Spring 2021 Information

Welcome to SLC's resource site for the 2020-21 academic year. This site contains information for the spring 2021 semester, as well as preliminary information on our plans for the fall 2021 semester. Please explore the information below and on the pages within this site to find everything you need for an informed and successful year.

Looking Ahead: Fall 2021

March 16: President Judd Announces Plan for Fall 2021 Semester

In an email to undergraduate and graduate students on March 16, President Cristle Collins Judd announced that Sarah Lawrence College plans to return to primarily in-person engagement in the fall of 2021. Led by the College's COVID response team, our decision-making process has remained grounded in a desire to protect the safety and well-being of our community, and the fall plan is based on what we know and can reasonably anticipate in terms of the state of the pandemic and the trajectory of vaccinations. 

While we expect most students to return to campus, for those students whose circumstances make it impossible to join us in person, a selection of classes will be offered online, particularly those that are well-suited to and, in some cases, enhanced by a virtual venue. Faculty input will be key in determining course offerings and formats, along with the needs of our student body and new practices and opportunities that emerged over the past year.

First-year students and sophomores will be required to live on campus during the academic year, and will be guaranteed housing; this will help our newest students best connect and engage with a fully residential campus community and culture. All juniors and seniors who wish to live on campus will also be able to do so provided they follow the housing request procedures, which we expect to share no later than the middle of April. Based on what we have learned and from opportunities that emerged from our ongoing evaluation of the residential experience this year, we expect that our residential spaces will look different next fall from present—as well as our historical—occupancy. We will return to a mix of single, double, and triple rooms, but we expect to eliminate some traditional triple-occupancy rooms, such as those in Garrison and Taylor, in favor of making them double-occupancy, for example, which we believe will enhance the residential experience.

Even as we see a rise in vaccinations, a decline in COVID cases, and an easing of restrictions in our area today, realistically we anticipate that COVID-19 will still have some impact on our daily lives in the fall. We will continue to follow guidance from government and health officials as it evolves, and we expect that collecting information on vaccination levels of our community and ongoing testing for COVID-19 will be part of our safety protocols.

Specific information regarding the academic calendar, course offerings, housing and move-in, registration, COVID protocols, and all other aspects of the fall semester will be shared with the community as it becomes available, much of which should be known by mid-April. This site will continue to be updated with relevant information in the months ahead.

Spring Semester 2021

The College continues to move forward with its phased opening this semester. Please refer to this important information:

Please also refer to the pages within this site containing test results and stats on isolation/quarantine as well as frequently asked questions for students, faculty, and staff.


Spring Semester Mandatory Student Testing

The College will administer COVID-19 tests to residential and commuter students prior to arrival on campus for the start of the spring semester, as well as throughout the semester.

Testing Schedule

Residential Students Spring Semester COVID-19 Testing Schedule

Residential students:

  • Review the COVID-19 testing day and time slots listed below.
  • Identify your first choice for a day/time that reduces conflicts with your class schedule. Testing is mandatory and you must select one day/time.
  • Numbers of tests, per time slot, are limited and you may want to identify a second and third choice.
  • The Health & Wellness Center staff will confirm your COVID-19 testing day/time on your move in day.

‘A’ WEEK OPTIONS:

Mondays:  February 15, March 1, March 22, April 5, April 19, and May 5

TIME SLOTS:

  • 9:30 10 a.m.
  • 10 – 10:30 a.m.
  • 10:30 – 11 a.m.
  • 11 – 11:30 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • 12 – 12:30 p.m.

Tuesdays: February 16, March 2, March 23, April 6, April 20, and May 6

TIME SLOTS:

  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.
  • 1 – 1:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
  • 2 – 2:30 p.m.
  • 2:30  3 p.m.
  • 3 – 3:30 p.m.

‘B’ WEEK OPTIONS:

Mondays:  February 8, February 22, March 15, March 29, April 12, and May 5

TIME SLOTS:

  • 9:30 10 a.m.
  • 10 – 10:30 a.m.
  • 10:30 – 11 a.m.
  • 11 – 11:30 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • 12 – 12:30 p.m.

Tuesdays:  February 9, February 23, March 16, March 30, April 13, and May 6

TIME SLOTS:

  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.
  • 1 – 1:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
  • 2 – 2:30 p.m.
  • 2:30  3 p.m.
  • 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Update, March 5: The week of March 8, 2021 is neither an A nor B week, and so the schedule for surveillance testing will shift during this week. Instead, testing will be scheduled on a walk-in basis for all resident students the week of March 8:

  • Hill House and Slonim Woods residents: Wednesday, March 10 from 12:30-3:30pm at the Siegel Center
  • All other residence hall residents: Thursday, March 11 from 12:30-3:30pm at the Siegel Center

Commuter Students Spring Semester COVID-19 Testing Schedule

All commuter students will be COVID-19 tested according to the following schedule:

  • Wednesday, February 24 (this date was added on 2/16)
  • Wednesday, February 3
  • Wednesday March 3
  • Wednesday March 31
  • Wednesday, April 28 (All commuter students will have a HOLD placed on their 1Card on April 26. The HOLD will be removed upon a negative test result, allowing the student access to campus.  Students have the option of testing off-campus between April 21 and 28, uploading the negative result to the patient portal for an earlier access to campus.)

If you are a commuter student and cannot attend a testing date, you are responsible to obtain a COVID-19 test off campus and upload the negative result to the patient portal.

TESTING TIMES FOR FEBRUARY 3, MARCH 3, MARCH 31, AND APRIL 28 :

LAST NAME STARTS WITH THE LETTER:

ARRIVAL TIME AT PUB (Siegel Center)

A, B, C

9:30 a.m.

D, E, F, G, H

10:30 a.m.

I, J, K, L, M

11:30 a.m.

N, O, P, Q, R

1:30 p.m.

S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

2:30 p.m.

Communications Archive

2021 Messages

April 9: Phase III Begins on April 12

Dear Members of the Sarah Lawrence Community,

We are writing today to share the positive news that the College will proceed into Phase 3 of our campus operations on Monday, April 12. Our ability to move into this phase of our campus operations comes as a direct result of the shared commitment that you have demonstrated to prioritizing the health and well-being of our entire community. Phase 3 will allow for:

  • The expansion of some building hours
  • Increased capacity for College-sponsored activities, with physical distancing and mask usage still required
  • Campus shuttle service to begin, with all appropriate health and safety protocols in place.
    • Keep an eye out for an email from Campus Safety with information on a new Campus Shuttle Loop service for students, faculty, and staff rolling out next week! 

While we are pleased that our community’s health is such that we are able to take this important step forward, it remains essential that we all continue to comply with public health and College policies and be vigilant in our efforts to mitigate potential COVID-19 exposure. Masks, physical distancing (with the exception of living pods), and completion of the daily symptom tracker continue to be required.  Students must also continue to participate in mandatory COVID-19 testing on campus.  The College will continue to evaluate its operational phases throughout the remainder of the semester, and, depending on our community’s health, will make adjustments as necessary.

Again thank you for all that you are doing to prioritize our community’s collective health and to ensure a successful conclusion of the academic year.

Sincerely,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies and Student Life

Kim Ferguson
Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies

Danielle Coscia
Vice President for Human Resources & Organizational Development

March 5: COVID update and Phase II Begins March 8

Dear Sarah Lawrence Students,

We are writing to confirm with you that our campus will move into Phase II on Monday, March 8, which includes the ability for classes to convene in person, group conference meetings, and in-person events on campus. Your efforts to support and protect our community’s health continue to be exceptional – since mid-February, our test positivity rate has been under 1%.

Testing, isolation, and quarantine

This week, the College administered or received results for 380 tests, with zero positive results. There are currently no resident students in on-campus isolation or quarantine, one student in off-campus isolation, and one in off-campus quarantine. 

