Looking Ahead:
COVID-19 Information & Updates

Latest Updates: Summer and Fall 2020

Reunion 2020

Reunion 2020, originally scheduled for June 4-7 on campus, has been postponed. In order to develop an appropriate plan to reschedule, the Alumni Relations Office consulted with volunteers from reunion classes of 1960 to 2015, and the overwhelming preference was to reschedule this year's Reunion to June 3-6, 2021.

Although in person celebrations have been necessarily postponed, alumni will have an opportunity to gather and celebrate virtually on Saturday, June 6, 2020. President Judd will host a State of the College; we will present the slate of nominations for the Alumni Association Board of Directors; and most importantly, we will recognize the hard work and achievements of this year's Reunion classes.

Summer Programs

SLC will not operate any in-person programs on campus this summer, including summer research and internship programs. Career Services continues to work actively with students to help them secure remote internships. We are offering a number of our pre-college programs remotely, and the Writing Institute is also offering an ongoing series of programs online. We had looked forward this summer to launching our first season of EXPLO, an internationally recognized program for students in grades 8-10; we now look forward to launching this important new collaboration in the summer of 2021.

Planning for the Fall Semester

Sarah Lawrence College will begin instruction for the fall semester as scheduled. We have been actively planning for a number of scenarios to ensure that we deliver the Sarah Lawrence education to our continuing and new undergraduate and graduate students.

Resuming residential and in-person education as soon as possible is our collective goal; however, given present realities, it would be irresponsible to claim now with certainty when that will be possible. The honest and ethical answer is that we cannot yet say whether the semester will be conducted partly or entirely in person and in residence. Our highest priority must be the health and safety of our community. Based on current public health guidance, we have identified a number of minimum standards that we believe will need to be in place to return to full residential operation in advance of the development of a vaccine: 

  • Wide-spread and effective testing for COVID-19 and antibodies, along with the ability to randomly and regularly test members of our campus community;

  • Therapeutics and adequate treatment capacity in our local hospital systems;

  • The ability to isolate anyone who tests positive after returning to campus and to effectively contact trace and quarantine;

  • Confidence in national and international travel

Most of these requirements are not under our control. And, we recognize that even when all of these conditions are met, there will still be students, faculty, and staff for whom a return to on-campus operations is not possible because of personal health concerns or restricted travel, and we are committed to meeting the needs of these members of our community as well.

With this in mind, the campus taskforce on post-pandemic planning has been focused on ensuring that we meet our educational goals while retaining the flexibility to respond to changing circumstances. These scenarios include beginning the semester on campus, as well as the possibility of beginning the semester with distributed learning and a subsequent move to campus mid-semester or later in the entire academic year.

This spring, out of necessity, we rapidly adapted in just two weeks a curriculum that had been designed to be taught in residence, and our faculty and students have done an extraordinary job in completing this semester. But the learning we have been doing for the conclusion of this current semester has been aptly described as “remote learning,” with its connotations not only of distance, but of degrees of separation and isolation. As we plan for next year, the task force and Curriculum Committee have focused on how we can build a curriculum that retains the essence and strength of our Sarah Lawrence education and that can be taught whether we are together on campus or disbursed globally (or a mixture of the two). The task force describes our approach as “Sarah Lawrence Live,” combining the central aspect of our Sarah Lawrence education—the real-time, close connection between students and faculty, wherever we are located—with the nimbleness and adaptability for which we are known, mediated by technology. Simply put, we are planning now for the fall semester in ways not afforded us in the present semester, and we are maximizing this opportunity to purposefully design and create this curriculum.

The College will soon share opportunities for current students to stay engaged over the summer, as well as new summer offerings for the class of 2024, designed to allow them to begin to build their Sarah Lawrence experience prior to the fall semester.

We will keep the community regularly updated as public health information allows us to make decisions, and we will make a determination about when we will return to residential education for the fall semester no later than July 1. If we have the confidence to make the determination earlier, we will do so.

