COVID-19 Update: Departing, Staying and Returning to Campus

Dear Faculty and Staff,

We write to share with you a letter that was sent to students today, which outlines several key dates related to our transition to remote learning after Nov. 21. This letter also highlights some important updates about the spring semester calendar and our plans to return students safely to campus beginning Feb. 4. As with the fall semester, we expect that many of our protocols–social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing–will remain in place for the spring.

It is hard to believe that we are at the halfway point of our time together on campus. Our success to date is a direct result of our collective effort to adhere to our COVID-19 protocols. Thank you for all that you do for our students and for each other. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact


Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students

John McKnight
Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion

Jefferson Singer
Dean of the College

Dear Students,

It is hard to believe, but we are halfway through our time on campus together this semester! We are now at a point when we need to plan for the transition to remote learning after Nov. 21. Classes are scheduled to continue in person through Saturday, Nov. 21, and you must leave campus by 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov.  22. If there are specific reasons why your departure needs to be delayed, please email to request a late departure.

Last week, the faculty voted on and approved the spring 2021 calendar. The first day of classes will be Feb. 8, and we will have a coordinated move-in process on Thursday, Feb. 4 and Friday, Feb. 5. More details on the move-in process will be available in the coming weeks. 

The purpose of writing today is to briefly cover some key topics that address the transitions that will happen between the end of November and the beginning of February. The following topics are covered: 

  • Students departing campus
  • Students staying on campus 
  • Students living in rental properties
  • Students returning early in January
  • Student plans for the spring semester
  • Students returning to campus in February

Students Departing Campus  
In November, when you depart campus, you should take with you all the belongings and academic materials that you will need for the spring semester. We are most certainly planning to be on campus for the spring semester, but we must be prepared for changing circumstances that may require us to be remote. At this time, we are not requiring all students to pack their belongings, but if you are not planning to be on campus in the spring, you need to move out of your room when you leave campus this fall. 

Students Staying on Campus
An important step we need to take right now is to review petitions from students who need to stay on campus from November through January. A small number of students will be approved to stay on campus from Nov. 22 to the start of classes on Feb. 8. Students who are approved will have restricted travel to limit exposure to COVID-19. Students will need to request permission to travel beyond New London County and may do so twice during this break period (students may not travel to a travel advisory state). Students will need to continue to participate in the College’s testing program throughout the break. It is important to note that during this time, services on campus will be very limited and you may be relocated to a different room. Food will be provided, though these plans have not been finalized as they are contingent on how many people will be on campus. 

A committee made up of staff from the Divisions of Student Life, Institutional Equity and Inclusion, and the Dean of the College will review petitions and be in communication with students to discuss their request to stay on campus. In reviewing petitions, the committee will consider: 

  • If a student is unable to return home due to travel restrictions in their home country.
  • If a student is unable to return to the United States in early February due to travel or visa restrictions.
  • If a student depends on Connecticut College for housing.

Students may also petition to remain on campus from Nov. 22 to Dec. 23 if their home circumstances could hinder their success in finishing their coursework this semester.

Students who need to stay on campus must petition to do so by completing this brief form and submitting it no later than Wednesday, Oct. 21: Request to Stay on Campus Form

Students Living in Rental Properties 
If you are approved to be living in an off-campus property and you plan to be at the property during the break period, you will be required to continue to participate in the College’s testing program. This is required in order to maintain the health and safety of our New London County community. The only reason that you may come to campus during the break period is to go to the testing center. If you plan to be living in your rental property for any portion of the break, please complete the following form so that we can make arrangements for you to participate in regular COVID-19 testing on campus: Off-Campus Living During the Break Form

Students Returning Early in January
The NESCAC announced last week its decision to cancel conference competition for its varsity athletics programs during the winter 2020-21 season. The College is considering plans for winter athletes to return to campus early in January for training and possible competitions. The College is also exploring plans to allow some students to return early for academic projects (e.g. honors theses) that cannot be completed remotely. More information on this will be forthcoming.

Student Plans for the Spring Semester
In early November, we will be asking you to complete an online form that communicates your intentions related to being on campus for the spring semester. This information will be important for the College to know so that we can plan housing and other campus logistics for you. If you do not plan to return for the spring semester or are a December graduate, you must be prepared to move out of your room when you depart campus (by Nov. 22 or, if approved, by Dec. 23).

Return to Campus in February
We expect that our return to campus process in February will be similar to your onboarding process in August. You will be expected to:

  • Self-quarantine (limit exposure) at home during the two weeks before arrival (Jan. 21 to Feb. 4).
  • Complete a pre-arrival test before coming to campus.
  • Follow a similar onboarding quarantine period upon arrival.
  • Participate in the same twice weekly testing regimen for the entire spring semester. 

We expect that next semester will be very similar to the fall as it relates to use of face coverings, social distancing, hand washing and other expectations linked to the College alert levels. The calendar that the faculty approved this week does not have a spring break and instead sets aside a couple of midweek days off during the semester. Classes will end on May 12 and final exams will conclude May 17.  

There are many details about the coming months that we will share with you as our plans develop. At the moment, the immediate priority is to identify students who need to remain on campus after Nov. 22. Please complete the form if you need to remain on campus. 

I want to thank you for your attention to these details and for your ongoing commitment to our community–both on campus and off campus.


Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students

John McKnight
Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion

Jefferson Singer
Dean of the College