October 23, 2020

EmmanuelForward Update

Dear Members of the Emmanuel Community,

The College is continuing its preparations for a safe return to campus for the Spring 2021 semester. Between now and January, we will be providing regular updates across the areas of residence life, academic programs, student engagement, and COVID-19 testing and safety protocols. The following message provides the latest information on our planning efforts.

We encourage you to continue to visit the FAQ section of our Emmanuel Forward website and to email emmanuelforward@emmanuel.edu with your questions.

—The Emmanuel Forward Team


Members of our faculty, Academic Affairs team and additional campus departments have been working to finalize plans related to the spring semester’s schedule, course formats and classroom configurations. Since the start of the current semester, we have gathered feedback from students both informally and through a recent check-in survey, and have used this data to inform some of our decisions regarding the remainder of the academic year.

Academic Calendar
The Spring 2021 Academic Calendar is now available online. As communicated previously, we will begin classes on Wednesday, January 27th. This later start date allows for a prior, phased move-in of the residence halls (dates to be determined) and time for enhanced course and classroom preparation. Additionally, this later start provides students with a significant break following the intensity of an accelerated, remote fall semester.

We heard clearly from students that there is a need for adequate breaks throughout the semester. While we will not have a week-long spring break this year due to health concerns related to travel, the Presidents’ Day and Patriots’ Day long weekends, as well as the Easter holiday, have been maintained. Additional course offering times throughout the semester will enable students to distribute courses in a way that allows for breaks between classes, as well.

Course Formats and Registration
The Spring 2021 schedule will be made available through the Student Planning site within EC Online Services on Monday, November 2nd. The registration period will then run from November 16th to November 29th. Detailed information on this process will be provided by the Office of the Registrar.

To address some of the questions students have raised in the past weeks, we can provide some clarity on the following:

  • The College will be offering a mix of face-to-face and 100% virtual courses. All course formats will be noted on the Spring 2021 schedule, which will be posted November 2nd. During the registration process, students will be able to take these formats into consideration when finalizing a schedule.
  • Through the recent check-in survey, a majority of students indicated that face-to-face learning is important to them, whether they will be living on or off campus. All students, both residential and commuter, are encouraged to attend courses designated as face-to-face.
  • Those students who require a 100% virtual experience will work directly with their assigned Academic Advisor during the registration process to craft a semester that allows for progress in their major and fulfills their general requirements. Students who wish to take a course designated as face-to-face in a 100% online format will be allowed to apply for an exception, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Commuters who plan to attend face-to-face courses will receive additional information on parking, campus dining and designated study spaces as the spring semester draws closer. Commuters will also be part of all testing and health screening protocols.
  • The College has arranged all classrooms to conform to physical distancing guidelines and has converted some of the larger spaces on campus, such as the Auditorium and the Fenway Room, to serve as classrooms. Enhanced cleaning protocols will also be in place. Additionally, the Information Technology team has upgraded various spaces to augment both in-person and virtual learning.


The College has identified additional vacancies in the residence halls following the October 16th opt-in deadline for priority housing groups. Students who received a housing assignment as part of the Spring 2020 selection process and were not initially within the priority groups, have been invited to be considered to live on campus. All students expressing interest in campus housing will be notified by October 30th if space is available. At that time, the Office of Residence Life & Housing will provide all resident students information regarding a new housing selection process.

Given the need to de-densify the campus, the traditional-style residence halls (Loretto, St. Ann and St. Joseph) will house one student per room (single occupancy). Suite-style apartments in the New Residence Hall will house two students per bedroom (double occupancy), each with access to a private bathroom. The College is including isolation and quarantine space in its Spring 2021 housing plan.

Prior to the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester, the College will distribute a complete guide to living and learning on campus. The guide will include expectations for social distancing, the use of face coverings, hygiene protocols and more.


In collaboration with the Cambridge-based Broad Institute, Emmanuel has implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan. All members of the College community will be tested up to two times per week. A pilot testing program involving staff and faculty volunteers currently on campus will begin the week of October 26th.

The College has converted Avenue Commons into a COVID-19 testing center. Here students, faculty and staff will be guided through a streamlined process, from check-in to sanitizing to sample collection to check-out. Results will be available within 24 hours.

Each day, members of our community will be required to submit symptom checks using the CoVerified app. The app plays an important role in tracking appointments and test results, and in supporting contact-tracing efforts.

Comprehensive information on testing protocols, including any required pre-tests or quarantining, will be shared prior to the beginning of the semester.

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