Fall 2020: Plans & Information

Guided by the twin priorities of safeguarding the health and wellness of our community and our fundamental commitment to provide an excellent and equitable education, President Judd has announced a return to campus this fall with a significantly reduced population of students, faculty, and staff, a mix of in-person and online instruction, and strict adherence to a set of safety protocols.

Recent Communications

July 14: DHS Rescinds Policy Update on International Students

Dear Sarah Lawrence international students,

I'm writing with good news! As you may have already heard, today the Department of Homeland Security  that sought to limit online learning for international students. As of now, the policy will revert to the emergency updates put into place in March, and we will continue to pay close attention to any changes that may arise in the coming weeks. 

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to me.

Best,

Shirley Be
Assistant Dean of Studies/Director of International Admission and Advising

July 8: Update on New DHS Policies and Information Regarding Fall Planning

Dear SLC Community,

In less than two months we will begin classes. There are many logistics to work out as we consider nearly every aspect of how we prepare and begin the semester and as we finalize important details, we will bring them to your attention with email digests highlighting updated information, of which this is the first. Included in this digest is new information about courses and housing, responses to questions and concerns, and information about ways we will be seeking input from students, faculty, and staff relating to fall planning. However, I must begin by addressing new and pressing concerns facing our international students.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued new temporary rules that prohibit international students from staying in the United States if they are enrolled in an American college or university that implements online-only instruction. These punitive new rules single out our international students in ways that are antithetical to Sarah Lawrence’s mission and values.

Sarah Lawrence extends beyond campus boundaries. The perspective offered by our international students and global population are fundamental to the College, and these new DHS policies target specific members of our community, compounding an already frightening and uncertain time. The College is working with its peers and advocacy groups—including the and the —to make clear the deleterious effects of these new rules and to urge Congress to rescind them. Robust opposition and lawsuits have already been filed seeking both a temporary and permanent injunction.

Even as we work to have these policies rescinded, our present understanding is that most of our international students may be less directly impacted because the College is pursuing a hybrid form of education this fall.

While most of our classes will convene online, there will be opportunities for international students to participate in individual or small group in-person, on-campus instruction. At this moment, based on the current wording of the policies (for which little guidance has been offered):

  • First year international students who reside on or commute to campus and participate in First Year Studies classes and/or other conference work in person appear to satisfy these policies.

  • We believe we will be able to work with sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate international students who live on campus or commute to campus to participate in available in-person instruction in satisfaction of these policies.

  • Our understanding is that international students who choose to stay in their home country and participate in online learning will be able to do so without interruption. We do not know yet the implications of such online study from abroad for F-1, I-20, and OPT status.

  • The regulations appear to preclude international students domiciled in the US from studying exclusively online. For example, an international student who intends to live in Los Angeles this fall and take classes only online would not meet the acceptable threshold this policy implicates and would be subject to deportation. This provision is particularly egregious as it takes no account of the fact, amidst the global pandemic, that the most prudent or practical option for a student may be to remain where they currently are living. 

As this list makes clear, this policy holds international students to a different standard than American students, lacks any clear educational rationale or benefit, and treats international students differentially based on nothing other than their location. Much is uncertain at this time; we will continue to press for answers for our students and to vigorously advocate for policies that do not discriminate against members of our community on any basis, including their country of origin.

We have scheduled a Q&A session for international students on Friday, July 10, at 10 a.m. ET. Please be on the lookout for a follow-up email invitation. In addition, the College will extend the July 8 housing form deadline for international students to July 11 to allow for greater clarity regarding potential changes to plans for international students in light of these new regulations. As a reminder, international students are one of the groups that have been prioritized for on-campus housing this fall.

Additional Updates for Students

Fall program offerings
In recent Q&A sessions as well as through questions and comments by many students, we heard that more information regarding program-specific plans for the fall semester would be helpful. Program directors and faculty have put together thoughtful descriptions of their plans for the fall. See this FAQ for links to discipline-specific information.

Opportunities for input
As the College continues to plan and finalize logistics for the fall, we will be reaching out to faculty, students, and staff for input on a number of topics such as online course registration. Q&A sessions will be scheduled in the coming weeks with the first year, sophomore, junior, and senior classes to create additional opportunities for dialogue, connection, and space for listening regarding ongoing planning; please be on the lookout for follow-up invitations.

Resources for off-campus housing
We are continuing to build resources for those seeking to live near campus. An FAQ has been added with new information regarding off-campus housing options, specifically nearby hotels.

Between these regular communications, please check our website for updates, which are now flagged as “new.” I look forward to our meetings in the coming weeks as we work together to prepare for the fall 2020 semester.

Yours,

Cristle
president@gladecastle.com

June 30: President Judd's Full Letter to Students and Families

Dear Members of the Sarah Lawrence Community,

I am writing today to outline plans for the fall semester, which I know you have been eagerly awaiting. I thank you for your patience and confidence as we worked to plan the best and safest fall semester possible. Guided by the twin priorities of safeguarding the health and wellness of our community and our fundamental commitment to provide an excellent and equitable education, we will return to campus this fall with a significantly reduced population of students, faculty, and staff, a mix of in-person and online instruction, and strict adherence to a set of safety protocols.

