General Information

This page was last updated on November 24, 2020, at 12:57 p.m.

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Information on Spring 2021 Phased Opening

Similar to the fall, Sarah Lawrence will follow a measured and phased reopening of the campus as the spring semester begins. The phases will move from more restrictive to less over the course of the semester and will be tied to the College’s surveillance testing program, community health, and the spread of COVID-19 in our region. Despite changes in phases throughout the spring term, students at no time will have access to residence halls in which they do not live (and cannot enter living quarters that aren’t their own, even if in the same residence hall), face masks will be required at all times on campus unless a student is in their living space and either alone or with only those they live with (or eating). Social distancing will also be required all semester, with students who live together being able to eat together in groups of 5 or fewer and attending events together without social distancing.

As noted below, the College intends for in-person student-faculty meetings (conference and small group work, for example) to be able to begin meeting at the beginning of Phase II. In-person classes (meeting of a full class) will begin on Monday, February 15. With all of the below phases, interim guidance, or a pause, may be implemented to reflect a change in the state of the virus in the College’s area and/or in the health of the SLC community.

Phase I

This is the College’s arrival phase and is the most restrictive as COVID-19 testing is conducted as part of move-in procedures and a baseline level of health for the community is established. Tentative dates of Phase I: move-in through February 7.

  • All instruction will be remote (including conference and small group work)
  • Students will socialize and eat with their living pod (eating in groups no larger than 5)
  • Indoor and outdoor seating for dining will be available
  • Food service will be through the GetApp and grab and go (Bates and the BWCC will be open)
  • The library will offer curbside pick-up
  • Academic buildings will be open, but studios, labs, and performance spaces will remain closed
  • No in-person events will be held
  • Informal groups larger than 10 will be dispersed

Phase II

Once all COVID-19 test results for resident students have been processed and a baseline level of community health is established, Phase II will begin. The phase is tentatively scheduled for February 8 through February 28 and surveillance testing of the SLC community will commence in Phase II. The College may enter (and remain in) Phase II as long as fewer than 2% of resident students are in on-campus isolation housing.

  • In-person instruction will continue conference meetings and small group work may begin and all full class meetings will be online (any in-person meetings of a full class will begin on February 15)
  • Students will socialize and eat with their living pod (eating in groups no larger than 5)
  • Indoor and outdoor seating for dining will be available
  • College-sponsored events with a capacity of 25 participants will begin - these events will strive to use outdoor space when possible, but may be held inside in a location with adequate spacing
  • Informal groups larger than 10 will be dispersed
  • Full dining service will begin
  • The Campbell Sports Center will open (pending New York state guidance) and students can make reservations to use the facilities
  • The library will begin normal operations
  • Academic buildings will continue to be open, with studios, labs, and performance spaces open and accessible through space reservations
  • Informal groups larger than 10 will be dispersed

Phase III

The College’s least restrictive phase, moving into Phase III reflects the hard work of students, faculty, and staff to prioritize the community’s collective health. Phase III is tentatively scheduled to begin on March 1 and will require fewer than 1% of resident students to be in on-campus isolation housing in order for the phase to begin (and for the College to remain in the phase).

  • In-person instruction may continue
  • Students will socialize and eat with their living pod (eating in groups no larger than 5)
  • Indoor and outdoor seating for dining will be available
  • College-sponsored events with a capacity of 50 participants will begin - these events will strive to use outdoor space when possible, but may be held inside in a location with adequate spacing
  • Informal groups larger than 10 will be dispersed
  • Full dining service will continue
  • Academic spaces will continue to be open with studios, labs, and performance spaces also available through space reservations

General Questions & Answers

What is de-densification?

In order to comply with the social distancing guidelines from the New York State Guidelines for Institutions of Higher Education, the College must reduce the number of people on campus. This includes all spaces, such as dining halls, classrooms, meeting rooms, residence halls, the library, the sports center, BWCC, administrative offices, campus shuttle vans, and outdoor spaces. De-densification allows for social distancing, an integral part of the College’s disease mitigation strategy.

What is social or physical distancing?

Social distancing is being at least six feet apart from another person and avoiding large groups, crowds, and gatherings. Social distancing AND the use of face masks /coverings, hand washing, and cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces are all part of the College’s disease mitigation plan. 

Will all members of the Sarah Lawrence community need to adhere to health and safety protocol and guidelines? 

Yes. Compliance with all disease mitigation and health and wellness strategies is expected as part of our shared commitment to our community’s health and wellbeing. Students who may find these policies challenging are welcome to complete the semester off campus. 

How will campus reduce density beyond residence halls?

In addition to some students choosing to participate in coursework from home, or commuting to campus from home (or an off campus residence), we will further reduce campus density by staggering staffing, and some faculty may teach from off campus. Some non student-facing staff members who, in the past, would work in an on-campus office Monday through Friday may now work remotely in full or in part, creating more space for those whose roles require them to be on campus.

Campus will also have building/area/event capacities that will be enforced to promote adequate spacing and ensure that gatherings occur in a safe manner.

Will there be in-person events on campus?

Most events will take place in an online format. Some events with limited attendance according to space capacity limits will take place in-person.

Communities of Color are being disportionality impacted by COVID-19.  How is the College recognizing and working with this?  

During the current global health crisis, more than 120,000 people have died in the United States. Within this nation, Black, Indigenous, and Latiné people are sickening and dying at disproportionately high rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.  These numbers highlight decades of structural racism that exist within this country.  The college will continue to do the work to change inequities that exist within the institution in partnership with The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  The College also has also committed to providing resources for students who face hardship as a result of COVID-19.  These resources can be accessed through the Dean of Studies Office by emailing deanofstudies@sarahlawrence.edu.

What cleaning procedures is SLC implementing?

The College has established enhanced cleaning protocols of public and shared spaces, common areas of residences halls, and faculty and staff offices. Commonly-touched surfaces like doors will be wiped down regularly throughout the day, hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout campus, and spaces like the Barbara Walters Campus Center food service area will pause service in the middle of the day for cleaning. In addition, classrooms and other commonly-used rooms will have cleaning supplies in them so individuals can wipe down their work space before and after use. Residents will be provided cleaning supplies for use in their dorm rooms, Residence Life staff will build programming about hygiene into regular campus life activities, and signage will be prominently placed throughout campus reminding individuals to social distance, wear a face mask, and practice robust personal hygiene.