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Spring 2021 Move-In Update

Dear Students,

As we conclude our fall term, we are continuing to plan to ensure we can repeat our fall successes in the spring.

While the long-term news of a vaccine is positive and there is hope on the horizon, the immediate trends in Massachusetts and across the nation are unfortunately not as positive, with significantly higher case rates compared to the start of the fall. Students will be returning to Waltham from across the country and around the world, and to ensure the health and safety of all, we need a more deliberate process in place to receive students, run arrival tests, and isolate and quarantine positive cases before they enter the residential population. We are making some adjustments to the start of the spring term to ensure a safe environment when we reopen the campus in January.

Analysis of COVID-19 transmission and infection rates have convinced us that we need to start the residential portion of the trimester more slowly and carefully. Classes will begin remotely on time on Tuesday, January 19, but there will be a gradual move-in process for residential students along with a delay to the start of in-person instruction and access to campus for non-residential students.

We are continuing to finalize details for the spring, but before the winter break, I want to share with you what we know:

  • Classes will begin remotely on January 19 with hybrid instruction anticipated to begin on February 1.
  • Residential student move-in will occur during the weeks of January 18 and January 25.
  • We will have specific arrival times to make sure that all students can be screened immediately when they arrive. Move-in will be every other day to ensure we can manage any isolation or quarantine issues that are necessary. The residential center will email residential students with more details this week.
  • All residential students, including those from Massachusetts, will be required to have a negative result from a molecular (PCR) test administered in the 72 hours before their scheduled move-in time. We will send more details about this requirement to students in January.
  • Upon arrival to campus, students will be screened, just like in the fall.
  • Non-residential students will not have access to campus until February 1, except for participation in the screening testing program. We will email more details about this in January.
  • Non-residential students should pay close attention to Massachusetts requirements for pre-arrival testing.
  • All students (residential and non-residential) who wish to access campus will be required to participate in the screening test program on a weekly basis. Those screening appointments (for the entire trimester) must all be scheduled before the trimester begins. Failure to do so may result in the inability to access or live on campus.
  • As a reminder, all students wishing to access campus must comply with all Massachusetts health and vaccine requirements. Details of this mandate were shared in an email on December 14 with directions on how to upload documents into the Medicat Student Health Portal.

I know these changes once again upend your planning for the spring term, adding more uncertainty in a time when we want to know what will happen next. However, our goal remains the same—first keeping our community healthy and safe, followed by as close to normal operations as possible.

We will continue to communicate with you over the break and keep you up to date as plans evolve. Be sure to check your emails regularly during that time.

As always, thank you for your patience and resilience. We will continue to make our way through this together.

Dean Shepardson

Spring 2021 Guidelines