Information for Students & Families

Important Resources for Students

Mandatory Testing Dates

Residential and commuter students are advised to check the schedule for upcoming COVID-19 testing on campus.

Daily Symptom Tracker

This online form must be completed daily by resident students prior to leaving their residence hall, and by commuter students prior to coming to campus. Access the symptom tracker.

COVID-19 Community Pledge

We're all in this together! All community members on campus agree to the guiding principles stated in the COVID-19 Community Pledge, intended to keep all of us safe and well.

COVID-19 Student Policies

A set of COVID-19 student policies, included in the Student Handbook, are intended to preserve the safety and health of our community as best as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spring Semester 2021

What is the academic calendar for the spring semester?

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 has been adjusted for the spring semester. Classes 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. As it appears likely that travel associated with a week-long spring break will be inadvisable for our collective health and safety, the College instead scheduled two on-campus “mini-breaks/study days” during the semester rather than the traditional spring break. Details and exact dates regarding senior week and commencement will be forthcoming.

Which courses will have in-person components and which will be online only?

The decision to offer classes or any instructional component 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. 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) and the document will be updated if additional information becomes available. 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.

With the pause on the College's phased opening, when will in-person instruction begin?

The residential campus community experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases during the first week of the semester and paused its phased opening through Sunday, February 21. More information about this pause is avaialble here. Originally, in-person instruction was scheduled to begin on February 15. To reduce the number of close contacts students have during higher levels of viral spread, in-person instruction will begin no earlier than Monday, 2/22 (to be clear, this is not confirmation that in-person instruction will begin on 2/22). The College will share updated guidance in the middle of February once a clearer picture of the community's health is available.

​If a student left campus at the start of the spring semester, what is the protocol for them to return?

During the period of increased COVID-19 on campus, a small number of residential students may have chosen to travel away from campus with the intent to remain off campus while cases remain high - this is a personal choice that individuals made based on their own circumstances and perceived risk. At this time, students cannot come and go from campus as they might have during the fall semester - this poses the risk of bringing infection to the campus community.  An explicit process for how a student may return to campus after leaving will be shared prior to February 21. While all details have not been finalized, it will almost certainly include a student testing negative (receiving a test on their own) in the days prior to returning as well as receiving an on-campus test before engaging with the campus community or entering their residence hall.

What is a “Living Pod” and why is it important?

As students in on-campus housing will be able to choose their own suitemates, the College expects students will socialize predominantly within their “Living Pod” (those they live with). Members of a Living Pod can eat together with in groups of five or fewer and can attend events together without social distancing throughout the spring semester. For the entire semester, students will not have access to residence halls they do not live in (with the exception of the use of academic space in select residential buildings) and will not be allowed to enter apartments/suites/residences that are not their own. These precautions, alongside “Living Pods” are designed to limit the number of “close contacts” any individual might have, should a student test positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts need to enter quarantine.

Will students be able to visit friends in other residence halls or apartments?

Similar to the fall semester, students will only have access to their own residence hall and students will also not be allowed to have visitors from other apartments and residences into their living quarters (if a student does not live in Slonim Woods #5, they cannot enter Slonim #5, for example). If a student wishes to see a friend outside of their “Living Pod” they must follow social distancing precautions and meet in a communal space on campus like the library or Campus Center. This precaution is necessary to limit the number of “close contacts” a student might have and reduce the number of people who may potentially need to enter quarantine upon receiving a positive COVID-19 test result.

Can students continue to commute to campus? What will access to campus be like for commuter students?

Yes, commuter students can continue to commute to campus and use campus facilities as they did in the fall. All commuter students must participate in the College’s COVID-19 testing program and complete the College’s daily COVID-19 symptom tracker every day they come to campus. Campus spaces will continue to have occupancy limits and certain facilities, like the Sports Center, will continue to operate on a reservation system. In addition, on-campus events will require an RSVP to ensure adequate space accommodations.

What is New York’s State’s Travel and Quarantine Policy?

