Latest updates

5.9.20 Wellesley announced details regarding financial support available to students who are facing hardship due to COVID-19. Funding comes from the federal CARES Act and other sources through the College. For more information, see Financial Support for Students
5.4.20 The College will announce its plan for the fall no later than July 1. See the Fall Planning Update for more information. 
4.24.20 Added fall planning committee members

COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

This page provides updates to the Wellesley community about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the steps and policy decisions the College is taking in response to this global and rapidly evolving public health crisis. Wellesley has moved to remote instruction for the rest of the semester. For more information, see President Johnson’s College Announcement.

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.



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. If you are off campus and are diagnosed with the virus, we also want to hear from you so that we can offer moral support from afar.

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

As of Wednesday, May 6, 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



Wellesley will not host an in-person commencement this year, but looks forward to welcoming the red class of 2020 back to campus next year to celebrate their accomplishments. On May 31, we will host a virtual ceremony to confer degrees so that seniors are able to move forward with their careers and further academic pursuits.


We regret that the College is unable to host reunion this year for the classes ending in 0s and 5s. The WCAA has emailed reunion registrants regarding refund procedures.

Reimbursements and Work Study


Room and board

All students who left campus by March 22 have received a credit on their student account for the unused portion of room and board, which was prorated based on a family’s contribution to the cost of attendance. The minimum credit will be $1,500 and the maximum credit will be $4,000.

Credits were applied to students’ accounts by March 27. If the adjustment created a credit balance on your account, you may request a refund by completing the refund request form. If you do not request a refund, we will maintain the credit balance on your account and apply it to future charges.

Student employment and work-study

The College is maintaining remote employment for those students whose jobs cannot otherwise be performed by a staff member. Within this group of jobs, additional priority was given to students with work-study eligibility in the spring semester. For more information on work-study, see the Follow-up to Student Employment Announcement.

Student Emergency Assistance


CARES Act funding for students eligible for federal financial aid

Wellesley is receiving funding from the federal CARES Act for emergency grants to assist students eligible for federal (Title IV) financial aid with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations caused by COVID-19. The College will distribute these funds through grants based on students’ level of calculated financial need. Students do not need to apply for these funds. The funds will be distributed directly to students and will not be applied to amounts due to the College. To receive CARES Act funds, students will need to confirm that the funds will be used for eligible expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. Eligible students will receive instructions by 5/11/20. Seniors will need to respond quickly.

The College will distribute over 75 percent of the funds immediately. We will disburse the remaining funds to students who are eligible to receive CARES funds who may need additional assistance this summer and fall. We ask that students use the 2020 Wellesley College Emergency Fund form to request additional funds.

Wellesley student emergency funds

At the start of the crisis, Wellesley set up an emergency fund for students that was funded by alumnae donations. The College immediately used funds raised to cover the cost of some students’ travel, as well as packing and moving expenses. The balance will continue to be used to help students, including those who have stayed on campus this spring and need financial support to either travel home or find alternative housing this summer. In addition, the College worked with the Wellesley Students’ Aid Society (WSAS) to cover additional emergency expenses. Using funds from both these sources, the College’s First Gen Network has allocated funds to meet each student’s individual needs.

College Government has also generously designated Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFC) funds to address students’ emergency needs. This extraordinary gift will help alleviate financial stress caused by housing and food insecurity, cover unforeseen medical costs, and defray travel and other expenses this summer and fall. This fund will also assist international students and others who are ineligible for CARES Act funds. 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.

Staying on Campus



Students remaining in residence have support from Residential Life staff, can dine in Bates Dining Hall or the Bae Pao Lu Chow, and can seek assistance from Health Services and the Stone Center. See the building chart regarding access to other buildings. 

Code of conduct

The College has developed a code of conduct to provide community standards and guidance for students remaining in residence on campus.

Spring semester move-out

Students who have remained on campus this spring will be expected to leave by the day after the last day of final exams, May 16. The College will work with individual students who may have extenuating circumstances and either ensure that they can return home or assist them with alternative housing options.

Grading and Academics


Mandatory credit/non grading status

Removing the pressure of grades is the best way to support all students and faculty in their efforts to finish their courses successfully this semester. A uniform campus-wide policy treats everyone the same and removes the burden of decision-making from faculty and students in what is already an intensely stressful time.

