COVID-19 Wellesley College Response FAQ

Following the College’s announcement of a move to remote instruction in response to developments in the COVID-19 outbreak, here are answers to some common questions members of the Wellesley College community may have. 

Are there any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Wellesley College?

Is campus closing?
No, the campus will remain open. The College will remain operational to support faculty and students and to continue its other essential functions.

What impact will this have on classes and on the remainder of the semester?
Spring break will be extended to begin on March 16. Classes will resume remotely on March 30. Faculty are being supported in making the transition to remote instruction and will continue to have access to all campus resources (including Library and Technology Services).

For Students

Remote instruction

Will students receive credit for their work this semester, and will seniors be able to graduate?
We are working to ensure that all students can complete their coursework for this semester as seamlessly as possible. Yes, seniors will be able to graduate as planned as long as they have fulfilled the requirements for the degree. 

Will there be changes to grading practices?
Remote instruction is a new teaching and learning format for Wellesley, and there is uncertainty among both faculty and students about the challenges of working in this environment. The College’s goal is to give students the fullest opportunity to complete this semester’s academic work and make progress toward their degrees. To that end, all courses this semester, including independent studies and senior theses, will be converted to mandatory credit/non grading status. For more information, see the communication Academic Policies and Calendar for the Rest of the Semester.

What if I don’t have the technological access, support, or equipment at home to participate in alternative modes of learning?
LTS conducted a survey of students to gauge their readiness to participate in classes remotely and is reaching out to students who indicated they need assistance. Students with no internet at home may be eligible to stay on campus and should follow the instructions in Star Rez. Students should also contact their class dean if they have concerns about their ability to complete their coursework remotely. 

How will labs, performance-based courses, and PE classes required for credit be completed?
Performance-based courses, labs, and other similar courses will be conducted virtually when appropriate. The College will make accommodations for lab work and other parts of the curriculum that require students to participate in person. Students should connect with their faculty members for specific plans, and they can expect to hear from their lab instructors/faculty regarding procedures going forward. 

What if I will be in a different time zone from Wellesley?
If you are located in a different time zone and cannot join the scheduled course sessions, please consult with your professor. Professors have the ability to record lectures or presentations and make them available to students who cannot join the scheduled sessions.

What if I am conducting research as part of a thesis or independent study and I cannot access my lab or field placement?
Students should consult with their thesis advisor about specific questions regarding their theses and access to their lab results or experiments.

How can I get training on Zoom or other resources from LTS?
Students can learn more about the videoconferencing program by signing up in the Zoom Room.

Transition on campus

What if I cannot move out by the Tuesday, March 17 deadline?
Students who cannot move out by the Tuesday deadline should complete the form in Star Rez. There will be a follow-up communication to students within the next 24 hours that gives information to our students on campus regarding moving and other issues. 

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 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.

What services will be available on campus for students who remain?
The campus will remain open. Students staying on campus will be asked to move into a limited number of residence halls, and we will adjust dining options to accommodate a smaller group of students. Residential Life staff will still be on hand to support students in the residence halls. 

If I stay on campus, will I have access to health care and counseling?
Health Services and the Stone Center will remain open and accessible for all students. Students on the Wellesley College health plan will continue to have coverage through mid-August.

I am an athlete. How will this decision affect the rest of my season?
All athletic events after March 13 will be canceled.  

For questions regarding eligibility or varsity athletics, please contact the PERA Department.

What about senior week and commencement?
Seniors should not expect to return to campus this semester. We sincerely want commencement to happen; given the evolving situation, we will make a decision by early April.

What are the financial implications of these changes?

  • Room and board:

    • All students who have left campus have received a credit on their student account for the unused portion of room and board, which will be prorated based on a family’s contribution to the cost of attendance. The minimum credit will be $1,200 and the maximum credit will be $4,000.
    • For those who receive significant grant aid, we have increased the minimum credit from $1,200 to $1,500. These additional funds are meant to cover personal expenses that may have otherwise been met using work-study earnings.
    • Students who served as resident assistants and house presidents will have an adjusted credit for the room fee due to the room waiver previously issued.
    • 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.​​
  • Work Study:

    • The College is only able to maintain remote employment for a limited number of students. We will prioritize continuing to employ those students whose jobs cannot otherwise be performed by a staff member. Within this group of jobs, additional priority will be given to students with work-study eligibility in the spring semester.​
    • The Office of Finance and Administration and Student Financial Services have reviewed all student jobs and have approved those that support these priorities. SFS will contact students whose jobs are approved to continue for the remainder of the term by Tuesday, March 31, with instructions regarding work expectations and submission of timesheets. Students in approved jobs will be limited in the total number of hours they may work per week. All other student jobs will be deactivated in Workday for the remainder of the spring term.
Moving out

Can my parents help me move my belongings?
Students should make every effort to prepare for departure on their own in order to minimize the number of people traveling to and coming on campus. We will have storage options available for students, and we can make accommodations depending on students’ needs and location of family. Families are permitted in residence halls to remove items during move out, but should practice good hand washing before entering. Families should not enter the residence halls if they are ill. Families are not permitted to stay overnight.

