STUDENT & FAMILY FAQ

We know that the decision to transition to online learning was abrupt and has a significant impact on students, faculty, staff and the larger Olin Community. These FAQs are designed to provide up to date information for students and their families. We want you all to know that caring and supporting our students and the larger Olin community is always our most important goal. 

Update: March 19, 2020

Is there anything we as a community can be doing to help people who may need it?

We are looking into that and will advise as soon as we know.

Do we know how much money from the Student Emergency Fund has been used?

The Student Emergency Fund is for student emergencies such as plane rides home, Uber rides, gas money and other things students need. There continues to be adequate money in this fund. As well, at the last student  government meeting, the students voted to use a lot of their leftover funds for student emergencies.

Can we continue to use course assistants?

Faculty can continue to use them. They will continue to get paid. The process may not be exactly the same but we will figure that out in the coming days. To the extent you can use them please do.

Are there any online events planned for emotional support?

Yes, we plan to offer online activities in the coming days and weeks. If you can help with that please reach out to Jeremy Goodman. We are a community and will continue to be so. We will need to find a way for people who are seeking connection. For the short term use the connections and channels you have and we will have more for you soon.

Will summer research happen?

Any research that can be done remotely we are on board to do. It is premature, however, to think about how we might plan for on-campus summer research. We are imagining it might not be happening but we have not made that decision. 

What might a return to campus look like?

We have not even begun to tackle that yet.

Update: March 17, 2020

Can local students access campus to use shop, library, other facilities? 

No. We have recently made the decision to close the campus. All faculty and staff are expected to work remotely. Students will not have access to any campus building or facility. If any student has a need to enter a campus building they should email Rae-Anne Butera rae-anne.butera@olin.edu during normal business hours to discuss the situation.

Will students be able to access PGP and learning support? 

Yes. PGP is up and running even though students are not on campus. The team sent out a note to students last week. Many of you are in the thick of your job or internship search or may be getting information from your employers that you need help processing. PGP remains here to help you with all this and more. Feel free to email Sally, Suzanne, or Aarti, with a question, or book time with one of us on Handshake. We will follow up with a zoom invitation for you. In your message please note your time zone.

PGP is also reachable during spring break. 

Students won’t have access to the machines/tools/shop, how will the courses that depend on the use of those facilities change? 

Courses that were constructed around physical fabrication and experimentation are re-thinking their approaches to take advantage of simulation and on-line resources.

The online learning environment may not be easy for some. Will that be a consideration in grading? 

We are discussing grading approaches to take into account the exceptional circumstances, and will be sharing ideas about this soon.

If students are really upset about leaving their friends, is there anything Olin can do to encourage social interactions among classmates? 

After spring break we will resume our interactions with student groups, including the Student Government. We will support as much of “business as usual”as is possible and also create some new possibilities for interactions! The Student Affairs team will also create some new touch points in addition to regular connecting with individual staff members.

Did anyone take pictures of fauxmencement? How do we access them? 

Yes. We had a photographer take photos of the ceremony. You can access the photos here

Is it possible this situation will extend into the next academic session? 

We have no way of knowing how the COVID-19 pandemic will evolve but we do not anticipate that it will have an impact on our Fall schedule.  

Is it possible the Zoom rooms and other online tools will become overloaded and not accessible? 

It is a remote possibility.

What are your recommendations for students who are studying abroad? 

We have been in close contact with all students who are studying away this semester, as well as with their provider programs. Because students are living and learning all over the world the situations they have encountered have differed. We have been encouraging families to make decisions together about whether or not to return to the US based on advice from the providers and us, as well as the circumstances in each area.

My student doesn’t feel that she does a good job of concentrating on schoolwork at home. Do you have tips to help students like that? 

During spring break we are working on resources to help support student learning in these very particular circumstances. Students should expect to see communication about a variety of topics in this space. Students will also be able to schedule time with the various support people on campus, just as they would have if they were physically at Olin.

If the school is closed through the end of semester, will Olin set up a service to pack and shop students’ belongings? 

Once we have all students moved out of the residence halls we will evaluate what students left behind in their rooms. We will reach out to students individually to discuss the best course of action, whether that is shipping, storage, or possibly returning to campus to pick up the items.

How much should study abroad students self-quarantine? 

Students returning from study away should follow the advice and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Public Health, and their own health care provider regarding what they should do upon return to the United States.

What are your contingency plans for commencement? 

We are working on a contingency plan for all end of semester events including Commencement, 

How will this affect the visa status of international students? 

The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has made an accommodation for international students on F-1 visas to continue their studies remotely for the remainder of the semester. Our International Programs Coordinator is in close contact with all international students and those students  have been asked to keep the Coordinator updated on their location.

