 2021 Plans Update

Friday, October 9, 2020

Dear students,

As we near the end of the first module and exams approach, we know the spring term is simultaneously on everyone’s mind. We write today with an update.

The College’s leadership team sincerely hopes that health and safety conditions will permit us to invite more students to reside on campus in spring 2021. We are currently gathering information from internal and external sources with the goal of announcing our plans in mid-to-late November. At this time we are not certain which or how many cohorts of students we may be able to invite to campus, and are planning for a variety of scenarios. We are considering a wide variety of factors in our deliberations, including but certainly not limited to:

  • International, national, regional and local COVID-19 data and trends that inform the requirements for campus quarantine and isolation spaces, and other matters related to campus facilities and access.
  • Federal and Massachusetts public health and safety guidelines.
  • Developments related to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.
  • Evaluation of our testing and tracing capacity, which has been successful on a limited scale this fall.

Please note that when we announce our spring intentions, we will do so with caution and with the understanding that if health and safety conditions change we may be required to pivot. 

Faculty will continue to deliver the Flexible Immersive Teaching (FIT) curriculum to ensure all students have access to a Mount Holyoke education regardless of whether they reside on campus or are learning from a distance. As you know, FIT allows for flexibility and inclusive engagement by making the Mount Holyoke educational experience available to all of our students. We are working now to find ways to engage residential students for in-person activities that enrich the experience for everyone, whether here on campus or studying with us remotely.

As with our fall planning, faculty will make the decision to offer in-person instruction along with remote teaching, based on the learning goals for their courses. This will mean that some faculty may be in the classroom, while for others remote teaching is the best approach to create a learning community.

Unfortunately at this time we do not have further information about in-person cocurricular programs such as varsity athletics competitions and practices, Living-Learning Communities, and Collegewide activities such as Commencement. We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community — students, employees and local residents — in our decisions. We know the uncertainty caused by the pandemic is difficult and frustrating for us all. We very much appreciate your patience and understanding as we aim to make the most informed decisions possible.


Marcella and Dorothy

Marcella Runell Hall
Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students

Dorothy Mosby
Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs