Fall 2020: Plans & Information

This site was last updated on July 9, 2020, at 9:43 a.m.

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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, President Judd has announced a 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.

Recent Communications

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Even as we work to have these policies rescinded, our present understanding is that most of our international students may be less directly impacted because the College is pursuing a hybrid form of education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

Fall Plan At-a-Glance

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.

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.

Next Steps

Planning for the fall semester will be an ongoing endeavor throughout the summer and we will share additional details and plans as they are finalized. Students will receive a mandatory questionnaire regarding housing for this year. It is important that students respond by July 8. Responses will be integral for the College’s planning for on-campus density this fall.

Please do not book travel to campus at this time. The College will stagger and phase move-in dates and times to avoid large crowds and gatherings. Details will be shared later this month.

On This Site

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Health & Wellness Policies and Procedures

COVID-19 Testing

The SLC Health & Wellness Center will have COVID-19 testing capabilities for students through point of care testing and off-site laboratories. Testing protocols will be in accordance with CDC health guidelines, and symptomatic students will be tested. Charges for on-site point of care testing will be billed to the student’s bursar account. COVID-19 tests sent to an off-site laboratory will be billed to the student’s insurance. Coverage and payment will be determined by the student’s insurance policy.

Students can request COVID-19 antibody testing at the Health & Wellness Center.  Cost for this test, if any, will be determined by the student’s insurance policy.

The College 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. Further details will be shared this summer.

Will I be required to have a COVID-19 test before coming to campus?

The College 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. Further details will be shared this summer.

Daily Self-Monitoring Symptom Check

COVID-19 presents differently in individuals, from being asymptomatic to severely ill. One important mitigation measure, along with social distancing, utilization of masks/face coverings, hand washing, and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, is to employ a daily self-monitoring symptom check with the understanding that asymptomatic Individuals can still be COVID-19 positive. All community members (students, faculty, and staff) will be required to complete a daily self-monitoring symptom check through an online questionnaire and must be symptom free before coming to campus or leaving a residence hall. Individuals who live off campus must be free of any symptom related to COVID-19 to be on campus or to participate in campus activities.

Directions on how to register for the self-monitoring symptom checker will be provided by mid-August.

COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms or combinations of symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What if a residential student tests positive for COVID-19? How will isolation/quarantine work?

Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 will be relocated to a room on campus that has been identified for isolation. Residential students who identify as a close contact (less than six feet apart for greater than 10 minutes) 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, and will be provided with mental health support services, food, medicine, and necessary supplies. 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 NYS DOH 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.

What is isolation? What is quarantine?

The CDC defines isolation as separating sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick, and quarantine as separating and restricting the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

What criteria will be used for clearance to return to campus activities after isolation?

  • Fever-free without the use of fever reducers for 72 hours AND
  • Symptoms have improved AND
  • It has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared

If a student tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms, the individual can be cleared to return 10 days after the test as long as the individual does not develop symptoms. If the individual develops symptoms during this time, then the individual must follow the criteria above using the date symptoms started as the first day of isolation.

What criteria will be used for clearance to return to campus activities after quarantine?

  • 14 days from last exposure AND
  • No symptoms developed during the 14 day period
If symptoms developed during the 14 day period, a student would start isolation from the date symptom(s) began and return to campus will be based on isolation clearance criteria.

Will students who reside off campus quarantine/isolate in a campus space?

Due to space constraints on campus, the College will not be able to isolate or quarantine students who reside off campus. Students residing off campus who test positive for COVID-19, or who believe that they have had contact with a confirmed case, should contact the Health & Wellness Center for instructions on how to isolate/quarantine and obtain medical and mental health support services during this time.

Will I need to wear a mask or face covering on campus?

Yes. Masks/face coverings (e.g., disposable masks or cloth face coverings) must be worn by all individuals on campus at all times in public settings (e.g., common workspaces, public spaces, hallways, stairwells, elevators, meeting rooms, classrooms, break-rooms, campus outdoor spaces, restrooms, etc.), even if social distancing is maintained.

Students will supply their own mask/face covering and must wear one when outside of their bedroom; if there is a person in the student’s bedroom who does not live in the student’s house/apartment, both parties must wear a mask or face covering and practice social distancing.

