Campus pandemic updates

A photo montage of the Five College campuses

All of the Five College campuses have announced preliminary plans for the spring semester. SmithHampshireAmherst and Mount Holyoke will offer a mix of in-person and online instruction. At UMass, only those courses that require in-person instruction will be taught on campus, with all other courses only available remotely. 

All campus plans may evolve based on the course that the pandemic takes in coming months; check back here or on the campus websites for updates. 


Student arrival dates, expected population

Spring term begins Feb. 15, and ends May 5, 2021. Students on campus: approximately 1,200.

Spring term begins Feb. 1, and ends April 29, 2021. Number of students on campus: approximately 450.

Mount Holyoke:
Spring term (Mod 1) begins Jan. 19, and ends May 7, 2021 (Mod 2)Number of students on campus:approximately 800.

Spring term begins Feb. 15 and ends May 14, 2021Number of students on campus: approximately 1,100-1,200. 

Spring term begins Feb. 1 and ends May 4, 2021Number of students on campus: approximately 5,600 undergrads.

Health and safety 

Students, and everyone on campus, will be required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing on our campuses and in our communities. In-person courses will limit students to allow for social distancing in the classroom. Many courses in the fall will be taught outside. Health guidelines and rules on such things as hand washing will be widely distributed.  TOP

Student behavior

Each campus will have students sign an agreement to maintain proper health and safety protocols on campus and in our communities. Those who don’t will face a range of disciplinary actions that include suspension. TOP

Testing, tracing, quarantining

Testing and quarantining: All students returning to campus will be tested upon arrival, with the expectation that they will then self-quarantine for up to two weeks (unless the state allows those who test negative to be cleared from quarantine). Students will then be regularly tested throughout the fall semester, within the below regimens. In addition, faculty and staff who will be working on campus will also be regularly tested. 

Amherst: twice weekly

Hampshire: weekly

Mount Holyoke: twice weekly

Smith: twice weekly

UMass: twice weekly for students living on campus or accessing campus

Students living on campus who test positive will be isolated on campus with meals and other necessities brought to them, and staff monitoring their health. On-campus students who have come in contact with students who test positive will be quarantined on campus. All five campuses have identified housing for isolating and quarantining all on-campus students.

Contact tracing: The health services directors from the five campuses are meeting weekly to discuss shared training, mutual support and other collaborations in support of contact tracing--determining who may have come in contact with people who have tested positive, and being sure those people quarantine themselves. TOP

COVID Dashboards

Amherst College 
Hampshire College
Mount Holyoke College
Smith College
UMass Amherst
Cooley Dickinson Hospital
State of Massachusetts

Plans for the academic year 

Amherst: Spring term begins on Feb. 1, 2021 (with in-person instruction and activities beginning Feb. 8) and ends on May 5, 2021. Approximately 1,200 students will be allowed on campus in the spring, with priority given to seniors, juniors, first-years, and transfer students, as well as those students in the sophomore class whose home circumstances impede their academic progress. Courses will, once again, be offered as a mixture of in-person and online instruction, at the discretion of the instructor. 

Hampshire: Spring term begins on Feb. 2, 2021 and ends on April 29, 2021. Approximately 525 students are expected to return to campus; a number that is less than half of the campus' capacity. Courses will be available in person and remotely. 

Mount Holyoke: Spring term (Mod 1) begins on January 19, 2021 and ends on May 7, 2021 (Mod 2). All students who wish to live on campus are invited to apply to do so (up to 60% of the student body, or approximately 1,300 students). Courses will continue to be delivered through Flexible Immersive Teaching (FIT).

Smith College: Spring term begins on Feb. 15, 2021 and ends on May 14, 2021. More details to be released soon.

UMassSpring term begins on Feb. 1, 2021 and ends on May 4, 2021First-year, transfer and international students; students with mandatory face-to-face classes; students dependent on UMass for housing and dining, as well as students requiring specific academic accommodations or those participating in athletics are invited to live on campus (approximately 60% of the typical residential population). The majority of teaching will be fully remote (limited face-to-face instruction will occur).


Examples of campus collaboration

A wide variety of administrators from the five campuses are meeting regularly to share information and planning ideas. The presidents and chancellor meet weekly, as do the provosts, health services directors, and representatives of each campus’s COVID-19 response team. Representatives from the five campuses, as well as Greenfield Community College and Holyoke Community College, meet every few weeks with their state legislative delegation. Representatives from the five campuses have begun meeting with business leaders from South Hadley, Amherst, Hadley and Northampton. TOP

Cooley Dickinson Hospital capacity

Representatives of our campuses and Cooley Dickinson Hospital at many levels have met this summer, including a meeting of our presidents and chancellor with the hospital’s CEO and chief medical officer. Cooley Dickinson reports that it has run a wide variety of models to test its capacity to handle a surge in COVID-19 cases, including models in which it has 50 percent more cases that it had during the spring surge. As a result, hospital staff are confident that they are well prepared for the return of students. Hospital and campus representatives will continue regular communication. TOP

Childcare Resources

Five Colleges is working with our campuses to identify childcare resources for parents in our community. Please return to this page regularly for updates.
In the meantime, has made available a resource guide to help parents and caregivers manage many of the new scenarios, including how to find a tutor or private school teacher, planning for school safety, balancing work and family life, and more. 
Campus resources: Amherst College

 Updated January 19, 2021