For Students

Preliminary Fall 2020 Guide for Students and Families

Note: This page was last updated July 29, 2020 and is no longer being updated. 

View the Preliminary Fall 2020 Guide for Students and Families as originally published on July 11, 2020 (PDF)


Message from Michele C. Murray, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

At the College of the Holy Cross we are guided by the Ignatian principle of cura personalis, or care for the whole person, and for that reason we take seriously our obligations to ourselves and to one another. In the era of COVID-19 these obligations take on greater significance. Each of us must work to protect the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff in our community. We will fulfill this commitment to each other by monitoring and following the recommendations of the scientific and medical communities and complying with federal and state laws, requirements and guidance.

Until a vaccine or curative treatment is developed, there is no single strategy that will stop the pandemic or make it possible to return to pre-pandemic life. However, there is hope that through our efforts we can reduce the spread of COVID-19. In Fall 2020, these measures will include symptom monitoring, frequent COVID-19 testing, wearing face coverings, physical distancing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols for those infected or exposed to COVID-19, and a variety of changes to course delivery, housing, dining, and other aspects of campus life.

The 2020–21 academic year will be a different experience for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to reimagine every aspect of the Holy Cross experience — academic, social, and personal. Taking steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections at the College is a shared responsibility. Consistent with the principle of being people for and with others, all members of our community must do their part and work together to protect the health and safety of those in our College and surrounding communities.

If we have learned anything since March when we had to switch suddenly to remote learning, it is that we will all need to be flexible as we live into this fall’s Holy Cross experience. There are some answers in this guide about what to expect this fall, but we know there are still many unanswered questions. Please know that we at the College are working diligently to establish protocols for the fall, ready campus spaces for the return of students, faculty and staff, and prepare courses, activities, and appropriate events for our students, whether they are present physically or participating remotely. We will be communicating with students and families regularly between now and September 1 when classes begin, and we will continue that communication throughout the fall semester.

As members of the Holy Cross community, students will be expected to commit to the proactive behaviors described in this guide in order not only to protect themselves, one another, and the College and Worcester communities, but also to support our ability to have a full on- campus Fall 2020 semester.


As announced, the College will resume campus operations in fall 2020, following careful planning by staff and faculty for the past several months. As of this time, we are inviting students to return in person to the College this fall.

This guide summarizes several of the most important changes to the academic enterprise and the student experience for the 2020–21 academic year. It includes information on new restrictions and requirements that will significantly impact your and your family’s experience this year. It also includes information on requests for accommodations and how the College tuition, room and board refund policy works. The guidance in this document applies to all students and takes effect immediately. Please read this guide carefully while making plans for the year ahead and considering what is best for you and your family.

This guidance is current as of the date of publication. Public health conditions may prompt additional changes to the academic program, College events and activities, and campus life experience. Students will be notified of relevant updates to these guidelines through ongoing communication. The latest information can be found on the College’s COVID-19 Response and Reopening website.

Once you have had a chance to review this guide and consider your personal situation, you will have the opportunity to decide the best approach for you this fall: on campus participation, remote participation, or, alternatively, a leave of absence. We understand that each student’s decision is a personal one that will be informed by several factors. All students are required to let us know their plans for Fall 2020 enrollment by July 19 via the Acknowledgment and Election of Options Form. Steps for accessing this form are included at the end of this document.

Personal Health on Campus

COVID-19 cases in the US have been increasing among young adult populations, many of whom are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Even so, they may be at risk for transmitting the disease to more vulnerable populations, like our employees and students with chronic health conditions. Taking steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections at the College is a shared responsibility.

Testing and Symptom Monitoring

  • The College is partnering with the Broad Institute of Cambridge, MA to provide and analyze COVID-19 tests.
  • All students who choose to return to campus this fall, whether they live on or off campus, will be screened and tested for COVID-19. In addition to universal testing upon arrival, tests will be administered to all students on a regular basis, as directed by medical consultants.
  • The College will cover the cost of testing for students returning to campus.
  • Students will self-monitor and report the presence or absence of symptoms of COVID-19 every day, beginning on the first day of return to campus. Students will likely self-report using an app on a smartphone, or on the IT portal.
  • All students must remain at home or in a designated residence hall if they are sick. Students who are sick will contact Health Services for telehealth by calling 508-793-2276.

