Moving to operating level two on campus

Thursday, January 28, 2021

On February 1, 2021, the College’s operation level will move from opening quarantine to operating level two — modified normal COVID-19 operations with heightened awareness. Please visit and bookmark the COVID-19 dashboard, as it reports on the College’s current operating level and describes all of the operating levels that may be needed as we move through the semester. This intention to change the operating level will be monitored between today and February 1, and should we need to adjust based on health and safety concerns we will communicate directly with residential students and employees.  Operating thresholds will be reviewed weekly and when there is a necessary change we will inform the community.

Operating level two — also referred to as “yellow” — provides residential students, faculty and staff access to additional buildings, resources and programming on campus. Residential students are able to leave campus only to go to the Village Commons, off-campus health appointments and to use campus-provided shuttles. Additionally, those who live or work on campus must continue all precautions, including participating in COVID-19 testing and complying with the student and employee Community Compacts. Finally, the campus and all of its buildings remain closed to visitors or guests until further notice. This includes alums and enrolled  students who are not living on campus.

Below please find additional information about this operational threshold. Residential students should visit the Spring 2021 residential experience information page for full information and details. 

General guidelines

  • Designated, reservable spaces are available for faculty, staff and students to meet with one another. After classes or the use of a reserved space, students should leave the building and faculty/staff should either return to their offices or leave the building. Hallways and lounges are not approved places to gather.  
  • Visitors and guests are not permitted in buildings; this includes off-campus students. Accordingly, students and employees who are living and working on campus must wear their Mount Holyoke lanyard and have their OneCard visible.

Academic buildings

  • Classroom spaces will be cleaned thoroughly once daily. Faculty and students should wipe down any high-touch areas in spaces they utilize using the supplies available in each classroom. 
  • For faculty and staff, eating is safest outdoors or when they are alone in their office or room with the door closed. If a faculty or staff member has no office, or an office without a door, their department may designate a space where people can eat under appropriately physically distanced conditions and follow the state guidelines for indoor, in-person gatherings. Please clean up afterwards in any such designated space.
  • Academic buildings on campus will be locked and only open to those approved for swipe access.  Automatic approvals will be in place by Feb 1 for the following:
  • Students in residence will have automatic approval for buildings in which they have in-person classes, as well as for those in which they are allowed to gather in designated rooms by reservation. 
  • Staff will have automatic 24/7 approval to access buildings in which they work and/or have offices.
  • Faculty will be able to access buildings 24/7 in which they have offices and/or are listed in the registrar’s records as teaching in person. 
  • Here is a complete and updated list of building statuses on campus. Requests for additional access for students, faculty or staff should be made by writing to the Helpdesk to request approval.

Using classroom spaces

The Registrar-reserved classrooms across campus are now designated to serve one of the following three functions:

  1. Classrooms: Locations assigned by the Registrar where faculty are teaching in person. If faculty members are teaching resident students in person this semester, they should be sure to remind their students that this will begin on Feb 1 (or whenever you plan to begin), and let them know where to go and when.
  2. Faculty/staff gathering spaces: Faculty/staff can reserve a space through the EMS system to meet with one another and/or with students. Reservations can be made between 7:30 am -11 pm, seven days a week. Use the Event Management System, EMSWebApp, for making reservations. Reservations are important for meeting state and local guidelines for contact tracing and are therefore not optional.
  3. Student gathering spaces: Students can reserve a space through the EMS system to study and/or meet with other students. Reservations can be made between 7:30 am-11 pm, seven days a week. Use the Event Management System, EMSWebApp, for making reservations.

All rooms being utilized this semester as described above will be marked with signs indicating their function and their capacity under appropriate physical distancing. Seating may also be marked to help identify where one can sit and maintain appropriate distance from others. The reservation system will not allow a space to be booked beyond capacity, and no one should be in one of these spaces without a reservation (except for instructors and students using assigned classrooms during their scheduled classes). Faculty, staff and students using Registrar-assigned classrooms should not be in these spaces earlier than 15 minutes before class starts and should leave these spaces within 5 minutes of when class ends.


There will be some in-person, small-group activities that follow health and safety guidelines along with Massachusetts state capacity requirements (kept to no more than 10 inside or 25 outside at the moment).

For the full calendar of events, online and residential, review the College calendar.  Students also receive “Word Out” on Mondays and Thursdays and events are frequently highlighted in campus newsletters and Dean’s Corner. Community members can use Embark to sign up for residential specific events; prior registration is required. 

Specialized information has been sent separately to residential students as well as faculty. Please remember that operating in this environment is new to all of us.  Please be patient as we work out issues that may arise as we reopen buildings and please also reach out if you see something that needs attention.  It will take a few days of operation to understand where traffic flows need attention or additional signage/guidance is needed.  We hope that everyone has a safe and successful semester. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email


Shannon D. Gurek
Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer

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