OFFICIAL NOTICE: Important Updates on Planning for the Opening of the Academic Year

Dear Students,

We hope you have found creative and meaningful ways to spend your time this summer, and we are delighted that the vast majority of you are returning to campus in August. Colby’s faculty and staff have been working through many details and plans to create a safe and engaging experience for all, and we are writing today with several important updates. As promised, we will continue to share information in a timely way as it becomes available.

Summer Earnings Contributions

We recognize that for many of you, summer employment has been disrupted by the pandemic. As part of our ongoing efforts to fully support our students, the College will waive the summer earnings expectation from financial aid packages for the 2020-21 academic year. Under normal circumstances, students receiving financial aid are required to contribute up to $2,000 from summer work experiences or other assets. This year we are replacing that amount with institutional grant aid so students will not have to provide the summer earnings payment to attend Colby.

Curriculum and Course Selection

As at other colleges and universities, some faculty will be unable to teach in person, either because of health concerns or because their courses cannot be safely or effectively taught within our public health protocols. These faculty will offer their courses remotely, and we anticipate about one-third of our curriculum will be in remote mode. Offering these courses remotely will also allow us to fully accommodate students who are unable to be on campus for health or other reasons. The remaining courses will be taught in person or in hybrid modes that combine remote and in-person instruction. Students can see the teaching mode for each course by using the Curriculum Search function on the registrar’s page. Those to be taught remotely are noted as such; all others are listed as TBA as we complete the classroom assignment process.

Course selection for first-year students is currently underway. When that process is complete, upper class students will be able to see their fall schedules. We anticipate that schedules will be visible to students by August 3, and an add-drop period to enable changes will begin on August 17.

Now that the curriculum has been established, our faculty are engaged in professional development workshops to ensure that they are well prepared to offer exceptional courses in all modes of instruction. The challenges of teaching in the context of COVID-19 have inspired our faculty to rethink and reimagine many of their pedagogical approaches, and they are spending significant time developing their courses this summer. As a result of this extensive planning, which is very different from the emergency transition to remote learning last March, we are confident that all our courses, in all modes of instruction, will provide the rigor, challenge, and close faculty-student interactions that you have come to expect from the superb and dedicated Colby faculty. Every member of the faculty wants to be back in the classroom with our students, and while this is not possible, every faculty member is committed to deep and meaningful interaction with their students and to offering the very best liberal arts education possible.

In addition, we will be reconfiguring our academic spaces, classrooms, labs, and performance spaces so they can accommodate the health guidelines we are implementing. Classrooms will include physical distancing spacing, personal protective equipment including plexiglass where appropriate, enhanced cleaning protocols, and more. In addition, we are pursuing other strategies to help de-densify our buildings.

Arrival and Move-In

We know many of you have questions related to arrival and housing. We will invite students to arrive on a staggered basis determined primarily by residence hall. Some student leaders will arrive early; the basic structure for arrival is below. When you receive your specific housing information, it will include a three-hour time slot for your arrival. The majority of students will receive their housing assignments next week, and those who are on the waitlist will receive their housing information by the end of this month. We understand that some of you may have extenuating circumstances that could preclude you from arriving at your designated time, and we will adjust as needed.

August 21 and 22: First-Year and Transfer Students

August 23 and 24: Upper Class Students (Mayflower Hill and Downtown)

We look forward to welcoming our first-year students and their visitors, and we are planning short outdoor programs for students and their families on August 21 and 22. The number of visitors allowed to accompany returning students will be limited to two family members. All students and assisting visitors will be required to wear facial coverings while on campus, and additional safety protocols will be shared in subsequent communications.

Students traveling from abroad who are unable to be tested in advance of arrival will need to quarantine off campus in housing provided by Colby until the College receives their negative test results. Those students will receive detailed information about that process soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Based on questions we have been receiving from students and families, we have created a frequently asked questions section on the bottom of the Fall 2020 Planning section of the return-to-campus website. The website will continue to be updated, so we encourage you to review it regularly. If you have additional questions or concerns, please reach out to your class dean.

We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming you on campus in just over a month. In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves.

With gratitude,

Karlene Burrell-McRae ’94
Dean of the College

Margaret McFadden
Provost and Dean of Faculty