Face Coverings

  • All students are required to wear face coverings that completely cover mouth and nose at all times when on and off campus, in both indoor and outdoor spaces. The only times face coverings are not required are when students are (1) in their bedroom/ suite/apartment with only their roommate or suite/apartment mates, (2) eating with adequate physical distancing, or (3) undertaking personal grooming.
  • Holy Cross will be providing two cloth face coverings to all students, free of charge. Students are expected to obtain additional face coverings as needed and to launder and care for their cloth masks according to the CDC’s instructions on use of and care for face coverings.

Physical Distancing

  • Because keeping space between people is one of the best tools for avoiding exposure to COVID-19, students are required to maintain six feet of distance.
  • Students will be required to adhere to regulated space occupancy limits, which will be posted in every space on campus. During gatherings, face coverings and physical distancing must be followed.
  • The College is taking several actions to make physical distancing easier and provide periodic reminders. The College will reduce seating capacity in classrooms and other campus spaces.

Personal Hygiene

  • Handwashing: Students should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after they have been in a public place, touched shared equipment, or after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or touching their face. If soap and water are not readily available, they should use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. When using hand sanitizer, students should cover their hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be in place around campus in strategic locations, but students are advised to bring a personal supply when returning to Holy Cross.
  • Touching Face: Students should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth, with unwashed hands. Students should wash their hands before and after touching their face.
  • Gloves: According to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use in the COVID-19 pandemic and do not replace frequent and thorough handwashing. Students working in high-risk areas, such as labs or dining facilities, must use gloves as directed while working. Gloves and other personal protective equipment may be required in certain labs or other areas.
  • Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene: If students are in a private setting and are not wearing their face mask or covering, they should always cover their mouth and nose with tissues when they cough or sneeze or use the inside of their elbow. All tissues should be thrown in the trash. Students should immediately wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

Flu Vaccine

Because early COVID-19 symptoms mimic those of seasonal influenza, we highly recommend all members of the College community receive a flu vaccine no earlier than mid-September and no later than the end of October. This measure will help suppress the prevalence of flu, guard against anyone mistaking COVID-19 symptoms for the flu, and protect those with vulnerable immune systems. Students will be able to take advantage of the annual Flu Clinic on campus to receive their vaccines.

Contact Tracing, Isolation, Self-Quarantine

  • Despite the many reasonable steps Holy Cross is taking to prevent the transmission of the virus, the presence and transmission of COVID-19 on campus is likely, if not inevitable, during this ongoing global pandemic. Therefore, the College has developed protocols for contact tracing, and for isolating people who contract COVID-19 and helping people who become exposed to COVID-19 to self-quarantine.
  • A student who is diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to isolate and will be asked to provide information about other people with whom they have been in close contact with during the time when they may have been infectious and able to transmit the virus. A college contact tracer will contact students who have been identified as having an exposure and provide them with information and resources on self-quarantining.
  • Contact tracing will identify anyone who has had an exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19. An exposure is defined based on CDC criteria as unprotected (no face covering), close contact (within six feet) for more than 15 minutes with someone with documented COVID-19.
  • The length of isolation and quarantine are based on current CDC and DPH recommendations and are subject to change. Current recommendations for those who are exposed are a 14-day quarantine. If a student then tests positive for COVID-19, they would be subject to a 10-day isolation period (with at least three consecutive symptom free days).
  • Students who live within 250 miles of campus will be required to return to their family home within 24 hours of a diagnosis or notice of exposure to isolate or quarantine, respectively. Families will need to develop a plan for bringing their student home should that become necessary. We recognize that this may pose a significant imposition upon families who may not want their student to return; families should take this into consideration when deciding whether a student will return to campus for the fall or spring semesters of the 2020- 2021 Academic Year.
  • Students who are diagnosed with, or have been exposed to, COVID-19 whose families reside beyond 250 miles of campus will be required to isolate or quarantine on campus in a space designated by the College. On- campus isolation or quarantine will likely require students to move to a different on-campus residence for the isolation or quarantine period. The College will provide food meal drop off and health monitoring for students isolating or quarantining on campus.
  • After completing a quarantine or isolation period, a student will have a consultation with a provider in health services to clear them to return to campus.
  • On-campus isolation and quarantine spaces are finite. Approaching capacity in these spaces may necessitate the College returning to full remote learning and may require that all students leave campus and return home for the remainder of the semester.

