We welcome questions or comments via our comment portal.
Note: In mid-October the college established the calendar for the spring 2021 semester. Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom has asked students to declare their intention to enroll for the spring semester by Dec. 1. Classes will begin Feb. 17 and end May 19, with short, on-campus breaks in place of spring break and final exams taking place May 24-29. The college has also announced that winter varsity sports teams will not compete this year. As for the fall semester, the college is shifting from in-person to fully remote beginning on Nov. 22, after which all classes and exams will be held remotely.
Following are highlights of the college’s policies and procedures for the current fall semester. You can find answers to your questions in the Fall 2020 Guide for On-Campus Students, and on the Students & Families FAQ, Faculty FAQ, Staff FAQ, and Alumni & Visitors FAQ pages.
Please note that Williams’ plans are continually evolving based on the most recent information available from our public health partners. If the situation worsens significantly at any point, the college may be required to shut down.
How are classes being offered?
Faculty members have developed courses that blend in-person with remote instruction. Students studying remotely have full access to our courses (though not necessarily all sections). Students who return to campus may be joining classes remotely in order to manage class sizes, ensure social distancing and meet the needs of faculty for whom it’s not safe to return. For more details, see the Students & Families FAQ.
Who is on campus?
Students had the choice of returning to campus, studying remotely or taking a leave or gap year. With limited exceptions, and unless they are informed otherwise directly by their managers, staff should continue with their current remote arrangements until further notice. Faculty have the option of teaching their courses remotely, in-person or in a hybrid mode. Anyone on campus is expected to follow campus public health measures.
What public health measures are in place?
Everyone who returns to campus is required to wear a mask or face covering and to practice social distancing (at least six feet apart) in all public spaces. Masks are required in all indoor public spaces on campus, including classrooms, dining halls and the library. The college has distributed three reusable face coverings to all students, faculty and staff working on campus. Disposable masks are available in high-traffic areas.
Onsite Covid-19 testing is required for all students enrolled in-person twice per week. Weekly testing is required for faculty and staff in frequent and/or regular contact with other faculty, staff or students; those with occasional on-campus interactions are encouraged to get tested regularly. Faculty and staff working remotely are welcome to take part in weekly testing at the college. Aggregated testing results are available on the college’s Covid-19 dashboard.
The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is providing testing via a minimally invasive, self-administered nasal swab, conducted under observation by a trained professional. All testing is free.
More detailed information about health measures can be found on the Students & Families FAQ, Faculty FAQ and Staff FAQ pages. These measures incorporate safety protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We remain in close contact with these partners and our medical colleagues to evaluate conditions.
Faculty and staff members who are sick or experiencing Covid-like symptoms should not report to campus. Please call your healthcare provider to report any concerns.
Students enrolled in person who are sick or experiencing Covid-like symptoms should remain in their residences until they can be evaluated and treated or cleared by Student Health and Wellness Services via telemedicine. Health Services is not currently accepting walk-ins.
How is Williams ensuring cooperation with health and safety measures?
All faculty, staff and students have signed a commitment that affirms their understanding of procedures and policies, as well as their commitment to the Williams community. Copies have been sent to all faculty, staff and students. The college has undertaken an educational campaign to ensure expectations, and consequences for failure to meet those expectations, are clear and well-communicated.
Are campus buildings opening?
Please note that all Williams College buildings are closed to the public.
For the campus community, buildings are restricted to card access only. Buildings without card access have protocols in place that are clearly publicized at their locations and on their websites. Students have card access only to their individual residence halls.
Will there be athletic competition?
Williams varsity sports teams are not traveling or competing during the fall or winter seasons. Coaches are working with athletes on approved outdoor training activities. The fitness center and all indoor athletic facilities are closed and likely will remain closed throughout the fall semester. This means that students, including varsity athletes, do not have access to indoor athletic spaces (e.g., pool, squash courts, basketball courts, etc).
Decisions about spring varsity sports have not yet been made.
Have tuition, room and board changed to reflect all the changes on campus?
In recognition of the extraordinary circumstances and of this academic year and the uncertainty we face in the year ahead, the total cost of attendance has been reduced by 15%. Tuition, room, and board for the 2020-2021 academic year is $63,200. Family contributions for students receiving financial aid has been reduced by 15%. The Student Activities Fee has been eliminated for all students. Students who study remotely do not pay room and board for the time they’re not on campus.
For students receiving financial aid, Williams has waived the work-study contribution for the entire 2020-2021 academic year. We already eliminated this year’s summer earnings contribution and committed to an additional free summer. Learn more about how Williams’ generous financial aid program is supporting students in these extraordinary times in the Students & Families FAQ.
What about tours for prospective students?
In an effort to prioritize people’s health and safety, the college has made the difficult decision to close the campus to all visitors. We look forward to welcoming you back in person when it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, please explore Williams virtually.
What else is changing about Williams’ program and operations in the fall?
It’s important to remember that we don’t have all the forms of support on campus available during a conventional semester. We’re working diligently to ensure these limitations don’t disproportionately affect our vulnerable populations, especially. The Dean’s Office can help answer questions about support.
Answers to more specific questions can be found on the Students & Families FAQs, Faculty FAQs, Staff FAQs and Alumni & Visitors FAQs. You can narrow your search using the search bar at the top of any page. We will continue to post updates to this page and FAQs, which will include links to more detailed information.