Next week is neither an A nor B week, and so the schedule for surveillance testing will shift. Testing will be scheduled on a walk-in basis for all resident students next week:

  • Hill House and Slonim Woods residents: Wednesday, March 10 from 12:30-3:30pm at the Siegel Center
  • All other residence hall residents: Thursday, March 11 from 12:30-3:30pm at the Siegel Center

Phase II: In-person classes and events, Bates, Campbell Sports Center

Beginning Monday, March 8, the College will enter Phase II of reopening:

  • In-person classes, with appropriate physical distancing, may convene (this is at faculty members’ discretion)
  • College sponsored in-person events and meetings (with social distancing between living pods) may begin
  • Bates dining hall will open and indoor/outdoor dining will be available at Bates and BWCC (students will continue to eat with their living pods in groups of up to five) - with warmer weather on the horizon, dining outdoors whenever possible is encouraged
  • The library will continue its regular operations, which began on Monday, 3/1
  • The Campbell Sports Center will open for all students on a reservation system, as it was during the fall semester (reservations can be made here)
  • Athletic teams may begin working out with coaches according to each team’s schedule and Athletic Dept. protocols - team-specific information will be shared by coaches and the Athletics Dept.
  • Resident students are asked to limit their travel away from campus and avoid non-essential travel
  • All semester, outside guests (non-SLC students) are not permitted on campus, resident students only have access to their own residences, and face masks and social distancing are required unless a student is in their own residence and alone/with their living pod

The College will continue to evaluate its operational phases throughout the semester and, depending on our community's health, will make amendments and/or expansions as necessary. For example, we will continue to examine if campus shuttles may operate later in March, and/or if event capacities may be increased as weather improves and outdoor venues are more readily available.

A reminder about upcoming mini-breaks

This spring’s first mini-break is scheduled for next Wednesday and Thursday, March 10-11, and a second is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, April 26 and 27. These days will be a welcome opportunity to take a break from the rigor of the semester and, perhaps, spend some less structured time working on conference projects and other work on campus.

As we mentioned in last week’s email, we still remain in a scenario in which travel is fraught with variables that could potentially jeopardize our community’s health and ability to successfully complete the semester. To support our collective health and safety, it is the College’s expectation that all students do not travel during these breaks, and students living in residence halls cannot take overnight trips, including to travel home, even if they live nearby.

The goal of these breaks is to allow for a couple of days off without creating an unsafe environment – as such, “do not travel” does not mean, “stay in your residence.” As we noted last week, if a group of residential students who live together want to go for a hike in the Hudson Valley, that is a great way to spend a day. That same group could also hold a themed movie marathon together in their residence (as a reminder, students are not allowed in residences other than their own), have a picnic on Westlands lawn, and/or join a planned event on campus – campus will be open and operating as normal during these breaks. If a student needs to go to New York City to study the architecture of a few buildings for a class or take the Staten Island Ferry around the Statue of Liberty, that is also a great thing to do. What risks our collective health is eating inside at a crowded restaurant after that hike in the Hudson Valley, going to a movie theater, or meeting up with friends in New York City or elsewhere who you do not live with. COVID-19 rates across the northeast, while falling, remain stubbornly high and we need to adjust our actions to reflect that.

The efforts of our community continue to be exceptional at mitigating the spread of this virus. Our COVID-19 dashboard, which displays weekly test results as well as daily isolation and quarantine information, is available here. Together, we can maintain this trend and keep moving forward with a successful spring semester!

Sincerely,

Danny Trujillo

Dean of Studies and Student Life

Kim Ferguson

Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies

 

February 16: COVID update

Dear Sarah Lawrence Students,

Your collective efforts continue to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community - thank you for your care and consideration.

Testing

Yesterday (Monday) and today, the Health & Wellness staff conducted regularly scheduled surveillance testing for residential students (students not currently in isolation/quarantine). 211 tests were administered and 2 were positive.

Testing for all resident students will continue this week:

  • Students regularly scheduled to be tested next Monday, 2/22 (B week Monday) will also be tested tomorrow, 2/17 between 12:30-3pm at the Siegel Center
  • Students regularly scheduled for testing next Tuesday, 2/23 (B week Tuesday) will also be tested Thursday, 2/18 between 12:30-3 p.m. at the Siegel Center
    • Due to anticipated winter weather, Thursday's scheduled COVID testing is postponed until Friday, 2/19, 12:30–3 p.m. at the same location in Siegel Center. Friday COVID testing is for the students regularly scheduled for testing on Tuesday, 2/23 (B week Tuesday)

An additional testing day has been added for COMMUTER students and campus-going faculty/staff:

  • Wednesday, 2/24 at the Siegel Center
    • Faculty/staff may drop-in from 10am-12pm and from 2-3pm

If a commuter student is unable to attend the 2/24 testing date, they must procure a test on their own that week and upload the results through the Health & Wellness patient portal before travelling to campus. The previously scheduled commuter testing date on Wednesday, March 3, will remain in place.

Isolation and quarantine

As of this afternoon (after the completion of today’s testing), there are 18 residential students in on-campus isolation, 11 in on-campus quarantine, two in off-campus isolation, and one in off-campus quarantine. This information is updated daily on the College’s COVID-19 dashboard. As the dashboard’s isolation and quarantine charts show, the number of students in isolation (those who have tested positive or presented with COVID-like symptoms) and quarantine (close contacts of someone who has tested positive) has decreased in recent days - we are hopeful this trend continues this week.

Next steps

Current mitigation efforts will remain in place through 2/21 and this week’s test results will inform our next steps. We are optimistic that a return to an incremental reopening may begin on 2/22, but that decision must be based on data and will require the continued improvement of our community’s health - additional information will be shared on Thursday, following the week’s surveillance testing. Together, all semester, we must remain vigilant and wear face coverings, practice social distancing, avoid crowds and large gatherings, and prioritize our collective health and safety. 

Sincerely,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies and Student Life

Mary Hartnett
Director of Medical Services

February 11: Update regarding COVID-19 and the campus community

Dear Sarah Lawrence Students,

Thank you for your continued efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 within our community.

Test results and updated testing schedule
Yesterday and today, the College completed surveillance testing for residential students (testing asymptomatic students who have no known exposures to the virus). Of the 222 tests administered yesterday and today, there were zero positives. For the week, one residential student tested positive as part of surveillance testing. The College also continues to identify additional cases among close contacts of positive individuals.

The College will continue to provide regular updates so that our community has current facts and figures, and will also continue to update its COVID-19 information site and dashboard. Our next email communication is scheduled for Tuesday, February 17.

We know that the increase in cases over the past week has exacted both a physical and mental toll and we want to recognize your exceptional efforts - what you are doing is working. We also want to affirm that when a positive case is identified, there is no assumption that a student has not been taking safety precautions and we ask that our community continues to treat one another with the consideration, empathy, and grace that this moment asks of us. Together we will stop the spread within our community and together we will have a successful spring semester.

Accelerated surveillance testing protocols will continue next week
Students who are scheduled to be tested on Monday and Tuesday (2/15 and 2/16) should arrive at the Siegel Center at their regularly scheduled time (these students were also tested yesterday and today). In addition to testing next Monday and Tuesday:

  • Students who are scheduled to be tested Monday, February 22 (B week Monday) will also be tested on Wednesday, February 17 between 12:30-3 p.m. (these students will be tested again on 2/22)
  • Students scheduled to be tested on Tuesday, February 23 (B week Tuesday) will also be tested on Thursday, February 18 between 12:30-3 p.m. (these students will be tested again on 2/23)

While there is some flexibility in timing for the additional testing days next Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, participation is mandatory. If a student does not have an open window between 12:30-3 p.m., they will be excused from a portion of class to receive their test.

Isolation and quarantine data
As of this afternoon there are 25 students in on-campus isolation and 25 in on-campus quarantine housing - this information is available on the College’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which sits on our COVID-19 information page. Isolation and quarantine data is updated daily at 12:01 a.m. and weekly test results are updated every Monday.

Due to your hard work and commitment to each other and the tenets of community safety - wearing a mask (and now, ideally, a double mask), social distancing, washing hands, and paying close attention to your close contacts - the rate of new cases has slowed. Today, four students also completed their isolation/quarantine periods - a trend we look forward to seeing continue.

Travel away from campus
The College is also aware that some residential students who live nearby or who have a place to stay in our area may have chosen to leave campus in the past few days. It is impossible for our community to come and go from campus as we may have before the pandemic. Reflecting this reality, in order to return to campus, any residential student who has left campus must take a COVID-19 test on their own in the four days prior to their return and may only arrive on campus at the time of their regularly scheduled surveillance testing, bringing with them proof of their first test. They will then be tested and only after testing negative may they return to their residence hall and the campus community.

Thank you
We’d like to thank all of our students and the Sarah Lawrence staff for taking fast and early action to stop the spread of this virus. Our Health & Wellness team, residential life, dining services, operations, and so many others have worked tirelessly not only to provide care for sick students and those in quarantine, but to quickly test all resident students, insure that we have adequate housing available for quarantine and isolation, change dining operations, prepare and clean rooms, and cope with a broken City of Yonkers water line to name just a few things.