Academic Life

Faculty have been restructuring their courses into online, in-person, or hybrid formats for the fall semester. Many things will change about the academic program: students and faculty will need to abide by physical distancing and mask wearing protocols when classes meet in person; we will have few in-person public events; and many courses will be online. What has not changed is the commitment of faculty to students’ intellectual development: creating challenging and innovative courses; developing academic skills; and providing the support and structure that will allow students to be successful.

Our aim is that all students, whether on campus or not, will have access to courses that will allow them to continue in their major and explore new areas of the curriculum, to opportunities outside their courses that will engage them in larger intellectual communities, and to academic resources (libraries, academic services, tutoring and writing support) that will facilitate deeper learning.

As always, if students have any questions about their academic program or course enrollment, they can contact their class dean or faculty advisor.

Academic Calendar and Coursework

  • The academic calendar for Fall 2020 has been changed. Classes will begin on September 1. There will be no October break. The last day of classes before Thanksgiving break will be November 20 and students residing in college housing will be required to move out of their residence by Saturday, November 21. There will be no classes held from Monday, November 23 - Friday, November 27 for the Thanksgiving break. On November 30, all classes will resume in a remote format and all classes will end on December 9. Final exams will be held in remote format from December 14 to December 18.
  • Courses in 2020–2021 will be offered in a variety of formats, giving students significant options to study in person or online. A large number of courses will be offered fully  online or in a hybrid format that includes both in-person and virtual components to allow participation by people who are physically present and those who are remote, and a smaller number of courses will be in-person only. The format of each class was a decision made by the individual faculty member based on their pedagogical goals for their course. 
  • The schedule of classes has been modified to create more time between classes in order to facilitate physical distancing as we move between classes.
  • A course listing has been made available indicating new class times and the expected format for each course. This will be updated regularly. Please note that if circumstances change before or during the semester with regard to the virus in general or a faculty member’s individual situation, a course that is scheduled to be offered in person or in a hybrid format may need to move fully online.
  • Physical distancing and the use of masks will be required of everyone participating in coursework in person.
  •  In-person classes will all be assigned to rooms large enough to accommodate the required physical distancing. This means we will be “repurposing” many of the available spaces on campus including Brooks Concert Hall, rooms in Hogan, and elsewhere. 
    There are a number of classrooms that are too small for classes given the physical distancing requirements.  Many of these spaces will be set up as spaces for students to use for studying, or participating in online classes. There will also be some study spaces in residence halls.
  • Office hours will generally be conducted virtually, although some faculty are exploring ways in which it may be possible to meet with students in person outdoors, weather permitting, with masks and physical distancing.
  • Montserrat, our program for first-year students, will continue to feature small, vibrant, interdisciplinary seminars that involve discussion, live speakers, interactive small group projects. Read more here about the work being done by professors to maintain the Montserrat experience this fall.

Course Enrollment

  • FOR STUDENTS IN CLASSES OF 2021, 2022, 2023: Most students in the Classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023 enrolled in classes in April. You can log into STAR to see the format (online, hybrid or in-person) of your courses and the time changes in your schedule. You will have the opportunity to make changes to your schedule or to add courses to your schedule during the open enrollment period later in July. The Registrar’s office and your class deans will be contacting you to give you more information about open enrollment.
  • FOR STUDENTS IN THE CLASS OF 2024: Students in the Class of 2024 will be meeting with faculty advisors from July 13 through July 22 to discuss course selections for the fall semester. You should submit your First Year Questionnaire by July 24. Based on that information, we will enroll you in a Monserrat seminar and one additional course. You will be able to complete your schedule during First Year Enrollment beginning August 13. Your class dean will send you further information at that time.
  • A limited number of courses will be offered in person for the fall semester, thus many or all of your courses will be delivered in hybrid or fully online formats. Faculty members have been redesigning their courses to seek to ensure that each course will be intellectually challenging and engaging, and will effectively use technology to enhance your learning.

