FAQs About the Fall 2020 Semester for Returning Students

Will fall 2020 classes be held in-person or by remote instruction?

We are working closely with our state and local public health officials to determine when we can resume in-person instruction either at full strength or under lower population density conditions. At this time we do not have an estimated date, but we are preparing for all possibilities, from fully remote to fully onsite and any combination.  We anticipate some or all instruction will be delivered via remote instruction in the Academic Year 2020-2021.

How will the university keep the campus safe?

The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and the greater Amherst community will always be our top priority. We are continually assessing the COVID-19 situation, in consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and will follow their expertise and guidance for when and how we resume in-person activity on campus.  

If the university does have students return for the fall semester, may I just do my work remotely instead?

If we do resume in-person instruction for the fall semester, we recognize some students may not be able to safely travel to campus. To accommodate those students, we plan to continue offering remote instruction as an option for fall 2020.

If the university goes entirely online in the fall, will there be a reduction in my tuition?

Tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction. Mandatory university charges for tuition and student services continue to help cover ongoing operations such as the delivery of instruction and the cost of student services such as registration, financial aid, and remote academic advising.

Campus-based fees were established to support efforts like health services, appropriate technologies such as internet connectivity, and debt service for capital projects. While the university has cut back on some aspects of its operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the costs covered by campus-based fees will continue.

If all instruction is remote for fall 2020, will the Pass/Fail option once again be available for all classes?

If needed, decisions concerning the grading policies for the fall semester will be made by the Faculty Senate at the appropriate time.