Jan Plan and Spring 2021


Academic Calendar

The January Term (Jan Plan) begins January 11 and will conclude February 3. Classes for the Spring 2021 semester begin February 10. 

There will be two breaks during the spring semester in place of the traditional week-long spring break. 

January Term 2021
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 8-9
Student arrival, testing, and quarantine. Campus Life will provide arrival-day assignments and details to students.
Monday, Jan. 11–Wednesday, Feb. 3
January Program
Spring Semester 2021
Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 8-9
Student arrival, testing, and quarantine.
Wednesday, Feb. 10
First classes
Monday and Tuesday, March 8-9
Spring recess (no classes)
Thursday and Friday, April 15-16
Spring recess (no classes)
Wednesday, April 28
Colby Liberal Arts Symposium (no classes)
Wednesday, May 12
Last day of classes of second semester
Friday, May 14–Wednesday, May 19
Semester examinations
Thursday, May 20 at noon
Residence halls close. Students are expected to depart campus 24 hours after last exam.
Saturday and Sunday, May 22-23
Commencement Weekend

Academic Program

Colby remains committed to delivering a rigorous academic program characterized by extraordinary teaching and scholarship, and we are offering a full complement of courses during the January and spring terms. The model for January and spring includes two main modes of teaching: (1) in-person/hybrid instruction and (2) fully remote instruction that will be available to students and faculty who require accommodations due to travel restrictions and/or health conditions.


As at other colleges and universities, some faculty are 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 are offering their courses remotely, and we estimate about 25 percent of our spring curriculum is in remote mode. Offering these courses remotely allows us to fully accommodate students who are unable to be on campus for health or other reasons. The remaining courses are 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.

Given our success teaching in varied modes in fall 2020, we are confident that all our courses, in all modes of instruction, will continue to provide the rigor, challenge, and close faculty-student interactions that students 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.

Remote Learning

Remote courses are offered for students who are unable to return to campus or elect not to do so this fall. While these offerings will not be the full complement of the academic program, there are multiple courses available with which students can engage. All remote courses have now been identified, and students can find them by using the Curriculum Search function on the registrar’s pageSome in-person courses are open to remote learners, and a list of these courses is also available on the registrar’s page.

Students who elect to enroll through off-campus remote learning will not be expected to provide payment for room and board.

Leave of Absences

Students should speak with their class dean about this process. Faculty should speak with the provost. Staff members should consult with the Office of Human Resources. 

Campus Life

The College is committed to preserving the distinctive experiences provided through our residential education as much as possible given the current environment.

Mule Pledge

The success of this plan will depend on all students, faculty, and staff committing to a revised set of expectations. Every member of the community is responsible for adhering to a social compact, called the Mule Pledge, to be part of this community. This will include committing to personal safety measures (especially facial coverings), prohibitions in the travel and visitor policy, complying with testing, and committing to health self-checks. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action, including suspension. 

The Office of the Dean of the College has worked closely with faculty, students, and staff to develop a the Mule Pledge for all community members. 


Colby remains fully committed to finding every possible way to provide exciting and enriching opportunities for student athletes to practice and compete with their teams this year. The key is to be as creative as possible within the safety and health guidelines in order to be prepared for opportunities when the situation permits.

The NCAA and NESCAC have announced changes and waivers that provide for a greater relaxation of rules to support institutional flexibility:

  • Out-of-season athletics activities in non-traditional seasons. Fall and spring teams are allowed to conduct activities outside their traditional season in accordance with NCAA rules. This will allow institutions to conduct up to 114 practices and/or competitions throughout the academic year. This allows for increased oversight of athletic activity by coaches and athletic training staff, and it will increase compliance with federal, state, local, and institutional return-to-play safety guidelines.
  • The D-III Administrative Committee approved blanket waivers for participation. Division III student athletes will not be charged with participation for the 2020-21 season if their team can complete only 50 percent or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee also approved a blanket waiver permitting student athletes to receive a two-semester/three-quarter extension of eligibility. Both blanket waivers will apply to all sports during the 2020-21 academic year.

The NCAA has also developed guidelines for return to athletics.

Campus Facilities

The use of Colby’s facilities is limited to current students, faculty, and staff and the use of ColbyCards is required for building access. Colby will follow Maine CDC guidelines for the use of indoor and outdoor facilities, including capacity restrictions and requirements for social distancing and the use of face coverings.

  • All academic and administrative buildings, laboratories, the mailroom, and the Colby Bookstore are open to students, faculty, and staff.
  • The Colby College Museum of Art, Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons (including Chace Forum), Cotter Union/Pulver Pavilion, Miller Library, Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, and dining facilities will remain closed to the public.

Colby’s outdoor facilities, including athletic and recreational fields and Perkins Arboretum, are open to students, faculty, and staff for personal and informal use or exercise, subject to social distancing requirements and prohibitions on gatherings in consultation with Maine state regulations. Outdoor facilities will not be open to the general public and cannot be used by teams or for organized group activities unless part of athletic competition against a Colby team.