Academic Resources and Support

  • The libraries on campus will be open. Study space in the libraries will be limited due to physical distancing requirements. The electronic resources of the library will be available to all students, on campus or not, and the libraries have been working over the summer to enhance available electronic resources. Students will be able make appointments to meet virtually with a research librarian, and research librarians will also answer email requests 7 days per week.
  • Since study space in the libraries will be limited, the College is working to identify other spaces on campus that can be made available to students for studying. Physical distancing will limit the numbers of seats available in these spaces. Students should plan to do much of their studying in their residence.
  • Academic support resources such as the Writer’s Workshop, Academic Services and Learning Resources and tutoring support will be available to all students in a virtual format (via video, audio, chat, or interactive whiteboard).
  • We know that the academic experience at Holy Cross is about more than your courses, and we are working on ways to create opportunities for intellectual engagement (e.g., speakers, panels, discussions) for students, wherever they are learning.
  • All Ciocca Center workshops will be held remotely for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Study Abroad and Semester Away

Unfortunately, study abroad has been canceled for Fall 2020. Our goal is to move forward with spring plans, but we are closely monitoring the global situation.

The Washington Program will operate as usual in the fall. Students will be encouraged to intern remotely, but will be allowed to return in person. The New York Program will go fully remote, and will open applications to admission for students who would like to experience a full semester program. Students can continue internships or work in the community remotely, and staff in the J.D. Power Center will be available to help them find new remote internships as well. Students can contact with any questions.

Massachusetts Travel Order and Quarantine Options

On Friday, July 24, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker communicated a new travel order to which all travelers and returning residents will be required to comply. As of August 1, the state will require all travelers, with certain exceptions, coming to Massachusetts to:

  1. Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival.
  2. Quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state or acceptable region or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.

Students who have been in a state defined as “lower risk”  for at least 14 days prior to arrival in Massachusetts are exempt from these requirements. The states currently defined as lower risk are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii. Please note that the lower risk designations could change.

To comply with the state mandate, students who reside outside of the specified lower-risk states, or have been outside of these states regardless of residence in the 14 days prior to arrival in Massachusetts, must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form and then complete the Holy Cross Quarantine Arrangements form to inform the College of their arrival plans. Students may choose one of the following options:

  1. Travel to one of the specified lower-risk states outside of Massachusetts and remain there for 14 days prior to coming to campus. (Reminder: The low-risk states could change.)
  2. Travel to Massachusetts and self-quarantine for 14 days prior to coming to campus. The state has provided requirements for quarantine to which the State expects you will adhere.
  3. Travel to Holy Cross, be tested, and quarantine on campus or in a hotel with your family  until you receive a negative test result.
  4. Obtain a PCR test for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. Please note that most testing locations across the country are reporting a turnaround time for results that is longer than 72 hours and choosing this option may require that you remain at home past the beginning of the start of the academic year.
  5. If you have been living within the lower-risk region since before August 1, you will not be required to self-quarantine.

We expect students who are approved to live off campus or are otherwise commuting to adhere to the state travel mandate. Please note that the College will not begin its regular campus testing protocol for all students who will be accessing campus until on or after August 28.

More details about the different options were outlined in an email to students and parents on July 24.

Living on Campus

Housing Assignments

  • Housing options will be offered to all students planning to reside on campus for Fall 2020.
  • The College will assign no more than two students per bedroom.
  • Reallocation of specific residence hall spaces is necessary to de-densify some buildings. In addition, the College may need to house some students off-campus in leased space in order to de-densify and meet the roommate maximum described above. The College reserves the right to assign College-leased off-campus housing to returning students. Students who are assigned to off-campus College-leased housing must comply with guidelines for on-campus facilities and any additional requirements stipulated by the third-party property owner.
  • Given the possibility of new housing options and the need to de-densify some buildings, the Office of Residence Life and Housing will be instituting modified housing preference, reassignment, and confirmation processes. These modified processes will cause a delay in the usual timeline for notification of housing assignments.
  • The fall 2020 housing agreement and roommate selection process is now open and will close on July 26th. The entire process will take place online, from completing the housing agreement to actually picking a room. For more information, please visit the housing selection process website
  • Students should expect notification of housing assignments by mid- August.

