FAQ's About Fall 2020 Semester Re-Entry to Wentworth's Campus
Fall 2020 Semester
What are the University’s plans for the Fall 2020 semester?
Wentworth will remain open and is readying for the return of students to campus in September. The following is an outline of the current plans:
- The fall semester will begin as planned with classes starting on Tuesday, September 8 and will end with the final exam period that will conclude on Tuesday, December 15.
- Across all majors, most lecture-based courses will be delivered through an interactive, virtual learning model for students living on or off campus. For example, this will include courses in Applied Math, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Management.
- Classes that are primarily “hands-on” in nature, such as labs and studios, will be delivered in-person with safety measures in place that will include the required use of personal protective equipment, physical distancing, and cleaning protocols. Using the virtual learning approach for lecture-based courses creates the space that is required to de-densify the labs and studios to meet safety guidelines.
- A select group of courses may be delivered in a hybrid model that includes both virtual and in-person learning. These courses will be delivered in this format when professors, in consultation with their department chairs, determine this approach is necessary to achieve learning goals.
- Recognizing that students may have unique needs or a preference to remain off-campus, students may select to have their entire semester via virtual learning.
What if the spread of COVID-19 increases prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester?
Plans with regard to our return to campus may change based on changes in infection rates, and with guidance from public health and government authorities. We ask everyone to keep in mind the need for continued flexibility. Conditions fluctuate, and we may need to alter our plans. Our first concern will always be the well-being of our community.
What should I do if I’m feeling a lot of stress and anxiety related to this situation?
This is normal and important to address. There are confidential resources available to students, faculty and staff. There’s no reason to go this alone. There are professionals available to provide you with assistance.
How is Wentworth going to resume classes on campus?
- A Re-Entry Task Force, comprised of several teams, is developing a comprehensive plan around all aspects of campus re-entry, focusing first on the health and wellness of Wentworth’s community. This planning and implementation are supported by medical, public health, and emergency management expertise. Returning to campus will require everyone’s cooperation and a commitment to public health best practices—health monitoring, testing, use of personal protective equipment including face coverings, physical distancing, personal hygiene procedures, contact tracing, intensive and frequent cleaning, and other efforts.
Do I have to return to campus this fall to continue my education?
No. Recognizing that students may have unique needs or a preference to remain off-campus, students may select to have their entire semester via virtual learning. Students submitted choices regarding course delivery on June 26th, using an online form. Changes made after initial selections will only be permitted on a space-available basis through July 31 via the same form. Changes on or after August 1 will be made only after a request in writing to the Registrar.
For students choosing to study remotely this fall, how will they receive their laptops and when?
- Technology Services is working with Facilities to finalize the plan for laptop distribution based on the move-in schedule and plans. The university will mail laptops to students who are completing their courses remotely this fall.
What resources and assistance will be available to students whose classes will be conducted online and what if the student has follow-up questions for the faculty member?
- Students will be able to engage with faculty via virtual office hours. Academic support services such as tutoring and advising will be delivered virtually as well.
If a student is living on campus and joining their virtual classes, will they have to stay in their dorm room, or will there be other areas available on campus to participate virtually?
- Spaces for both our residential students and commuter students are being identified throughout campus. More detailed information will be made available as we get closer to the beginning of the fall semester.
Is there an option for students who have studio courses to do them virtually instead of in-person and on campus?
- Over the summer, our faculty members have been carefully designing a plan for students who seek an online studio. Students can have hands-on experience working on their projects remotely, and they will engage with their professors and peers virtually in similar and meaningful ways. There will be virtual office hours with all faculty and tutors and advisors are also available virtually.
I am having difficulty securing a co-op for the fall, what are my options?
- For those students unable to secure a co-op position by September 15 (last day to add/drop), the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development (CO-OPS + CAREERS) is working closely with Academic Affairs leadership, faculty, and staff to create robust and engaging opportunities that will fulfill students’ co-op requirement. Most options are virtual, allowing students to complete them from the comfort of their home or residence hall. These options will be unpaid.
If a student is diagnosed with COVID-19 and misses academic work due to illness, how will this be handled by faculty?
- The University is committed to working with students to ensure their success and their ability to continue to make academic progress during this pandemic. Every situation will be different based upon the course and what academic work is missed due to illness. Students are advised to consult with their faculty member should they become ill and need assistance to make accommodations for their course work.
Will there be a reduction in tuition for students with online classes?
- The University will not be modifying the 2020-2021 tuition. Wentworth is committed to ensuring that all students progress toward timely degree completion. Online and hybrid courses offer a different mode of instruction, not one of less value. The University is committed to providing top notch instruction by its faculty in the classroom, online, and in hybrid modes, and is continuously updating and improving the delivery of its programs to fulfill that commitment. Here is the policy on Tuition, Fees and Expenses for the 2020 Fall Semester.
