Policies & Protocols for Five Colleges, Incorporated, during the COVID-19 Outbreak (effective 10 March 2020)

The health and welfare of our entire Five College community is our paramount concern, and we will comply with all orders issued by the CDC and local public health authorities.

Our goal at Five Colleges, Incorporated (FCI) is to maintain our operations in as stable a fashion as possible in order to support the campuses in their shared functions during the outbreak.

To that end, FCI will follow the policies and protocols below until and unless instructed to do otherwise by the CDC, public health authorities, or our Board of Directors.

FCI Staff
FCI staff (those on the payroll of the Corporation rather than the campuses) will be expected to abide by FCI personnel policies, including remote working policies, travel guidelines, and travel reporting mechanisms.  In brief:

  • Staff are expected to report to work as scheduled until further notice. The Leadership Team and essential hourly staff have the capability to work remotely should they be assigned to do so (or in the event of quarantine). Staff who are sick should stay home.
  • FCI staff are expected to follow CDC travel guidelines and to exercise caution and good judgment regarding both international and domestic travel that have not been explicitly called out in those guidelines.
  • Staff are encouraged to report all travel to the Executive Director, the Director of Operations, and their supervisor. Staff are not expected or encouraged to register their travel with the campus registration systems, as these systems are intended for campus employees.
  • Staff questions about these policies and their interpretation should be addressed to the Executive Director.

97 Spring Street
FCI will treat FCI headquarters (Five College Center) at 97 Spring Street as a functionally independent space from the Amherst campus, governed by FCI policies, unless instructed by Amherst College to alter our operations. We have implemented additional cleaning protocols for our meeting spaces and may consider suspending food operations, but have not done so at this point.

Other FCI-occupied spaces (including 79 S. Pleasant Street on the Amherst College campus and the spaces occupied by FCI staff and programs on the other campuses) will abide by policies of those campuses regarding events and visitors. FCI employees in these spaces are under FCI personnel policies, but we will attempt to align our expectations for these employees with the campuses on which they work. We are currently ensuring that all non-hourly staff have the ability to work remotely should the need arise. We are also preparing to provide work space at 97 Spring Street for those FCI staff who cannot work remotely, in the event that they cannot work in their currently assigned space.

See below for further information on the Center for World Languages.

FCI-sponsored events that are taking place in campus facilities will abide by that campus’ rules and restrictions regarding events (e.g., cancelling events or limiting attendance).

As noted above, 97 Spring Street will function as a stand-alone facility and follow FCI guidelines. As of now, meetings may continue to be scheduled at 97 Spring Street, within the capacity of our conference rooms.  We will continue to provide Zoom as an option for meeting attendees who are unable to attend in person, as per our usual procedures.

Plans for FCI-sponsored events that take place at locations other than one of the campuses will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Meeting and event organizers may be asked to provide information on the essentialness of the meeting, the number of attendees, and the feasibility of rescheduling or moving to a remote-meeting option. 

Center for World Languages Classes
We are currently building the capability to offer remote versions of the language courses offered by the Center. We are striving to abide by the various campus policies, and aim to make a remote version of each of the affected sections available as soon as possible, though full conversion may not be ready until after spring break. We will prioritize remote access for students and instructors from campuses that have moved their own curricula to on-line modes.

Update on 12 March 2020, effective immediately:  In keeping with newly released Amherst College guidelines, no in-person student meetings or classes will be held at 79 S. Pleasant Street and no Center for World Languages classes will be held in-person at other locations on the Amherst College campus.  Center staff and instructors who need to meet with students may do so at the 97 Spring Street building if remote options are not yet available - watch for instructions from Center staff or from your instructor.  Center staff may continue to report to work at 79 S. Pleasant Street until further notice.  Students and instructors with questions should contact the Center at fclang@fivecolleges.edu or 413-542-5264.