Move-In / Move-Out Logistics

  • Students will be encouraged to pack lightly and may bring only one person to campus with them to move-in.
  • Move-in will be staggered over several days, and students will receive an assigned date and time for move-in. More details will follow.
  • The College will conduct an initial COVID-19 test upon students’ arrival. More details will follow.
  • Students and families will need a move out plan in place for a possible emergency move-out in the event of a viral outbreak.
  • In order to deep-clean each residence hall between semesters, students will need to move fully out of the residence halls by Saturday, November 21.
  • Students who are not able to return home between Thanksgiving break and the beginning of the January term may apply for an exception to remain on campus. Applications will be due November 1, and exceptions will be granted on a limited basis.

Residence Hall Life

  • Face coverings are not required when students are in their bedroom and the only other person present is their assigned roommate. Any time students leave their bedroom and are or may be within six feet of others, including going to common spaces or bathrooms, face coverings are required.
  • When interacting with others in residence hall areas, physical distancing should be maintained and masks must be worn.
  • Students will be assigned to use specific bathrooms, and limited occupancy in the bathroom spaces will be implemented.
  • Students are limited to conducting personal hygiene in the floor bathroom to which they are assigned and must keep their shower and bathroom supplies in their rooms rather than storing them in bathrooms.
  • Study spaces will likely be available in every residence hall by way of lounges and other social areas that will be converted for this purpose. Students will comply with the occupancy limits posted for each room.
  • Laundry facilities will be available for student use. Students will comply with the occupancy limits posted for each facility.
  • Maintaining a clean living environment is important for the prevention of transmission of all germs, including COVID-19. The College is taking extra precautions to clean high-touch areas across campus, and the same principles apply in students’ living spaces. Students should clean high-touch surfaces regularly within their own living spaces to limit transmission of germs carried in droplets that may have landed on surfaces, or may have been transferred to surfaces from our hands. High-touch surfaces include, door and cabinet handles, bathroom faucets and surfaces, and kitchen surfaces.


In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, it is necessary to limit contact between people, particularly in the residence halls. Accordingly, absolutely no guests from outside the College will be allowed in residence halls during Fall 2020. Similarly, students will not be permitted to access any residence hall floor other than the one to which they have been assigned. Students will be required to abide by all room occupancy limits.

Living Off Campus

  • Students living off campus have a heightened responsibility to adhere to current health guidelines, not only to protect the campus community, but to protect those individuals and families living in their neighborhoods. We are looking to our off-campus students to demonstrate the Jesuit principle of being “for and with others” as we work together to reduce the risk to those around us.
  • Gatherings at off-campus residences are subject to local and state regulations and orders, and all students must adhere to the stipulations outlined in the College’s Community Standards and Community Commitment.
  • Maintaining a clean living environment is important for the prevention of transmission of all germs, including COVID-19. Students should clean high- touch surfaces regularly within their own living spaces to limit transmission of germs carried in droplets that may have landed on surfaces, or may have been transferred to surfaces from our hands.. High-touch surfaces include, door and cabinet handles, bathroom faucets and surfaces, and kitchen surfaces.
  • Students living off-campus who contract COVID-19 must contact Health Services to report their positive test results and receive isolation instructions.
  • Students living off-campus who are identified as close contacts with someone who has contracted COVID-19 must follow the CDC’s instructions for quarantine.

Campus Life


  • As the pandemic evolves and state regulations and guidelines change, it is anticipated that dine-in service will be limited during the academic year, and service may be takeout only.
  • Holy Cross Dining will adhere to the required and recommended guidance for foodservice sanitation, health, and safety and have implemented a variety of measures to ensure your safety while eating on campus. Read more about Dining's plans for the fall.

Events and Gatherings

  • Gatherings in indoor and outdoor spaces will be limited in size in accordance with local, state, and College public health guidelines, both on and off campus. Students must adhere to the occupancy limits of each campus space.
  • Hosting and attending large events are prohibited for Fall 2020 because such events are incompatible with the physical distancing that is necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As such, most campus events will be cancelled or postponed.
  • Every effort will be made to continue to provide students with the core programs and activities that they have come to know and love at the College, including academic programming, prayer, recreation, entertainment and social activities, though these will look and feel different than they have in the past.
  • In-person engagement will be in smaller groups, likely outside, and subject to social distancing, gathering limits and health and safety guidelines. This means that we will likely need to postpone larger fall activities such as Homecoming, Family Weekend, and Senior Ball.
  • Virtual engagement will continue to be offered. A calendar of virtual fall events will be forthcoming.
  • Students will not be allowed to host guests/visitors on campus for the fall semester.
  • Virtual student engagement will continue, so students studying from home and those living on campus have equitable access to departmental programs and campus engagement opportunities, online and through other means.

