Fall 2020 Move-In Information

August 2, 2020

Dear Students,

I am writing to share details about the move-in dates and process for the Fall 2020 semester. 

While we had hoped to provide clear plans much sooner, the Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Order issued on July 24, 2020, required us to make adjustments to our original move-in plans. We know that this delay has been incredibly stressful for all of you and we have worked as quickly as possible to find an appropriate solution that meets state guidance and focuses on your health and well-being. Thank you for your patience and grace despite your frustrations and worries.  

The information that follows includes details about the student move-in process. There is a great deal of information to cover, so please read carefully. If you have questions about move-in, please submit your questions for the quickest response. We have assembled a team that will be reviewing questions and responding within 48 hours, but often more quickly.<--break->

UPDATE: Pre-arrival Testing

August 1, 2020

Dear Students, 

As I communicated to you in my July 29 email, we are pleased to provide at-home COVID-19 testing kits for all students who are returning to campus for their studies in the fall semester who are currently in the United States. I am writing now to provide additional and updated information about this testing.

It remains the case that all students who are returning to campus for their studies in the fall semester who are currently in the United States will need to complete an initial test (Test One) and receive a negative result before you will be able to return to campus. However, the date of delivery of that test has been changed to August 7. 

Notice to Students Regarding Distance Education Complaint Policy

July 30, 2020

Dear Students,

As you know, Amherst College intends to offer both in-person and remote instruction (also referred to as “distance education”) options in the upcoming academic year. As part of being approved to offer distance education courses, the College is required to provide a complaint procedure for students who are enrolled in distance education courses.

Distance Education Complaint Policy

Liz Agosto, Dean of Students

Return to Campus & Move-in Date Update

July 26, 2020

Dear Students,

You are receiving this message because you completed the fall intent form indicating that you would be returning to campus or you petitioned to return and were approved. I understand that some of you may have been waiting for an approval message after submitting your form. The fall intent form included an automatic approval if you met the criteria and selected to return to campus, so we are expecting that you will be back on campus this fall. If you have changed your mind or if this information is incorrect and you did not intend to return to campus, please write to me and your class dean so we can update your fall status. 

Update on Fall 2020 Planning

July 22, 2020

Dear Students, 

I am writing to address rumors and speculation we are hearing that Amherst College has made a decision to move to complete remote learning, as well as to provide a brief update on our continued planning efforts.  

We continue to move forward with our stated plans for the fall semester. We are actively engaged in preparing the campus for the return of approximately 60% of our students. This preparation involves many moving parts, including learning and incorporating the best tools for HyFlex education, establishing and assessing our asymptomatic testing protocols, preparing all campus spaces with adherence to a set of safety measures and the installation of public health signage, setting up multiple dining grab-and-go areas, developing in-person and remote student engagement opportunities, and coordinating a safe move-in process.  

Grading Policy for 2020-2021 Academic Year

July 15, 2020

Dear Students, 

The following information about the grading policy for the 2020-2021 academic year is being sent on behalf of Catherine Epstein, Provost and Dean of the Faculty.  If you have questions, please contact the registrar, Addy Free.

Liz Agosto
Dean of Students

Fall 2020 On-Campus Dining

July 10, 2020

Good morning students, 

There will be a couple of emails today attempting to provide more details about specific areas about which we have received a lot of questions. One of these areas is on-campus dining.  Below is some more information about how our dining will work for those on campus.  If you have additional questions about the dining process, please email dining@amherst.edu. 

Take care, 


Fall 2020 On-campus Community Expectations

July 9, 2020

Dear Students, 

As we think about how to approach joining each other on campus during this pandemic, whether it is this fall or in the spring, our goal is to create expectations that reduce risk in the hopes of having the healthiest community possible.

Below is a preview of expectations for students living on campus this academic year (expectations may be modified for the spring to reflect the realities of the pandemic and/or changing guidance). 