Residents of a house/apartment do not need to wear a face covering in their own house/apartment if they are solely accompanied by those they live with or if they are alone.

What kind of mask/face covering will I need?

Masks/face coverings (e.g., disposable masks or cloth face coverings) must cover the nose and mouth; individuals are not required to wear a surgical grade or N95 mask, but may choose to in accordance with their medical needs. Students must bring their own masks/face coverings from home. The covering can be homemade or purchased. It is recommended that students utilize comfortable, durable face masks/coverings that can be washed and reused.

General Questions & Answers

Why isn’t Sarah Lawrence starting the fall semester earlier?

New York State has taken an exceptionally calculated and methodical approach to re-opening its communities. Education is in Phase 4 of the State’s re-opening plan, and each phase has a two week lifespan before the next phase is initiated. The Mid-Hudson region, right now, appears to be on track to reach Phase 4 in mid-July, but we feel strongly that it is safest to allow more time to ensure as many variables as possible are known before students and faculty return to campus.

Why are only first year students, new transfer students, and a small group of other students able to live on-campus this fall?

The health and safety of the Sarah Lawrence community is our highest priority. While we recognize that limiting the number of students who are permitted to be in residence this fall may be disappointing to some, the College is following the best public health guidance for our area. At this time there is no vaccine nor treatment for COVID-19 and, as such, reduced campus density and strict physical distancing must be instituted.

First year and new transfer students are making a transition in their academic careers, and physical presence is an important component of making the pedagogical shift to learning at SLC and building community in this new environment. In addition, the College is committed to supporting students without access to secure housing and other necessary resources in order to be actively engaged in their academic work this fall. As such, a small group of international students and students with demonstrated hardships will be able to live on-campus on a case-by-case basis.

Why are First Year Studies courses the only classes likely to be taught in person?

First year students are the only class cohort who take at least one common course (First Year Studies), which presents the chance for in-person class meetings if first year students and their faculty are on campus. All other SLC courses are open to students from every grade level, which makes the possibility for in-person class convenings impossible.

However, in addition to First Year Studies, many open enrollment classes may be able to offer in-person opportunities (conference meetings and group work, for example) to complement online instruction.

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.

What types of policies will be in place for faculty/staff who work on campus this fall?

All faculty who work on campus this fall will be required to adhere to policies and procedures that will help to promote the physical well-being of the entire campus community.  These policies will include (but will not be limited to):

  • Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings while on campus, including while in the classroom
  • Daily self-monitoring and reporting of symptoms to the office of Human Resources
  • Stringent hand hygiene and routine cleaning/disinfecting of work spaces

More detailed guidance on these requirements is forthcoming. 

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 is happening in the spring?

It is too early to know for certain and a decision will be made after the semester begins so the College can assess developments in the pandemic as well as campus operations. Our intention is to continue the fall semester’s operations and protocols into the spring; should circumstances change and allow the community to participate in additional in-person and on-campus activities in a safe manner earlier, we will adjust to accommodate that. Alternatively, we will adjust our plans should the situation related to the virus shift negatively in New York State.

In the event that not all students are able to live on campus in the spring, members of the class of 2021 will be prioritized for on-campus housing at that time so they are able to be together for their final semester at Sarah Lawrence.

What cleaning procedures is SLC implementing?

Enhanced cleaning protocols in public and shared spaces, common areas of residence halls, and faculty and staff offices are being developed and will be implemented over the summer and into the beginning of the fall semester. Cleaning supplies will also be provided to students for their rooms.

Information for Students & Families

Will first year students be required to live on campus?

On-campus residential life is a unique component of the student experience at Sarah Lawrence. First year students are encouraged to live on campus, but the residency requirement will be waived this year and the final decision will be up to individual students and their families.

Will there be an orientation program for first year and new transfer students?

Yes, the College will offer orientation programming and all new students will participate in the Belonging at SLC program, which pairs new students in small groups with a peer mentor and college staff beginning in August. More details will be shared towards the end of July.

I'm an upperclass student, when will I find out if I will receive housing in the overflow lottery?

