Fall Reopening FAQs

Hollins University is carefully preparing to resume in-person instruction this fall in a residential college setting. This page is intended to answer many of the questions you may have about the ways in which we are ensuring our plans align with our institutional mission and the Culture of Care philosophy that guides us.

In addition to covering general information about reopening for Fall Term, this FAQ page provides specifics about moving into residential halls and student orientation; leaving and returning to campus as well as visiting the university; academics and residential living; what will be required of international students; and dining services, student organizations and activities, and other aspects of campus life.

Throughout the summer, Hollins administration will continue to work diligently through further details related to reopening. This FAQ page will be updated as additional plans are finalized.

General FAQs (below)
Move-In and Orientation
Campus Visitor & Leaving Campus
Academic Information
Residence Life Information
International Students
Dining, Campus Life, Student Organizations and Activities, etc.


Employees

Employees should view the questions and information provided in the Employee Return to Workplace Plan and other documents on the Human Resources “General Information” page on my.hollins.


General FAQs

Has Hollins University distributed Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) CARES Act funds during fall semester?
[Added September 30]  Yes, as of August 31, 2020, Hollins University had $65,557 in HEERF funds left to award as emergency aid to students. During the month of September, Hollins University awarded out $51,150 of the remaining funds to students who were unable to begin their work study position due to constraints caused by the pandemic as well as students experiencing unexpected financial hardships brought on by the pandemic. This leaves $14,407 in HEERF funds remaining.

What apps are available to help Hollins community members navigate daily self-screening and assist in contact tracing efforts?
[Added September 4] CampusClear will send a reminder notification every morning to check in and keep in mind problematic symptoms. Those who choose not to download the app are strongly encouraged to set some daily reminder or alarm for performing self-screening prior to leaving their residence.
CovidWise is a contact tracing application that uses Bluetooth wireless signals to track and store how often a user comes into close contact with others using the app. In the event of a positive test, other users at risk of exposure will be notified.
Both apps are available in the Apple and Google app stores by searching for the names. Community members should use their Hollins email address to register.

Is Hollins conducting random testing of students, faculty, and staff during the fall term?
[Added September 4] The campus community will undergo randomized weekly testing within the population throughout the fall term. Those selected will be notified in advance and are required to participate in the process.

How will testing, contact tracing, quarantine, etc., work?
[Updated August 18] As announced to the campus community on August 15, and given current COVID-19 trends in the region and our ability to develop a strong partnership with CoVerify Health, Hollins University will conduct ongoing, comprehensive COVID-19 testing as part of our Carefully Onward reopening plan. This testing will take place in two key ways: (1) Upon arrival to campus for move-in, all residential students will be tested. By working with CoVerify Health, test results will be received within 48 hours. Students will receive additional information about the change in the check-in process shortly, but please note the testing component will not affect your scheduled move-in date or the time you will be moving into your residence hall; and (2) the campus community will undergo randomized weekly testing within the population throughout the fall term. Those selected will be notified in advance and are required to participate in the process.

Further, informed by guidance from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, students will be tested for COVID-19 by Student Health if they are symptomatic (employees should utilize their healthcare provider or other preferred service for testing). If the test is positive, the Virginia Department of Health will initiate contact tracing and determine next steps for those close contacts.

Students who are tested for COVID-19 will isolate on campus. If a test comes back positive, the Virginia Department of Health will complete contact tracing and those students identified through contact tracing will be quarantined. Students who test positive are encouraged to isolate at home if possible. If not, Hollins will provide students quarantine or isolation space on campus. Our Student Health and Counseling Center will monitor all students in isolation or quarantine on campus. SHCC will give advisement about how long to isolate or quarantine in accordance with CDC and VDH guidance, and the student will be expected to follow that guidance.

WHY?
Community health at Hollins, based on our research and the expert information we have been provided, will be best protected by a unified respect for our Culture of Care guidelines. Initial and continued randomized weekly testing alone will not mitigate infection. It will help identify infection which will in turn help us mitigate community spread/transmission by keeping a better “pulse” on the community’s health and adherence to the Culture of Care. Testing and quarantining those who exhibit symptoms, and contact tracing those whose tests are confirmed as positive, will also play a vital role in this overall effort.

Be assured we continue to stay abreast of emerging research about testing and will amend our policy as needed.

If a student is asymptomatic but tests positive for COVID-19, how will that situation be handled?
[Added August 18] Students who test positive for COVID-19 but show no symptoms of illness will be asked to isolate for 10 days provided they exhibit no symptoms or additional effects from the virus during that period.

When does the fall term start and end?
[Updated July 31] The fall term will begin on August 31, two days earlier than planned, and residential students will be encouraged to be in residence by the time classes begin. To minimize travel to and from the campus and to lessen the risk of contagion, residential students should plan to remain on campus once they arrive until Thanksgiving recess. Fall Break, originally scheduled for October 15-16, has been canceled and classes will take place during that period.

In-person instruction will end on November 20, the Friday before Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, there will be one more week of remote instruction (November 30—December 4) followed by Reading Day (December 5) and five days of virtual exams and projects (December 6-10); the last day of the fall term will be December 10.  Students will be expected to make their academic work a high priority, participate in online classes, and fulfill academic requirements as they complete the term remotely. This change in the calendar requires students to leave campus before Thanksgiving. Residence halls will close for the fall term at noon on Saturday, November 21.

WHY?
A number of factors went into this decision. Most experts project a resurgence of the virus as the cold weather increases and outdoor activity becomes more difficult. Further, we also recognize that a majority of students leaving the campus for a holiday weekend carries incredibly high risk for the health of the community upon their return. Without a fall break – canceled in part to minimize community travel – we did not believe requiring students to remain on campus for Thanksgiving was reasonable or wise.

