8/4/200: Planning Update

August 4, 2020

Guidelines for Faculty and Staff in College Rental Housing

For the purposes of “preserving the bubble,” the College has created a “core of campus” designation for the area bordered by Route 9, South Pleasant Street, the Norwottuck Rail Trail and railroad tracks, and has implemented guidelines for those living in College-owned rental housing within that core and off-campus. What follows are the rules for faculty and staff residing in those spaces; they will go into effect on August 15.

7/31/20: Planning Update

July 31, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

All-Staff Meeting Questions

Posed a question during the July 24 all-staff meeting that administrators didn’t have time to answer? Responses to many queries from that meeting and the all-staff meeting on July 7 have been posted to a newly created page on the College’s website. Answers to remaining questions will be added on a rolling basis, so please check that page regularly.

7/28/20: Planning Update

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Here is the update for July 28, 2020. We hope you will read the entire message so that you can be current with the College’s plans and activities.

Important Required Travel Registration

On Friday, July 24, Massachusetts issued a new travel order that institutes measures for individuals traveling into the Commonwealth. These requirements take effect on Saturday, August 1. We encourage you to read and abide by these new guidelines, as noncompliance is subject to penalties by the Commonwealth.

7/22/20: Planning Update

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

We write to you today with a number of updates about our efforts to enhance the safety of our community, both now and as we plan to welcome many of our students to campus in a few weeks. We understand that there have been previous communications, but in this fluid environment it is important that we share information as it is available, and it is critical that all community members do their part to stay informed. We ask that you please read the entire message.

Academic Interns for Fall 2020

July 22, 2020

Dear Faculty and ADCs,

I hope this email finds you well.  We are now accepting academic intern applications for the fall semester.  Please note that all intern applications are due by August 7.  

Unfortunately, budget considerations mean that we may not be able to fund all of the requests we receive.  In addition, we will only be able to fund up to 130 hours of intern work for the semester per applicant. You could use these hours to hire one intern working ten hours a week for thirteen weeks, or you may split the hours among more than one student.    You will need to explain in your application how you will split the hours.

7/10/20: Planning Update

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

Here is the update for July 10, 2020.

Faculty & Staff Guide to Returning to Campus

Amherst has created a comprehensive website for those who ultimately receive permission to return to work on campus that includes a list of mandated safety precautions to follow. Among the requirements described are health screenings, workspace procedures and more. To return to campus, faculty must obtain permission from the Provost/Dean of the Faculty or their department chair; staff must receive the necessary approval from their supervisor/department chair or division head.

6/24/20: College Planning Update

Important Message from Chief Human Resources Officer Maria-Judith Rodriguez

June 24, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We hope this email finds you and those close to you well. We are writing today to share some important staffing updates:

  • The College continues to make progress with the implementation of the requirements included in the state’s four-phase reopening plan and finalizing plans for the fall semester. More information on these plans will be shared in early July. In the meantime, the College is extending the period of continuous income and the exemption from use of leave balances for any COVID-related reason through July 4, 2020, an extension of the current June 30 deadline. The temporary Premium Pay Policy also remains in effect through July 4.

6/16/20: College Planning Update -- Update of June 15 Message

June 16, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

To keep you informed of developments related to planning for the fall and other items of note related to your work life, we are going to resume these updates, this time with the title of “Planning Update.” Their frequency will be based on when there is noteworthy information to communicate to you. The Updates will be collected on the COVID-19 website and will be promoted in the Daily Mammoth.

If you have questions about the format or delivery of the Planning Update, please contact the Office of Communications at comm@amherst.edu.

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.

Financial Challenges and Measures We Will Take

May 7, 2020

Dear Staff and Faculty,

We are writing today about the financial challenges that COVID-19 has brought and to provide you with an initial list of the measures we believe it is necessary to take. Before we launch into this update, we thank you for your resilience and dedication in the face of this pandemic and its impact. We hope you are taking good care of yourselves. 

Make-up Days, End-of-Semester Work, Exams

April 30, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

With the end of classes nearing, and spring on its way, we write to announce the following make-up days to cover classes that were canceled during the spring semester, due to the preparation for the transition to remote learning:

  • On Monday, May 4, Thursday classes may be held at the regularly scheduled time.  These meetings will be held to make up for classes that were canceled on Thursday, March 12.
  • On Tuesday, May 5, Friday classes may be held at the regularly scheduled time.  These meetings will be held to make up for classes that were canceled on Friday, March 13.

First Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Our Community

April 23, 2020

Dear Amherst Students, Staff, Faculty, and Families,

I’m writing to let you know that we have the first confirmed on-campus case of COVID-19. A custodial staff member received the news of the positive test results yesterday and is in isolation at home and doing well. I know you will join me in wishing this individual a complete and speedy recovery. The staff member’s last day on campus was April 18; at that time, they displayed no symptoms, wore a face mask while working, and did not engage with any students. 

4/10/20: COVID-19 Update

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

Here is the update for April 10, 2020.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for Essential Workers

To ensure the continuity of essential operations, the CDC has advised that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community. Read the guidelines and learn more about safety protocols at the CDC website.

April 17, 2020: Staying in Touch

Dear Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, and Families,

Thank you for your warm responses to last week’s note. The gratitude you expressed to and for our staff and our frontline workers was remarkable. One alumna has offered to host any Amherst College staff members who find themselves in Poland once we are able to travel again. Another has volunteered to help with the “cheering up” efforts on campus by joining Val staff in writing encouraging notes to students. 

Grading Policy This Semester

April 15, 2020

Dear Students and Faculty,

I hope this email finds you well.

We have heard from some faculty and students who feel strongly that the college should consider a shift to a mandatory pass/fail system for this semester.  The Committee of Six recognizes the compelling arguments both for and against taking this step, many of which center around justice and equity.  In response to ongoing conversation within the community about this topic, the committee wants to provide greater clarity about whether another change in our grading policy should be considered at this time.  I write now to inform you that the members have recommended that no further changes to the grading policy be made this semester and to explain the reasons for this decision.