New York State’s mandatory travel quarantine policies, which the College must enforce, remain in place. As was the case in the fall, students must complete quarantine off campus before moving into their residence hall. New York has adjusted its traveler quarantine policy and reduced the time period from 14 days to 10 (if a traveler completes a 10-day quarantine and remains symptom free, no testing is required). In addition, Governor Cuomo has added a "test out" option (which still requires an abridged quarantine period) 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 and below. Individuals arriving from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, so long as they have been in those states for the 10-day period prior to arrival in New York, are exempt from these traveler requirements (this also means an individual can complete New York's quarantine in one of the above states).

New York has nearly 1,000 COVID-19 testing locations throughout the state and in NYC. To find a testing site near you, please click here - there are several public testing sites near campus, as well.

Completing a 10-day quarantine is the State's standard for ensuring an individual does not have COVID-19 and/or is not contagious. As such, there is no testing requirement for travelers who arrive in New York and complete the entire 10-day quarantine (all students will be tested on their move-in day).

For those who wish to reduce their quarantine period by testing in the three days prior to arrival in New York, quarantining for three days, and taking a test on the fourth day after arrival (remaining in quarantine while awaiting the second test result), the State accepts both PCR and antigen tests to satisfy its testing requirements. It is also acceptable to mix-and-match types of tests, taking a PCR test prior to arrival and an antigen test after arrival, for example. In general, rapid tests are most commonly antigen tests, and are acceptable to satisfy the State's testing requirements. 

All students will be tested as part of move-in procedures. This is in addition to any travel-related testing an individual receives, so a student who tests in the three day period prior to arrival in NY, quarantines for three days upon arrival, and takes a test on the fourth day (remaining in quarantine while awaiting results), would receive a third test as part of their move-in day.

Where are COVID tests available in New York?

New York has nearly 1,000 COVID-19 testing locations throughout the state and in NYC. To find a testing site near you, please click here; there are several public testing sites near campus, as well.

Completing a 10-day quarantine is the State's standard for ensuring an individual does not have COVID-19 and/or is not contagious. As such, there is no testing requirement for travelers who arrive in New York and complete the entire 10-day quarantine (all students will be tested on their move-in day).

For those who wish to reduce their quarantine period by testing in the three days prior to arrival in New York, quarantining for three days, and taking a test on the fourth day after arrival (remaining in quarantine while awaiting the second test result), the State accepts both PCR and antigen tests to satisfy its testing requirements. It is also acceptable to mix-and-match types of tests, taking a PCR test prior to arrival and an antigen test after arrival, for example. In general, rapid tests are most commonly antigen tests, and are acceptable to satisfy the State's testing requirements. 

All students will be tested as part of move-in procedures. This is in addition to any travel-related testing an individual receives, so a student who tests in the three day period prior to arrival in NY, quarantines for three days upon arrival, and takes a test on the fourth day (remaining in quarantine while awaiting results), would receive a third test as part of their move-in day.

Why can't students complete New York State's traveler quarantine on campus?

Sarah Lawrence has carefully considered its residential facilities and explored possible configurations to accommodate traveler quarantine housing. The College's on-campus housing, much of which is apartment-style with shared bathrooms and intentionally designed to foster community and active student engagement, does not have the physical capacity to support the quarantine as required by the State of New York

If a student would like to complete the 10-day traveler quarantine (or abridged quarantine with testing before and after arrival) near campus, a discounted rate at the Cross County Hyatt is available for Sarah Lawrence students and families. As a reminder, travelers arriving from New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont (those states that share a border with NY), so long as they haven't been in any other state in the 10 days prior to arrival, are exempt from this traveler quarantine.​​

What safety precautions will be in place for the spring semester?