Once we have collected all student requests for housing on campus, students will be placed in housing and the College will determine the number of beds available for continuing students. Continuing students who have indicated they would like to be included in the will be entered into the housing lottery. Students will be randomly selected and offered a bed space in a specific residence and room from those beds available. Students will not be able to select the location of their placement nor suite-mates or apartment-mates. Students will be notified by the last week of July.

What is a single-occupancy room?

Many of the residence halls and living arrangements at Sarah Lawrence are apartment/townhouse/suite style, with students sharing common spaces like living rooms and some residences offering shared kitchens. Single-occupancy does not mean students will be isolated from each other, but simply that any bedroom will have only one inhabitant. In many cases, a student will share communal spaces with housemates.

When will move-in take place? What will the process be like?

Additional details regarding move-in dates and process will be shared once student placements in housing are completed. Move-in will be scheduled to occur over a number of days in order to maintain appropriate social distancing and density on campus. Families should not make travel arrangements at this time until they receive detailed information regarding their specific date for move-in.

What if I am unable to move into my residence hall room in time for the beginning of the year?

First, don’t worry. Information regarding move in will be forthcoming this summer. We know many in our community, due to a variety of reasons, may need flexibility.

What will my social life be like on campus?

Campus offices, residence life, and student organizations are planning opportunities for students to meet and connect while observing health and safety protocols. These include activities online and on campus so all students have access. On campus activities will be limited to small gatherings in residence halls, in campus spaces such as the Barbara Walters Campus Center, and outdoors. Some events allow for more students to participate, such as our outdoor movie screening series. Our residences will provide students in residence the opportunity to interact in their suites, apartments, or townhomes, as well as to meet others in their buildings. Resident Advisors (student residence life staff) will bring residents together for community building both in and outside of residence. While it is a student's decision whether they travel off campus, all members of our community should be aware of the potential risk of such activities as they increase exposure to COVID-19 for the individual and the community. Resident students will receive training regarding health and safety prevention and practices before the beginning of the academic year.

How will student clubs and organizations run in the fall?

Student organizations are an essential part of the Sarah Lawrence community and we are working on creative ways to continue building connections across the College. In general, student organizations will operate this fall within the college’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Since many students may not be on or around campus, most groups will likely operate primarily in a virtual setting - members of the Student Engagement Team will reach out to individual organizations in July to set up times to talk about fall planning. The annual re-registration process for organizations will take place a little earlier than normal to help the College prepare for the fall organization fair, full details on the re-registration process and timeline will be coming out in later this summer. If you have specific questions, please contact Josh Luce, Director of Student Involvement at jluce@sarahlawrence.edu.

Will first year students need to move out of their dorm rooms at the conclusion of the in-person semester? 

We are optimistic increased residential density will be a possibility for the spring semester, and anticipate making a decision on the topic after the semester begins and the College is able to assess the pandemic and its implications regarding the on-campus community. The class of 2021 will receive housing priority for the spring semester and as such, it is possible first year students may need to move out of residence halls to allow seniors to be together for their final semester.

Can I live at home or off campus and commute to campus?

Yes. Students who live near campus or who elect to find their own housing near campus are welcome to commute to SLC and use the College’s facilities like the library and computer labs, possibly meet with faculty members, and to participate in study groups and campus life events. It is important to note that all College facilities and events will have capacity limitations and time on campus may be limited and/or subject to advance scheduling to ensure appropriate physical distancing. Commuter students will not have access to residence halls nor will they be allowed to visit residence halls.

What resources are available for students seeking off-campus housing?

The College heard from many students and families that they wish to find housing near campus for the fall semester. To help with this, we have negotiated significantly reduced rates for students should they wish to pursue housing at nearby hotels. Those interested in pursuing accommodations at The Hyatt in the Cross County Shopping Center please contact Darryl Lafferty, director of sales, at darryl.lafferty@hyatt.com or 914-377-1403. Similarly, SLC has negotiated a discount with the nearby Hampton Inn and Suites. Please call Lisa Keppler, Director of Sales, at 914-963-3200 extension 604 for information and additional details. Please note that both of these venues are off-campus housing and are not extensions of the Sarah Lawrence campus - students will contract directly with the hotel. The College will not be able to provide shuttle service to/from these locations nor will it offer residential programming. All students are welcome to visit the Off-Campus Resources page for more information about the area's housing and geography. This entry will be updated should additional options become available.