Are all students leaving campus? 

All students have been instructed to leave campus and are expected to do so by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18.. Because we have students from all over the country and the world we know this may not be physically possible for a very small number of students. Students had the opportunity to tell us about any challenges they had and we have been working diligently to support varying needs. While there may be a very small number who will need to remain in the residence halls for some amount of time most students received the support they needed to leave campus safely. 

Posted March 11, 2020

FOR STUDENTS AND FAMILIES 

  • How will the remainder of spring semester courses be offered?

    • After spring break Olin will move to virtual instruction for all courses until further notice. Classes are not being cancelled — they are moving online. This will mean different things to different classes, but the faculty will work together to ensure that all students can complete this semester's coursework. Faculty are actively working on planning for virtual instruction and are currently working with their students to coordinate this shift. 

    • When does virtual instruction go into effect?

      • Virtual instruction will commence after spring break on Monday, March 23, 2020. There is no disruption to classes, meetings and events scheduled through Friday, March 13, 2020.  

    • Will students need to leave campus?

      • All students should depart campus by 5 pm on Wednesday, March 18. Because the duration of the situation is unclear, students are encouraged to take as many of their belongings as possible. Though no determination has been made, it is wise to assume that you may not be returning this semester. Certainly take any belongings that may be needed for remote course engagement. The residence halls will be inaccessible during this time.

    • What assistance are we providing students?

      • We are assisting all students on an individual basis who have questions or concerns. Those students should contact someone in the Student Affairs office and we are working to respond as soon as we possibly can.

    • What about returning keys and packing up belongings? 

      • Key return envelopes will be available at the blue key boxes located in each residence hall lobby beginning Thursday, March 12.  All departing students need to return their room and suite keys in the provided envelopes prior to departure.  For those who are unable to take all of their belongings with them, you are asked to box anything left behind as it is possible Olin may need to move or consolidate items into storage. We are providing packing supplies for all students. Those supplies will arrive on campus on Thursday, March 12 and a message will be sent to students with details on how and where to acquire them.

    • Are any students allowed to stay at Olin and under what circumstances?

      • We recognize that there will be some students whose circumstances are such that they have no other option than to stay on campus after spring break due to travel restrictions to other countries or other extenuating circumstances. If that is the case for you, you must complete this form by noon on Thursday, March 12. A member of the Student Affairs staff will reach out to you to discuss plans for your situation. 

    • Can students leave cars on campus?

      • Students should plan to take their cars, just as they would at the end of the academic year. However, if circumstances require a student to leave a car on campus, they must leave it in the lower tier of Lot A.

    • Is anyone else providing assistance?

      • As Olin is a small, close-knit community it is not surprising that we are receiving plenty of offers of help. Students have started a Google document for temporary housing and storage space, alumni, faculty and staff are quickly responding. 

    • Who should I ask if I have questions about departing campus?

      • Please contact Seth Hodge (shodge@olin.edu)  with any questions about departure.

    • What can students expect if they need to stay on campus? 

      • Room and board will be provided. We are working on the details right now and will provide information to those students who are approved to stay on campus as soon as possible.

    • Can students who live in the area come to campus after spring break?

      • Students should not return to campus after spring break. Students will be notified if and when this restriction is lifted for the Spring 2020 semester. 

      • Many students have some form of campus employment. Can any of that continue virtually?

    • We encourage students to check with their supervisors as some forms of campus employment could continue virtually.

  • Student financial aid and accounts 

    • We know many students and families have important questions related to financial aid and student accounts. We are working to get detailed answers to these questions and will respond with a separate communication as soon as we can. 

  • Can students get a room and board refund?

    • We understand that many students and parents have questions about room and board refunds. Our first priority in making a decision about moving to online learning has been to maintain the safety of our community and assist in containing the spread of this virus. We expect to have more information about refunds and processes in the next few days.

  • Can students finish their passionate pursuit remotely?

    • Yes! Passionate Pursuits can continue and requests for reimbursement should be submitted as usual.

  • If Babson and/or Wellesley does not implement on-line courses, can I remain on campus to attend those courses? If not, what should I do?

    • Babson has already moved to virtual courses. We continue to stay in touch with Wellesley about their plans. If in-person class attendance is required for a Wellesley course and students wish to remain on campus for that purpose they should complete the request form. If Wellesley decides to move to virtual courses then students would be expected to leave campus at that time.

  • Do my parents or guardians know? 

    • The email from President Miller was shared with your parents/guardians shortly after it was sent to the full on-campus community.  

  • What about mental health needs?

    • We will continue to provide our mental health resources to the extent possible in a virtual format for the remainder of the semester. More information about this will be sent to students soon.

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