Information for Students & Families

What are the plans for Commencement?

Our virtual undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies and conferral of degrees will take place on Friday, May 15. Our commencement speakers, as announced earlier this year, are Tonya Lewis Lee ’88 and Barbara Bowman ’50, and we will be conferring honorary degrees on Barbara Bowman and Sara Wilford ’72. Students should keep an eye on their SLC e-mail and visit the Commencement site on MySLC for important information leading up to May 15 to ensure they are able to participate in the ceremony and other senior week activities fully. We are looking forward to celebrating the Class of 2020!

Is any additional federal aid available for SLC students?

On March 27, the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide financial and other resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the CARES Act, each college and university has been allotted a fixed amount of emergency relief funds to be disbursed to students to offset needs and costs arising from the disruption caused by COVID. Such costs can include additional expenditures incurred for travel, instructional technology, room, board and tuition.

Sarah Lawrence College received $470,000 for grants to our students. The U.S. Education Department has instructed that the funds be disbursed to students enrolled this spring who typically would be eligible to apply for federal (Title IV) aid. We have received guidance that when possible the amount of individual payments should generally take into account existing information about the financial need of students and families as indicated by prior applications for financial aid. In spring 2020, there are 1,345 students who meet the eligibility criteria for CARES Act-funded grants. Based on students' previously expressed need for financial aid, the number of eligible enrolled students at SLC, and the total amount of funds available to the College, the grants to be paid to SLC students will range between $200 and $575.

Learn more

Pass/Fail grading for all spring 2020 undergraduate courses

The Committee on Student Work has been busy working on academic policies in light of COVID-19. On their strong, unanimous recommendation to the President and Provost, the College is moving to Pass/Fail for all undergraduate courses for Spring 2020. This includes classes taken on the Bronxville campus and off-campus study programs. Passing work means that a student has done work at a 'C' or better level, and all passed courses will be posted for full credit. Yearlong courses will be disaggregated into fall and spring sections.  The fall portion will be graded and assessed in the usual way. 

The College considered permitting students to choose the Pass/Fail option, but felt strongly that a college-mandated decision was the most equitable choice to level the playing field for students regardless of their living situations, family circumstance, access to technology, or disability. This is a moment to provide all students with equal access to completing a semester inherently fraught with innumerable obstacles.

A grade of pass is not calculated into a student's GPA, so it will not affect GPA negatively or positively. As always, courses in which students earn no credit are not recorded on official transcripts, and are not calculated in the GPA.

Some students applying for graduate/professional programs have expressed concern about Pass/Fail grades. We understand this concern but our assumption is that all reasonable graduate admissions programs will operate in good faith and be sensitive to disruptions to academic life caused by the global pandemic this spring. We anticipate that they will focus more on evaluations, writing samples, prior record, and letters of recommendations.​  However, we strongly recommend that you reach out to the admissions office of any graduate program that you are considering applying to so that you have updated information about their policy regarding grades and the spring 2020 term.

The NYSED Office of College and University Evaluation has approved the blanket use of Pass/Fail, so this decision will not impact financial aid eligibility or V.A. benefits.

Feel free to e-mail Dan Licht, Registrar, for other questions regarding grading/evaluations.

Graduate students will receive separate communications from their program directors on how their work will be evaluated.

Retrieving belongings left on campus (updated April 1)

On April 1, Dean Danny Trujillo e-mailed students who still have belongings remaining in their on campus residence. Since circumstances regarding COVID-19 in the College’s area have changed significantly since the time these students left for spring break, the following updates were provided:

  1. Given recent assessment regarding the increasing prevalence of the virus over the coming weeks, students will not be able to return to campus to collect their belongings at this time. This is in accordance with standing governmental travel restrictions and social distancing directives currently in place in many parts of the country. If you had provided dates to come to campus to collect your items in the next two weeks, you will need to postpone those plans. You will not be able to come to campus for at least the next three weeks. Once the situation in our region improves, we will work with you to find a time available for you to collect your belongings.
  2. Students should not be on campus for any reason, unless they have been provided permission to be present by Dean Danny Trujillo or Dean Paige Crandall.
  3. All student belongings have been secured in their rooms. Staff in the offices of Residence Life, Operations, and Campus Safety have walked through student areas to make sure student rooms are locked, as well as to discard perishable food and trash.