We are looking forward to a successful residential semester. We know this has been a challenging start, and though it may not feel like it right now, as we move into the spring the weather will get warmer and more outdoor spaces can be utilized to allow for smaller gatherings and in-person events. This will hopefully be paired with the continued reduction in COVID-19 cases across the country and in our local area. We must stay vigilant about prioritizing our community’s health and can do so while simultaneously supporting our academic endeavors as well as our desire to be amongst our friends and enjoy each others’ company.

Sincerely,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies and Student Life

 

Mary Hartnett

Director of Medical Services

February 9: Update regarding COVID-19 cases

Dear Sarah Lawrence Students,

We are writing to share an update regarding the rise in COVID-19 cases in our residential community.

First, we’d like to thank our students and our community for taking to heart the urgency of our collective actions to mitigate the spread of the virus. We know that you are working hard to stay in your living pods, wearing a face mask (and many are double masking, which health experts encourage), and being proactive and helpful with contact tracing. Every effort helps as we implement strict mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Update and addition to testing schedule
As you know, our Health & Wellness staff conducted regularly scheduled surveillance testing yesterday and today. This endeavor returned 1 positive result out of 166 tests. Additionally, the College will continue extra testing this week and test residential students tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday afternoons. The schedule is as follows:

  • Students who are scheduled to receive a surveillance COVID-19 test next Monday, February 15 as part of the College’s regular testing should now come to the Siegel Center between the hours of 12:30-3 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, 2/10).
  • Students scheduled to receive a test next Tuesday, February 16, should now come to the Siegel Center on Thursday (2/11) between 12:30-3 p.m.

While there is some flexibility in the testing windows tomorrow and Thursday to accommodate class schedules, participation for those who are scheduled is mandatory. If a student does not have an open window between 12:30-3 p.m., they will be excused from a portion of class to receive their test. The College plans to continue its regular surveillance testing next week on the regular schedule. This means that a student who is tested tomorrow or Thursday will be tested again next week. If results from testing this week and/or next week dictate a need to change the schedule or implement additional testing dates, adjustments will be made accordingly.

Additional positive tests among close contacts
While the above surveillance testing result is hopeful news, the gravity of this situation and the heightened viral transmission we are experiencing remains paramount. As our COVID-19 Dashboard indicates, a notable number of students who were in quarantine as close contacts have since tested positive; there are currently 22 students in isolation and 29 in quarantine (the isolation and quarantine graphs on the dashboard will update at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow morning with today’s values). The College is working closely with the Westchester County Department of Health to quickly track, trace, and quarantine close contacts of infected individuals and our exceptional Health & Wellness staff and community prevention & response coordinators are providing 24/7 care for those in isolation and quarantine, with support from many other staff. We encourage our community to continue to check in on one another and to seek support through the counselling services available through the Health & Wellness Center, as well as those available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through MySSP.

Campus life
While additional safety measures are in place, we wanted to provide some information and guidance about life on campus:

  • Students are welcome to take walks alone to get some fresh air and exercise - this should be done only as an individual, not a group, and masks must be worn at all times
  • The post office, SLC bookstore, and Duplicating Center (in Bates) are open. Hours are listed at the end of this message - students may pick up items and use printing/copying services, but again, please do not congregate in these spaces and travel there alone
  • It is advisable for students to wear a mask (or double mask) even in their residences when with members of their living pod; while this won’t keep a pod member out of quarantine in the case of a positive test in the group, it is an extra measure to prevent viral spread within a pod
  • If you experience any symptoms that are out of the ordinary or are concerned that you might be infected, please tell Health & Wellness as soon as you experience them so that appropriate actions can be taken quickly to stop any possible virus spread

We also would like to recognize the bumps experienced with regard to food service since using only grab and go through the GET App during the first week of classes. We have listened to your comments and made adjustments beginning today that will make for smoother, more timely, and more efficient service.

The result of this week’s testing, along with data from the College’s daily symptom tracker and the effects of our temporary reduction in campus activity will inform our next steps. We are hoping to see a plateau in our community’s infection rate this week and will provide an update and additional guidance on Thursday after we complete the next round of testing. The College’s goal is to detect and stop the virus before it infects any additional members of our community, including those within a pod.

Please remain vigilant in the coming days and treat one another with the care, consideration, and grace that reflects the anxiety many may feel at the moment. Together we can stop the spread of this virus and have a successful residential semester.

Sincerely,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies and Residence Life

Mary Hartnett
Director of Medical Services

Auxiliary service hours:

Post Office: Open Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 4 pm. Hill House Lounge Satellite Pickup open 1 pm - 4:30pm thru Friday, February 12.

SLC Bookstore: Open Monday-Friday, 10 am - 4 pm.

Duplicating Center in Bates: Open Daily, 8:30 am -  5pm, for self-service printing, copying and scanning.

February 7: Additional Update Regarding COVID Mitigation

Dear Students,

I am writing to share an update regarding COVID-19 on campus and to provide additional details related to the message from Deans Trujillo and Ferguson sent yesterday (Saturday) afternoon. 

There are currently 8 students in on-campus isolation (have tested positive for COVID-19) and 35 residential students in on-campus quarantine housing (close contacts of an individual who tested positive). As explained yesterday, this number, in both size and acceleration, is troubling, especially when compared to our fall semester statistics, and cannot be explained by the modest increase in students residing on campus this spring (roughly 410 students lived on campus at the start of the fall semester and seven tested positive throughout the term; currently there are 457 students living on campus).

This is a serious situation and together we must act quickly and decisively, guided by data and science, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our on-campus community. As such, the measures announced yesterday (listed at the end of this email) will be extended two weeks, until February 21. We must remain especially vigilant regarding the actions we know protect our health. Each action we take is a step in protecting all: wearing a face mask, social distancing, limiting the number of people we see, and practicing robust personal hygiene. As a reminder, all members of our community, by coming to campus, have agreed to our Community Pledge. Those who do not adhere to this community pledge undermine the safety of all and will lose the privilege of remaining on campus.

Half of the residential student population will be tested for COVID-19 over the next two days (Monday and Tuesday) and the results of this regularly scheduled testing, along with other indicators like the daily symptom tracker and community behavior, will guide our next steps.

Due to the way COVID-19 spreads, only a few additional positive tests could result in the College reaching capacity in its isolation and quarantine housing. While there are plans in place to accommodate a surge and expand capacity, should that be necessary, right now and together we must double-down on what we know is effective and address this increase in viral spread.

While this is not the way any of us pictured the start of the spring semester, it is our reality. The 7-day average COVID infection rate in Westchester County is 5.3% and we have seen increased and more rapid community transmission as the virus has evolved. The symptoms of COVID can be serious, and our thoughts for a speedy return to full health are with those students presently experiencing COVID symptoms. Quarantine for those who are close contacts is also difficult both mentally and physically, and we offer our thoughts to those students in quarantine who are helping us to contain the transmission of the virus. We are deeply grateful to our healthcare practitioners and community prevention & response coordinators and all of the members of our staff who are working to provide 24/7 care to affected students. 

For those who may be feeling anxious or stressed about the virus and/or campus life, I encourage you to seek support through the counselling services available through the Health & Wellness Center, as well as those available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through MySSP. I hope that we will also reach out virtually to each other, to family, and to friends to offer and receive support and encouragement. As a community, I ask that we all consider carefully all of our actions and prioritize one another so that we all can stay safe and healthy and have a successful semester. 

As a reminder, these policies implemented yesterday to reduce possible viral spread (and updated here to reflect the change to an anticipated 2/21 end date) remain in force: 

  • Students may only socialize within their living pod (this policy was already in place as part of Phase I but was not being followed by all)  
  • Residential students must remain in their residences except for picking up meals and going for scheduled COVID testing
  • Only those students assigned to an apartment/suite/house may be in those spaces, no visitors or guests
  • All dining will be grab & go (through the Get App) with students returning to their residences to eat
  • Practice/rehearsal rooms and studios are temporarily closed
  • Non-essential travel off campus must be limited (picking up a prescription or attending a medical appointment, for example)
  • The library has paused curbside pickup 
  • If a student’s on-campus job can be done remotely, work will be completed in that manner. Students who must complete their tasks in person will not report to their jobs through Sunday, 2/21, at the earliest, and will be paid for any missed hours of work
  • All student athlete training, individual or otherwise, is suspended

This is a moment of great challenge for all of us, and a challenge that we will work our way through; it will require that we each take every step we can in each of our actions individually with great care and compassion to support the health and well being of our entire community.