Safety measures are layered into every component of campus life at Sarah Lawrence. The College will have a phased opening in the spring, similar to its approach for the fall semester. Common areas in community buildings like the Barbara Walters Campus Center, Heimbold, and library will be cleaned regularly and frequently, including temporary closure of places like the Campus Center food service area for daily cleaning (Bates Dining Hall is open during this closure). Cleaning supplies are available to resident students through Campus Operations and common areas like classrooms also have cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer stations available so students can wipe down areas before/after use. In addition, the College will continue its surveillance testing program to identify  possible asymptomatic spread and will test and care for students who present with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Use of outdoor spaces is always encouraged and outdoor tents will remain in place so that students and classes can meet in larger groups. College-sponsored events will continue to have limited capacities and will require participants to RSVP so that adequate spacing is ensured and a roster for possible contact tracing is quickly available. Campus will continue to operate with a significant decrease in its residential capacity and face masks and social distancing will be required for the entire semester.

Will social distancing and face masks be required for the spring semester?

Yes. Compliance with all disease mitigation and health and wellness strategies—including mask-wearing and social distancing—is expected of all members of the community as part of our shared commitment to our health and wellbeing.

It's important to note that adherance to these strategies is expected even of those in our community who have previously been infected with COVID-19 as well as those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Information is not year clear on whether these individuals can still transmit COVID-19 to others, therefore mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand-washing remain critical practices for all.

What is the College’s COVID-19 testing plan for the spring?

Our collective actions are the best way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our community: washing hands, wearing a face mask, social distancing, avoiding non-essential travel away from campus, and limiting exposure to large crowds. Testing can be part of this strategy, but test results only represent a moment in time, and so our behavior is the lynchpin in our ongoing collective health and safety.

Upon arrival on campus, every resident student will be tested as part of the move-in process and commuter students will also be tested during the first week of the semester (commuter students unable to attend the start-of-semester testing date must procure a COVID test on their own and upload the result to the student portal - this action will remove a block from a student's 1Card). Once a baseline level of health for the community is determined, the College will begin surveillance testing.

As opposed to the fall semester, pre-arrival COVID testing is not required as all students will be tested as part of the beginning of the semester. However, a student may need to procure tests to satisfy New York's traveler policies  - any test required by the state for a traveler are separate from the College's entry and surveillance testing program. 

For the entire semester, residential students will be tested with Abbot BinaxNOW rapid tests (commuter students will receive the same PCR tests as were used during the fall). Following move in day testing, 50% of the resident student body will be tested every week for the duration of the semester to quickly identify possible asymptomatic virus spread. Using the BinaxNow rapid test requires all residential students to download and register with the NAVICA App prior to arrival on campus. Test results will be reported via the app, allowing students to receive results quickly and have a record of all results in one place. The app can be downloaded for no charge in the U.S. from the App Store [Apple devices] and the Google Play Store [Android devices]. After downloading the app, the registration process takes about two minutes.

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.

As was the case in the fall semester, if circumstances dictate a need to alter the College's testing procedures, changes will be made quickly to best support the health of the community.

Why is the College using rapid tests for resident student testing this spring?

Sarah Lawrence's spring semester testing plan, which was developed in coordination with the Westchester County Department of Health, utilizes Abbott Binaxnow rapid tests for regular suveilance testing of resident students - tests that New York state has accepted to satisfy requirement like out-of-state traveler testing. These tests allow for frequent community testing and provide results in as little as 15 minutes, which allows for positive individuals to be identified and isolated quickly and for contact tracing to begin immediately. During the fall semester, lab turnaround times for tests averaged 2-3 days, with some results taking notably longer to be processed. Rapid tests allow the College to test 50% of the resident student body every week and to also test students who present with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to quickly diagnose whether symptoms are the result of COVID-19 or another illness.

Do students need to take a COVID test prior to arrival on campus?

As opposed to the fall semester, pre-arrival COVID testing is not required as all students will be tested as part of the beginning of the semester (resident students during move-in and commuter students on the first Wednesday of the semester).

Students arriving in New York from a state that does not share a border with New York are affected by New York's traveler quarantine policies and may choose to satisfy this requirement by, prior to coming to campus, taking a test in the three days prior to arrival in NY, quarantine for three days, and take a test on the fourth day. This abridged traveler quarantine and associated testing is separate from any and all testing conducted by the College.