Fall 2020: Health and Wellbeing

July 8, 2020

Dear Students,

I want to begin by acknowledging the delay in the planned communication timeline. Information about health and wellbeing and about housing were intended to be sent yesterday. These messages were delayed due to key decisions that needed to be revisited considering changing information and guidance. This message contains information about health and wellbeing. Information about housing will be sent later this evening. Tomorrow, information about community life and engagement will be shared. I know that the delay has caused some additional stress and for that I sincerely apologize.

On-Campus Housing Process for Fall 2020

July 8, 2020

Dear Students,

Good evening and thanks again for your grace as we work to provide you the most accurate and detailed information possible about the fall.  

Tonight’s email focuses on the mechanisms by which we will assign those of you returning to campus to our residence halls.  We have made significant adjustments to our typical practices in order to balance the development of a home environment that can be as comfortable and safe as possible within the existing pandemic era parameters with a process that is as fair, equitable, and maximizes as much student choice as possible. 

Extension: Fall Intent Form

July 6, 2020

Dear Students,

This morning you all should have received an email with a personalized link to the Fall Intent Form. If you did not receive it, please check your spam/junk folder.

I am writing to inform you that, after further conversation, we have decided to extend the deadline to submit the Fall Intent Form. The form is now due by Monday, July 13th at 5 p.m. EDT. We know that this is still a rapid turnaround time.

Fall Intent Form

July 6, 2020

[All students received an email with an individualized link. The original deadline of Friday, July 10 at 5:00 p.m. EDT was extended to Monday, July 13th at 5 p.m. EDT.]

What is the Fall Intent Form? 

The Fall Intent Form is a single form that students can use to declare their plans for the fall, including returning to campus (if eligible), learning remotely, taking a leave of absence or gap year, or requesting to return due to personal circumstances or thesis work.  The form will take you through a series of prompts and options based on the information you provide.  Every student is expected to complete this form. 

Changes to the Academic Program for 2020–2021

June 17, 2020

Dear Students,

Greetings from Amherst!  We are busily planning for the start of classes on August 24.  While the next academic year will continue to be a time of uncertainty because of the pandemic—whether teaching and learning takes place on campus or off—I write now to inform you of changes in the academic program for 2020-2021 that the faculty approved recently.  We believe that these changes will best meet the goals of an Amherst education during this highly unusual time.  As importantly, I think you will find that these initiatives will provide new and exciting educational opportunities, as well as significant academic support and flexibility.  Here is what you need to know:

Update on Planning for the Fall

June 2, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Families,

Since we last wrote to you, the semester has come to a close and, on Sunday, we honored the class of 2020 in a virtual celebration that is available to view. We have reached this point because of the perseverance, sacrifice, and creativity of the Amherst community—all of you. We are grateful for your extraordinary achievement.

We continue actively planning for the fall, and we are writing now to give you another update on our effort to bring as many students as possible back to a safe learning and living environment on campus. As you know, there are many hurdles involved, some in our control and some not. You will probably have read announcements from other colleges and universities, some announcing decisions to bring students back to campus for the fall semester, but all with a warning that those decisions could change. We do not believe that kind of announcement will be very helpful to you. We are focusing intensive efforts on making it possible to bring our students back to this beautiful campus while also preparing to enhance significantly what we offer remotely, knowing that some members of the community will teach and learn at a distance.

Commencement Plans

May 7, 2020

Dear Class of 2020,

I am writing about Commencement. Let me begin by thanking you for sharing your thoughts and preferences in light of the circumstances that prevent us from celebrating in person this year. You expressed an overwhelming preference for postponing the in-person celebration until the spring of 2021. You also have a clear preference for keeping the class of 2020’s celebration distinct from that of the class of 2021’s. So, in the spring of Amherst’s bicentennial year, we will joyfully celebrate not one, but two commencements, a turn of events we could not have foreseen a few months back but one that will prove to be a fitting way to commemorate Amherst’s 200th birthday. We are looking at late May and early June 2021 and will be in touch as soon as we have confirmed the date of your in-person Commencement. In the meantime, we will hold a virtual celebration later this month at which your degrees will be officially conferred, some details of which you will find below.