Student Organizations

As much as possible, student organization events should occur through a virtual format. In-person events will need approval through the Office of Student Involvement, will include attendance caps, and must meet all other College guidelines for physical distancing and personal protection. Large events will be prohibited.

Campus Recreation

  • At this time, intramural and club sports have been postponed. The College will monitor campus health conditions continuously and may relax restrictions for intramurals at some point during the semester, provided health conditions remain stable.
  • Cardio equipment may be available for physically-distanced student use and according to state guidelines.


Like other college athletic conferences, the College’s main athletic conference, the Patriot League, is currently assessing the viability of a fall season. Student- athletes and the campus community will be notified of the Patriot League’s decision as soon as it is made available


  • To provide for physical distancing, it may be necessary to design and implement a new “flow” of people through many buildings. Signs and other directions indicating this new flow will be installed in many buildings. Students will adhere to these new traffic patterns.
  • The College has redesigned spaces on campus to adhere to physical distancing requirements. Students may not rearrange spaces or move furniture or other fixtures.
  • There will be increased cleaning across campus. The frequency and type of cleaning for each space will be determined by space’s purpose and volume of use. Designated high-traffic areas, such as high-volume elevator lobbies, high-volume restrooms, and other similar areas will be cleaned multiple times per day. Cleaning and disinfection protocols specified by public health authorities will be implemented.


During this period of masking and a prohibition of visitors to campus, we need to have the ability to readily identify members of the Holy Cross community. So that we can easily identify members of the campus community this fall, we will be requiring students to keep their College identification cards visible at all times when moving about the campus. The College will provide lanyards for this purpose to all members of the community who require access to campus.


  • College-sponsored travel in Fall 2020 will be severely limited; a decision about Spring 2021 will be made in the mid- or late-fall term.
  • Students who travel to/enter from out of state may be required to self-quarantine for up to 14 days upon arrival to Massachusetts.
  • International travel is highly discouraged at the present time. International travelers will need to quarantine for 14 days with no exception.
  • Holy Cross strongly discourages personal interstate travel until in-person instruction has ended, currently scheduled for Friday, November 20. This recommendation includes refraining from travel over weekends, on holidays, or otherwise from the time they arrive at the start of the fall term until the time they depart for Thanksgiving.
  • The Office of International Students will keep students outside the U.S. informed about changes to international travel that may apply to them on the office's website.

Holy Cross Community

As members of the Holy Cross community, we commit to the following proactive behaviors in order to protect ourselves, one another, and the health of the community at all times, including nights and weekends:

  • Following national, state, and local health recommendations, guidelines and requirements, and adhering to those measures that the College deems safe and appropriate for its campus and buildings as published in the COVID-19 Response and Reopening: Fall 2020 Plans website (which are subject to change), including, but not limited to:
    • Complying with stipulated face- covering requirements
    • Maintaining 6’ of physical distancing requirements
    • Washing my hands frequently
    • Respecting any College- provided physical barriers and directives
    • Following standards set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regarding the number of people gathering in any one location at any given time or by space occupancy limits set by the College.
    • Refraining from hosting guests on campus, including family members
    • Refraining from hosting students outside my residential cohort in my residence
    • Wearing my Holy Cross identification on a lanyard outside my room at all times
    • Checking the COVID-19 Fall 2020 Plans website regularly for updated information
  • Checking my symptoms daily using the College-approved app
  • Submitting to all testing required by the College and signing releases to permit access to testing and results
  • Staying in my room and isolating if I feel ill
  • Reporting COVID or COVID-like symptoms, or exposure to COVID to Health Services
  • Complying with contact tracing efforts
  • Following isolation and quarantine protocols
  • Returning home for isolation within 24 hours of a positive COVID test if home is within 250 miles of campus
  • Returning home for quarantine within 24 hours of being notified of close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 if home is within 250 miles of campus
  • Returning home within 24 hours should the College return to remote learning due to a viral outbreak and require that all students in residence leave campus


Any student returning to campus in any capacity will comply with the restrictions, requirements, and behavioral expectations the College and state and local authorities are putting in place to promote public health. Agreement to follow the expectations in the College’s Community Standards, this Guide, or other policies or applicable law or guidance will be a condition of accessing residence halls, classrooms, dining locations, and services on campus.

