Policies & Protocols for Five Colleges, Incorporated, during the COVID-19 Outbreak (updated 2 June 2021)

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.

In addition, Five Colleges has developed a COVID-19 Control Plan as a guide for staff members returning to their offices. 

Please consult this page for updates to policies and procedures.

Five College Directors Update
This is an overview of campus information, decisions and plans regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

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:

  • All FCI staff are working remotely (as of March 16th, 2020) and are expected to report to work (remotely) as scheduled until further notice.
  • Staff questions about these policies and their interpretation should be addressed to the Executive Director.

In-Person Meetings & Gatherings

Updated June 9, 2021

We anticipate offering limited in-person meeting space at the Five College Library Annex as of October 1, 2021. Details about priorities for use, how to reserve the space, and the resources/services available within the facility will be released by August 1, 2021.

Campus-based facilities at Amherst College (such as the Burn Room and Dining Room at 97 Spring Street) are not currently available for in-person meetings. The campus has not yet announced when its spaces may be available for such uses.


Updated July 6, 2021

As of July 1, 2021, FCI-sponsored domestic travel is permitted with supervisor approval, unless otherwise restricted by CDC, Massachusetts, or campus travel orders. Travel should be limited to occasions when the work is essential and cannot be effectively performed remotely.

FCI staff are expected to follow federal and state travel guidelines, as well as exercise caution and good judgment when traveling. FCI staff who are required to quarantine due to travel orders and cannot perform their duties during the mandated quarantine must use accrued paid time off to cover their absence.

As of August 1, 2021, FCI-sponsored international travel is allowed to some countries. Travel should be limited to occasions when the work is essential and cannot be effectively performed remotely. Travel requests must be submitted to a supervisor in writing. Case-by-case determinations will be made based on CDC travel recommendations and the CDC/U.S. Department of State travel advisory levels. Decisions are subject to change as changing pandemic conditions warrant


There are no FCI restrictions on personal travel. FCI encourages staff to continue observing current regulations and safety precautions whenever traveling. 


Updated June 2, 2021

FCI recognizes that vaccines are one of the most effective methods for creating a safe work environment and for reducing risk of COVID-19 infection, and that large-scale vaccination among FCI staff will support FCI’s work and the goals of the campuses that we all support. In order to ensure that FCI staff are able to perform their work with minimal restrictions and to move freely among our member campuses, FCI’s vaccination expectations will be shaped by the most restrictive policies of the campuses. As a result, FCI will require all eligible members of the FCI staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by August 1, 2021. Staff will be asked to show proof of vaccination (or to certify an appropriate medical or religious exemption) in a confidential manner; FCI does not intend to store copies of vaccination records. Employees should note that campuses may require some FCI staff to comply with site-specific and/or role-specific policies, which may be based on vaccination status. In addition, this vaccination requirement may be extended to approved COVID-19 booster vaccines.

Vaccination certification procedure

In a confidential 1:1 meeting with FCI’s human resources director, employees will be asked to show their original vaccination card. The FCI human resources director will examine the card and record that the employee has presented it. FCI will not make any copies of the card. For more information, review this document on how FCI staff can schedule an appointment to comply with the policy.

Vaccinated employees provide protection for themselves, their workplace, and their community. It is our expectation that all FCI employees will be vaccinated. However, an exemption to this policy may be granted for medical or religious reasons. Requests for medical or religious exemptions will be reviewed and accommodated on a case-by-case basis. FCI staff who believe they qualify for an exemption should first review how to comply with the policyand then complete the Vaccination Certification form, along with the appropriate medical exemption or religious exemption form by July 15, 2021. These forms have been updated and are available on the FCI For Staff page(Updated July 6, 2021)

Campus Access

Updated June 2, 2021

Most FCI staff are still working completely remotely. FCI employees’ access to FCI’s campus-based workspaces (such as 97 Spring Street at Amherst College or the Music & Dance Building at Hampshire College) must be requested and authorized by the Executive Director, or her designee.


Requests for access to a campus location should be directed to Shonda Pettiford, Director of Operations (spettiford@fivecolleges.edu).

Flexible Schedules & Remote Work

Updated June 2, 2021

As plans are being shaped for when and how FCI employees return to the workplace after the pandemic, options for flexible or hybrid arrangements are being considered. More information is forthcoming.


Updated September 13, 2021

FCI staff who are authorized to work onsite are expected to follow the masking guidelines of the campus(es) they access.

Current masking policies can be found on each campus's COVID-19 page. See FCI's campus pandemic updates for the latest.

Amherst College currently requires KN95 masks or doubled disposable masks "in classrooms and other academic spaces that are operating at 100% capacity." The only FCI space considered to be an academic space is the Five College Center for World Languages. KN95 masks are available at 79 S. Pleasant St. and should be worn by staff and students while in that space. Additional KN95 masks are available for staff working in other spaces who opt to use this type of mask.