Fall 2020 Plan Summary
2020欧洲杯体育外围网站The primary action that makes being on campus possible—and best protects our community from COVID-19—is a de-densification of our campus population. As a result, our fall semester will look and feel unlike any semester before it. Not all students will be able to live in residence halls. Not all faculty and staff will be on campus. Gatherings will be limited, and safety protocols numerous. Many painful decisions have been made, and many sacrifices lie ahead. But so too lies ahead an opportunity to come together again in the best way possible in this moment.

Instruction:

  • Fall semester classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, September 7. Details regarding registration and move-in will be forthcoming.
  • To deliver the most equitable experience to all students regardless of location, classes (seminars and lectures) will convene online when meeting as a full class, with this primary exception:
    • First-Year Studies courses, and other first-year programming, will strive to meet in person when/if possible; such in-person interactions will also have an online option for students not on campus.
  • Some small groups (e.g., breakout sessions from seminars and lectures, independent studies, and group and individual conferences) may meet in person, observing physical distancing, with online options also available.
  • Graduate classes will convene both in-person and online; further information will follow from each individual program.
  • All instruction will be fully online after Thanksgiving break.
    • Any student who leaves campus for Thanksgiving will be required to remain off campus for the rest of the semester.

2020欧洲杯体育外围网站Faculty have spent the last few months thoughtfully planning our curriculum to ensure that our experience this fall will be much different than the last weeks of the spring semester, which allowed limited time for such planning in the midst of an emerging crisis. In addition, class schedules for the fall have been expanded to contain new blocks, including Saturdays, and greater flexibility to work across time zones, and our Information Technology department is actively expanding technological resources and support to aid in online instruction.

The 2020-21 course catalogue is now online, with courses continually added, and I encourage you to check it out.

Housing:
We made some false starts this summer with our housing process and lottery, for which I apologize. As our plans for the fall semester evolved, it became clear that the availability of housing and our process for this year had to change.

After careful consideration, and a determination to significantly reduce our housing density on campus, housing for the fall semester will be as follows:

  • The following students will be provided with a single-occupancy room in an assigned residence hall, should they wish to live on campus:
    • First-year and incoming transfer students
    • Resident Advisors
    • Students with a demonstrated hardship (e.g., those who have home situations that make online learning nearly impossible or international students who were unable to return to their home countries)
  • Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may enter a lottery for fall housing should any rooms remain.
  • Students who choose to live off-campus in proximity to the College will have access to campus in accordance with strict safety protocols. Students may wish to consider off-campus housing as an option that will provide continuity across the entire academic year.
  • Students who elect to conduct their semester online fully away from campus will not be disadvantaged in terms of curricular opportunities. No student will be required to live on or near campus, nor will they be required to come to campus for any purpose.
Campus Life:
  • There will be no athletic competitions in the fall semester. Support will be provided for student athletes to continue to train within safety guidelines. We hope conditions will allow for the resumption of competition in the spring semester.
  • Dining halls on campus will adhere to physical distancing protocols, and our dining partner AVI is currently developing a thorough plan.
  • Cleaning protocols in public and shared spaces, common areas of residence halls, and faculty and staff offices will be enhanced, and cleaning supplies will be provided to students for their rooms.
  • We will follow current New York State recommendations that any student who will be on campus in the fall must have a negative PCR test within 14 days prior to arrival on campus; students will be retested on campus within two weeks of arrival.
  • All students, faculty, and staff on campus will be expected to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and others. As such, group gatherings will be limited; physical distancing will be practiced throughout campus; and masks or face coverings will be required in shared spaces.

The plans above apply only to the fall semester. We don’t know what the spring semester will look like yet, but are hopeful increased on-campus residential density will be possible. The class of 2021—our seniors—will be prioritized for housing in the spring semester if we are not able to house everyone who desires campus housing.

How Did We Make Our Plan?
Sarah Lawrence’s plan reflects a careful consideration of our location, our physical campus, and our educational mission. Our aim throughout the planning process has been to present, in a time of great uncertainty, as much information as possible. As we head into a fall semester unlike any other—not just at Sarah Lawrence, but at all colleges and universities—our focus has been on ensuring a continuity in the core elements of our education. At a time when large groups and dense gatherings are ill-advised, our pedagogical focus on one-on-one and small group work with faculty is the aspect of our education most readily continued. This is what we are working to ensure will be available to all students, whether they live on campus, are off campus and commuting to campus for some activities, or are physically distant but actively engaged.

A number of factors went into our decision-making for the fall, and I extend my sincere thanks to the numerous members of the administration, faculty, and staff who have spent countless hours devoted to this process.

