Important Updates from the Provost and Dean of Students

August 13, 2020

Dear Students and Families

We are writing to follow up on Fr. Boroughs’ August 10 email regarding the College’s decision to move to a fully remote fall semester. We know this is a disappointment for many of you and that you probably have many questions. We have included answers to many of these questions on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Fall 2020 Reopening website.  We will continue to update this website based on the questions we received during the recent webinars. We wanted to highlight a few more details and logistics for you.

Fall Academic Calendar and Class Schedule

We will follow the same fall calendar we announced earlier this summer. The fall schedule of classes will remain largely unchanged and you will remain in the classes in which you are currently enrolled. 

  • Note for Class of 2024: First-year students have been enrolled in a Montserrat seminar and one additional course.  You will have the opportunity to enroll in your remaining two classes beginning Thursday, August 13 as scheduled.

 All students will have the opportunity to make changes to their schedules during the open enrollment period which is scheduled to begin on Monday, August 24.

Course Format
As you know, most courses were already scheduled to be in an online or hybrid format for the fall. Faculty who were planning for an in-person format also prepared their courses to be offered in a fully online format.

Faculty have worked with one another, with staff from the digital teaching and learning support group and with outside consultants to redesign their courses to incorporate new digital technologies and the latest research on online course design and student learning. All courses will include synchronous components to facilitate interactions between students and engagement between students and faculty.

Your faculty are committed to ensuring that all courses will reflect the high expectations and engaged teaching and learning that is characteristic of Holy Cross.

You can find a listing of the books required for each of your classes at the Virtual Holy Cross Bookstore.  If you choose to order your books from this site, the books will be shipped to you.

Course Load
The normal course load for a student is four courses per semester. Some students have expressed concern about completing four online courses. If this is a concern for you, we encourage you to contact your faculty advisor or your class dean.

If you choose to enroll in only three courses this semester you will still be a full-time student for the purposes of billing and financial aid. The College is committed to finding ways for you to complete a full course load this year. A limited number of courses will be offered during a new January term.  We expect to offer a greater array of courses in Summer 2021. If you choose to enroll in only three courses this fall, the College will allow you to enroll in one January term or one summer session course at Holy Cross with no additional tuition charge. While there may be some in person classes offered during the January and summer sessions, most will be offered online. If you are able to enroll in an in-person summer school or January term course, you will be responsible for any room and board charges for the session.

 Please note that if you are scheduled to graduate in May 2021, a summer session course can not be used to fulfill a graduation requirement. Please ensure that you will complete all graduation requirements before Summer 2021.

More details on the January term will be available soon.

Student Experience, Engagement and Involvement
The Holy Cross experience, whether in person or online, encompasses more than the classroom experience. For students studying remotely, and living away from campus, there will still be opportunities for remote internships, research, and other community-based learning and civic engagement opportunities. Support services like Academic Support and Learning Resources, the Counseling Center, Career Development, and Accessibility Services will remain available to you.  In addition, online social activities, small group communities, and opportunities for spiritual development and physical wellness are being developed by our Office of Student Involvement, Chaplain's Office and a working group of professionals from all disciplines across campus. You will be able to participate in activities and programs that interest you, and through these you will also have the opportunity to meet and build lasting relationships with other students.

Technology Support at Home
Students who prefer to stay home but need help meeting technology needs should complete this Technology Support Form. The College will make every effort to assist students with the technology required for remote learning and engagement. The form is due no later than Wednesday, August 19.

Exceptions to Access Campus Facilities
We may be able to allow a limited number of other students limited access to campus for other academic or personal reasons. Students who are planning to live off campus or live locally and have a compelling need to access campus for academic or personal reasons can apply through this Request for Access to Campus Form. Any student who is approved to access campus facilities or services will be required to participate in the COVID-19 testing program. This form is due Monday, August 17.

We will have more information early next week about possible criteria for this access campus but please know that at this time, our first responsibility is to respond to the students who are applying to reside on campus under the exceptions process noted in the above section.

Billing and Financial Aid
We will be issuing new bills and new financial aid packages for all students who will now be learning remotely to reflect the reduced costs.  We will be removing the originally billed student activities fee of $360 for all students and half of the activity fee is expected to be billed in the spring semester.  For students not accessing campus, we will be removing the fall semester health services fee ($180). The revised bill will be released in the Touchnet system by August 19th. Payment will be due by August 28th.

If you have already paid your bill, you will be able to apply any credits that might be left on your account to the spring semester or you can request a refund using this form. More detailed information about refunds is available on the Bursar’s refund webpage.

Requesting a Leave of Absence or Deferral
If you are considering taking time off this year, we encourage you to consult your class dean or faculty advisor. 

  • Classes of 2021, 2022, 2023: If you are a returning student, you may request a leave of absence by contacting your class dean. Please note that if you are on a leave of absence, you cannot enroll full-time at another institution. You can take courses to fulfill deficiencies or meet requirements (if approved by the class dean) but you cannot advance your standing. Your expected graduation date will be postponed by the number of semesters of leave. Please consult the College’s Voluntary Leave of Absence policy to review the guidelines.  
  • Class of 2024: If you are a student in the Class of 2024, you may request a deferral of your admission for one year by contacting Ann McDermott, Director of Admissions, at and requesting a Deferral Request Form. Your form must be submitted by Monday, August 17. If you defer your admission, you can take up to two courses while you are away, but you cannot apply to other institutions for admission as a full-time student.  

We know that the College’s recent decision has thrown many off balance and requires that you reflect carefully on what you might need in the coming academic year. Please know that your class dean, your faculty, your advisors and mentors are available for conversation and consultation.

While this semester is not what any of us would ever wish for, the faculty and staff are committed to your intellectual, personal and spiritual development and we will be engaging with you in multiple ways and using multiple formats. We look forward to working with you to create a strong Holy Cross community that will support all of us through this difficult time.


Margaret N. Freije                                  Michele C. Murray
Provost and Dean of the College            Vice President for Student Affairs  

Calendar and Due Dates

Thursday, August 13
First Year Course Registration Begins for Remaining Classes

Monday, August 17
Access To Campus Form Due

Monday, August 17
Deferral Request Form Due (Class of 2024) 

Wednesday, August 19
Technology Support Form Due 

Wednesday, August 19
Revised Bills/Financial Aid Packages Released in Touchnet 

Monday, August 24
Open Enrollment Begins 

Friday, August 28
Payment Due for Fall 2020 Bill 

Tuesday, September 1
First Day of Classes