Sincerely,

Cristle Collins Judd
President

February 6: Update Regarding COVID-19 Mitigation Measures

Dear Students,

We are writing today to share an important update regarding COVID-19 on the Sarah Lawrence campus.

To be direct, nearly as many residential students have tested positive during move-in and the first week of the semester as during the entire fall semester. There are currently 6 students in on-campus isolation (resident students who have come to campus and then tested positive) and 23 students in on-campus quarantine (close contacts of a positive individual). This morning a student experienced symptoms that required off-campus medical care. As opposed to the fall when no residential student experienced symptoms nor any close contact later tested positive, this spring students are experiencing symptoms and close contacts are later testing positive.

This is a serious situation and we need to collectively take decisive and intentional actions to support our collective health. The following measures will be implemented immediately in order to prioritize our community’s health and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as quickly as possible.

  • Beginning now (Saturday at 2:30 p.m.), students may only socialize within their living pod (this policy is already in place but is not being followed by all)
  • Residential students are asked to remain in their residences except for picking up meals and going for scheduled COVID testing
  • All dining will move to grab & go (through the Get App) with students returning to their residences to eat
  • Practice/rehearsal rooms and studios will temporarily close
  • Non-essential travel off campus must be limited (picking up a prescription or attending a medical appointment, for example)
  • The library will pause curbside pickup
  • If a student’s on-campus job can be done remotely, work will be completed in that manner. Students who must complete their tasks in person will not report to their jobs until Wednesday, 2/10, at the earliest, and will be paid for any missed hours of work
  • All student athlete training, individual or otherwise, is suspended

These mitigation measures will be re-evaluated during the next round of residential student testing scheduled for this coming Monday and Tuesday. Updated guidance will be shared on Wednesday, February 10. It is early in the semester, we can stop the spread of this virus, but we can only do it together.

As a reminder, we have all agreed to SLC’s Community Pledge. Students are only allowed in their own residence halls and only in their own rooms and apartments - visiting students outside one’s living pod or propping open doors in Hill House so that individuals from outside the residence may enter jeopardizes everyone’s health. Now is the time to double-down on our mitigation efforts, especially while the weather remains cold.

As we mentioned, close contacts are later testing positive, which did not occur during the fall, and so we all must remain vigilant and stringently limit the number of people we engage with.

Lastly, a smaller snowstorm is forecasted in our area tomorrow (Sunday). The College anticipates normal operations, with the above changes. Please monitor the College’s website for updates regarding the storm.

Sincerely,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies and Student Life

Kim Ferguson
Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies

Mary Hartnett
Director, Medical Services

2020

November 13: Update and Reminders Regarding Spring Semester

Dear Sarah Lawrence Undergraduate Students,

As the College continues to prepare for the spring semester, we are writing to share some updates and reminders. First, however, we’d like to begin by recognizing the Sarah Lawrence community’s hard work this fall. Under exceptional circumstances, you have advanced your studies, put on performances, conducted research, to name just a few achievements, all while prioritizing our collective health. Our success thus far -- both on and off campus -- is rooted in your empathy, compromise, and understanding that connecting during a pandemic requires a different approach, but together we can continue to create and foster community. We hope that you are able to take some time for yourselves over Thanksgiving to reflect on how impressive your achievements are and to prepare for the final weeks of the semester.

Today, we are writing to reiterate and share some updates regarding the spring semester. It is important to note that, as we look ahead to spring, we must remain mindful that the fall semester is not yet over. COVID cases continue to rise around the country, including the area surrounding the College; we are actively monitoring local conditions and any potential impact changes in those conditions might have on campus operations for the remainder of this semester. Right now, it’s crucial that we all redouble our efforts to protect our collective health — social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing — and that we not become complacent as “COVID fatigue” sets in.

Spring Semester Academic Calendar
As you know, the start of the spring semester has been delayed and will begin on Monday, February 1, and instead of a typical week-long spring break, the College will observe two mini-breaks during the spring (Wednesday/Thursday March 10-11 and Monday/Tuesday April 26-27). For more information and key dates regarding registration, please see the full undergraduate spring academic calendar.

As we see with the spread of COVID-19 today around the country, the state of the pandemic can change quickly. We will continue to monitor the spread of the virus in our region as well as advancements in treatments that might become available as we make specific determinations. It is possible, for example, that the College may need to shift to online-only instruction from April 28 through the end of the semester on May 12, similar to the fall’s plan regarding Thanksgiving.  We will make those and similar determinations closer to the start of the spring semester.

Academic Course Offerings
As was the case in the fall, no student will be required to live on campus and all students will have the ability to complete the year online. The decision to offer classes or any instructional components (conference meetings and small group work, for example) in-person during the spring semester will continue to be at the discretion of individual faculty members and may change as the state of the virus shifts, both in our community and region. The College will continue to strive to offer in-person components when possible, notably for First Year Studies courses, but, as was the case this fall, cannot guarantee in-person classes to all who choose to live on or commute to campus.

To provide as much clarity as possible, a large number of faculty have shared their intent for instruction style for the spring (online class meetings with in-person conferences available to resident and commuter students, for example). That information is available here (MySLC login required). Please keep in mind that these decisions may change, whether by New York State mandate, personal faculty circumstance, or Sarah Lawrence policy, to reflect a change in the pandemic. If a student has a specific question about a class they are currently in or are considering for the spring, students are encouraged to ask pertinent faculty during spring course interviews or in class meetings in the coming weeks.

Student Employment
Student employment will continue to be available in the spring semester. Similar to the fall, students with federal work study and international students will be prioritized for available opportunities. After the priority period, available positions will be assessed along with work study and international students still seeking employment to determine opening opportunities to all students. If a student currently has a position, they can return to their position with approval from their supervisor. New student employment opportunities will begin being posted in early January.

Commencement
Given the state of the pandemic, no decision regarding undergraduate commencement has been made other than it will be held on Friday, May 14, 2021. We are excited to celebrate our seniors and their accomplishments, but don’t yet know through which medium(s) commencement might take place, nor whether any in-person components might be safe to hold. The College is also committed to continuing, in some form, the tradition of holding events for the senior class in the days leading up to graduation.

Athletics
Sarah Lawrence is committed to continuing to find opportunities for athletes to work out and practice together, and, where possible, compete safely against other institutions. Our ability to do this will vary by sport and we will work carefully with our Athletics staff and the Skyline conference to understand what will be possible, taking account of public health recommendations. Winter sport athletes will not return to campus in advance of other students, and training will only be undertaken as the phased reopening of the campus allows. While we will not compete in full conference seasons for winter sports, we do hope that we may be able to engage in some intercollegiate play over the course of the spring semester, if we can create an appropriate environment for doing so. We continue to hope that spring sports will be able to play a Skyline conference schedule, and that, to the degree possible, previously cancelled fall sports may be allowed a limited number of contests against other institutions as conditions allow.

Housing Assignments, Residence Halls, and Move-in
A separate email will be sent today to all students who completed the housing intent form and who qualify for on-campus housing, confirming that they will receive a housing assignment for the spring semester; students who entered the housing lottery will also be informed if they will receive on-campus housing. That email will provide instructions for completing the required housing questionnaire.

Students who have a hardship that makes it impossible to complete the spring semester away from campus may apply for on-campus housing by emailing the Dean of Studies office by November 16 to discuss their circumstances. More information is available here.

As you already know, seniors will be able to name up to seven other students with whom they would like to live, and all other students will be able to name up to three other students with whom they would like to live (this will be done through the housing questionnaire). Students who live together will become a “Living Pod” and will be able to eat together on campus in groups of five or fewer and attend college sponsored events together without social distancing (face masks will still be required). This policy is specifically focused on reducing the number of “close contacts” individuals in our community have, limiting the number of people who may need to enter quarantine should someone test positive for COVID-19.

More information regarding which residence halls we anticipate using in the spring semester is available here. In order to create a move-in schedule that prioritizes distancing and safety, dates for move-in will be shared in December, after housing assignments are released. 

New York State Mandatory Traveler Quarantine
If you lived on or near campus during the fall semester, you are familiar with New York State’s mandatory travel quarantine policies, which the College must enforce. As was the case in the fall, students must complete quarantine off campus before moving into their residence hall. However, we are thankful that, at least for the moment, Governor Cuomo has added some flexibility to this policy for those arriving in New York from other locations within the United States and/or from CDC Level 2 or 3 countries. More information regarding this New York State policy is available here. We will keep students informed of changes to mandatory quarantine requirements here.