To give students the fullest opportunity to complete this semester’s academic work and make progress toward their degrees, all courses this semester, including independent studies and senior theses, will be converted to mandatory credit/non grading status. 

Faculty should be able to give credit to students who have satisfied the demands of the course without being required to link that determination to a letter grade. Mandatory credit/non allows for the granting of credit with distinction, so that the grades students receive will be MCRD, MCR, and MNCR. Faculty will give incomplete grades only in situations when students have not been able to meet the minimum requirements for course credit.

Midterm grades

To acknowledge the work that students completed during the first part of the semester, the College is providing the option of including midsemester letter grades on academic records, allowing students to demonstrate success in those courses to graduate and professional programs, prospective employers, and fellowship committees.

After May 11, students will be able to view their midterm grades in Workday. They will then be able to choose whether to include those grades when the College sends out an official transcript. The midterm grades will appear in a special box on the transcript but will not be included in GPA calculations.

First-year or transfer grades

To acknowledge the challenge that students who entered the College in fall 2019 face in having no letter grades at the end of their first year, Wellesley will extend the time frame during which students can petition to have their fall 2019 grades revealed and expand the range of reasons for which they can make that request.

Latin honors

Seniors who could have graduated with a particular level of Latin honors if they had received the highest possible grades for the courses they were taking for a letter grade this semester will receive those honors.

Senior theses

The deadline for submission of honors theses has been postponed to May 6. The College still plans to schedule honors oral exams, via Zoom, and to give students the opportunity to share their thesis work. That process is a highlight of the academic year for faculty and students alike. Faculty who submitted a grade of “TBG” for the fall semester of a student’s thesis work will submit a letter grade for that 355 or 360 course.

Academic calendar
  • Faculty may choose to hold classes on Patriots’ Day (Monday, April 20).

  • Because the Ruhlman Conference has been canceled, we will revert to a normal week that includes all five class days rather than skipping Wednesday:

    • Tuesday, April 28, will follow a Tuesday schedule.

    • Wednesday, April 29, will follow a Wednesday schedule.

  • Faculty may choose to hold classes on Thursday, May 7, and Friday, May 8.

Lab and/or ongoing research

Based on the current “shelter in place” advisory in Massachusetts, labs have been closed. Students should consult with their thesis advisors about specific questions regarding their theses and access to their lab results or experiments.

Summer Programming and Fall Planning


Fall planning

The College will announce its plan for the fall no later than July 1. This will allow us to see how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and to make educated decisions, based on the best data available, while we consult with academic departments and programs about any changes to next year’s schedule and curriculum. We know that in order to bring students back to campus, at a minimum we will need to have the ability to conduct both extensive testing for COVID-19 and effective contact tracing for any exposures to the virus that may occur within our community, as well as a plan for caring for any student who may become exposed to or who tests positive for the virus.

President Johnson and Provost Shennan have convened a small group of faculty and administrators to brainstorm about options that might be available to the College, should the pandemic continue to disrupt our academic and residential programs in the fall. The members of this group are: Carol Bate (Student Life), Susan Brennan (Career Education), Nancy Coleman (Strategic Growth Initiatives), Tracy Gleason (Psychology), Michael Jeffries (American Studies), Erin Konkle (Career Education), Diana Lam ’20, Megan Núñez (Provost’s Office), Piper Orton (Finance), Ravi Ravishanker (LTS), Lisa Rodensky (English), Casey Rothschild (Economics), Ann Velenchik (Provost’s Office), and Helen Wang (Residential Life).

Additional working groups are being constituted and an updated list of members will be posted soon.

Summer Session courses

All Wellesley Summer Session courses will move to a remote format with one six-week summer session instead of two four-week sessions. These courses are likely to be particularly important for students whose spring semester and/or study abroad experiences have been disrupted, so the College will adjust the schedule to maximize options. The Summer Session Office will share updates about available courses later this spring.

The Science Center Summer Research and Social Science Summer Research Programs

Both programs will operate virtually and will last six weeks, with defined start and end dates to be determined by each program. Student participants will receive a stipend of $3,000. The College anticipates hosting a virtual poster session at the end of these programs.

