+ Academics Fall21 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
Fall 2021 Opening


Are all classes being taught in person?

Yes, with a very few medical exceptions, all classes will be taught in person.

Is there a masking policy on campus?

Due to the current CDC transmission level rating of Substantial, the fact we are welcoming people from around the world for the fall semester, and to minimize confusion, we will be instituting a mask mandate for all indoor, public spaces (classrooms, studios, labs, etc.), including common areas in residence halls, for the first three weeks of the semester, regardless of the county transmission level. Exclusions include Odells housing units and shared apartment units. Community members may remove their masks to eat, only when seated. After the initial three-week period, the Colleges will reevaluate the masking requirements considering case numbers in the HWS community, Geneva and Ontario County. If you wish to institute a semester-long masking policy for your class, please include that information on your syllabus.

Vaccinated faculty and staff may elect to remove masks while teaching but must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance. If working with small groups or in a laboratory setting, faculty must wear a mask.

For those faculty and staff that want to have a few masks available in the classroom for students who have forgotten theirs, masks will be available for pick up at Campus Safety or with the academic coordinator for the building.

Enforcement of the masking policy will be accomplished using a combination of strategies. Anyone attempting to enforce the mask mandate should remind the unmasked person(s) that the requirements above are part of our Community Standards. If there are repeated violations of the masking policy, there are processes outlined in the Community Standards that can be employed. Finally, violations or concerns can continue to be reported via the Covid-19 Feedback Form. This form can be used to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 and the health and safety of the community. This form may be submitted anonymously.

Do the Colleges recommend physical distancing in classrooms?

Although the CDC and New York State have no specific guidelines for physical distancing at colleges and universities, we are recommending that individuals in indoor classrooms remain at least three feet apart. Contact tracers from Ontario County Public Health are using this measurement as one factor in determining if classroom contact is significant enough to warrant testing and quarantining.

How will classroom ventilation be handled?

We will be resuming/continuing the classroom ventilation measures in place last year: this includes using the maximum outside air exchange possible in buildings equipped with HVAC systems, flushing the air in these buildings at the beginning and end of the day, disabling air recirculation devices, using the most effective filters possible, and deploying HEPA or equivalent air filtration where appropriate. In addition, Buildings & Grounds has prioritized the preventative maintenance of HVAC equipment on campus in an effort to keep these systems operating at peak efficiency.

Will disinfection supplies be provided in classrooms?

Based on discussions with the Campus Logistics Team and given the evidence that does not support surfaces as a significant point of transmission, the campus does not plan to reorder additional disinfectant supplies. We will have hand sanitizer available in classrooms and around campus.

Will the library be open and are students able to have study groups?

Yes, the library will be open and students are able to have study groups.

Are students who interact with the public in off-campus settings required to be vaccinated?

Yes. If students are participating in an academic, co-curricular or athletic event off campus where they will be interacting with the public, they are required to be vaccinated. If students will be visiting a location where they will only be interacting with those from the Colleges on the trip, then vaccinations are not required. All students participating in an off-campus, public service activity through CCESL, a service project in a class, student teaching, or an early teaching experience, are required to be vaccinated.

As per current academic policies, faculty must provide students unable to attend field trips with an alternative, unless participation is explicitly stated as required in the course description. If your class has a required fieldwork in which they would engage with the broader public and for which alternative arrangements are not possible, or if it is a music course involving wind or brass instruments or singing, please fill out this form. Joe Rusinko will cross-check your rosters and alert any unvaccinated students that they must either get vaccinated or switch into a different course.

All instructors will receive classroom level data (not individual data) for classes larger than five students by the end of the second week of classes. The timing is designed to allow students who may not yet have uploaded their vaccination records to do so, while ensuring instructors have information early in the semester. No special request is required to receive this classroom level data.

How will music ensembles be held?

Music ensembles will meet in person. Vaccination is required for all music ensembles when singing or when wind or brass instruments are involved. Rosters will be cross-referenced by OAFA.

What will happen to assignments and deadlines if a student becomes ill?

As classes vary greatly, faculty have discretion on how students make up missed class time and assignments. We acknowledge this can be burdensome for both students and faculty, and encourage flexibility where it is appropriate.

If a student cannot get to class because they are sick, will in-person classes be required to have remote components?

No, we are not offering remote or hybrid courses on a regular basis.

What tools are available should it become necessary to enable remote access for students that are temporarily unable to attend?

IT Services is prepared to support any individual student that needs to temporarily transition to remote learning during the semester. Campus "smart" classrooms continue to have webcams/mics as in 2020-21 and the same Zoom Pro licensing has been extended this year for faculty and staff. If an individual instructor needs to move to teach remotely temporarily, faculty should feel free to consult with IT Services; in doing so, faculty should assume that students will continue to leverage on-campus resources. IT Services is also at the ready to pivot and support the community in the event of a rapid campus-wide remote learning transition. Please reach out to the Help Desk if you have questions.

If someone in a class gets COVID, does the class have to quarantine?

Being in a classroom in and of itself where someone tests positive for COVID does not necessarily mandate quarantine. Ontario County will be managing all contact tracing protocols. The vast majority of our campus is vaccinated and while breakthrough infections are possible, they affect only 0.01-0.29 percent of fully vaccinated people according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Furthermore, those that are infected tend to have much milder symptoms and are less likely to transmit the Delta virus.

What should a faculty member do if they need to quarantine or be away from an extended period of time to care for a family member?

Faculty should have plans in place should they need to be away from campus for a short period of time due to a personal illness, caring for a child or family member, or a need to quarantine. The Colleges acknowledge the particular strain that is placed on parents and caregivers with children under the age of 12 who still cannot be vaccinated. Faculty might consider whether a colleague is available to cover a class, or whether it makes sense to offer a virtual class or two. If faculty anticipate being out for more than 10 days, please contact OAFA and the department chair so that all can work together to find a solution.

Are faculty allowed to ask for proof of vaccination for the purpose of maintaining classroom and personal safety?

No. Faculty should not ask individual students about their status. A wide variety of federal statutes both protect individual privacy in this area and place strict obligations on the institution and its employees to ensure confidentiality and discretion. Information about vaccine status is centrally managed out of respect for the privacy of our students and to comply with the law.

COVID-19 Information
and Data


Ontario County Transmission Rate Moved to Substantial by Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk and Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Brandon B. Barile - August 12, 2021

Update to the campus community by Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk and Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Brandon B. Barile - August 9, 2021

Ontario County Moved to Substantial Transmission by Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk and Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Brandon B. Barile - August 2, 2021

COVID-19 Safety and Management by Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk and Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Brandon B. Barile - August 2, 2021

Summer 2021 update by Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk and Vice President for Campus Life Robb Flowers - July 20, 2021

Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan Student COVID-19 Vaccination Portal Employee COVID-19 Vaccine Confirmation Form COVID-19 Feedback Form


Questions and comments should be directed to:

Office of Campus Life
Smith Hall, First Floor
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3900

Questions regarding health issues should be directed to:

Hubbs Health Center
119 St. Clair Street
Geneva, NY 14456
Phone: 315-781-3600
Appt. Phone: 315-781-4530
Fax: 315-781-3802