Campus Life for the Spring Semester
Similar to the fall term, the College will utilize a phased approach to return to campus in the spring. While pleased with the flow of this semester, we also recognize, based on our community’s experience this fall, that some adjustments to the phases are necessary to improve life on campus while also prioritizing health and safety -- and that the two can be done simultaneously. So students know what to expect, full details regarding the College’s re-opening phases will be posted on our spring planning website in the coming weeks. 

Life on campus this spring will be notably different than in springs of the past. Face masks and social distancing will be integral to our continued success and are two of the very limited number of tools we have for collectively mitigating the spread of COVID-19. As was the case in the fall, face masks will be required at all times when on campus except for when a student is in their residence and either alone or with only those they live with (their “Living Pod”). 

Building access will also be different than in past years. The community will have swipe access to buildings that have historically been left open and no visitors from outside of the Sarah Lawrence community will be allowed on campus. Commuter students will continue to have access to academic and common spaces on campus, like the library, Campbell Sports Center, Heimbold, practice and performance spaces, and dining halls.

Like this fall, there will be on-campus events as well as virtual events. All on-campus programming, which commuter students are also welcome to attend, will have capacity limitations and require RSVP so that, should contact tracing be necessary, a list is readily available.

More information regarding “Living Pods” and residence life is available on the College’s spring planning site.

COVID-19 Testing and Symptom Monitoring
Upon arrival on campus, every resident student will be tested as part of the move-in process, and we anticipate commuter students will also be tested during the first week of the semester. Once a baseline level of health for the community is determined, the College will begin surveillance testing.

At this time, our ongoing testing plan for the spring semester involves roughly 15-20% of the resident student body receiving a COVID-19 test every week. This will identify any changes to the community’s health and highlight possible community spread so that it can be quickly addressed. In addition, students will complete a daily symptom tracker and will be placed into isolation and receive a COVID-19 test if they present to Health & Wellness with symptoms consistent with the virus. We know that testing protocols will continue to develop in the coming months, and if additional testing technology becomes more widely available, or federal or state requirements change, the College will update this plan for testing accordingly.

More details about COVID-19 testing will be shared prior to the semester, including details about commuter student testing, which will continue to be required as part of our community testing protocols.

Spring Semester Bill Schedule
Bills for the spring semester will be released on December 14, 2020, and will be due on January 11, 2021. Please be aware that it is the College’s policy to place a hold on a student’s account after the payment deadline if no payment has been received, and this hold will prevent a student from registering for classes. If a special circumstance arises, please reach out to the Dean of Studies office. Students who receive a housing assignment and then choose to not live on campus are asked to quickly notify Student Accounts so that their bill can be updated as quickly as possible.

We are very much looking forward to the spring semester in 2021. Please be on the lookout for additional information shared through email in the coming months as well as on the College’s spring information site. If you have a general question, please complete the “ask a question” form there so we can quickly update the FAQs with common questions.

Regards,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies and Student Life

Kanwal Singh
Provost and Dean of Faculty

October 30: Spring Housing Placement Information

Greetings students,

As President Judd stated in her letter regarding the College’s spring semester planning, the College will offer on-campus housing in spring 2021 to members of the senior class and all students currently residing on campus.  Additionally, those students who met the criteria for housing in the fall and who are not already on campus may also choose to live on campus in the spring semester (first year and new transfer students, international students, students with a demonstrated hardship that makes completing the semester away from campus impossible). Students with a hardship who did not apply for on-campus housing this fall should complete the housing intent form or may email the Dean of Studies directly by November 9 to discuss their situation.

As an initial step to begin the housing placement process for the spring semester, I am providing a housing intent form, due Monday, November 9, for all students to complete. If a student does not fall into one of the above categories and would like to participate in any possible spring semester housing lottery, this form is also the mechanism to indicate that choice. Your intent for the spring semester is integral to the College’s planning process so we can adequately design and utilize our residence halls. Only students who complete this form will receive a link to the housing application on November 13.

At this time, the College anticipates most students will continue to live in single bedrooms, sharing communal space and bathrooms in suites/apartments/houses. Andrews Court and Slonim Woods will be used to house seniors, with Rothschild and the Mead Way houses held in reserve should additional space be necessary for the class of 2021. While students will not be able to select which residence hall they live in, seniors will have the option to choose up to seven apartment-mates (thus who would be in their “Living Pod”). All other students will be able to select up to three additional students they would like to live with or in close proximity to. We also know that some students may prefer to share a room and have a roommate. This option will be available and any room used as a double room would be large enough to accommodate spacing per New York State guidelines (double rooms would most likely be the largest bedrooms in Hill House and allow for six feet or more separation between beds). If a senior would like to have a roommate sharing a double, they would be placed into an appropriate Hill House room.

OSilas, Dudley Lawrence, and MacCracken Halls will continue to serve as housing for quarantine and isolation and no students will be placed into those residence halls.

What’s next?
The College will use the information in the housing intent form (due November 9) to finalize housing policies and procedures. Students who complete the intent form, qualify for on-campus housing, and indicate they would like to live on campus will receive an email on November 13 providing a link to the housing questionnaire and housing contract. Also on November 13, we will share additional information about campus life, the academic calendar, instruction, and a billing schedule for the spring semester.

Should a housing lottery occur, it will be held in November and students will be notified that they were successful by the end of November. The lottery process as well as housing assignments for any new hardship circumstances will occur simultaneously with the housing process for students who already qualify for on-campus residence.

Lastly, if you did not reside on campus this fall, you may not be familiar with the policies and procedures implemented to prevent COVID-19 exposure. While the College is actively examining policies from the fall semester, the spring will likely mirror the fall. To provide greater clarity so you may understand what to expect next semester, below is an overview of some of the high-level requirements and policies that were in place during the fall.

A spring semester information site, with updated policies, procedures, and FAQs will also be available next week – this information will also be posted there for your reference in the coming weeks and months. If you have a question, please submit it that we can update FAQs, answer questions, and provide clarification in the most expedient and efficient way possible.

Best,

Danny

October 20: Spring Semester Planning & Fall Semester Updates

Dear Sarah Lawrence Students and Families,

I am writing to share updates with you about our planning for spring 2021 and to provide you with several important pieces of information and reminders as we enter the final half of the fall semester.

First though, I want to express my gratitude for the way our dedicated students, faculty, and staff continue to prioritize our shared responsibility for our community’s health this semester—we have taken to heart that we must collectively work together for each other’s health and safety, whether on campus, in the New York area, or at home far from Westlands and Mead Way. I also continue to be heartened by the creativity that I witness in our in-person and online instruction, and to be impressed with the resiliency and perseverance of our community.

I am pleased to report that we continue to experience extremely low rates of COVID-19 among our residential and commuter students as well as on-campus faculty and staff. New York and much of the northeast also continue to demonstrate that flare ups can be addressed. However, this good news must be paired with the caution that the state of the virus has not improved dramatically across the country, the reality that colder months and indoor gatherings are anticipated to lead to increased community spread, and the unlikelihood that therapeutics or a vaccine will be widely available in the immediate future. In short: we must maintain our vigilance and shared resolve as we move forward.

Spring 2021 Update
Our measured and thoughtful fall-semester plan has taught us much about how to approach our campus residential capacity for the spring. After careful consideration, and with the twin priorities of safeguarding the health and wellness of our community and our fundamental commitment to provide an excellent and equitable education, we have determined that we can moderately increase the number of students in residence on campus while also accommodating the continuing need for social distancing and other safety precautions that have been the foundation of our community’s health and success.

I am writing to confirm that we will offer on-campus housing in spring 2021 to our seniors.  We will also offer on-campus housing to all students currently residing on campus.  Additionally, any students who met the criteria for housing in the fall and are not already on campus may also choose to live on campus in the spring semester (first year and new transfer students, international students, students with a demonstrated hardship that makes completing the semester away from campus impossible).

Contingent on space availability, we may open a housing lottery to our sophomores and juniors, and we will notify students of this possibility as early as we can. I want to acknowledge the disappointment that many of our current sophomores and juniors may feel with this plan, and confirm that they will be prioritized for housing in the next academic year should COVID-19 prevent the College from housing all students.

