Latest updates

7.1.20 Posted recordings of the fall planning update webinars for entering students & families and returning students & families
6.30.20 President Johnson shared details on Wellesley’s plan for Fall 2020 and beyond.
6.23.20 President Johnson shared an update on the steps the College is taking to prioritize the health and safety of the community for Fall 2020.

See the College Announcements blog for all past announcements related to COVID-19.

COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

This page provides updates to the Wellesley community about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the steps and policy decisions the College is taking in response.

The College continues to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Mass. DPH), Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and the local Board of Health to monitor the situation locally. We are also following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is providing general information on the coronavirus and what you need to know.

Fall Planning


Planning process

The College shared fall planning details on June 30. This work is being overseen by members of Senior Leadership and an operations team and focuses on three areas:

  • People: protecting the health and safety of our people

  • Places: preparing our spaces for an extended period of social distancing

  • Programs: planning different scenarios for our academic and residential programs

Groups have been convened to advise and make recommendations to the Senior Leadership operations team on planning for the next academic year. Fill out the Google form with questions or concerns.

Learning at Wellesley

Faculty are preparing some courses geared specifically toward students living on campus, some for students will be taking classes remotely, and others that will be available to both groups. We plan to follow our regular grading policy for the 2020–2021 academic year.

Key elements of our plan for learning at Wellesley are below, but please see Wellesley’s plan for Fall 2020 and beyond for complete details.

  • Academic calendar: The academic year will include four terms rather than two semesters. The fall terms will run from August 31 to December 18. The spring terms are anticipated to begin on February 1 and to conclude in mid-May. The 2021 Commencement will be celebrated on the scheduled date of May 28.

Fall Dates

Start Date

End Date 

Reading Period & Finals

Term 1

August 31

October 13

October 14–17


October 18

October 25


Term 2

October 26

December 11

December 12–18

Students living on campus will be asked to stay during the break between terms and over Thanksgiving. 

  • Classrooms and office hours: The Facilities Management department is reconfiguring classrooms, labs, and studios to allow for physical distancing. Office hours will move to larger spaces or take place over Zoom.

  • Cross-registration: Babson, Olin, Brandeis and Wellesley will not be offering cross registration for in-person classes this year. Wellesley students will not be able to take in-person classes at MIT this year, and a decision on remote classes is forthcoming. 

  • International students: We recognize international first-years and returning sophomores may not be able to come to campus in the fall and strongly encourage enrolling in Wellesley courses remotely. We are working on issues related to time-zone scheduling so that all students will have an equal opportunity to participate in synchronously held courses. 

  • Study abroad: Wellesley’s International Safety Committee will be assessing the viability of travel and health and safety benchmarks and protocols for all sites throughout the summer. We encourage students planning to study abroad to register for remote Wellesley courses as a backup. We are also exploring term study abroad options for juniors and seniors in fall term 2 and first-years and sophomores in spring term 4. 

Student Life On Campus

Key elements of our plan for student life at Wellesley are below, but please see Wellesley’s plan for Fall 2020 and beyond and related Fall 2020 Students and Families FAQ for complete details.