Following Maine CDC guidelines, dining halls have been reconfigured to allow for proper social distancing. Capacities and the flow of students, faculty, and staff through the dining halls have been adjusted according to these and other guidelines. 

Self-service buffets will no longer be available as all meals will either be served or individually packaged. In addition to these changes, the College is expanding Caporale Lounge and grab-and-go options to include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Food accommodations will continue to be made for individuals with dietary restrictions.

Cocurricular Living and Learning

Participation and engagement in cocurricular activities is an integral part of the Colby experience that we aim to preserve as we plan for the return to campus. Working closely with students, faculty, and staff, updated guidelines have been created for how students can continue to engage in the many structured activities outside of the classroom, and a reimagined schedule of creative programming has been developed. Social life guidelines are tied to the health code systems, with increased outdoor activities and use of outdoor spaces an important factor in social life programming. Social interactions, group meetings, and club and organization gatherings have certain modifications based on Maine CDC guidance, including group-size limitations, mandatory face coverings, social distancing, adjusted capacities in campus spaces, and other safety measures.

Summer Earnings Contributions 

We recognize that for many students, summer employment has been disrupted by the pandemic. As part of our ongoing efforts to fully support our students, the College has waived 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

Student Support 

Counseling Services continues to provide support services for students residing on campus this year. Which in-house services are available for students residing off campus depends on the student’s location. In addition, we offer virtual programming that includes groups and workshops designed to support students and foster connections. We encourage students to reach out to Counseling Services with any questions, to discuss their mental health needs, or for assistance with referrals. Counseling Services can be reached by email at [email protected]

The class deans in the Dean of Studies Office are available to offer guidance and to ensure students have access to the resources and opportunities that create the conditions for their success in the rich intellectual life of this campus. Please reach out to the appropriate class dean if there are concerns about Covid-19 and students’ return to campus. Class deans can be reached at 207-859-4560 or [email protected].

Social Life and Connections

Healthy and balanced social experiences are important to students’ overall wellness. Although social interactions will be different due to physical distancing, use of facial coverings, group-size limitations, and adjusted capacities in campus spaces, students will have opportunities to socialize with friends and continue to build connections with classmates.


Students who need to exercise extra health precautions according to CDC guidelines, including for issues that may not meet the definition of a disability, are encouraged to consult with their healthcare provider as soon as possible to make a personalized plan. 

Consistent with Colby’s policy, Colby students who have any of the medical conditions identified by the CDC and who require reasonable housing accommodations should immediately contact the Office of Student Access and Disability Services. Reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be given priority over requests for reasons other than a disability. Requests for accommodations after the summer housing process has closed may be difficult to meet prior to a student’s arrival on campus and will be prioritized based on the space available. 

Students may contact Student Access and Disability Services at [email protected] or 207-859-4567.

Spring Break

There will not be a traditional spring break this year, but there will be no classes held March 8-9 and again April 15-16. Students will not be allowed to travel home for break this year. Rather, the Dean of the College Division is developing substantial programming for all students to participate in meaningful activities and opportunities. 


We have reconfigured our academic spaces, classrooms, labs, and performance spaces so they can accommodate the health guidelines we implemented. Classrooms 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.

Extended Stay on Campus

The College will work with individual students who may have challenges traveling home due to travel restrictions or housing insecurity issues. Students should contact their class dean if they would like to discuss this option.

Beyond Mayflower Hill

The Waterville Community

As Colby continues with the 2020-21 academic year, it is with full consideration of the well-being of the Waterville community. Colby’s partnership with Central Maine is of paramount importance, and the College is committed to ensuring the safety of those who live and work in the greater Waterville area.

While safety is Colby’s number one priority, reopening the campus will allow the College to continue to support local businesses. Colby understands its impact on the Central Maine economy and is committed to continuing to support it as well as move forward with the revitalization of downtown Waterville.

Civic Engagement

In alignment with Colby’s Covid-19 policy guidelines, students are prohibited from participating in any in-person volunteering this winter and spring. The Office of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships is actively working with community organizations to connect students to virtual and remote civic engagement opportunities.

Study Away

Members of the Off-Campus Study team have contacted students planning to study away this spring. Students who are still planning to participate in a study away program should remain in close contact with the Office of Off-Campus Study, which is monitoring and evaluating each program’s situation. Some programs have already been canceled by the provider or institution, while others appear to remain on schedule.

The Off-Campus Study team is working with students applying for off-campus study in 2021-22, according to the usual application cycle, and closely monitoring program offerings and updates.

Students Residing Outside the U.S. 

Students who are not able to return to campus due to travel restrictions will be allowed to participate in remote courses based on availability. For support with decision-making please contact our Director of International Programs Masi Ngidi-Brown and our Dean of Studies team. Masi can be reached at 207-859-4263, and the Dean of Studies Office can be reached at 207-859-4560 or [email protected].

Students FAQ