As is the case this semester, no student will be required to live on campus and every student can complete the entire academic year off campus if they desire to do so. Students may also continue to commute to campus and use the College’s facilities in the spring. In the midst of great uncertainty about the pandemic we must continue to operate with a significantly reduced population of students on campus and will continue to provide a mix of in-person and online instruction and strict adherence to our stated safety protocols.

Spring 2021 Academic Calendar
To follow public health guidance and maximize our collective time on campus during the warmer weather part of the semester, allow for advancements in COVID-19 testing and treatments, and provide time for faculty and staff to prepare their courses and the campus, the academic calendar will be adjusted for the spring semester. Classes will begin on Monday, February 1.  We will again adopt a phased-approach to the beginning of the semester as we gather a community from around the globe and all instruction (classes, conferences, and other meetings) for the first two weeks of the spring semester (starting February 1) will be completely online. 

This approach to the beginning of the semester will allow students who may be affected by New York State’s mandatory 14-day quarantine policy to participate in classes while completing their quarantine off campus and for the College to establish a baseline level of health for the community during a staggered move-in. Additional details regarding the beginning of the semester will be shared in the coming weeks.

Since it appears that the likely travel associated with a week-long spring break will be inadvisable for our collective health and safety, we will instead schedule two on-campus “mini-breaks/study days” during the semester rather than the traditional spring break.

Thank you for your survey feedback and submissions to our FAQ, which have helped shape our decisions. I know that you will have many additional questions about how spring 2021 will work. We wanted to share this high-level information as soon as possible. Specific details about how housing will be assigned, move-in processes and dates, testing protocols, course registration, and on-campus academic experiences will be shared in early November, as will an extensive FAQ about the plan for the spring semester. We will also schedule online question and answer sessions for students and families in the coming weeks.

End of Fall Semester and Move Out
Dean Trujillo will be sending more information this week for current residential students about end-of-semester preparations, including move-out protocols, requesting meal-plan rebates for students who choose to leave at Thanksgiving, and the process of packing and storing belongings now that we have confirmed that students currently on campus will be allowed to return to campus in the spring semester.

I want to remind students who are presently in residence or commuting to campus that the final three weeks of the semester, following the Thanksgiving break, will revert to fully online instruction, to allow students to return home. As we move into colder weather, we are entering into a period described by many public health officials as being at great risk for widespread community transmission of COVID-19 and there is significant concern over the possibility of Thanksgiving gatherings serving as super-spreader events. Knowing what we know now and taking these concerns seriously means that we must mandate that any student currently living on campus who chooses to leave campus over Thanksgiving break (even to attend a local gathering/event) must plan not to return and to remain off campus for the remainder of the semester. 

To be clear, while the College is not requiring that all students leave by Thanksgiving break, our intent is to mitigate virus spread by restricting movement to and from campus, to encourage a gradual and measured departure from campus across the final weeks of the semester, and to provide essential housing through the end of the semester for those students who cannot complete the semester away from campus, who do not wish to travel, or who are unable to go home.

I want to thank you for your continued patience and understanding as our planning unfolds. These are hard decisions for all of us, but we remain committed to taking account of the best scientific and public health information available and acting accordingly. While this year has been unlike any other academic year at Sarah Lawrence, you have demonstrated over and over how deeply the members of this community care for one another and our collective ability to adapt to the most challenging of circumstances, and for that I am deeply grateful.

Yours,

Cristle Collins Judd
President
president@sarahlawrence.edu 

October 12: Phase III Information

The following email was sent to residential and commuter students and their families on October 12.

Greetings students,

As we commence the sixth week of classes, our community, thus far, has been successful in limiting the incidence of COVID-19 cases on campus. Our progress is a direct reflection of your commitment to each other – thank you for your effort, compromise, and vigilance so that, together, we may continue to work, interact and connect.

Today, Monday, October 12, the College will move forward and begin Phase III of our reopening plan. While the tenets of what has gotten us this far—wearing a face mask, social distancing, washing hands, and avoiding large gatherings and crowds—will remain, a summary of the notable changes that will begin today is below.

Changes to campus and student activities during Phase III:

COVID-19 Testing
The College’s COVID-19 PCR testing program will continue with the next round of residential and commuter student testing scheduled to occur in October. A schedule will be shared in the coming days, as soon as dates and times are finalized.

Community Pods
In addition to Living Pods, for which membership is determined by a student’s roommates/housemates, students now have the option to form a complementary Community Pod that consists of up to four additional students who they do not live with. Students in a Community Pod have the ability to eat and socialize together and, at college-sponsored events, can sit together (with masks on) without social distancing. Community pods are voluntary partnerships between students in which all members adhere to mutually determined guidelines. Put simply, the goal is to expand social engagement while also limiting and being cognizant of the number of “close contacts” individuals in the community have.

To clarify, when with a Living pod or Community Pod, students may eat together in a group of up to five without social distancing and attend college sponsored events together wearing masks, but are not required to social distance (again, in a group of up to five).

The College’s face mask policy remains unchanged: face masks must be worn at all times unless a student is in their apartment/suite/house and either alone or only with those they live with (their Living Pod). When outside of your living space, even if you are with only your Living Pod, masks are required.

Hours and Operations for Campbell Sports Center
Monday-Friday: 9am - 5:30pm; Outdoor area, Kober parking lot 7pm - 10pm
Saturday and Sunday: Outdoor area, Kober parking lot 3pm - 7pm

  • Areas of the fitness center will expand for additional exercise space by reservation. Reduced density and social distancing protocols will remain in place and a face mask will be required, per New York State law, even while exercising
  • The pool and locker rooms will open for students by reservation beginning the week of October 19

Expanded Dining Services
While eating and socializing outside is always preferred, Living Pods and Community Pods may eat indoors in designated areas or outdoors, with no more than 5 individuals eating together.

AVI Fresh has added options to the GetApp and increased the number of daily specials.

Bates Dining:
Monday-Friday: 11:30am - 7:30pm (closes for cleaning between 2 pm and 3 pm)
Saturday and Sunday: 9am - 2pm

BWCC Café:
Everyday: 7:30am - 9:00pm

BWCC Main Dining:
Monday-Friday: 8:00am - 10pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12pm - 10pm

Events
College sponsored events will continue to be held both in person and online (some may be both), with outdoor space utilized whenever possible for on-campus activities. The maximum capacity for events will increase to 50 people – events of this size, when planned, will be held in locations that allow for distancing between pods. Masks will continue to be worn at all times.

Informal gatherings (those that are not part of a College-sponsored event) will continue to be limited to 10 people.

Building hours
For a full list of building hours during Phase III, please visit the College’s fall plan and information site here.

Things that won’t change
The tools we have to collectively mitigate the spread of this virus—wearing a face mask, social distancing with 6 feet of separation, and frequent handwashing—will remain with us until there is an effective vaccine. In addition, students will continue to only have access to their own rooms/apartments/houses and commuter students will not have access to residential buildings except for instances when they are meeting with a faculty member or attending an academic event.

As we see infection rates rise in parts of New York City as well as in some of our neighboring counties, the importance of our collective vigilance continues to be of the utmost importance. While none of the zip codes with high infection rates are in Westchester County, COVID-19 does not stop at a county’s boundary nor at the edge of campus. Please continue to be considerate of your actions and pay close attention to wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.

I’d also like to remind everyone that the College’s academic calendar has shifted to accommodate pandemic precautions and we will not observe October Study Days this semester.

Thank you all once again for your excellent efforts and investment in keeping our community health and safe.

Best,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies & Student Life

September 26: COVID Case on Campus and Protocol Reminders

The following email was sent to residential students and their families on September 26.

Dear Residential Students,

I am writing to inform you that a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified on campus. I am taking this opportunity to remind our community of the protocols and resources in place to support students who test positive and to protect the health of our full community.

Notification of Positive Cases
Going forward, if a residential student, a commuter student who spends time on campus, or a faculty or staff member who works on campus tests positive for COVID-19, notification to the campus community will take place via contact tracing. That is, those on campus will only be notified of a positive test result if they were in close contact (less than six feet apart for greater than 10 minutes) with the affected individual and need to quarantine. As a reminder, our COVID-19 Dashboard tracks our ongoing testing efforts, and reports test results weekly and information on students in isolation daily.

Quarantine, Isolation & Contact Tracing Protocols
Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 will be relocated to a room on campus that has been identified for isolation, and the student’s family will be notified. Residential students who identify as a close contact with a confirmed case will be relocated to a room on campus that has been identified for quarantine.