  • Housing:
    • All students will live in singles next year. First-years and sophomores will come to campus in the fall; juniors and seniors will be on campus in the spring.
    • On-campus housing for the fall will be offered to juniors and seniors who meet the following criteria: international students who have been unable to return home since the spring; students whose home situations make remote learning nearly impossible or for whom Wellesley College is their primary residence; senior honors students who require access to physical spaces on campus; second semester seniors graduating in December; and our student Residential Life staff, academic success coaches, and other key student leaders such as the College Government Cabinet.
    • We are exploring the possibility of contracting with a nearby hotel and using the entire facility as satellite residential housing for juniors and seniors who want to be on campus. These students would take classes remotely, but the College would provide regular transportation to campus, and students would have access to on-campus dining. Juniors and seniors will receive more information and have the chance to request this option as part of the Fall Intent Form
    • Campus facilities will only be open to those living on campus and in satellite housing. Students who live locally will not be able to take classes on campus or have access to campus facilities.
    • Guests will not be permitted in the residence halls or in any campus buildings.
    • Students with individual concerns or questions, or who are members of at-risk groups identified by the CDC, should reach out to the Office of Accessibility and Disability Resources to discuss their options.
  • Student health and safety procedures: Before traveling to campus, we ask that students quarantine at home for 14 days. Students will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and regularly while on campus using new technology for a noninvasive test that is easily administered.. Quarantine spaces for close contacts of COVID-19 positive cases will be reserved. Isolation spaces for positive cases will be located in dedicated buildings on campus.
  • Dining: Several large dining halls will be open, and students will have the option of grab-and-go meals as well as limited in-person seating with appropriate physical distancing.
  • PERA: Varsity athletics competitions and club sports will not be available in the fall.  Student-athletes who live on campus will be able to practice and train within relevant guidelines. PE will be offered for credit and include virtual options.
  • Transportation: The MIT Exchange Bus, Senate Bus, Wellesley-Olin-Babson shuttle, and shuttle to the Natick mall will be suspended for the fall. The Escort and Access Vans will still run on campus. Student travel will be limited to the local surroundings. Given the need to limit exposure, travel to Boston is strongly discouraged.
Cost and Financial Aid

We understand that students and their families may be experiencing financial challenges, and we affirm our commitment to meeting students’ full calculated financial need. Please refer to this Student Financial Services FAQ for more information.

  • Students who are not living in College housing will not be charged room and board.

  • For students receiving aid, we have replaced the student contribution from summer work ($1,950 for most students) with grant aid.

  • There will be opportunities for student employment through the College for students who will be on campus and remote. Students who are eligible for need-based financial aid will  have priority. 

  • Tuition and fees will remain the same as communicated in March.

Health and Safety On Campus

We are relying on all members of our community at Wellesley—faculty, staff, and students—to accept and consistently comply with public health guidance, policies, and protocols developed by the state and the College to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our campus as safe as possible. This is a multilayered approach, and our collective goal is to support our students in their curricular and co-curricular life at Wellesley. For specific details, see the health and safety sections of the Students and Families and Faculty and Staff Fall 2020 FAQs.

  • We will wear masks and practice physical distancing. 

  • In order to be cleared to work on campus or go to class, faculty/staff and students will be required to log symptoms into a daily health-check app.

  • Both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing and contact tracing will be an integral part of keeping our community healthy.

  • Campus will remain closed to the public for the fall semester.

  • Common spaces will be marked to indicate proper spacing for physical distancing.

  • The College will install hand sanitizing stations, provide additional sanitizing and disinfecting supplies in shared spaces, and implement increased cleaning schedules.


Watch the recorded 7/1 fall planning update webinars for entering students & families and returning students & families. As mentioned in the webinars, we will also be adding to the Fall 2020 Students and Families FAQ.

Massachusetts Higher Education Working Group

President Johnson is serving on a 14-member working group of leaders from higher education in Massachusetts that has developed a framework to help guide the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities as they plan to repopulate their campuses at the appropriate time. This framework was shared with the Governor’s Reopening Advisory Board and is reflected in the state’s reopening plans. Read the Testing Group’s report Developing an Integrated COVID-19 Testing Strategy: Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education in Massachusetts.



Notification of testing or exposure

If you are on campus, we ask that you notify the College if you have been or plan to be tested for COVID-19 so that we can support you and also consider whether you have had significant contact with people who might need to be quarantined while you await test results.

Please notify the College through this form if any of the scenarios below apply to you:

  • You have been or know that you will be tested for COVID-19.

  • You have been notified by a local or state department of health of a known or potential exposure to COVID-19.

  • You learn that you or your spouse, partner, or housemate have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Can I be tested for COVID-19?

Students on campus who are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should contact Health Services. If students meet testing criteria, Health Services will facilitate testing through Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Faculty and staff should call their primary care physicians for guidance. All community members may also access the Coronavirus Line (through Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Mass General) that is available daily from 8 am to 8 pm at 617.724.7000.