Can I store my belongings on campus?
Students with permanent addresses more than 300 miles from campus can store 4 items, labeled with RESIDENTIAL STORAGE, Full Name, Class Year, Phone Number, Spring 2020 Room Assignment. Leave items for storage in one corner of your room. They will be moved to storage rooms after students depart. Boxes and packing tape are available. The College has also arranged for a discount with Boomerang.

Is there an airport shuttle?
There is a free shuttle from the chapel to South Station and Logan Airport. See the full schedule

How will I return textbooks I rented from the bookstore?
Visit the textbook rental return page and input your order id and mailing address to get your prepaid shipping label. 

Staying healthy during travel and at home

As students prepare to head home, Dr. Jennifer Schwartz, medical director of Health Services, offers advice for protecting yourself and staying healthy during travel and when you return home:   

  • Maintain the basics: Wash your hands. Frequently. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wipe down your phone, which has been touched by dirty hands and placed on public surfaces.
  • If possible, check in for flights by phone to avoid using touch-screen kiosks.
  • Maintain your physical distance from others to the extent possible.
  • When going through security, place your wallet, keys, phone, and any items from your pockets in your carry-on item. Do not place them directly in the bin.
  • If you are able to select your seat, choose a window seat so that you are in less contact with others.
  • Once on the plane, wipe down the latches, tray, seatback display, seat arms, and seat belt buckle, if you have a wipe. Similarly, wipe latches on the inside and outside of the restroom, if you have a wipe. Do not store personal items in the seat pocket. 
  • When you arrive home, put all your travel clothes directly into the wash without laying them first on a bed or couch. 

If you are particularly concerned about someone at home (such as an older or immuno-compromised person), please try to maintain social distance and consider self-quarantining for two weeks following your return.

Summer programming and study abroad

Will summer programs, research, internships, or study abroad continue?
We are monitoring developments and expect to make programming decisions later this spring.

Have fall 2020 study abroad programs been suspended?
Currently, no fall semester study abroad programs have been suspended. We are continuing to monitor developments and will be making a decision later this spring based on public health guidance. 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.

If I am currently studying abroad, what should I do?
The Office of International Study has been in touch directly with students in study abroad programs to encourage them to return home and to offer financial assistance with travel. Most students are following this guidance; a few have elected to stay, despite our recommendation.

Will I get a refund if I studied abroad?
Students who have been studying abroad should seek room and board refunds from their study-abroad programs. If you have questions, please contact the Office of International Study

Students remaining on campus

A code of conduct has been developed to provide community standards and guidance for students remaining in residence on campus.

For Faculty

Remote instruction

What resources are available to me as I prepare to move to remote instruction for my classes?
Library and Technology Services has a number of resources on hand and will be offering ongoing support to faculty teaching remotely. There are also workshops underway and opportunities for faculty to practice with new methods and technologies ahead of this transition.  

Will there be changes to grading practices?
The College’s goal is to give students the fullest opportunity to complete this semester’s academic work and make progress toward their degrees. To that end, all courses this semester, including independent studies and senior theses, will be converted to mandatory credit/non grading status. For more information, see the communication Academic Policies and Calendar for the Rest of the Semester.

What if a student is in a different time zone from Wellesley?
Because some students will be outside the Eastern time zone, it might seem like a good idea for faculty to reschedule class meetings for a more universally convenient time. We ask that faculty not do that, as moving any single course risks creating conflicts with the other courses a student is taking. If a student is so far away that attendance is impossible, we encourage faculty to use the record function in Zoom and allow the student to view the class meetings, then follow up through virtual office hours or small group meetings.

What if I encounter technological issues during my class?
LTS members are on hand should you encounter any problems preparing materials for your classes or live teaching. Faculty should contact the Computing Help Desk as usual if they need assistance. At least for a few initial sessions, LTS strongly suggests that the faculty member start the Zoom session a few minutes early to make sure that everything is working.

What does this change mean for my lab and/or research ongoing on campus?
The campus and all academic buildings, labs, and spaces will remain open. Faculty may continue to work in their offices and labs. If faculty have questions about support for science labs or research, contact the Science Center director.


How will this decision impact College-related travel restrictions?
College-related travel restrictions are still in place. Please refer to the travel section of the website for the latest information and guidelines.

For Staff


Campus operations

How will remote instruction affect administrative and union staff and the operations of the campus?

Even though classes will be held remotely for the remainder of the semester, the campus will not be closing and operations will continue. We have students who are unable to return home and will be living on campus and attending classes remotely. The College will remain operational to support faculty and students and to continue other essential functions of the College, and has designated a minimal number of critical positions/employees who may be required to travel to and from campus to perform critical functions. 

Adminstrative staff
The College has implemented a telecommuting policy for its administrative staff in which employees that are able to complete work from home are encouraged to do so once they have the approval of their manager.

Union staff
The College has developed a plan that strives to support and provide 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 rotating teams with time on and time off. During the weeks employees are available but not scheduled to work, they will continue to be paid at their regular rate.

For more details, see Response to Governor Baker’s Stay-at-Home Advisory

Health concerns

What options are there for staff who may have health concerns or concerns about coming to work?

If you are not feeling well, you should stay home and consult with your physician while notifying your manager. Staff may also consult with Accessibility and Disability Services or Human Resources

The Employee Assistance Program is also available for all employees.