Dear Olin Students and Families,

Two weeks ago, we wrote to you just after wrapping up our first month back on campus. Since then, Olin has continued to expand offerings for our internal community, cautiously, with an eye on rising numbers outside the “Olin Bubble.” Because of the conscientiousness and commitment of our students, we have been able to “keep being Olin” and remain a safe place for students and employees this semester.

On October 19, we celebrated Convocation 2020 with a New Orleans-themed lunch, inspired by our summer book read, The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom. President Barabino kicked off the event with a personal reflection about what “home” means to her, followed by breakout discussions and a community Zoom poll: What about Olin makes you feel most at home? Oliners’ responses were captured in this word cloud:

A word cloud created by Olin College student thoughts and feelings

Community is clearly at the center of Olin culture. We feel so fortunate for our Olin community as we experience these complicated times and plan for the spring.

It is important to note that our success at controlling COVID-19 within our campus community has not been replicated statewide. The Massachusetts COVID-19 dashboard continues to show increases in new daily cases, the positive test rate and other metrics, especially over the past week. Gatherings present a major opportunity for the virus to spread. So, even as we do loosen up a bit on our campus, it is especially critical that we stick with our “hardened bubble” approach and follow all requirements in place, especially for mask use, social distancing and testing.

Two weeks ago, we promised to provide updates that we believe will allow you to make good decisions about next semester. Please keep reading for these updates and a timeline of important dates and deadlines.

Declaration of Intent Form. We are once again asking students to let us know about enrollment and housing for the spring by filling out another non-binding declaration of intent form. Students will receive this today in a separate email. This form will be due on November 6th. Please note that information about spring housing is required in order to reissue financial aid packages. We will compile data from the form and share it with the community after the submission deadline.

Academics. We are continuing to learn from our experiences this semester and to explore the best modes for teaching in the spring. As in the fall, each course will look a little different, depending on its learning objectives and the modes of instruction best suited to that course. Because we anticipate more students on campus, there may be a larger number of courses operating in hybrid mode, with some students in person and some students participating remotely. At least one of the first-year courses will likely use the household classroom model from Design Nature, and half a dozen other courses have requested space on campus. Most faculty will continue to teach remotely, and many courses will continue to be fully remote (i.e., using Zoom to bring people together). We’re also exploring expanded hybrid classroom facilities to make sure that we are inclusive of community members on and off campus. Finally, we will be offering a new, on-campus-only class that we understand meets current requirements for new F1 visas. For more information, please refer to our Spring 2021 Academics FAQ.

Course Offerings. A complete list of spring 2021 classes, along with instructors and teaching modes, may be found in the Registrar’s Semester Information and Registration FAQs. This list will evolve as changes happen between now and the release of the schedule.

Residential Life. Residential life will be a direct continuation of life on campus in the fall. Returning students should expect to begin with a quarantine period, followed by a gradual opening of campus that we hope will be similar to – and build on – this semester’s experience. Please see the updated Guide to Living on Campus for Spring 2021.

Some additional updates to campus life include recently opened lounges and kitchens, and a phased reopening of the Olin Shop has begun. Check out the Shop’s Instagram to see their new socially distant printing stations. For other windows into campus life, see Olin Dining’s Instagram and The Olinsider (OAFA’s first-year student blog).

This week, we received news that Babson’s Recreation and Athletic Center (BRAC) is open and ready for Olin students to use. Students can make reservations online through the BRAC website and must follow all of their policies and rules, practice appropriate mask use, distancing, and hygiene.

We hope this message contains the information you need to begin thinking about your plans for the spring of 2021. If you have any questions, please contact us at OlinAhead@olin.edu.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Goodman and Lynn Andrea Stein

Timetable for Spring 2021 Planning

List of Spring 2021 Course Offerings posted
(including instructional modalitites)
Week of October 26
Declaration of Intent Form
(students indicate intentions regarding enrollment, housing, etc.)

Posted: Week of October 26

Due: November 6

Course Schedule Circulated
(day and time details)

Late November
Registration
(students sign up for spring classes)
Early December
Reissuance of Financial Aid
(taking into account spring changes)
Early December
Term Bills Posted: By December 15
Due: January 15
Last Date for Pre-Semester Leave/Withdraw January 27
Spring Semester Begins January 28