I'm coming to campus from a state New York has deemed a hot spot and is requiring quarantine upon arrival, what should I do?

We all find ourselves in a rapidly changing environment with new policies and protocols outside of the College's control being announced regularly. SLC is seeking clarification on this issue through our statewide association of colleges and universities. What we can say now is that we will work with students and families, and more details on this topic will be shared in the coming weeks. Please also keep in mind that while many states are currently deemed hot spots by New York State, it's impossible to know which states, if any, will have this classification closer to the beginning of the fall semester.

If I feel uncomfortable being on campus, what should I do?

If you are a student and have special circumstances, please reach out to Student Affairs. COVID-19 will be present around the world until there is a widely-available vaccine, which is why our courses will be taught so they can be completed in a remote setting. Students are welcome to continue their studies away from campus.

What access will I have to the library, either on campus or online?

On-campus we will have contactless circulation for SLC and Inter-Library Loan materials as well as some open study spaces in the library. Access to campus facilities, including the library, will be more structured and may require reservations to accommodate new capacity limitations. Online we have full access to the databases and e-books; e-reserves and Inter-Library Loan; online Research Guides and workshops; and online one-on-one consultations with a Research Services librarian. We will also scan chapters from hardcopy when requested. Check the library website often for the latest updates on resources, programs, policies, and procedures.

What will studying the performing and visual arts, sciences, and mathematics look like this fall?

Sarah Lawrence faculty and academic departments have been working to thoughtfully design courses that will be successful in online mediums. For more information regarding individual disciplines, please follow the links below:

When will classes begin?

Students will begin classes on Monday, September 7.

Will grading be pass/fail this fall?

The College will not implement mandatory pass/fail grading for the fall 2020 semester. As a reminder, students always have the option to petition to take one class as pass/fail per semester. For more information, please contact the Dean of Studies Office at deanofstudies@sarahlawrence.edu.

Can students take a reduced course load in the fall semester?

Yes, students may apply for a reduced course load for the fall term by speaking with Associate Dean of Studies Polly Waldman. Polly can be reached via e-mail at pwaldman@sarahlawrence.edu. It is suggested that students speak with Polly as soon as possible to begin the process in order to ensure that the reduced course load is in place by fall registration. I suggest your student speak with Polly soon to begin the process so the reduced course load will be in place by fall course registration.

Will class meetings be shifted?

We have shifted our entire course schedule one hour later (with the exception of evening classes, which will still meet from 7-10 p.m. ET) in order to better accommodate students on the west coast. Saturday blocks have also been added. At this time, no action is needed by  students and any changes to class schedules will be communicated well before the beginning of the school year.

What online meeting platforms will I use in my classes?

For synchronous/real-time interactive class meetings, Sarah Lawrence's preferred online meeting platform is Zoom. Detailed information for students and participants in Zoom meetings is available on MySLC (student login required). General information and resources for getting started with Zoom are available at Zoom.us. Some faculty may augment their classroom environment with apps like Big Blue Button, Google Hangouts, Slack, and others.

What kind of thought has been put into the ways in which online learning may heighten inequities between students?

Sarah Lawrence has given much thought to the ways in which online learning may affect our students.

On-campus housing: SLC has identified three groups of students who will have priority for living on campus this fall. First-year and transfer students will be given the option to live on campus in order to facilitate the transition to college and the Sarah Lawrence community.  Continuing international students who have remained in the US since the College began online instruction in April 2020 will also be offered on-campus housing in consideration of the fact that international travel restrictions and consular closings have made visa status and acquisition very unpredictable. Students who face hardship or are in unstable housing will also have the opportunity to live on campus. The Dean of Studies Office staff has created guidelines and will examine a student’s extenuating circumstances and will make a determination based on the individual. Please click here to learn more about hardship criteria.

Technological or Connectivity Issues: Some students may have found online learning to be challenging because of technological obstacles. The College has a fund to assist such students with the purchase of hardware, software, and internet service upgrades where necessary. These resources can be accessed through the Dean of Studies Office. Please contact us at deanofstudies@sarahlawrence.edu.