I am finding remote learning and my responsibilities at home challenging; how can I manage everything?

We encourage students to speak with their faculty members about how to manage their work for the remainder of the semester. Faculty are prepared to be flexible and to work with students, taking into consideration the different obstacles and conditions that may make it challenging for the students to either attend class or complete work. Faculty will help students determine what is sufficient work to receive a Pass for the semester.

If my internship site has ended my internship, can I still earn credit?

Since credit for internships is based on the academic work that is submitted for evaluation​, students can still earn credit if required academic work is completed. In some cases, the academic work originally proposed may need to be amended. Please speak with your faculty member to determine what you need to submit in order to earn credit.

Will refunds be given for room and meal plans?

The College has established a policy and process to facilitate prorated refunds for room and meal plans for the remainder of this semester. This policy applies to students on the Bronxville campus; similar guidelines for students studying in Sarah Lawrence abroad programs are currently being developed and will be communicated shortly to those students.

For full details as well as the steps to take to initiate a refund, please visit the Student Accounts page on MySLC.

I had a job on campus that I can no longer report to; will I still get paid?

Student employees are a valuable part of the Sarah Lawrence workforce. COVID-19 and its impact on the spring semester will prevent many students from continuing in their positions, and we understand that many of these students depend on this income. The College is committed to continuing, until the end of the semester, pay for students who were regularly employed during the spring semester; compensation for these students will be based on their average weekly hours prior to spring break. For more details on the College’s continuation of pay policy for student workers, visit the Student Employment page of MySLC.

Is the SLC Health & Wellness Center open for appointments?

SLC's Health & Wellness Center remains committed to supporting our students through the challenges we are all facing. Accordingly, we have arranged for SLC Counseling & Psychological Services and SLC Medical Services to continue working with students through telehealth appointments for the duration of the semester.

If any student would like to schedule a video consultation or a telephone call with an on-campus psychotherapist or medical clinician, please contact the Health & Wellness Center at 914.395.2350 or healthservices@sarahlawrence.edu and we will assist you in scheduling an appointment. Additionally, please remember that the My Student Support Program (MySSP) remains available to all SLC students free of charge, 24/7/365, from any location, regardless of insurance coverage.

How will I get my mail now that I'm off campus?

The College will begin forwarding all first-class mail on Monday, March 23. This includes first-class mail that is already in the mailboxes of students who have left campus.

If you are one of the few students remaining on campus due to a special circumstance, please make arrangements to pick up any packages from the campus post office as soon as possible. All other packages will be returned to the sender, as the couriers do not provide a forwarding service. Students who would like to request to have a package forwarded should contact the post office at postoffice@sarahlawrence.edu.

If your forwarding address has changed, please contact the post office at postoffice@sarahlawrence.edu as soon as possible to be sure that your mail is forwarded to the correct address. At this time, the College post office remains open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How does remote learning affect library policies?

In light of the College's move to remote learning through the rest of the spring semester, the Library will be suspending onsite access to library materials and services. The Library will continue to offer all library services through remote access where possible, will provide online Research Consultations, and will continue to place Interlibrary Loan requests for electronic articles only. (Please contact the ILL Department if you need a chapter from a book).

Books borrowed from the SLC Library collection will be renewed and due August 31, 2020; this may take some time so please ignore any overdue notices you may receive in the next two weeks. The Library will not be charging fines accrued after March 12. Recalls will also be suspended. Continue to renew your Interlibrary Loan books so that the lending libraries are notified of your renewal request. The Library will consider purchase requests for e-books. 

Please feel free to contact these Library departments with any questions:

I have a rented book from the bookstore, how can I return it?

