July 21, 2020
Dear Students and Families,
Your faculty and staff are looking forward to welcoming you back to Olin, whether on campus or in our continuing virtual community.
We remain committed to providing a customized, innovative student-centered learning experience. Last spring, we pivoted within a matter of days to a fully online learning environment. Olin faculty and students worked together to continue learning, stay connected and finish the semester. Faculty are using those lessons learned from the spring and working hard this summer to craft the best learning experience they can for each of their classes incorporating the usual deep student-faculty interactions and thoughtful use of socially-distanced approaches and virtual tools to support learning goals.
We know that many students are wrestling with whether to enroll and whether to come to campus. We want you to make informed decisions in consultation with your families. To help you do that, we have prepared detailed resources that we believe contains the information you need. Your advisors and other members of our community stand ready to help you to make the best decision for your unique circumstances.
- Living on Campus. This extensive guide describes many aspects of campus life in fall 2020, beginning with a Campus Agreement and covering public health measures, move-in, campus life, campus spaces and other important topics.
- Academics. This document summarizes key aspects of schedule changes and includes a link to the list of fall courses, along with the modes in which each will be offered, as well as a link to the newly updated Registration FAQs. We have extensively updated the Academic FAQs on our Olin Ahead website and added material about Capstones. We have also prepared a page of resources for you regarding Leaves of Absence.
- A Declaration of Intent Form, on which we are asking you to let us know your non-binding plans for the upcoming academic year. Please fill this out only after reading through the other documents and in consultation with those who care most about you. Because we will use your answers to make further plans for fall housing and the course schedule, this form is due on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
- Olin has entered into an agreement with the Broad Institute to participate in the Safe for School COVID-19 testing program. This is a PCR-based test that detects the presence of the virus’s genetic material. Community members who are on campus daily will participate in testing twice per week, and employees who are on campus significantly less often will be tested on a modified schedule. The purpose of this type of testing is to detect any positive cases early—potentially even before symptoms show—to aid in health monitoring, isolation and contact tracing protocols that will enable Olin to slow or stop the spread of the virus on campus if it is detected.
While we very much hope that we will be able to proceed with these plans, we also acknowledge that the public health situation across the United States is changing rapidly. At the moment, Massachusetts remains stable and in a cautiously reopened Phase 3 state. The same cannot be said for other parts of the country, and outside the U.S. conditions also vary widely. We continue to vigilantly monitor the state of public health locally, regionally and broadly, and recognize that we must be prepared to pivot away from our present plans if a residential fall semester cannot be safely achieved.
The Olin Ahead Coordinating Team will hold Office Hours specifically focused on students and their families this Thursday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET (iCal attached). In the meantime, please continue sending your questions to OlinAhead@olin.edu.
Lynn Andrea Stein
on behalf of the Olin Ahead Coordinating Team and Working Groups