Key factors in our decision-making were:

  • First and foremost, protecting the health and safety of the Sarah Lawrence community.
  • Adherence to .
  • A commitment to making the fall semester an equitable experience for all.
    • We must be ever mindful of the students, faculty, and staff who may be unable to physically be on campus due to a number of pandemic-related factors. The reality is that in our present situation, even if campus could safely support it, not every member of our community would be able to be with us in person.
  • College facilities, designed to foster intimate living and learning, simply cannot expand in the ways necessary to successfully practice physical distancing (for instance, a roundtable classroom for 15 would hold only 4-7 people when observing physical distancing, and an auditorium space such as Reisinger does not lend itself well to a seminar class).
  • An ability to test, trace, quarantine, and isolate to prevent or respond to an outbreak of COVID-19.

Given the unpredictable path of COVID-19, many uncertainties remain, and we will continue to respond accordingly. While today New York State is seeing its lowest numbers of COVID-related hospitalizations since March, those numbers are increasing in other parts of the country and world. Since I started drafting this letter, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced mandatory quarantine for those traveling to New York from several states; if requirements like this are in place at the start of the fall semester, we will make appropriate arrangements for students coming to campus who will need to quarantine.

While there is much information to digest in this letter, additional details are available on our fall planning website. I know you will have many questions, some of which may not yet be answered, so this information comes with a promise to continue to communicate clearly and frequently as logistics around these plans come together. To that end, online Question & Answer Sessions have been set up for students and families, faculty, and staff over the coming week2020欧洲杯体育外围网站. Faculty and staff will receive invitations under separate cover. Students and families are invited to the following sessions:

First-Year and Incoming Transfer Students & Families
Wednesday, July 1
2020欧洲杯体育外围网站6-7 p.m. ET

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors & Families
Wednesday, July 1
8-9 p.m. ET

Graduate Students
Thursday, July 2
7-8 p.m. ET

Again, I thank you for your continued patience as our planning unfolds. I look forward to welcoming you in just over two months to the start of the 2020-21 academic year. While it will be unlike any that we have experienced, I am confident that together we will chart a course to continue the important work of this College. Our mission, in its simplest form, is toprepare students to thrive in a complex and rapidly evolving world. Never has a statement been more true, and never has the need for a Sarah Lawrence education been more urgent.

Yours,

Cristle Collins Judd
President
president@gladecastle.com

Fall Plan At-a-Glance

Instruction

  • Fall semester classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, September 7. Details regarding registration and move-in will be forthcoming.
  • To deliver the most equitable experience to all students regardless of location, classes (seminars and lectures) will convene online when meeting as a full class, with this primary exception:
    • First-Year Studies courses, and other first-year programming, will strive to meet in person when/if possible; such in-person interactions will also have an online option for students not on campus.
  • Some small groups (e.g., breakout sessions from seminars and lectures, independent studies, and group and individual conferences) may meet in person, observing physical distancing, with online options also available.
  • Graduate classes will convene both in-person and online; further information will follow from each individual program.
  • All instruction will be fully online after Thanksgiving break.
    • Any student who leaves campus for Thanksgiving will be required to remain off campus for the rest of the semester.

Faculty have spent the last few months thoughtfully planning our curriculum to ensure that our experience this fall will be much different than the last weeks of the spring semester, which allowed limited time for such planning in the midst of an emerging crisis. In addition, class schedules for the fall have been expanded to contain new blocks, including Saturdays, and greater flexibility to work across time zones, and our Information Technology department is actively expanding technological resources and support to aid in online instruction.

The 2020-21 course catalogue is now online, with courses continually added.

Housing

We made some false starts this summer with our housing process and lottery, for which I apologize. As our plans for the fall semester evolved, it became clear that the availability of housing and our process for this year had to change.

After careful consideration, and a determination to significantly reduce our housing density on campus, housing for the fall semester will be as follows:

  • The following students will be provided with a single-occupancy room in an assigned residence hall, should they wish to live on campus:
    • First-year and incoming transfer students
    • Resident Advisors
    • Students with a demonstrated hardship (e.g., those who have home situations that make online learning nearly impossible or international students who were unable to return to their home countries)
  • Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may enter a lottery for fall housing should any rooms remain.
  • Students who choose to live off-campus in proximity to the College will have access to campus in accordance with strict safety protocols. Students may wish to consider off-campus housing as an option that will provide continuity across the entire academic year.
  • Students who elect to conduct their semester online fully away from campus will not be disadvantaged in terms of curricular opportunities. No student will be required to live on or near campus, nor will they be required to come to campus for any purpose.

Campus Life

  • There will be no athletic competitions in the fall semester. Support will be provided for student athletes to continue to train within safety guidelines. We hope conditions will allow for the resumption of competition in the spring semester.
  • Dining halls on campus will adhere to physical distancing protocols, and our dining partner AVI is currently developing a thorough plan.
  • Cleaning protocols in public and shared spaces, common areas of residence halls, and faculty and staff offices will be enhanced, and cleaning supplies will be provided to students for their rooms.
  • We will follow current New York State recommendations that any student who will be on campus in the fall must have a negative PCR test within 14 days prior to arrival on campus; students will be retested on campus within two weeks of arrival.
  • All students, faculty, and staff on campus will be expected to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and others. As such, group gatherings will be limited; physical distancing will be practiced throughout campus; and masks or face coverings will be required in shared spaces.