To return a rented textbook, you can sign in to your bookstore account, print a pre-paid return label, and mail your textbook back to to the bookstore. Return policies have been adjusted to allow for slower return times, and you will not be charged for a late return. If you are unable to access your free return label using the link above, please send an e-mail to bookstore@sarahlawrence.edu with your name, phone number, email address, and the address from where you will ship your textbook. The bookstore will reply with a free shipping return label.

If you left a rented textbook in your residence hall and have not yet been able to retrieve your personal belongings, please send an email to bookstore@sarahlawrence.edu. In this case, you are asked to return your textbook once you are able to retrieve your personal belongings.

If you wish to convert your textbook rental to a purchase, please log in to your rental account to process that request. When purchasing a rented textbook, you will receive a full credit of the rental cost toward the purchase price.

Should you have other questions, please send an email to bookstore@sarahlawrence.edu.

Is the Writing Center available during remote learning?

Yes! Appointments will take place via FaceTime or Skype for the balance of the semester.

Daytime appointments can be made by e-mailing Kevin Pilkington or Carol Zoref.

Evening, weekend, and ESL appointments should be made by e-mailing writingcenter@sarahlawrence.edu. Someone will contact you to determine your communications preference and exchange contact information.

I'm a parent or family member of an SLC student, and I haven't been getting e-mails. How can I get them?

To ensure that you receive e-mails sent to parents and families, please take a moment to update your contact information using this form on the parents and families website. We will add you to our e-mail list just as soon as possible.

How will students be accounted for in the 2020 Census?

In general, students in colleges and universities temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus will still be counted as part of the census process. Even if students are home on census day, April 1, they should be counted according to the residence criteria, which states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time.

Per the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, in most cases students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information for Faculty

SLC Moves to Pass/Fail for All Spring 2020 Undergraduate Courses

The Committee on Student Work has been busy working on academic policies in light of COVID-19. On their strong, unanimous recommendation to the President and Provost, the College is moving to Pass/Fail for all undergraduate courses for Spring 2020. This includes classes taken on the Bronxville campus and off-campus study programs. Passing work means that a student has done work at a 'C' or better level, and all passed courses will be posted for full credit. Yearlong courses will be disaggregated into fall and spring sections.  The fall portion will be graded and assessed in the usual way. Faculty may begin posting fall grades on April 6th.

The College considered permitting students to choose the Pass/Fail option, but felt strongly that a college-mandated decision was the most equitable choice to level the playing field for students regardless of their living situations, family circumstance, access to technology, or disability. This is a moment to provide all students with equal access to completing a semester inherently fraught with innumerable obstacles.

Faculty are asked to write evaluations as they are best able with the information available from each student. In the absence of grades, narrative evaluations can be especially important for their future use should a student request a letter attesting to their academic work this spring. As always, faculty should not include a grade in the narrative evaluation.

The NYSED Office of College and University Evaluation has approved the blanket use of Pass/Fail, so this decision will not impact financial aid eligibility or V.A. benefits.

Feel free to e-mail Dan Licht, Registrar, for other questions regarding grading/evaluations.

Graduate students will receive separate communications from their program directors on how their work will be evaluated.

Campus Access Effective March 23

On March 20, Governor Cuomo announced that all organizations in New York must reduce their in-person workforces by 100%. Sarah Lawrence petitioned the State and has received an exemption for essential on-campus services including campus safety, maintenance, and business continuity functions. Only essential staff, as designated and documented by the Office of Human Resources, are permitted on campus at this time. All other employees are not permitted on campus, and must make arrangements to work remotely. For details on the College's COVID-19 workforce policies, please visit MySLC.

What online tools and resources are available to faculty for remote teaching?

A Remote Teaching Information Page has been set up on MySLC for faculty reference. Please bookmark that page for ease of use.