If a new student chooses to defer admission or take a leave of absence, will their merit scholarships be applicable in the following academic year?
- Yes. Merit scholarships will be applicable in the following academic year should a student decide to defer enrollment or take a leave of absence.
Housing and Move-In
Are students going to be able to live on campus?
Yes. Wentworth is developing comprehensive plans to allow students to live on campus. It will require reducing overall residence hall occupancy, health monitoring, testing, use of personal protective equipment including face coverings, physical distancing, personal hygiene procedures, contact tracing, intensive and frequent cleaning, and other efforts. A Re-Entry Team, including medical and public health professionals, is currently working out all the precautions that need to be in place. Move-in dates will be staggered to avoid crowding and allow for physical distancing. Details will follow as they become available.
What are the move-in dates and how will the process be conducted on campus?
- Student move-in will occur through a phased approach. The schedule for move-in is being finalized and will be shared with students soon. One guest will be able to accompany each student during move-in.
Can guests or family members help students move into residence halls?
- To minimize risk of exposure in our residence halls, the University will be allowing only one person to assist students with their move-in. We are not able to grant any exceptions to this policy and appreciate your understanding as we manage the move-in process in the safest manner possible.
When will the housing assignments be distributed?
- The Office of Housing and Residential Life is working diligently to assign students to de-densified living quarters with the goal of sending housing assignments to students at the end of July/beginning of August.
Will the University require the person moving their student into the residence halls to be tested prior to move-in?
- The person assisting students with the move-in process will not need to be tested but must wear a face covering and adhere to physical distancing precautions while on campus and in the building. Additionally, any other family members who remain in their cars, must wear face coverings if they exit their automobiles for any reason or length of time. Anyone experiencing COVID-related symptoms should not come to campus.
Will athletes be housed together in the Living Learning Community model?
- To minimize risk and exposure, Living Learning Communities will be created where athletes will be able to live together.
With the de-densifying of residence halls, how will this apply to suite-style rooms?
- All of the residence hall rooms will be singles and doubles. Our Evans Way and Tudbury suites have multiple bedrooms, but there will be no more than 10 students per suite.
If a student’s classes are all virtual this fall, is there any benefit to deciding to live on campus?
- Living on campus allows students to engage in a living and learning environment that enhances academic progress, expands involvement opportunities, fosters personal growth, and cultivates healthy interpersonal relationships and lifelong friendships. Students who choose to live on campus will have access to in-person aspects of campus life, including Living Learning Communities, where students are grouped together according to majors and other interests.
Can a student choose to study remotely in the fall and then move to campus for the Spring 2021 semester?
- Yes, in this circumstance, we will guarantee housing to students choosing to move to campus in the spring.
Dining, Fitness, and Common Spaces
Will there be increased dining locations to help de-densify areas during mealtimes?
- Yes, in addition to Beatty Hall cafeteria, we will use Watson Auditorium for meal service, as well as a tent on the Quad and other grab-and-go food options across campus.
How will the de-densifying plan affect the library and student access to those resources?
- The library will be open and will be set up in a de-densified way to accommodate for physical distancing in the space. Students will reserve a study space in advance, as well as the use of printers and reference librarian resources. Full library services will be available virtually as well.
Will fall athletics take place?
- The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) has suspended the fall athletic season. Wentworth fully supports this decision and has decided to extend this decision to sports outside of the CCC, including varsity and club sports. The University is committed to providing a meaningful athletic experience for all our student-athletes that includes team practices and trainings this fall semester.
Is there any information about winter and spring athletics yet?
- No decisions have been made about winter or spring competition yet, but winter sports competition would not start any sooner than January 1, 2021. Additionally, there may be a possibility for fall sports to compete in Spring 2021.
Will there be opportunities for fitness on campus?
- Yes, we will hold outdoor fitness classes (cycle, boot camp, yoga). Space will be created outside Tansey Gym for students to utilize kettlebells, resistance bands, etc., while observing physical distancing requirements. We are also exploring virtual exercise programs in partnership with other local colleges for outdoor activities.
Student Support Services
What measures are in place for supporting new and first-year students during this challenging transition period to ensure they do not fall behind in their academics?
- We are committed to offering full support to all our students. Technology has served us well in providing both academic and personal support during the pandemic. All students will have access to faculty support outside of normal class meeting times. Students will also have access to academic resources such as the Library and the Center for Academic Excellence, which includes peer-to-peer tutoring. Additionally, students will have access to tele-mental health counseling both through the Center for Wellness and with our BeWell@WIT 24/7 service (617-989-4390, option #2).
Student Life, Travel, and Employment
Are students residing on campus allowed to go home or travel to other campuses on the weekends, etc.?
