Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

Dear Springfield College Students:

Despite our best efforts, the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and contacts has exceeded our structure for managing the virus. Our quarantine and isolation spaces are at maximum capacity. With the uncertainty of future cases and our commitment to maintain the safety of our campus, we have made the decision to accelerate our planned switch to remote learning now through the end of the semester and establish a one week shelter-in-place protocol for students on campus.

Beginning Monday, November 2 and through the end of the semester, classes will be held remotely, with the exception of some labs that have been pre-approved by Academic Affairs to be held in-person. Faculty will notify students who are enrolled in those labs. 

This is not what we wanted. There is no one to blame for our current situation. Everyone has worked so hard to remain on campus and to reach our November 20 goal. The reality, though, is that we need to take the actions to avoid undue risk for members of our community.  We need to act quickly and decisively to de-densify our campus to stop any further spread of the virus within our community. 

The fall semester has brought a great many challenges, but I have been consistently heartened by the connections that you have made with each other and with the faculty and staff who are so committed to your success. It is the very best of Springfield College. 

Students, you have a decision before you. This message is intended to provide you with information to make an informed choice about whether to remain on campus or to return home. Please consult with your family and make the best decision for you based first on your health, safety, and well-being.  

If you choose to remain on campus, shelter-in-place will be in effect until at least November 9. If you choose to return home, a staggered move out will be arranged through Residence Life. Additional information is below to help you to process the options and make the decision that is best for you.

Shelter-in-place means that:

  • Students will remain in their residence halls and on their floor, abiding by social distancing and masking guidelines. Movement about campus is permitted for:

    • Picking up grab and go meals from Cheney.

    • Testing at the Health Center.

    • Attendance at labs that have been pre-approved by Academic Affairs to be held in person.

    • Studying in the Learning Commons and in the Campus Union. The first and second floors of the Learning Commons will be available as 24-hour study spaces. In each location, students must be masked and maintain safe social distance.

    • Outdoor recreation (with no more than 2 people exercising together). The track will remain accessible to the campus community.

  • Classes will be conducted remotely, except for labs that have been pre-approved by Academic Affairs to be held in person.

  • Co-curricular activities, including athletics, are suspended. Virtual programming will continue.

  • Students may not leave campus for any reason other than a medical emergency, student teaching, clinical placements, or off campus work.

If you choose to return home:

  • You will not be allowed to return to campus for any reason until the spring semester begins in January 2021.

  • You must notify Residence Life of your intention no later than Sunday, November 1 at 6 PM, with your departure from campus no later than Monday, November 2. Please complete this Return Home/Shelter in Place Form with your intentions. 

  • Move out procedures will be established by Residence Life to minimize the flow of traffic and people to and from campus. An email will be sent shortly with important information about that process.

  • If you remove all of your belongings from your residence hall room (even if you have returned home already for quarantine or isolation), the College will provide a pro-rated refund (three weeks) for paid room and board charges. Adjustments will also be made to non-merit based financial aid to account for the reduced time on campus. We will guarantee you housing for the spring, as near as possible to your current space. The pro-rated refund is offered only to students who move their belongings out as we may consolidate students who remain on campus and will use the vacated rooms. No refunds will be given if you leave belongings in your room or if you do not notify Residence Life of your intention before 6 PM on November 1 and move out by the end of the day on November 2. 

Some students will not be able to return home, including international students and those who are student teaching or completing internships or clinical rotations. The plan for remaining on campus until the end of the semester remains, however, you may be consolidated into another living space to allow for additional quarantine and isolation, along with thorough cleaning and sanitizing. 

You will have many questions and this communication cannot answer them all. Staff across the campus are ready to assist as needed, by phone, Zoom, or email. A few specific items are addressed below, with more information available on the COVID-19 web page.

  • Spring 2021 Registration: Registration for spring 2021 classes will begin November 9, instead of November 2.

  • Work study: Some students will be able to continue in their federal work study positions. Your supervisor will be in touch with you regarding opportunities to continue working in the immediate future. If you are unable to continue working and receive federal work study as part of your financial aid package, we expect that you will be able to continue being paid as this is a pandemic-related disruption. 

  • Student Services: The Counseling Center, the Academic Success Center, Library Services, and the Academic Advising Center will remain open and critical components of student success. 

Additionally, it’s Halloween weekend. Students who remain on campus must continue to be vigilant in health and safety protocols. Student gatherings on or off campus are prohibited. This is imperative to limiting the spread of the virus over the weekend. Violations will result in immediate suspension. Thank you for prioritizing the health and safety of our Pride family and working together to keep ourselves and all those around us healthy and safe.

For all students, regardless of your decision to stay on campus or return home, please know that the services of the Counseling Center, the Academic Success Center, Library Services, and the Academic Advising Center remain available to you remotely. 

Even with this necessary change in our plans, our campus is a safe place. The masking and distancing protocols and quarantine and isolation protocols continue to keep us safe. There are many reasons to reflect positively on the last few months.  

Springfield College is an incredibly special place. As difficult as it has been to have our usual activities changed immeasurably during this fall semester, there is no place I would rather be than on Alden Street. Like you, I will look forward to the spring - and beyond - and the next opportunities we will have to see one another.

Until then, stay safe and well.

Sincerely,

Mary-Beth Cooper, PhD, DM
Springfield College President