If a commuter student is unable to attend the on-campus testing clinic on February 3, they must procure a COVID test on their own (either PCR or antigen) and upload it to the SLC Health & Wellness patient portal prior to arrival on campus. All students' 1Cards will have a hold placed on them until their test results are recieved. 

What does the process for isolation and quarantine entail for residential students?

There are two common situations that will result in a residential student being placed into on-campus isolation:

  1. A student tests positive for COVID-19 as part of the College’s surveillance testing program. Once the positive result is received, the student will be contacted by the College and placed into isolation housing, where they will receive care from Health and Wellness and also be supported by two members of the College’s staff who will help coordinate any materials they might need for classes, deliver food to their rooms, and generally monitor their wellbeing. Should no symptoms arise, isolation would be complete 10 days after the date the test was administered.
  2. A student presents to Health & Wellness with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Health & Wellness will administer a COVID-19 PCR test and the symptomatic student will enter isolation housing, under the care of Health and Wellness and College staff, while awaiting test results. If the result is negative, the student may exit isolation (Health & Wellness, however, may still determine, for the health of the community, that a student should remain in isolation until their symptoms improve), and if the test is positive, the student will remain in isolation for 10 days since the onset of symptoms.

In both scenarios, as soon as a positive test result is received, the student will be notified and contact tracing, in partnership with the Westchester County Department of Health, will begin (SLC will also notify an infected student’s parents regarding the student’s test results as well as the parents of any students who are found to be close contact). Close contacts of an infected student will be quickly identified and placed into quarantine housing (which is separate from isolation housing) and cared for by Health & Wellness and College staff (two Residence Life staff members are specifically focused on supporting students in isolation and quarantine). Meals and any items a student may need for class (and any other personal items) will be delivered to a student’s door. Quarantine, which a student can complete on campus or away from campus, should they wish to return home or have another safe place to do so, will be complete 14 days from their most recent exposure to the infected student.

How is contact tracing on campus done?

The College works closely with the Westchester County Department of Health with regard to contact tracing as well as sharing information, confidentially, so that the County is aware of SLC’s circumstances at all times. The College partners with the Westchester County Department of Health to identify and contact (by phone/text or in person) students who may have been close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual and staff who are trained in contact tracing as well as in supporting students will coordinate a student’s move into isolation or quarantine. The Department of Health determines whether a possible close contact may have been exposed to the virus and for how long an individual should remain in isolation or quarantine—the entire process of contact tracing and placing all affected students into quarantine often takes less than 12 hours.

How is Sarah Lawrence keeping its community informed regarding the spread of COVID-19?

The College created a dashboard that has been updated daily since August with information about resident students who are in on-campus isolation (a resident student would enter isolation because of a positive test or by way of presenting to Health & Wellness with symptoms consistent with COVID-19). The dashboard is also updated every Monday with test results the College received from the 7 day period prior and offers information from New York State regarding viral spread in our region and state.

Financial Aid & Student Employment

Will my financial aid change for the spring semester?

Every student's financial aid package is specific to their unique circumstance, and so it is impossible to provide an explicit answer for every instance in this FAQ - if you have a question about your aid package it is best to reach out to our Office of Financial Aid.

In general, a student's aid package may change as their cost of attendance shifts. For example, a student who lived on campus during spring of 2019 and then lived at home (at their permanent residence) during the fall of 2020 may have experienced a reduction in aid to reflect the decreased cost of attendance. The inverse would also likely be true and aid would increase if a student who lived at home during the fall of 2020 decided to live on campus (or off campus, not with parents/family) during spring of 2021. Again, financial aid is a matrix of merit awards, need-based funds, federal resources, work study, and other sources and so if you have specific questions the Office of Financial Aid is happy to discuss how a student's aid package might change, if at all, between the fall and spring semesters this academic year.

Will student employment opportunities be available in the spring?

Yes, 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.