November 12th, 2020
*This communication was sent students, employees, and parents of Simmons on November 10, 2020*
Dear Simmons Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff,
I hope this message finds you well. Since our October 19 COVID-19 email, we have been working hard on our plans to welcome more students back to living on campus for Spring semester (with a January 22 move-in date and the first day of classes February 1).
We are creating this plan based on our guiding principles and with the pandemic information currently available. Furthermore, we will continue to use national and local data provided by numerous sources to guide our decision-making process. If conditions with the virus require us to change course, we will communicate this decision by January 8, 2021.
Please read below for more details on both residential and academic life.
Living on Campus
Currently, we are planning to safely accommodate 50% of our typical residence campus capacity (approximately 500 students) and invite all students who want to live on campus to apply for housing.
Undergraduate and Graduate Courses: A Vibrant and Engaging Digital Experience
All Spring undergraduate and graduate courses will be taught online — with any exceptions related to specific academic clinical and practicum requirements. This decision ensures our principles of equity and fairness in opportunity while still offering a transformative learning experience.
I am confident that Simmons students will continue to have a positive digital experience. Like the Fall, our faculty are developing a virtual campus for the Spring that includes small group discussions and project-based learning. The courses offer a high level of student-faculty interaction and are designed for high-impact educational practices and excellent learning outcomes.
In addition, we are also looking into offering some limited in-person, on-campus experiences if the City of Boston guidance permits it. These activities could be either academic or co-curricular in nature and will be completely optional. We will have more information in the weeks to come.
Tuition and Financial Aid
The tuition freeze for the 2020-21 Academic year, announced this Fall, remains in effect, as does our 25% reduction of student activity fees. We will continue to award financial support in the form of scholarships and financial aid packages for traditional undergraduate students. We are continuing the Support Our Student (SOS) Fund to help students handle unusual and unanticipated financial burdens.
Ongoing Virtual Activities and Services
In addition, please note our next Community Read: How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi convening will be March 1, 2021.
Information for International Students and Programs
We continue to advocate for access to a Simmons education for all our students, and our Center for Global Education will be reaching out to this community. As an institution committed to excellence, we recognize and support the critical importance of international students to our full academic community. Study abroad programs remain canceled for this academic year.
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference announced last week that Winter sports have been canceled; the Conference will make a decision about Spring sports in early December. I know our athletes will continue to be engaged virtually, remaining a model of resilience for us all.
Only those employees classified as essential will come to campus on a regular basis, and those who are considered critical for supporting our students, learn more in our FAQs. We will identify these employees once we know the number of students returning to live on campus.
The Simmons Experience
Lastly, now that I have marked my first 100 days as president, it is an opportunity to reflect on what I have learned from our community, including the feedback you have shared with me. As confirmed by our Fall semester, I can assure you that the essence of the Simmons experience will be preserved, the academic rigor that drew you to Simmons will be present in your classes, and our co-curricular experience will be engaging.
As we all navigate the global pandemic, I know we will continue to share our Simmons core values: a powerful sense of purpose, of leadership, and of caring for one another. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions or email your questions to [email protected]
I look forward to our Spring semester and continuing our learning together!