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Fall 2020 Plans

The College is planning to be open in the fall and will invite all students who are able to return to campus. Fr. Boroughs announced many details of the Fall plan in a June 24 message to campus.

Holy Cross is doing everything we can to prepare for the fall 2020 semester, and our faculty and staff are working hard our plan to bring our students back to a safe living and learning environment. While we are building careful plans for the return to campus, we will all have to approach the fall with an openness to change. The plans below can and will likely change. When they do, this site will be updated.

There are still many details to be worked out regarding reopening the campus. We will have new procedures for almost every aspect of campus life – from how and where courses are offered to move-in to dining to access to the library and wellness facilities to elevator usage. There will be significant restrictions on the services and opportunities we can provide and on our freedom of movement. Our return to campus will not be successful unless all members of the community comply with the public health guidelines that will be in place.

Working groups have been established to plan and execute the details in each of the distinct areas of our Fall 2020 Reopening Plan. More information will be forthcoming, and will be communicated through weekly emails and updates to this website.

Limiting Virus Spread

All persons on campus will be required to adhere to a number of measures to comply with public health guidelines. These include, but are not limited to, wearing masks in public, maintaining six feet of distance, following all directives regarding use of elevators and other spaces on campus, and limiting the size of gatherings.

In addition, all persons on campus will be required to submit to the COVID-19 testing, tracing and quarantine protocols that will be established by the College.


Academic Calendar and Schedule

Classes will start on September 1, one day earlier than previously planned. Fall break will be eliminated this year, and students will leave campus before Thanksgiving. The semester will be completed remotely after the Thanksgiving holiday.

We will need to use different, larger spaces on campus for classes to allow for physical distancing. Class meetings will be spread over the entire day, with some meeting later in the afternoon or evening, to avoid congestion on campus and to allow for cleaning of spaces in between classes.

We are also planning for a three-week January term which will allow some students to participate in one course in a highly focused manner. 

Class Format

Similar to many other colleges and universities, our approach to classes this fall will be a hybrid one. We recognize that some students will not be able or not wish to return to campus in the fall. We will offer those students the opportunity to advance their academic program remotely.

Courses will be offered in a variety of formats: in-person, hybrid or fully online. Due to physical distancing guidelines, we are limited to larger classrooms and other large spaces on campus for in-person classes. Space considerations alone will necessitate limiting the number of in-person courses that can be offered.

We will communicate the format for each Fall 2020 course and any necessary revisions to the course schedule by Friday, July 10. 


In order to de-densify the residence halls the College will limit occupancy to two persons per room. We will also establish isolation and quarantine spaces for students. Together, these measures will likely require that we secure additional housing off campus. Students will receive a notice to complete the next steps in the housing selection process from the Office of Residence Life and Housing within the week.

In order to give students the opportunity to make plans that best fit their needs for fall semester, students should complete a new and revised housing contract, which will reflect the new dates for fall semester. A new housing contract will be sent by email on Wednesday, July 8 with an expected return date of Sunday, July 12.

Co-Curricular Programs and Athletics

We will continue to offer a breadth of opportunities beyond the classroom. Our existing programs will require modifications, and many on campus are planning for adapting those programs and creating new opportunities for personal and spiritual development, experiential learning and health and wellness.

The Patriot League Council of Presidents recently announced the principles on which the League will develop a Fall 2020 plan. While we are working on our plans as they relate to non-league competition, Holy Cross Athletics will follow these principles as they consider their plan for returning to Patriot League competition:

  • Student-athletes will return to campus at the same time as other students
  • Patriot League competition will begin at the end of September, with the expectation that league play will be completed prior to Thanksgiving
  • Non-League competition will not begin prior to Friday, Sept. 4
  • Patriot League member institutions will confirm that non-League competitors are following comparable health and safety protocols in advance of any contest
  • No Patriot League teams will fly to competitions and, with rare exceptions, regular-season competition will exclude overnight travel