Wearing masks

Massachusetts requires that face masks or cloth face coverings are worn in public places where social distancing is not possible. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Student health services

All students who are on the Wellesley College Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) will have coverage for emergency and non-emergency care, hospitalizations, specialty care, mental health care, and prescription medications throughout the United States and abroad through August 14. SHIP has also included coverage for the full cost of diagnostic tests for COVID-19 and waived co-pays for medically necessary COVID-19 treatments. 

Newton-Wellesley Collegiate Health can help students with medication refills if they do not have a primary care physician/prescriber at home. If you have visited with Health Services within the past year, we will provide refills as appropriate through the summer. 

Health Services and Stone Center Counseling Service are open and available to students who remain on campus, and in some cases may be able to provide support remotely. For the safety of other students and employees, we ask that students feeling ill call the offices rather than walk in.

Taking steps to keep the campus community healthy

All on-campus employees are encouraged to perform wellness and temperature checks at home before and after coming to campus.

The College has increased the frequency with which we clean all our facilities, made hand sanitizer broadly available, and launched a public health campaign to encourage proper handwashing techniques and social distancing.

For resources and general health tips, see Mass. DPH: Prevention.



Access to campus

Wellesley College campus is currently closed to the public.

Campus buildings and facilities are only open to students remaining on campus, faculty, and staff. All athletics facilities—indoor and outdoor, including the track, fields, and tennis courts—are closed. Only Wellesley College registered vehicles are permitted to park in campus parking lots. 

The College and the Hunnewell family have also closed the privately owned walking path around Lake Waban to the public. Only faculty, staff, and students (no guests) are welcome to walk on Wellesley College’s portion of the lake path, and around campus, while maintaining social distance.

Wellesley police are limiting parking along Route 135, Route 16, and Pond Road, and our Campus Police will ask visitors they encounter on campus to leave immediately.

Building access

Access to campus buildings and facilities is limited to the Wellesley College community. Social distancing (the 6-feet rule) must be observed at all times.

Buildings Access Open
Alumnae Hall Limited staff Swipe card access
Bae Pao Lu Chow Faculty, staff, and students


  • Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dinner: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Late night: 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.


  • Breakfast: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Brunch: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dinner: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Late night (Sundays): 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Bates Students and staff Swipe card access
Bates Dining Hall Students and staff


  • Breakfast: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dinner: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.


  • Breakfast: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Brunch: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dinner: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Billings Hall Limited staff Swipe card access
Cazenove Students and staff Swipe card access
Cedar Lodge Students and staff Swipe card access

Cheever House
(828 Washington Street)

Staff Swipe card access
Child Study Center Staff Swipe card access
Clapp Library Faculty and staff M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Swipe card access for faculty and staff, call Campus Police (x2121) to let them know you will be in the library
Collins Cinema CLOSED  
Davis Museum Staff Swipe card access
Distribution Center Staff Swipe card access
Emporium Faculty, staff, and students

Mon-Fri: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Founders Faculty, staff, and students Key access
Freeman Students and staff Swipe card access
Global Flora Limited staff Swipe card access

Green Hall

Faculty, staff, and students Key access, door outside HR open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays
Health Services and Stone Center Staff Swipe card access (Front door only for Stone Center)
Houghton Chapel Faculty, staff, and students Swipe card access 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., limited to small groups of no more than 5 people
Intercultural houses Students and staff Swipe card access 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., limited to small groups of no more than 5 people
Jewett Faculty and staff Swipe card access
Jewett Art Library Faculty and staff M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Swipe card access, call Campus Police (x2121) to let them know you will be in the library
Keohane Sports Center Limited PERA staff Swipe card access

Lulu Chow Wang Center

Faculty, staff, and students

Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

McAfee Students and staff Swipe card access
Multifaith Center CLOSED  

Pendleton East

Faculty, staff, and students Swipe card access

Pendleton West

Faculty, staff, and students Swipe card access
Physical Plant Staff Swipe card access
Pomeroy Students and staff Swipe card access
Schneider Hall Staff Swipe card access
Science Center Faculty, staff, and students Swipe card access
Science Modulars Faculty and staff Swipe card access
Society Houses CLOSED  
Simpson West (faculty offices) Faculty and staff Swipe card access
Waban House (756 Washington Street) Staff Swipe card access
Weaver (Admission Office) Staff Swipe card access
Wellesley College Club Staff Swipe card access
Whitin Observatory Faculty and staff Swipe card access


