Campus Pandemic Updates

Overview of campus information, decisions, and plans related to the COVID-19 pandemic

All of the Five College campuses are taking measures to ensure safe operations for students, faculty, and staff. Some of the related policies are highlighted on this page; specific policy information and expectations can be found on each campus' COVID-19 page.

This information is updated regularly. The last update was made on January 18, 2021.

On This Page

Status Update

Amherst College

Classes will begin on Monday, February 7 rather than originally scheduled for February 2. The first week of classes will be offered remotely, with in-person classes beginning on Monday, February 14. All community members who are eligible receive a COVID-19 booster shot no later than Tuesday, February 1, and those who are eligible are urged to receive the booster now. Those who are not eligible for a booster shot by that date will be required to receive it as soon as they are eligible. Students must register in advance for move-in, which will take place Sunday, January 30 through Friday, February 4. Students must arrive on campus when the Testing Center is open so they can take a test before proceeding to their residence hall, pending a negative result. Non-academic spaces, including Valentine dining, will operate at 50% capacity until further notice. KN95 masks must be worn in all indoor locations, except when an individual is alone in a private personal office or residence hall room with the door closed. Only visitors participating in the College’s testing protocol will be allowed to attend indoor campus events, though faculty, staff, and students from the Five Colleges who are participating in weekly testing at their home institutions may attend classes and certain other events on campus. Further details can be found here.

Hampshire College

All eligible students and employees are required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot by Monday, March 21. All students are strongly requested to test for COVID-19 within three days before their arrival on campus. Upon arrival on campus, every student will be tested as soon as possible and then twice a week during the first two weeks of the semester. Specific details about testing dates are available on the Hampshire intranet. The College is in the process of securing a supply of rapid tests for use by students and employees who need them during isolation or other purposes. They are expected to be available soon. Until at least January 31, there will be no on-site food service allowed at events and activities (grab-and-go is acceptable). Dining Commons seating will be limited to one person per table, and the Kern Kafé and Bridge Café will offer only grab-and-go food. Masks are recommended to be worn at all public spaces indoor and outdoor. It is recommended that you obtain supplies of KN95 masks to use while on campus. The College has a supply of KN95 or better masks that can be provided to close contacts who do not have these masks. No off-campus guests are permitted in student residences until February 28. Further details can be found here.

Mount Holyoke College

All eligible students and employees are required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot effective Monday, January 24. All students are expected to get a COVID-19 test as close to departure as possible and to receive the results of the test prior to arriving on campus. By that date, all eligible individuals should have received the booster or must do so within 30 days of becoming eligible. There will be a booster clinic on campus on Saturday, January 29. There will be a shift to remote teaching and learning for the first two weeks of classes and will return to in-person classes on Monday, February 7. On-site PCR testing will be required for students and employees working on campus regularly. Community members are requested to wear face coverings that consist of at least three layers (KN95 preferred). The only exception is for those masks specifically designed for accessibility purposes (e.g. accessible masks with clear panels that facilitate lip-reading in classrooms; these will also be provided). The College will provide KN95 masks to students and employees who need them via the testing center.

Smith College

Upon returning to campus, students will immediately take a PCR test and self-quarantine until their first negative result. Classes, which begin on January 24, will be held remotely for the first week of the spring semester. This spring, the campus will operate in one of four modes (green, yellow, orange or red) that range from least to most restrictive. Effective immediately, the campus is operating in blue mode (“arrival mode”). On Monday, January 31, the campus will move from blue mode to one of the four operating modes described above, depending on pandemic conditions. All vaccinated students, staff and faculty will be required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot within 30 days of becoming eligible starting on Friday, January 21. All students must be back on campus by Saturday, January 22, at the latest and should register their arrival date as soon as their plans are confirmed. Masking remains mandatory on campus at all times when students or employees are not alone, with the door closed, in their own individual rooms or offices or eating. The College now strongly encourages surgical or KN95/KF94 masks. Surgical masks and KN95 masks will continue to be available at the testing center. Further details can be found here.

UMass Amherst

All eligible faculty and staff are required to get a vaccine booster. Employees are eligible to receive release time to get their booster shot and are also entitled to time off due to any vaccination side effects. All students are expected to undergo an advance COVID-19 test between 10 and 14 days prior to the start of spring classes on Tuesday, January 25. Students were given mail-in COVID testing kits upon departure from campus and will need to mail it back to the campus before returning. All students will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. The indoor face covering requirement will remain in effect for the rest of the fall semester and will be reviewed prior to the spring semester.


All consortium campuses are requiring students and employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, with exceptions allowed for health and religious reasons. See the links below for individual campus policies.


All consortium campuses are requiring that masks be worn indoors unless an individual is alone in an office. Policies on outdoor mask requirements vary. See the links below for individual campus policies.


All four college campuses are requiring regular testing of all students and employees; UMass is requiring testing only of those who are not vaccinated, though testing is readily available for all. See the links below for individual campus policies.

Campus Access

While students and faculty members from each Five College campus are allowed access to the classroom facilities of other Five College campuses, each campus has its own policies on access to other campus resources. Click the links below for full campus visit policies.


Click the links below for policies regarding campus members traveling outside the state and abroad.

Meetings and Events

The campuses may have restrictions on event capacity or attendees. General information on campus events can be accessed using the links below.