Office of Campus Life (OCL)

Important Updates for Spring 2021 Semester

Updated January 27, 2021

  • Based on the Intent-to-Enroll form submissions, we expect 300-350 more students on campus for the spring, as compared to the fall. This is a significant increase, requiring some changes to how we’re approaching some aspects of housing.

    After careful consideration of several options, Senior Staff has approved a recommendation made by the COVID Operations Working Group. The following buildings will be added into regular upperclass housing availability:  Hubbell (19 rooms), Parsons (7 rooms), Sewall (9 rooms), and Tyler Annex (40 rooms). We will also use Dennett Ground (11 rooms), Williams Ground (6 rooms), and Perry Ground (2 rooms) for regular housing for the spring. With these additions to our available rooms from the fall, each spring semester student should be able to have their own room. (Please note, up to 30 upperclass students will need to live in first-year housing for the spring semester for this to work out.)

    Dodd & CDE will continue to be used for quarantine & isolation housing, as well as a handful of smaller college-owned units not typically used for student housing.

  • All students who are enrolled “on-campus” for the spring, must sign the Community Health Commitment (CHC) in the Housing Portal, no later than Sunday, January 31. Even those of you who signed it in the fall, you must do so again for the spring. If you do not sign the CHC by Sunday, January 31, your spring enrollment may be changed to “remote.” We don’t want to have to do that – so please sign the CHC right away.

  • Due to ongoing concerns regarding the pandemic and social distancing, we will begin the spring with all residential kitchens closed, like the fall. This means that the appliances will continue to be powered-down and the spaces are not to be used for cooking, gathering, eating, etc.

    The co-op kitchens will remain open and operational until Feb 8, at which point they will be closed.

    Every on-campus student room will continue to be equipped with a college-provided Micro-Fridge unit, which includes a mini-fridge, mini-freezer, and microwave, all on one energy-saving power system.

    For co-ops, like the fall, we may consider your requests for opening kitchens at some point after all students have cleared the initial quarantine period, assuming things are going well otherwise. (Please note that, if you have food in a large co-op refrigerator currently, we will leave power on to the refrigerator so you do not lose that food.)

  • Some of you may have brought in new podmates through the Pod Share process, and some of you may be welcoming new podmates who have chosen to join your pod through the Spring Housing Lottery. We expect existing pods to welcome their new podmates regardless of how they’ve joined you, and we suggest that you start off the semester by working together on pod expectations within COVID guidelines. Need help with this? Your JAs and HCs are valuable resources, trained to assist you with just this sort of thing.

  • We will begin the spring semester with original pods intact; any mergers that were approved during the fall semester are no longer in effect. We expect to offer the option for pods to merge again, sometime after you all have arrived and are out of initial quarantine, assuming things go well COVID-wise.

  • If you are returning to campus to the same room you were in for the fall, you should find your personal items right where you left them in your room.

    If you are moving to a different room from the fall, your things will be moved to your new room prior to February 10.

    If you are returning to campus after being away in the fall, and you stored things through the college when you left in March, we will make arrangements for your stored items to be brought to your spring room prior to February 10.

    In all of these cases – we urge you to keep the boxes/bins you used to store your things, to re-use at the end of the spring semester. If you have boxes, untape them & re-flatten them, and leave them under your bed or in your closet.

    If you have items stored independently at a commercial storage facility, we advise you to retrieve your items (at your own expense) before arriving on campus. Otherwise, you will need to wait until you complete your campus quarantine and seek permission from the Dean of the College to travel for retrieval of those items.

    Additionally – if you were here in the fall but are *not* on campus for the spring, any items you left in your room will be stored through Connors Brothers. If you receive financial aid, or if your home address is outside the US, these storage costs will be covered by the college’s Free Student Storage Program. If you do not meet either of those criteria, we’ll work with you on the costs (likely through an addition to your term bill).  If you need to have items shipped home, contact Marsha Peters, who will facilitate communications with Connors Bros. to make sure your inquiries are directed appropriately.

  • Spring semester check-in will take place from 12noon-8pm ET, daily from Wednesday, February 10, through Sunday, February 14, 2021. Check-in will take place at Towne Fieldhouse, in conjunction with initial COVID testing located at the same site.

    ALL spring semester on-campus students MUST check-in during these days/times, as the COVID testing protocol and initial quarantine will also begin upon your check-in. Please make/adjust your travel plans accordingly. That said – if you anticipate arrival to campus outside of the dates & times listed above, you must make your own accommodations elsewhere until the next day/time that check-in is taking place. Students will not be allowed into their spring semester rooms until they have officially checked-in and have had their initial COVID test from the college.

    Check-In sign-ups are now open, via the Housing Portal.

    Williams Motorcoach Transport will be operating shuttles. Urgent questions about transportation to campus should be directed to Matt Sheehy.

  • Q: If I want to change my housing assignment, how do I do so? Will there be housing mini-lotteries this semester?

    A: Sadly, there won’t be mini-lotteries this semester. However, students may request a housing change through the Housing Appeals (HART) process. The bar for changes will be rather high this year, as housing moves are complicated due to COVID issues.

    Q: Where can I find more info on Housing Appeals?

    A: Follow this link.

  • Q: What buildings will be used for quarantine & isolation?

    A: Dodd & CDE, plus a handful of smaller college-owned buildings. These buildings will not be available for general housing selection.

  • Q: I’ve heard of this “pod” thing. What is it?

    A: Because of social distancing, face covering, & other COVID-related parameters, we wanted to give on-campus students the ability to have a residential space (a “pod” or “cohort”) where they can be with a small number of other students to provide a flexibility similar to being with members of the same shared household, and within each pod to know that only those students are using a shared designated bathroom.

    Q: What are the pod sizes?

    A: They range from 2 to 14. It varies due to building architecture & available bathrooms.

    Q: What are the specific pods across campus?

    A: A full listing of the designated upperclass pods can be found at this link. a full listing of the designated first-year pods can be found at this link. (These listings will be updated for spring 2021 soon.)

  • Q: Can my student organization meet in person?

    A: The foundational expectation is that student orgs will meet online, rather than in person. Groups that believe they must meet in person and want to use campus space to do so, will need to request approval to do so in advance through a form on the OCL website; in applying for this, students will need to describe in detail how they will ensure that their in-person meeting will be planned & executed in such ways to stay fully within federal, state, local, and college COVID guidelines.

    Q: Where can I find the guidelines and form for my student organization to meet in person?

    A: The information can be found at the following link https://student-life.williams.edu/events/

    Q: Will student events be allowed to take place in residence halls?

    A: No. Because of state guidelines regarding indoor gathering limitations as well as best practices regarding COVID, student events will not be allowed to take place in residence halls.

    Q: Will Club Sports be able to practice or compete during the spring semester?

    A: We continue to work to develop protocols that will allow students to practice safely. For the fall, Club Sports did not compete or travel off campus to events. We anticipate the same for the spring.