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Guidelines for the Fall 2020 Return to Campus

Dear Students,

We are planning a return to campus for the fall 2020 trimester and we are excited to welcome you back to Bentley.

The health and safety of our learning community has been paramount in our decision-making as we plan for the fall, and we believe that with new guidelines and precautions in place, we can deliver a high-quality educational experience and provide exemplary student services in a way that gives each student flexible options to achieve their educational goals.

The campus will undoubtedly look different than in the past, but the changes have been designed to protect all members of the Bentley community – students, faculty and staff. It will be our collective responsibility to make sure that we protect ourselves and one another by following face-covering requirements and directional signs in campus buildings and by practicing safe physical distancing, in addition to the many thoughtful guidelines we’ve instituted across campus.

The information below provides a summary of our return-to-campus plans to date. Please know that we will continue to update and expand upon these guidelines in the days and weeks ahead as we closely monitor local, state and federal COVID-19 developments, which may impact certain details and protocols.

Plan Summary

  • Classes will begin, as scheduled, on Monday, August 31.
  • We will reopen our residence halls, prior to classes beginning, with new protocols to reduce density, minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and provide additional space for isolation, if needed. Details on move-in dates will be shared soon.
  • We will take unprecedented precautions in dining, residence halls, classrooms, offices and all campus spaces to promote healthy distancing and high sanitation standards.
  • We will provide flexibility for students to attend classes in person, remotely or a combination of both. 
  • For the health and safety of all community members, we will provide faculty the flexibility to teach classes in the modality they are most comfortable.
  • The Boston Marathon, previously rescheduled for a planned state holiday on September 14, 2020, has been canceled. The university and academic calendars have been amended. Classes will be held and offices will be open.
  • The traditional October break will be canceled in order to maximize classroom instruction time before Thanksgiving.
  • After Thanksgiving break, all classes will be conducted remotely through the end of the fall 2020 trimester. The residence halls will not reopen for the remainder of the fall trimester. The Residential Center will communicate those details shortly.
  • All residential students will undergo a comfortable COVID-19 test upon arrival and periodically thereafter throughout the fall trimester. The university will cover the costs of these screening tests.
  • At all times, face coverings will be required outdoors and inside all buildings, including in classrooms, administrative offices and common spaces of residence halls.
  • We are in continued discussions with the NCAA and NE-10 Conference to determine plans for the fall athletics season. Additional information on athletics will be provided as available.

These elements are just some of the components of our detailed plan. Additional details about housing, dining, classrooms and testing plans are included below.

Keep in mind our newly introduced trimester system will allow students the flexibility to study in any combination of the fall, spring and summer trimesters in order to personalize their approach to the year ahead. And because of the strains of this unprecedented time, we are offering all undergraduate students the opportunity to take up to 15 courses over the three trimesters for the cost of 10. See our trimester FAQs page for more information on this valuable benefit.

You and your family will undoubtedly have questions about Bentley’s plans for this fall and what it means for your educational journey. We will continue to provide details and answer frequently asked questions on the Back to Bentley website. We will also hold virtual town hall meetings in the weeks ahead to share details and to answer your questions. Virtual town hall meetings will be held on Monday, July 6 and Tuesday, July 7 at 5:00 p.m. and will be recorded for those unable to attend. An email with registration links and a question submission form will be sent later today.   


On-Campus Housing
On-campus housing will be open to students this fall with limits on residence hall density. To promote physical distancing, all residence halls will be limited to single- and double-occupancy bedrooms. Suites and apartments will allow regular occupancy, with roommates in each being treated as a family unit. Restrictions will be placed on visitors or guests inside of residence halls.

Face coverings will be required in the residence halls in all common spaces outside of personal rooms, apartments and suites.

In the event a student tests positive for COVID-19, the student will be required to follow protocols established to isolate themselves. These protocols require that students participate in classes remotely, if their health allows, for the isolation period and move out of their housing assignment to self-isolate, returning home if possible. Roommates or suitemates of students who test positive will be required to be tested for COVID-19, self-quarantine and follow recommendations by the university.

To protect our community, students who live in residence halls will be required to follow guidelines to promote responsible physical distancing and cleaning. Those guidelines can be found here. If you have completed your housing selection and assignment for this year, you are required to read and electronically sign the COVID-19 Housing and Meal Plan Contract Addendum and Public Health-Informed Policies in the Housing Portal by July 8 at 4 p.m. ET. Signing this addendum lets us know that you understand and agree with the new polices and plan to reside in campus housing this fall. If you have changed your mind and no longer wish to live on campus this fall, please complete the Contract Release form by the same date, July 8.

To avoid the risk of students returning to campus with COVID-19 after Thanksgiving, all classes will be held remotely when classes resume following the break. The residence halls will not reopen for the remainder of the fall trimester, and the Residential Center will communicate the details shortly.

Students will receive a separate email from the Residential Center with additional details. If you have questions, please email or call 781-891-2148.

Dining Services
Food at the 921 Dining Hall and other on-campus locations will be served in disposable containers with available seating in most dining locations. To achieve proper physical distancing, the dining venues will have fewer seats, and seating may be created in other locations within the building to accommodate overflow.

The Grubhub food ordering app will be available for students to pre-order meals at on-campus dining locations with the exception of Dunkin’, who have their own app. Grubhub will be loaded with students’ meal plan details, and students can spend their Falcon Funds and discretionary funds on campus utilizing the Grubhub app.

Classrooms have been updated this summer with additional technology to support a hybrid learning environment. Hybrid classes will allow some students to attend class in person, while others participate remotely in real time. Some classes will be conducted in a fully online setting, with faculty and students participating in real time for remote teaching and learning.  And some additional courses will be offered in a fully online asynchronous – not live – format, which allows students, particularly those participating from distant time zones, to access the class lessons at a time of their choosing.

Classrooms, learning labs and centers are in the midst of being modified to allow for appropriate physical distancing. Sanitizing supplies will be provided in all classrooms, and classrooms and classroom buildings will receive enhanced cleaning every day. As an extra precaution, students are expected to wipe down their desk and chair at the conclusion of each class.

Students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings in the classroom. If a student is required to isolate or quarantine off campus or in their campus residence, they will be able to continue their coursework remotely.

COVID-19 Testing
All residential students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 by the university when they arrive on campus and then regularly thereafter. The university will pay for all costs associated with this routine screening for residential students. Testing protocols for non-residential students attending classes in person on campus are being developed. We will share more about the operation of our testing plan in the weeks ahead.


Additional preparations are underway, so please check often for updates. And we encourage you to join us for the virtual town halls next week.

Our campus has not been the same without you, and we are all looking forward to seeing you again.

Paul Condrin
Chair of the Board of Trustees


Donna Maria Blancero, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


Andrew Shepardson, PhD
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students