Johnson Chapel on the quad with sunlight streaming through trees

Students on Campus

In the Spring of 2021, we plan to bring approximately 1,200 students to campus. We will maintain a low residential density by assigning only one student per room in the residence halls, and maintaining adequate isolation and quarantine spaces. Barring unforeseen developments, we are pleased to invite for the spring semester:

  • seniors
  • juniors
  • first-years
  • transfer students
  • sophomores whose home circumstances impede their academic progress (learn more in the FAQ)

If there is room, we will bring back as many sophomores as possible; we expect to know more about student intentions and space availability by mid-November. 

Study Abroad

Janna Behrens, Associate Dean and Director of the Global Education Office, can advise which study-away programs still have plans to run in the spring and will accept students from the United States. 

Important Dates

  • First round of pre-registration for spring classes: November 2-6
  • Filing of intent forms deadline: November 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Second round of pre-registration for spring classes: November 16-20
  • Notification of decisions on petitions for spring residence: November 18
  • Registration of housing preferences: November 18-December 2
  • Housing assignments process: December 3-16
  • Housing assignments notification: December 18
  • Classes begin: Wednesday, February 3
  • Classes conclude: Wednesday, May 5


Spring classes will be offered as a mixture of in-person and online instruction, at the discretion of the instructor. We anticipate that many faculty members will continue to offer some kind of in-person opportunities to students, whether that is a course, office hours, or advising sessions.

Spring Break

While there will be no scheduled week-long spring break, we are exploring the idea of having a few days off over the course of the semester.

Life on Campus

Most of the health and safety measures we established in August, including those articulated in the Statement of Shared Responsibility, will remain in place through the spring. Because the ability to gather outdoors will be constrained by the weather, we will expand the number of indoor gathering spaces that are available to students. Access to these spaces will be allowed after an initial quarantine period at the beginning of the semester.


  • Pre-arrival testing protocol details will be communicated to students who will be on campus.
  • Students will not be allowed to leave campus, including into the town of Amherst, without the permission of the Office of Student Affairs (which will be granted only for doctors’ appointments, family emergencies, or other exceptional circumstances).
  • No off-campus visitors, including Amherst students studying remotely, will be permitted.
  • Mandatory, three-times-per-week testing will be required of students. 
  • No large gatherings will be permitted. Physical distancing will be required. Face masks must be worn at all times except when students are alone in their rooms or actively eating. Students must practice frequent hand-washing and good overall hygiene.
  • Dining will be offered via a grab-and-go model.
  • Students who violate health and safety protocols may be asked to leave campus.

See the letter from Biddy Martin about the Spring Plan. Find FAQs and more in Information for Students.

Biddy Martin in her home for a zoom forum

Spring Plan Town Hall and FAQs

Watch a recording of the October 29 virtual town hall hosted by President Biddy Martin, in which she and senior staff answered questions from students and families about the Spring Plan, and see answers to overflow questions. Login required.