Residential students in isolation or quarantine will have their health monitored by the SLC Health & Wellness Center. In addition, at the start of the semester the College hired two live-in Community Prevention & Response Coordinators to manage the logistics of quarantine and isolation and to ensure the 24/7 care of students in isolation or quarantine. Services provided to these students include mental health support, delivery of food, medicine, and necessary supplies, and coordination of academic accommodations. Students in isolation or quarantine on campus will only be allowed to return to campus activities when medically cleared by the Health & Wellness Center, in accordance with CDC and New York State Department of Health guidelines.

When a student is diagnosed with COVID-19, contact tracing to identify persons with a potential exposure will be coordinated through the Westchester County Department of Health and supported by the Health & Wellness Center.

Upcoming Mandatory Testing for Students
As a reminder, the College is administering a second round of mandatory COVID-19 PCR tests to residential and commuter students. The next round of tests, for residential students whose last name begins with M through Z, is on Wednesday, September 30. Mandatory testing for commuter students will take place on October 7. See the full testing schedule for times and location.

The above reflects our testing schedule as of now. If this surveillance testing reveals increased rates of cases on campus, our protocol will be adjusted accordingly going forward.

Finally, a reminder to continue to be vigilant with virus mitigation efforts, including wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and practicing good hand hygiene. I thank you for your ongoing commitment to caring for one another.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me via reply email or during the Dean of Studies office’s daily virtual office hours.

Sincerely,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies & Student Life
dtrujillo@sarahlawrence.edu 

September 18: SLC Phase II Testing and Information

The following email was sent to residential and commuter students and their families on September 18.

Greetings students,

I hope your classes are off to a good start. As you know, there are currently no cases of COVID-19 within our residential or commuter student body. This is a direct reflection of your hard work and dedication to one another – thank you, and keep up the good work!

Building on our current status, I’m writing to share the good news that Sarah Lawrence will move forward to Phase II of our reopening plan on Monday, September 21. This letter outlines some of the important changes and updates that will affect our community once we enter Phase II. I realize this is a long message, but please read through this content, as it contains important information and next steps for students who will be on campus.

COVID-19 testing and flu vaccinations
All residential and commuter students will receive another COVID-19 PCR test. The College will cover the cost and hold testing clinics for residential students on September 23 (last names: A-L) and 30th (last names: M-Z) and for all commuter students on October 7. Participation is mandatory – students may miss part of a class or work shift in order to attend their scheduled testing window. Flu vaccinations will also be available as part of this round of testing and offered to students following their nasal swab.

On-campus faculty and staff will also be able to receive another test as part of this endeavor.

While testing is important, I’d like to remind everyone that our behavior dictates our community’s test results, not the other way around. Testing is backward-looking and only reflects a snapshot of a moment in time. Collectively, we foster a safe and healthy environment by continuing to act in a manner that prioritizes everyone’s health and safety.

Daily symptom tracker requirement
All SLC community members who plan to be on campus must complete the COVID-19 daily symptom tracker and receive a ‘green’ (i.e. negative) pass each morning in order to come to campus. Community members should take a screenshot of their result and be prepared to show their ‘green’ pass before 1) entering buildings, 2) entering dining venues, 3) joining in-person classes, and 4) participating in College-sponsored events.

Any SLC Community member who has not completed the COVID-19 Daily Symptom Tracker and has not received a ‘green’ pass, will not be permitted on campus.

Changes to campus and student activities during Phase II

  • Though most classes will remain online, on-campus instruction can begin (you may have noticed some of the tents around campus for outdoor academic space). Every class will be different, so please speak with your faculty members about any on-campus meetings that may occur.
    • Students will also be able to reserve class-specific campus facilities, like a music practice room or film room.
  • The Campbell Sports Center will open. Students may reserve a time to use the facilities (a face mask will be required, per New York State law, even while exercising) – more information from the Athletics Department will be shared regarding the available facilities and reservation process.
  • While eating and socializing outside is always preferred, Living Pods and Commuter Pods (those who you live with) may now eat indoors in designated areas, with no more than 5 individuals eating together
  • In-person food ordering and counter service at the Barbara Walters Campus Center and Bates will be available so students will no longer be required to order ahead but this is encouraged in order to provide faster service to you. To-go options will remain available, as well.
  • College-sponsored on-campus events will begin, with a maximum capacity of 25 for all in-person participants. Virtual events will also continue, and some events may be both in-person and online.
  • Building hours will expand.

Things that won’t change
Wearing a face mask, social distancing with 6 feet of separation at all times, and frequent handwashing are the only tools we have to fight this virus and will remain with us until there is an effective vaccine. In addition, students will continue to only have access to their own rooms/apartments/houses and commuter students will not have access to residential buildings except for instances when they are meeting with a faculty member or attending an academic event.

While indoor spaces will be available in Phase II, please keep in mind that socializing outside is always preferred, as the air dilutes possible virus particles. Informal gatherings (those not part of an official event) of up to 10 individuals will still be permitted – anything larger will be asked to disperse.

Our positive progress is thanks to – and remains dependent upon -- our continued commitment to our collective health and safety. The College will continue to monitor the state of COVID-19 in New York and in our community, and all policies and activities are subject to change should circumstances shift.

Again, thank you for your continued commitment to one another as we work together toward a successful semester.

Regards,

Danny Trujillo
Dean of Studies
dtrujillo@sarahlawrence.edu 

July 14: DHS Rescinds Policy Update on International Students

Dear Sarah Lawrence international students,

I'm writing with good news! As you may have already heard, today the Department of Homeland Security rescinded its most recent policy update that sought to limit online learning for international students. As of now, the policy will revert to the emergency updates put into place in March, and we will continue to pay close attention to any changes that may arise in the coming weeks. 

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to me.

Best,

Shirley Be
Assistant Dean of Studies/Director of International Admission and Advising

July 8: Update on New DHS Policies and Information Regarding Fall Planning

Dear SLC Community,

In less than two months we will begin classes. There are many logistics to work out as we consider nearly every aspect of how we prepare and begin the semester and as we finalize important details, we will bring them to your attention with email digests highlighting updated information, of which this is the first. Included in this digest is new information about courses and housing, responses to questions and concerns, and information about ways we will be seeking input from students, faculty, and staff relating to fall planning. However, I must begin by addressing new and pressing concerns facing our international students.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued new temporary rules that prohibit international students from staying in the United States if they are enrolled in an American college or university that implements online-only instruction. These punitive new rules single out our international students in ways that are antithetical to Sarah Lawrence’s mission and values.

Sarah Lawrence extends beyond campus boundaries. The perspective offered by our international students and global population are fundamental to the College, and these new DHS policies target specific members of our community, compounding an already frightening and uncertain time. The College is working with its peers and advocacy groups—including the Council of Independent Colleges of New York and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities—to make clear the deleterious effects of these new rules and to urge Congress to rescind them. Robust opposition and lawsuits have already been filed seeking both a temporary and permanent injunction.

Even as we work to have these policies rescinded, our present understanding is that most of our international students may be less directly impacted because the College is pursuing a hybrid form of education this fall.

While most of our classes will convene online, there will be opportunities for international students to participate in individual or small group in-person, on-campus instruction. At this moment, based on the current wording of the policies (for which little guidance has been offered):

  • First year international students who reside on or commute to campus and participate in First Year Studies classes and/or other conference work in person appear to satisfy these policies.

  • We believe we will be able to work with sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate international students who live on campus or commute to campus to participate in available in-person instruction in satisfaction of these policies.

  • Our understanding is that international students who choose to stay in their home country and participate in online learning will be able to do so without interruption. We do not know yet the implications of such online study from abroad for F-1, I-20, and OPT status.

  • The regulations appear to preclude international students domiciled in the US from studying exclusively online. For example, an international student who intends to live in Los Angeles this fall and take classes only online would not meet the acceptable threshold this policy implicates and would be subject to deportation. This provision is particularly egregious as it takes no account of the fact, amidst the global pandemic, that the most prudent or practical option for a student may be to remain where they currently are living. 

As this list makes clear, this policy holds international students to a different standard than American students, lacks any clear educational rationale or benefit, and treats international students differentially based on nothing other than their location. Much is uncertain at this time; we will continue to press for answers for our students and to vigorously advocate for policies that do not discriminate against members of our community on any basis, including their country of origin.

We have scheduled a Q&A session for international students on Friday, July 10, at 10 a.m. ET. Please be on the lookout for a follow-up email invitation. In addition, the College will extend the July 8 housing form deadline for international students to July 11 to allow for greater clarity regarding potential changes to plans for international students in light of these new regulations. As a reminder, international students are one of the groups that have been prioritized for on-campus housing this fall.