Sarah Lawrence's Online Meetings app is a version of Big Blue Button, a commonly used platform for synchronous learning at colleges and universities. Online Meetings is integrated into MySLC and the College's learning management system and is fully supported by Information Technology Services. It supports audio and video discussions for both small and large groups, screen-sharing, student-presenter capabilities, public/private chat features, breakout room capability, uploadable presentations, multi-user whiteboard, video URL streaming, and session recording.

If another platform (such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc.) works for you and your students you may use it. Faculty should refer to the Remote Teaching Information Page on MySLC for more information.

Will The Writing Center be available during remote learning?

The Writing Center will resume hours remotely on Monday, March 23. Appointments will take place via FaceTime or Skype for the balance of the semester.

Daytime appointments can be made by e-mailing Kevin Pilkington or Carol Zoref.

Evening, weekend, and ESL appointments should be made by e-mailing writingcenter@sarahlawrence.edu. Someone will contact you to determine your communications preference and exchange contact information.

Work-Related Packages at the Campus Post Office

Faculty members who have work-related packages at the College's Post Office should e-mail the Faculty Support Office with the package's tracking number, arrival date, and other relevant details along with their current mailing address. The Faculty Support Office will work with the Post Office staff to locate the work-related package and ship it to the faculty member's current address.

Information for Staff

Campus Access Effective March 23

On March 20, Governor Cuomo announced that all organizations in New York must reduce their in-person workforces by 100%. Sarah Lawrence petitioned the State and has received an exemption for essential on-campus services including campus safety, maintenance, and business continuity functions. Only essential staff, as designated and documented by the Office of Human Resources, are permitted on campus at this time. All other employees are not permitted on campus, and must make arrangements to work remotely. For details on the College's COVID-19 workforce policies, please visit MySLC.

How does our move to remote learning for the remainder of the semester affect staff?

The health, wellness, and safety of all employees is of paramount concern. The College is committed to supporting its employees through this crisis and adopting appropriate policies to do so. Policies specific to staff have been communicated via an e-mail from Danielle Coscia, Associate Vice Presidet for Human Resources, on March 16.

Important actions to take now

  • All staff members are urged to take basic preventative measures to avoid exposure to or infection by the COVID-19 virus.
  • Those who can increase their preparedness to work remotely should do so now. For example, employees may want to confirm their ability to log in remotely to access email and essential electronic files. Again, at this time, this is just preparation for a possible scenario; this is not a mandate or invitation to work remotely.
  • Staff members who have recently been in an area of high concern for COVID-19, which is being defined as a CDC Level 3 area, should contact the office of Human Resources and self-isolate as explained here.
  • Contact the Employee Assistance Program at 1.800.828.6025 for help with feelings of stress or anxiety.

Employees at higher risk

Employees who are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions are urged to consult their physician about steps they can take to protect their health. These steps may include requesting a temporary change in job location, hours, assignment, or duties, or implementation of additional protective measures to reduce their exposure to others or chances of being infected.

If an employee at risk for complications from COVID-19 and their physician agree that increased social distancing in the workplace is prudent, the employee should contact the Human Resources office to formally request a temporary change. Human Resources will confidentially evaluate the request, explore alternatives, and attempt to appropriately address the employee’s health concerns while maintaining the College’s operations. A doctor’s note may be required.

Except for employees who formally request a change in job circumstances due to underlying health conditions, employees will generally not be reassigned to new duties, locations, or roles or be provided with paid sick/release time solely to address concerns about the potential for COVID-19 infection.

Information for Prospective and Admitted Students & Families

Deposit Deadline for Admitted Students Extended

Sarah Lawrence College has been working individually with every member of the incoming class of 2024 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While individual attention is how we do things at Sarah Lawrence, the College has decided to extend the deposit deadline for incoming students to at least June 1 in order to compensate for the disruption we have all faced this spring.

Virtual Events for Admitted and Prospective Students

As part of an ongoing response to COVID-19, Sarah Lawrence College has temporarily suspended all in-person admission programming—but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to stop sharing our vibrant community of creative scholars with our admitted and prospective students. The Office of Admission has put together a range of programming for wherever students are in the college search process—check it out!