Off-campus College-sponsored programs

Wellesley will provide funding for virtual summer internships only. Student participants who have already been offered funding will receive a stipend of $3,000 if they are able to confirm internships in a virtual format that meet the other requirements of their College-sponsored programs. Departments and programs that sponsor summer internships are asked to work with internship hosts and students to support summer experiences in a virtual format. For more information, see Career Education’s FAQs.

Please note that for this summer only, the Committee on Curriculum and Academic Planning (CCAP) will extend eligibility for the non-academic internship/research transcript notation to include virtual opportunities. This will safeguard the credit for international students who rely on it for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

Summer 2020 study abroad

Wellesley will not fund study abroad programs scheduled for May-July 2020. Students are strongly discouraged from pursuing summer study abroad independently if the Level 3 CDC and Level 4 State Department warnings remain in effect. Students who pursue study abroad against the College’s recommendation may request transfer credit only upon completion of their program. Students will not be eligible for the Wellesley College Travel Assist Program or other support from the College. The status of College-sponsored language programs in Italy and France scheduled for August will be determined at a later date.

On-campus residential summer programs

All residential summer programs have been canceled. These include on-campus Wellesley Summer Session programs, college preparation programs, Upward Bound, and the Posse immersion experience. In addition, we do not expect to have students working on campus.

Fall 2020 study abroad

Wellesley continues to monitor developments and will be making a decision about fall semester study abroad programs later this spring. The Office of International Study will work with on-campus partners so that students are able to retain housing and register for courses on campus in the event that programs are canceled.

Faculty, Staff, and College Operations


Critical employees

The College has designated critical positions/employees who may be required to travel to and from campus to support the facilities and dining operations for students who remain in residence as well as the College’s academic and operational needs.

Employee resources

Employees unable to work for a COVID-19 related reason may take any type of accrued or unpaid leave time. 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 also available for all employees.

Administrative staff

Remote work

The College has implemented a telecommuting policy and has asked all administrative staff not serving in critical positions to work from home.

Vacation time

Administrative staff are expected to schedule and take vacation time before June 30. The goal is not to deplete entire vacation balances. Employees should keep at least 35 hours in their balance if they have accrued that amount. Vacation time should be used as follows:

  • Balances of 105 hours or greater: 10 days of vacation

  • Balances of 70 - 105 hours: 5-10 days of vacation, depending on their balance within the range

  • Balances of 36 - 70 hours: up to 5 days of vacation, depending on their balance within the range.

  • Balances of 35 hours or less, no vacation time is necessary

For more information and a reminder of the vacation carryover policy, see the HR Vacation Time email to managers.

Union staff

The College is supporting and providing opportunities for our IMSEUA union employees (including dining workers and facilities workers) while adhering to the governor’s stay-at-home advisory. Union employees will work on a rotating basis and will continue to be paid at their regular rate.


The College has asked that faculty members follow the governor’s stay-at-home advisory and teach from home whenever possible.


We have suspended all College-related international, domestic, and out-of-state travel. We have also suspended College-related local travel to gatherings (conferences, meetings, or events) of more than 10 people. Any exceptions will need to be approved by the president, the provost, or the vice president and dean of students.

We strongly discourage all personal international travel and urge caution about any personal domestic travel.

Student Move-Out in March


What if I need financial support to travel home?

We understand that asking students to return home in the middle of the semester may present complications and hardships, and options are available for students and their families to potentially receive assistance. Students should complete the form in Star Rez.

If I cannot return home, can I remain on campus?

Students who need to remain on campus for the spring semester because they have no other option will be able to stay. This includes students who are nationals of countries to which they are unable to return, as well as students for whom returning home would be impossible or unsafe. These students will also receive instruction remotely and must prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions. Students are asked to complete the form in Star Rez if they seek to remain on campus.

What are the criteria for consideration to stay on campus?
  • International students and students from countries with travel bans or CDC Level 2-3 travel advisories or visa issues for travel.

  • Students whose legal residence is Wellesley College.

  • Students whose households include members who are confirmed or presumptive positive with COVID-19 or whose home is located in a containment zone (currently only New Rochelle, N.Y.). 

  • Students with home circumstances that make it impossible for them to be home.

  • Students whose homes do not have internet access.


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.