Additional Updates for Students

Fall program offerings
In recent Q&A sessions as well as through questions and comments by many students, we heard that more information regarding program-specific plans for the fall semester would be helpful. Program directors and faculty have put together thoughtful descriptions of their plans for the fall. See this FAQ for links to discipline-specific information.

Opportunities for input
As the College continues to plan and finalize logistics for the fall, we will be reaching out to faculty, students, and staff for input on a number of topics such as online course registration. Q&A sessions will be scheduled in the coming weeks with the first year, sophomore, junior, and senior classes to create additional opportunities for dialogue, connection, and space for listening regarding ongoing planning; please be on the lookout for follow-up invitations.

Resources for off-campus housing
We are continuing to build resources for those seeking to live near campus. An FAQ has been added with new information regarding off-campus housing options, specifically nearby hotels.

Between these regular communications, please check our website for updates, which are now flagged as “new.” I look forward to our meetings in the coming weeks as we work together to prepare for the fall 2020 semester.

Yours,

Cristle
president@sarahlawrence.edu

June 30: President Judd's Full Letter to Students and Families

Dear Members of the Sarah Lawrence Community,

I am writing today to outline plans for the fall semester, which I know you have been eagerly awaiting. I thank you for your patience and confidence as we worked to plan the best and safest fall semester possible. Guided by the twin priorities of safeguarding the health and wellness of our community and our fundamental commitment to provide an excellent and equitable education, we will return to campus this fall with a significantly reduced population of students, faculty, and staff, a mix of in-person and online instruction, and strict adherence to a set of safety protocols.

Fall 2020 Plan Summary
The primary action that makes being on campus possible—and best protects our community from COVID-19—is a de-densification of our campus population. As a result, our fall semester will look and feel unlike any semester before it. Not all students will be able to live in residence halls. Not all faculty and staff will be on campus. Gatherings will be limited, and safety protocols numerous. Many painful decisions have been made, and many sacrifices lie ahead. But so too lies ahead an opportunity to come together again in the best way possible in this moment.

Instruction:

  • Fall semester classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, September 7. Details regarding registration and move-in will be forthcoming.
  • To deliver the most equitable experience to all students regardless of location, classes (seminars and lectures) will convene online when meeting as a full class, with this primary exception:
    • First-Year Studies courses, and other first-year programming, will strive to meet in person when/if possible; such in-person interactions will also have an online option for students not on campus.
  • Some small groups (e.g., breakout sessions from seminars and lectures, independent studies, and group and individual conferences) may meet in person, observing physical distancing, with online options also available.
  • Graduate classes will convene both in-person and online; further information will follow from each individual program.
  • All instruction will be fully online after Thanksgiving break.
    • Any student who leaves campus for Thanksgiving will be required to remain off campus for the rest of the semester.

Faculty have spent the last few months thoughtfully planning our curriculum to ensure that our experience this fall will be much different than the last weeks of the spring semester, which allowed limited time for such planning in the midst of an emerging crisis. In addition, class schedules for the fall have been expanded to contain new blocks, including Saturdays, and greater flexibility to work across time zones, and our Information Technology department is actively expanding technological resources and support to aid in online instruction.

The 2020-21 course catalogue is now online, with courses continually added, and I encourage you to check it out.

Housing:
We made some false starts this summer with our housing process and lottery, for which I apologize. As our plans for the fall semester evolved, it became clear that the availability of housing and our process for this year had to change.

After careful consideration, and a determination to significantly reduce our housing density on campus, housing for the fall semester will be as follows:

  • The following students will be provided with a single-occupancy room in an assigned residence hall, should they wish to live on campus:
    • First-year and incoming transfer students
    • Resident Advisors
    • Students with a demonstrated hardship (e.g., those who have home situations that make online learning nearly impossible or international students who were unable to return to their home countries)
  • Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may enter a lottery for fall housing should any rooms remain.
  • Students who choose to live off-campus in proximity to the College will have access to campus in accordance with strict safety protocols. Students may wish to consider off-campus housing as an option that will provide continuity across the entire academic year.
  • Students who elect to conduct their semester online fully away from campus will not be disadvantaged in terms of curricular opportunities. No student will be required to live on or near campus, nor will they be required to come to campus for any purpose.
Campus Life:
  • There will be no athletic competitions in the fall semester. Support will be provided for student athletes to continue to train within safety guidelines. We hope conditions will allow for the resumption of competition in the spring semester.
  • Dining halls on campus will adhere to physical distancing protocols, and our dining partner AVI is currently developing a thorough plan.
  • Cleaning protocols in public and shared spaces, common areas of residence halls, and faculty and staff offices will be enhanced, and cleaning supplies will be provided to students for their rooms.
  • We will follow current New York State recommendations that any student who will be on campus in the fall must have a negative PCR test within 14 days prior to arrival on campus; students will be retested on campus within two weeks of arrival.
  • All students, faculty, and staff on campus will be expected to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and others. As such, group gatherings will be limited; physical distancing will be practiced throughout campus; and masks or face coverings will be required in shared spaces.

The plans above apply only to the fall semester. We don’t know what the spring semester will look like yet, but are hopeful increased on-campus residential density will be possible. The class of 2021—our seniors—will be prioritized for housing in the spring semester if we are not able to house everyone who desires campus housing.

How Did We Make Our Plan?
Sarah Lawrence’s plan reflects a careful consideration of our location, our physical campus, and our educational mission. Our aim throughout the planning process has been to present, in a time of great uncertainty, as much information as possible. As we head into a fall semester unlike any other—not just at Sarah Lawrence, but at all colleges and universities—our focus has been on ensuring a continuity in the core elements of our education. At a time when large groups and dense gatherings are ill-advised, our pedagogical focus on one-on-one and small group work with faculty is the aspect of our education most readily continued. This is what we are working to ensure will be available to all students, whether they live on campus, are off campus and commuting to campus for some activities, or are physically distant but actively engaged.

A number of factors went into our decision-making for the fall, and I extend my sincere thanks to the numerous members of the administration, faculty, and staff who have spent countless hours devoted to this process.

Key factors in our decision-making were:

  • First and foremost, protecting the health and safety of the Sarah Lawrence community.
  • Adherence to New York State’s guidance and protocols.
  • A commitment to making the fall semester an equitable experience for all.
    • We must be ever mindful of the students, faculty, and staff who may be unable to physically be on campus due to a number of pandemic-related factors. The reality is that in our present situation, even if campus could safely support it, not every member of our community would be able to be with us in person.
  • College facilities, designed to foster intimate living and learning, simply cannot expand in the ways necessary to successfully practice physical distancing (for instance, a roundtable classroom for 15 would hold only 4-7 people when observing physical distancing, and an auditorium space such as Reisinger does not lend itself well to a seminar class).
  • An ability to test, trace, quarantine, and isolate to prevent or respond to an outbreak of COVID-19.

Given the unpredictable path of COVID-19, many uncertainties remain, and we will continue to respond accordingly. While today New York State is seeing its lowest numbers of COVID-related hospitalizations since March, those numbers are increasing in other parts of the country and world. Since I started drafting this letter, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced mandatory quarantine for those traveling to New York from several states; if requirements like this are in place at the start of the fall semester, we will make appropriate arrangements for students coming to campus who will need to quarantine.

While there is much information to digest in this letter, additional details are available on our fall planning website. I know you will have many questions, some of which may not yet be answered, so this information comes with a promise to continue to communicate clearly and frequently as logistics around these plans come together. To that end, online Question & Answer Sessions have been set up for students and families, faculty, and staff over the coming week. Faculty and staff will receive invitations under separate cover. Students and families are invited to the following sessions:

First-Year and Incoming Transfer Students & Families
Wednesday, July 1
6-7 p.m. ET

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors & Families
Wednesday, July 1
8-9 p.m. ET

Graduate Students
Thursday, July 2
7-8 p.m. ET

Again, I thank you for your continued patience as our planning unfolds. I look forward to welcoming you in just over two months to the start of the 2020-21 academic year. While it will be unlike any that we have experienced, I am confident that together we will chart a course to continue the important work of this College. Our mission, in its simplest form, is toprepare students to thrive in a complex and rapidly evolving world. Never has a statement been more true, and never has the need for a Sarah Lawrence education been more urgent.

Yours,

Cristle Collins Judd
President
president@sarahlawrence.edu