- Currently, there are no planned restrictions on a students’ ability to travel home on weekends (to locations that do not require 14-day quarantine upon return). Students are strongly encouraged to engage in behaviors that minimize risk of exposure regardless of where they are. Students should adhere to posted physical distancing and face covering requirements, as well as symptom monitoring prior to coming back to campus. This could change during the semester, depending on guidance from our health experts.
If a student living on campus is employed off-campus, are there any restrictions?
- Unless something should change, there are no restrictions at this time preventing students from working off-campus. Students are required to use preventative measures to minimize risk of exposure and inform the University if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, students with these types of off-campus commitments should be symptom screening prior to leaving the campus and when returning.
If a student purchases a MBTA pass and the University is forced to return to remote learning at some point during the fall, will the student be reimbursed for the pass?
- While we are not able to provide any guarantees at this time, if we have to move to fully remote learning in the fall, the University, to the best of its ability, would try to assist our students with these financial obligations.
Campus Infrastructure - Facilities
What type of cleaning methods and products will be used in residence halls and common spaces? Will this include use of UV technology?
- Cleaning frequencies will increase across the campus with focus on restrooms, common areas, dining areas, elevators, and learning environments with emphasis on touch points – doorknobs/pulls, light switches, handrails, countertops, sinks, toilets, drinking fountains, elevator buttons, etc. Approved disinfectants by the CDC and found on the EPA registered antimicrobial products list for use against the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) will be employed. UV technology is not being used at this time; however, electrostatic spray disinfection machines will be utilized.
If enhanced cleaning is in place for residence halls and other common areas, who will clean the individual dorm bathrooms? Are students required to do this, and if so, will cleaning products be provided?
- Bathrooms in first-year residence halls will be cleaned with increased frequency. It is noted that cleaning and disinfecting will be a community effort and all staff, faculty, and students will assist with cleaning of work and living spaces. Residents are expected to clean their bedrooms and any shared spaces. As is customary in suite and apartment living, residents are expected to provide their own cleaning supplies.
Has the University made updates to the ventilation systems in response to COVID-19?
- Our Campus Infrastructure Team’s top priority was to put into place measures to mitigate risk and has been analyzing all ventilation systems across campus. Ductwork is being cleaned, rooftop units are being sanitized and all filters have been replaced to manufacturer’s specifications. Wherever possible, fresh air intakes have been adjusted to permit the maximum flow possible.
Testing, Contact Tracing, and Symptom Tracking
Will COVID-19 testing be conducted on campus? If so, how often and will there be a cost to students, faculty, or staff?
- Wentworth is requiring those coming to its campus to be tested three to five days before they come to campus, and then again seven to ten days after arrival. Wentworth will also be conducting weekly surveillance testing of individuals in high student contact roles, as well as testing for those reporting symptoms or who may have been in close contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19. Wentworth is covering the cost of required pre-arrival, onboarding, and surveillance testing. The University will cover the cost of testing of symptomatic and close contact testing for those identified as participating in this kind of testing.
Should students plan to have an antibody test prior to return to campus?
- A test that guarantees the correct antibodies with enough present to protect an individual for a certain amount of time has not been developed. At this point, the antibody test that is available does not have a high accuracy rate. Our medical advisors are hopeful that this type of accuracy in antibody testing will increase in the Fall and beyond.
Do student commuters have to be tested?
- Yes, any student coming to campus to attend classes will undergo the same testing and daily symptom monitoring protocol as residential students.
What method of COVID-19 testing is the University using?
- We are using anterior nares (lower nostril) testing method, not the nasopharyngeal swab. This test is far less invasive and much more comfortable for the individual.
Should there be a surge of COVID-19 this fall, what is the threshold for determining whether to vacate campus and switch to remote learning?
- We will be working closely with our medical experts, following city and state health requirements and guidelines, and monitoring our campus environment closely. There is no clear-cut threshold set at this time. We will rely on the science and guidance coming from experts and government agencies to assist us in deciding to return to remote learning, should that be required.
Will students, faculty, and staff be responsible for daily personal symptom checking and how will this work?
- Yes, all members of the Wentworth community will be responsible for daily personal symptom checking and temperature taking. Wentworth will provide access to the CoVerified app for symptom checking. CoVerified will guide individuals through performing daily symptom monitoring and will provide campus access authorization. CoVerified will be a valuable tool in our efforts to keep the campus healthy, and we will be sharing more about CoVerified’s functionality as details become available.
How will testing be handled for students, faculty, and staff working or studying in a fully remote manner? Will they be allowed to visit campus without being tested?
- To minimize the risk of spread to the community, students, faculty, or staff who are studying or working in a fully remote manner are not permitted to visit campus. These individuals should contact their Primary Care Provider, if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and assess whether they should be tested by their health provider. These individuals will not be tested on campus.
Should students plan on bringing medical supplies with them in case they fall ill?