Students with Disabilities: Some students may have found online learning to be challenging.  The Associate Dean of Studies & Disability Services works individually with students with disabilities to assure that they have equal access to the full range of opportunities at the College including the appropriate accommodations for online learning. For more information please contact pwaldman@sarahlawrenc.edu.

Academic Work not Readily Suited to Online Formats:  Faculty in disciplines that have traditionally relied on in-person or tactile experiences, such as dance performance, and chemistry labs, are developing course-specific solutions in order to facilitate online learning this fall.  Please stay tuned for more information from specific programs.

How will my financial aid be affected if I'm not living on campus?

If you choose to live at home with parents and/or guardians, your cost of attendance will not include room, board, and the College’s activity fee. Therefore, your cost of attendance will be lower. If you have a merit scholarship, the amount of that portion of your financial aid award will not be changed. If you have a need-based component to your financial aid and choose to remain at home, we will adjust the cost of attendance as per federal guidelines, and those need-based components of your aid award will need to be recalculated; the percentage of need met will remain the same, however, so the net cost of attendance should not increase. The Office of Financial Aid (finaid@sarahlawrence.edu) is available to help you estimate what the net cost would be for living at home. Finally, if you choose to live off campus independently or with roommates, your financial aid award will not change.

What if I can’t return home for Thanksgiving or after?

In order to reduce community travel and the potential for COVID-19 to be brought back to campus after the holiday, all students who leave campus for Thanksgiving break will not be allowed to return and all teaching will move to 100% online following the holiday, through the conclusion of the semester. Additional details regarding campus operations during the Thanksgiving holiday and the portion of the semester following the holiday are forthcoming. 

Will students need to vacate campus if there is a second wave of COVID-19?

Without a vaccine, it is an unfortunate truth that COVID-19 will be present in our daily lives. The health and safety of the Sarah Lawrence community will remain the College’s premier priority and vacating the campus may become necessary. That decision will be made in consultation with campus, local, and state health experts. We know much more about responding to COVID-19 today than last spring when students first left campus and part of our planning has involved setting aside residence halls for possible quarantine and isolation use. While we can’t predict the future, we are confident in our protocols and procedures regarding possible positive tests and early identification of any potential outbreak.

What is happening with study abroad programs?

The only SLC abroad program running this fall will be Oxford, as the tutorials can be conducted remotely if necessary. There remain some non-SLC program providers in other parts of the world who are planning on being in operation, but for the most part, study abroad will be severely limited this fall and the College is working toward opening programs fully in January.

Students may apply for a spring-semester study abroad program even if they choose to take a leave of absence in the fall semester. 

For questions or more information on studying abroad, please email Prema Samuel, Associate Dean of Global Education, at psamuel@sarahlawrence.edu.

What is Sarah Lawrence's credit transfer policy in light of COVID-19?

Sarah Lawrence College has revised its credit transfer policy to accept courses taken online at other institutions. The general guidelines include: · Courses must have been completed at a college or university accredited by the Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern, or Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or foreign schools of comparable accreditation. · The courses must be liberal arts courses in disciplines offered for credit at Sarah Lawrence. Courses within the traditional definition of the liberal arts though not offered at Sarah Lawrence, e.g., geology, are also acceptable. · A final grade of “C” (not “C-“) or higher must have been earned. It is recommended that students contact the Registrar’s office at regoff@sarahlawrence.edu before enrolling in courses at another institution to verify the course credits will transfer to their Sarah Lawrence College transcript.

I'm an upperclass student, can I take a leave of absence? What is the process to do so, and will my financial aid be affected?

As in planning for any academic term, we suggest you first speak with your don and/or faculty member(s) you have worked with closely to understand your options, make an informed decision, and develop a plan. Students may request a leave of absence by submitting this form to the Dean of Studies office. As with any change in student status, we suggest you contact the office of Financial Aid to understand how a change may or may not impact your aid.

I'm a first-year student, can I take a gap year? What is the process to do so, and will my financial aid be affected?