Behaviors that violate these expectations jeopardize health and safety, increase the likelihood of a viral outbreak on our campus or in the greater community of Worcester, and may result in actual harm to one or more community members. Therefore, failure to comply with the Commitment and/or existing behavioral expectations outlined in the College’s Community Standards, this Guide, or other policies or applicable law or guidance may result in a forfeiture of campus access or removal from College housing, including any College-leased properties off campus, in addition to other disciplinary measures, up to possible dismissal from the College. In the unfortunate instance a student is found responsible for flagrant noncompliance, the student will be required to return home and access classes remotely.

Medical Concerns and Requesting Accommodations

Students with medical conditions may find that the current state of the pandemic requires a consideration of alternatives to a traditional campus setting. We encourage students to consult with their individual practitioners to develop a personalized plan and determine whether on-campus learning and living is appropriate. Students may also consult with Health Services by calling 508-793-2276, or emailing, with any questions on the COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan.

Students with disabilities who choose to participate remotely do not need to register with the Office of Accessibility Services to do so but may seek accommodations in connection with remote learning.

The College of the Holy Cross is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, the College provides reasonable accommodations to individuals with documented disabilities.

Students with disabilities seeking accommodations regarding any part of the Fall 2020 experience may initiate a request for accommodations by submitting relevant documentation to the Office of Accessibility Services Accommodate portal. Students interested in housing-related accommodations for Fall 2020 should submit their documentation by July 31st so the accommodation request can be considered. Please note, availability of certain types of accommodations may be limited post-deadline for housing requests (July 23).

Students may apply for religious accommodations by contacting Derek DeBobes, Director of the Office of Title IX & Equal Opportunity:

Refund Policy

The College’s refund policy for the 2020- 21 academic year is available here.

If a student withdraws from the College during the semester, charges will be prorated if the student has been enrolled for less than or equal to 60 percent of the term. The refund formula measures the actual number of days enrolled during the semester (and with respect to room and board, the number of days that room and board is offered for the semester which is a shorter period). A student is not eligible for a refund until all Federal Title IV programs and other scholarships are reimbursed as required and all outstanding balances with the College have been cleared. A student who is required to withdraw for disciplinary reasons or whose residential housing is limited, suspended or terminated due to disciplinary reasons is not entitled to a refund of tuition, room, or fees.

If a student withdraws after the 60 percent point in the term, there will be no refund of tuition and fees. Room and board fees will be refunded after the 60 percent point only if withdrawal or removal from residential housing occurs due to medical hardship or closure of all College residential housing as described below. Under these circumstances, refunds of room and board will be calculated on a daily basis based upon the number of days that room and board are offered for the semester. All refunds are subject to assessment of an administrative fee.

There will be no refund of tuition or fees in the event that the College determines that all courses must move to a virtual format, all residential housing must close, or as a result of any other changes to programs or activities. Students who remain enrolled but are required by the College to vacate their College-provided housing before the end of the housing license period due to a closure of all residential housing will receive a prorated refund of room charges and the unused portions of meal plans based upon the number of days that room and board are offered for the semester. Students who are approved to remain on campus despite the closure of residential housing because of an inability to depart will be responsible for room and board fees for the duration of their stay.

Certain fees are non-refundable and not subject to the refund policy.

Risk and Options

The College holds as paramount the health, safety and welfare of every member of its community. None of us can guarantee what course the COVID-19 pandemic will take, and none of us – including the College – can guarantee a COVID-19-free environment.

The College is committed to the goals of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for all of its community members. Even with these mitigation measures and students’ full compliance with the guidance provided in this document, it is unfortunately  not possible to completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19 infection on campus. It is likely that there will be cases of COVID-19 on campus during 2020–21. It is possible that students may become ill and spread the disease to others in their residential housing, in their classes, and others on campus. It is also possible that some students will become infected during their time at the College and spread it to family members and any other people they have close contact with outside of the College. The College certainly does not wish this on anyone, and we are taking recommended steps to mitigate this risk, but the College cannot categorically guarantee this will not happen. By coming onto campus, each person should understand that this is possible.