- Yes. Even before COVID-19, we strongly encouraged our residential students to bring an individual first aid kit with them. Students should purchase individual thermometers because they will be expected to self-monitor their temperatures on a daily basis. Thermometers should not be shared. Other items to consider purchasing include tissues, cold/flu medication, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or Ibuprofen, throat lozenges/cough drops, hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content), and antibacterial bar or pump soap. Students should remember to bring their medical insurance card, name and phone number of their primary care health care provider, and a list of allergies.
Quarantine and Isolation
If a student who is residing in off-campus housing, tests positive for COVID-19 and requires care, will they be afforded the opportunity to be placed in an isolation room on campus or is that only provided to students who are residing in the dorms?
- We have a limited number of quarantine and isolation beds reserved for students residing on campus and whose permanent homes are more than 200 miles away from campus. Given our limited quarantine/isolation beds, we are not able to offer quarantine and isolation beds to students residing off campus. Likewise, we are not able to provide delivery of food services to students residing off campus who are in quarantine or isolation.
What happens if/when a residential student gets sick?
- The University has planned for a dedicated isolation space for residential students testing positive for COVID-19. Students whose permanent homes are less than 200 miles from campus will need to be isolated and picked up by their families and isolate at home. Residential students residing more than 200 miles from campus will be moved to the dedicated isolation spaces until they are recovered. Students will receive daily telemedicine assistance and food delivery while in isolation. Additionally, should a student need a higher level of medical care, Wentworth is within blocks of world class medical and research centers in the Longwood Medical Area that are at the forefront of addressing this pandemic.
If a student is in self-quarantine or required to isolate at home, will the student be able to continue their classwork virtually?
- Any student required to self-quarantine or isolate will be able to continue to make academic progress via virtual learning.
If students become sick with COVID-19, does Wentworth have sufficient capacity and staffing to quarantine and care for all of the sick individuals?
- The health and safety of our students is paramount, which is why we will be requiring students who test positive and live within 200 miles from the University to return home for recovery. We believe the best people to provide care for a sick student is a student's family when possible. Understanding our campus is not set up to serve as a large medical infirmary, we have to ensure the beds identified for isolations/quarantine space are available for those students unable to return home. For our students unable to return home to recover due to distance, we will provide medical care through Optum Medical, which will include daily telehealth check-ins to monitor the progress of our students' recovery. Food, beverages, and supplies will be delivered to our students during this time of recovery. Additionally, Wentworth benefits from its close proximity to many world-class hospitals in the Longwood Medical should a student need a higher level of care.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and Physical Distancing
Given the importance and campus requirement of wearing face coverings in all public areas, will the University provide masks to the community free of charge?
- Students, faculty, staff, contractors, visitors, and other members of the Wentworth community are expected to provide their own face coverings. The University will provide other personal protective equipment as appropriate due to health and safety needs in certain campus settings, such as in laboratories. If you are required to wear protective goggles or face shields while in class, you will be notified by your faculty member and provided with this equipment.
What adjustments to residence halls, dining areas, and other common spaces have been done to ensure physical distancing is maintained?
- Residence halls, classrooms, laboratories, studios, dining halls and common spaces have been de-densified, including the removal of furniture, to accommodate physical distancing. Signs, flags, banners and decals will be deployed across the campus to remind members of the Wentworth community that face coverings are required on campus, as well as the need to maintain physical distancing, wash hands frequently, and use the daily symptom tracking app.
Compliance and Enforcement of PPE Protocols
How will PPE recommendations and other security measures inside residence halls be enforced?
- We expect that every member of our campus community will hold themselves and others accountable to keeping our community safe. Security and oversight in our residence halls will remain the same - a joint partnership between Public Safety, the Office of Housing and Residential Life and students. Like other policy violations, if students are concerned that a member of our community is not complying with policies, they can bring this to the attention of Public Safety, their Residence Director and/or Resident Assistant. Strict compliance is expected by all members of the Wentworth community.
What is the University’s plan for those who choose not to comply with the rules and protocols established?
- Everyone is required to play a role in creating the safest environment possible for our community. We will set forth accountability measures that will be communicated and strictly enforced among all members of our community. Appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken for noncompliance and violation of policies set forth.
Faculty & Staff
Will all faculty and staff be returning to campus?
To de-densify the campus, some faculty and staff will be scheduled to continue to work remotely until a later time. Similar to academic spaces, plans are being made for occupation of office and other working spaces that minimizes risk. As soon as these plans are finalized, your supervisor will let employees know. Wentworth will provide at least two weeks’ notice to employees prior to an expected return to campus.
What if I’m commuting to Wentworth via public transportation?
There is a Re-Entry Team that is evaluating transportation options and parking needs, recognizing that public transportation may be more limited and the demand for campus parking may increase. More details on transportation and parking will follow as they become available.