Students who have determined that they would like to engage in a “gap year” before enrolling at Sarah Lawrence are welcome to submit a request through the Office of Admission (slcadmit@sarahlawrence.edu). We will provide a short form that will allow you to expand on the reasons for your gap year as well as the activities you intend to pursue in that time that will enhance your learning and/or engage personal or professional goals. Please note that gap year requests should be submitted by July 15, 2020, to hold a spot for the Fall of 2021. While need-based financial aid must be recalculated every year of enrollment whether you take a gap year or not (though usually remain very similar unless there have been significant resource changes to the family, merit scholarships will remain unchanged when you do enroll in Fall 2021.

Will Graduate & Professional students return to campus in the fall?

Graduate & Professional Studies students will attend courses in a hybrid (remote and in-person) format. Specifics will be sent to students by program directors. Please reach out to your program director with any questions you may have.

Information for International Students & Families

Recent policy changes by the US Department of Homeland Security

Due to recent policy changes by the US Department of Homeland Security, the best resource is President Judd's July 8 letter to the community​. As information regarding these policies becomes clearer, this section will be updated.

Information for Faculty

How will in-person and online learning be coordinated this fall?

The Provost’s Office will work with faculty to determine the appropriate method of instruction (in-person, remote, hybrid of some in-person learning and some online) for the 2020-21 academic year. Faculty who do not teach in person will be permitted to do so from home, or from their assigned office on campus. Faculty who plan to teach from their campus office or in-person with students must adhere to all health and safety requirements for employees who work on campus. Guidelines regarding health and safety on campus are forthcoming.

Any classes or conference work that begins the semester in-person will convert to 100% online for the weeks following the Thanksgiving holiday.

I am planning on teaching online.  What kind of technology support will the College provide?

Faculty who require technology support to enable distance learning should contact the Provost’s Office. The College has enhanced its offerings for learning platforms and is providing ongoing training for faculty this summer. The College will also provide faculty with loaner laptops and other hardware on a case-by-case basis.

I have underlying health conditions that make me more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications.  What are my options for the fall?

Faculty who are at higher risk for complications due to COVID-19 infection, or who live with someone at greater risk, are encouraged to contact the Provost’s Office and the office of Human Resources to request an accommodation, including the ability to work away from campus this fall.

What types of policies will be in place for faculty who work on campus this fall?

All faculty who work on campus this fall will be required to adhere to policies and procedures that will help to promote the physical well-being of the entire campus community.  These policies will include (but will not be limited to):

  • Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings while on campus, including while in the classroom;
  • Daily self-monitoring and reporting of symptoms to the office of Human Resources;
  • Stringent hand hygiene and routine cleaning/disinfecting of work spaces;

More detailed guidance on these requirements is forthcoming. 

Information for Staff

How will the College’s change in on-campus operations affect staff?

While much of Sarah Lawrence’s coursework will be conducted online this fall, with the majority of students residing off-campus, it will be essential that all campus offices are appropriately staffed to support students who are on campus (in residence or commuting) and those who are learning remotely. Offices will also need to be sufficiently staffed to ensure continued operation of campus activities and College business.

Staffing plans for individual offices are under development and will be communicated via supervisors.

I have underlying health conditions  that make me more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. What are my options for the fall?

Staff who are at higher risk for complications due to COVID-19 infection, or who live with someone at greater risk, are encouraged to contact the office of Human Resources to request an accommodation, including the ability to work remotely this fall, or to request a leave of absence if remote work is not an option.

What kinds of work arrangements can I expect this fall?

With the intent of reducing campus density during peak times, the College will continue to permit some staff to work remotely for part or all of their regular schedule. Telework arrangements will be permitted on a case-by-case basis, as approved by supervisors, senior staff, and the office of Human Resources. Offices will also develop staffing plans that ensure appropriate and safe on-campus coverage levels by implementing staggered shifts and rotating telework arrangements as appropriate. 

What types of policies will be in place for staff who work on campus this fall?

All staff who work on campus this fall will be required to adhere to policies and procedures that will help to promote the physical well-being of the entire campus community. These policies will include (but will not be limited to):

  • Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings while on campus
  • Daily self-monitoring and reporting of symptoms to the office of Human Resources
  • Stringent hand hygiene and routine cleaning/disinfecting of work spaces

More detailed guidance on these requirements is forthcoming.