Student Emergency Assistance


CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants—30-day Fund Report
  • On April 21, 2020, Wellesley College signed and returned the Certification and Agreement for funding under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students to the Department of Education.
  • On April 27, 2020 Wellesley College received a total of $985,234 of funding under the Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
  • Wellesley College estimates 1,471 students are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

  • As of May 26, 2020 the College had distributed $697,285 in CARES Act funding to 1,160 Title IV eligible students.

  • As of June 26, 2020 the College has distributed $723,933 in CARES Act funding to 1,202 Title IV eligible students.
  • In the initial distribution of approximately 75% of the CARES Act funding, Wellesley prioritized students with the greatest financial need as determined by the level at which they qualify for need-based grant aid. These students may require assistance with eligible expenses caused by the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Wellesley College offered grants to Title IV eligible students who qualify for need-based grant aid, based on the chart below. In addition, Wellesley set up a process through which Title IV-eligible students may request additional CARES Act funding if they have additional qualifying expenses.

    Need Based Grant %

    CARES Grant Funding offered

    70-100% Grant aided


    50-69% Grant aided


    1-49% Grant aided


  • The College announced the Emergency Financial Aid Grants in a communication to the community, and sent emails to those students identified as likely to have needs for funds to cover eligible expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. In order to receive CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants, students were required to certify eligibility and use of the funds.
Wellesley student emergency funds

The College is greatly aware that there are students who continue to be heavily impacted by COVID-19 and the disruption it has caused to campus operations. In addition to the funds already disbursed, the College has reserved funds from the federal CARES Act, as well the Wellesley College Emergency Fund, to meet the critical needs of students that we anticipate could arise as the pandemic continues. Students should use the 2020 Wellesley College Emergency Fund form to request support.

Access and technology

The College has provided computers and hot spots to students who needed them for remote instruction. Students who require additional support should contact the LTS Help Desk and contact their class dean if they are having difficulty completing coursework remotely.

Faculty, Staff, and College Operations


Employee resources

Employees unable to work for a COVID-19 related reason may take any type of accrued or unpaid leave time. Employees who are members of at-risk groups identified by the CDC, and have concerns about returning to work on campus, should contact Human Resources (staff) or the Provost’s Office (faculty), to discuss their options. If any staff member has questions about this guidance, please contact Carolyn Slaboden or Sarah Staley in Human Resources.

Staff may also consult with Accessibility and Disability Services or Human Resources. The Employee Assistance Program is available for all employees.

Remote work

Much of the work of staff will continue to be completed remotely where possible to reduce density on campus. Departments will work with the division head to develop their own, flexible plans for staffing and operations. Staff will hear from their supervisors and division heads about phased plans for their return to campus and scheduling details.


Wellesley has implemented summer furloughs for some administrative and union employees. These are temporary staffing adjustments; furloughed staff remain active employees of the College and will receive ongoing benefits from the College during the furlough. Please see this furlough FAQ for additional information. 

We have implemented a COVID-19 leave-sharing program that allows administrative and union staff to donate unused accrued vacation time for the benefit of other staff.  Employees who have been furloughed from the College as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to apply for a leave bank transfer. Learn more about the COVID-19 Leave Sharing Plan.


Faculty offering in-person or hybrid classes in the fall will return to campus to teach; other faculty will teach remotely.


All College-sponsored travel is still suspended until further notice, and personal travel is still strongly discouraged. If employees choose to travel out of state, they should follow current Massachusetts self-quarantine guidance upon returning home.


Students are encouraged to reach out to the Dean of Students Office or their class deans with any questions or concerns.

For questions about reimbursements, contact Student Financial Services.

If you have questions or comments about fall planning, please complete this Google form.