It is also important to note that the College may make changes of any nature at any time and from time to time to its educational services and activities, working and living environment, offerings, events, services, activities, calendar, schedule, standards, policies, requirements, rules, and procedures whenever the College deems it necessary or desirable in connection with the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, as determined by the College in its sole discretion. This may include, but is not limited to, changes to modes or methods of delivery of education and activities (including hybrid and remote), modifying, suspending, cancelling or

rescheduling any or all activities, services, and events, whether on or off campus, and requiring compliance with new, additional, or modified community standards, policies, procedures or rules intended for the protection of health and safety, in any such case giving such notice as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

All students and families are encouraged to review the College’s published refund policy. Students who elect to reside in College residential housing or come to campus should understand that they may be required to leave campus and remain off-campus after a positive COVID test, if the College returns to all remote learning due to a viral outbreak, or in connection with disciplinary action.

Accordingly, each student has the following options:

  1. Attend College classes remotely from home and have no physical access to campus for Fall 2020. Students electing this option will not be on campus at any time for any reason even if public health conditions improve. Students will continue to be able to use the many services provided by the College remotely (e.g., electronic access to academic resources, videoconference meetings with faculty and academic advisors, virtual student engagement, chaplains office) but will not be permitted to come to campus or access on-campus services. College residential housing for the Spring semester is subject to availability.
  2. Reside in College housing during the 2020-21 academic year. Students electing this option should be aware that there are a limited number of classes being offered in person and that many or all of a student’s classes may be delivered in hybrid or remote formats. In addition, returning students may be assigned to College-leased housing off-campus, should it become necessary for the College to obtain additional housing. Students may be required to leave College housing as described above.
  3. Live at home and come to campus during Fall 2020. Students electing this option should be aware that there are a limited number of classes being offered in person and that many or all of a student’s classes may be delivered in hybrid or remote formats. Students may be required to leave campus and remain home under the circumstances described above. College residential housing for the Spring semester is subject to availability.
  4. Elect to live off-campus (if a student has been approved to live off-campus by Holy Cross) and come to campus during the 2020-21 academic year. Students electing this option should be aware that there are a limited number of classes being offered in person and that many or all of a student’s classes may be delivered in hybrid  or remote formats. Students may be required to leave campus and remain off-campus under the circumstances as described above. The College is not responsible for any lease that a student may enter into with a third party.
  5. Seek approval to live off-campus (other than at home) for the 2020-21 academic year and come to campus. Students who do not yet have approval to live off campus must contact Dean Paul Irish,, to request approval. Students electing this option should be aware that there are a limited number of classes being offered in person and that many or all of a student’s classes may be delivered in hybrid or remote formats. Students may be required to leave campus and remain off- campus under the circumstances as described above. The College is not responsible for any lease that a student may enter into with a third party.
  6. Request a Leave of Absence for the Fall 2020 semester, but plan to return for Spring semester. Returning students may seek a leave of absence for the fall semester. After reviewing the College’s Voluntary Leave of Absence policy, students should contact their class dean to formally request this Leave. Students electing to take a leave of absence will not have any access to campus or College services during the fall semester. College residential housing for the Spring semester is subject to availability.
  7. Request a Leave of Absence for the 2020-21 academic year. Returning students may seek a leave of absence for the 2020-21 academic year. After reviewing the College’s Voluntary Leave of Absence policy, students should contact their class dean to formally request this Leave. Students electing to take a leave of absence will not have any access to campus or College services during the 2020-21 academic year.
  8. Request a one year deferral for first year students. First year students who would like to begin Holy Cross in August of 2021 for the 2021-22 academic year may request a Deferral Request Form from Admissions by emailing and submitting the completed form to Admissions no later than July 18, 2020. Deferral is not automatic. If the deferral request is approved, the student will need to submit an additional $500 deferment deposit at that time. Students who have been approved for a deferral may enroll in up to two courses at other institutions during the gap year, but may not formally matriculate at another college or university. Deferrals are granted with the understanding that the student will not apply to other colleges and universities. Students may defer only one time.

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