Will housing be available for any student between November 21, 2020, when halls close for the fall and when campus reopens in 2021? If residence halls close on November 21, can I stay longer?
[Updated August 7] No. All residence halls will close on November 21, and all students will need to vacate student housing by that date. Housing and meals will not be available between November 21, 2020, and when campus reopens in 2021.

If you believe you will not be able to return home/leave campus under such circumstances, please register to take all of your courses remotely.

WHY?
Simply put, Hollins cannot provide the services and support necessary to allow students to remain on campus during this time in a way that meets university expectations around the well-being of individual students and employees. Not only would Housing and Residence Life staff be required to continue working, likely for extended hours, but also dining, custodial, and security services  during a potential period of increasing viral spread. We are committed to supporting the health and well-being of all community members during this time of a pandemic, and this is an important step in that process.

If the university cancels on-campus instruction and moves fully to virtual instruction at any point during the semester due to COVID-19, will a student be able to stay on campus until November 21, 2020?
[Added August 7] No. Residence halls will close at the same time the institution moves all courses to virtual instruction. Housing and meals will not be available on campus after that time. Hollins cannot provide the services and support necessary to allow students to remain on campus during this time in a way that meets university expectations around the well-being of individual students and employees. Not only would Housing and Residence Life staff be required to continue working, likely for extended hours, but also dining, custodial, and security services during a potential period of increasing viral spread.

What if I’m not comfortable returning to campus?
[Updated August 7] Students who elect to take all their classes remotely cannot be in residence on the Hollins campus. All students have been emailed regarding the option to go fully online and are required to complete the form linked here by August 10.

How will moving in and orientation work?
Fall move-in will be staggered, as students will sign-up for a two-hour time slot to come to campus. Information about the move-in process will be sent to each student’s Hollins email account in early July. The new student move-in dates are August 22-25, and returning students are scheduled to move in August 26-29. Questions regarding move-in should be sent to hrl@hollins.edu.

New student orientation will be a progressive hybrid model; virtual and in-person activities will be offered. Please refer to the new student webpage for updates or contact Megan Canfield, director of student activities and orientation at studentactivities@hollins.edu.

Will there be free personal protective equipment provided to me?
[Updated July 31] All students will be provided a face mask, a digital thermometer, hand sanitizer, and a checklist for monitoring their health on a daily basis.

Where do I get a copy of the daily self-monitor form?
[Added August 7] The daily health monitoring checklist will be provided to students upon their arrival. Hollins is also looking into a mobile app that will support students and employees as they go through this morning routine. 

What if community members are consistently not adhering to the Culture of Care even after educational conversations or discipline?
[Added August 7] It is imperative for all community members to adhere to the protocols outlined in our Culture of Care Agreement for us to physically be together as a community. Therefore, if community members consistently choose not to adhere to our Culture of Care Agreement, we may need to transition to fully online classes and send residential students home out of concern for the well-being of all.

Am I guaranteed a room?
At this time, yes, you are guaranteed a living space. Students will be housed in double rooms and a limited number of singles. We will do the best we can to serve all residential students, including those who are immunocompromised.

What will happen to… Tinker Day? First Step? Ring Night? Opening Convocation? Family Weekend?
Many of Hollins’ cherished fall traditions, including Tinker Day and Ring Night, are being rescheduled for the spring term. Other events, such as First Step and Opening Convocation, are moving forward with approaches adjusted to ensure we can follow public health guidelines on gathering limitations and physical distancing requirements.

What happens if Hollins has to close the campus and move to solely remote learning mid-term?
[Updated August 7] Should circumstances require that Hollins close down the campus over health concerns at any point during the fall term, all students will be asked to leave the campus by a stated date. Information regarding tuition, room, and board cost considerations are addressed in other questions below.

WHY?
Simply put, Hollins cannot provide the services and support necessary to allow students to remain on campus during this time in a way that meets university expectations around the well-being of individual students and employees. Not only would Housing and Residence Life staff be required to continue working, likely for extended hours, but also dining, custodial, and security services during a potential period of increasing viral spread. We are committed to supporting the health and well-being of all community members during this time of a pandemic, and this is an important step in that process.

Will Hollins University modify the cost of tuition or room and board for the 2020-21 academic year due to changes made to the academic calendar as a result of COVID-19?
Hollins University is committed to offering a high-quality living and learning experience for all students, even amidst changes required of us as a result of COVID-19. In support of this commitment, modifications to the academic calendar focused on preserving instructional time for students. By beginning the academic year two days early and eliminating fall break, students will receive 60 days of instruction before Thanksgiving break, after which all students will move to five days of online instruction and a virtual/online exam block for the fall 2020 term, matching the 65 days of instruction during a typical term. Due to the very limited decline in traditional instructional days and our commitment to continuity of the learning experience during the brief period of online instruction, the cost of tuition for the 2020-21 academic year will remain unchanged.

Calendar and health modifications required the addition of more move-in dates for new and returning students. With this shift in arrival dates, the total number of days in residence remains comparable, and the cost of room and board will remain unchanged for the 2020-21 academic year. 

WHY?
Going online in no way reduces the workload or pedagogical expectations of our faculty. In fact, the highly individualized nature of a Hollins education and the connections made between students and faculty require a greater investment of time and energy in a virtual environment than an in-person setting. Thus, tuition costs will not change due to method of delivery.

If a student registers to take their courses remotely, will they receive a tuition discount?
[Added August 7]  No. Hollins University is committed to offering a high-quality learning experience for all students, even amidst changes required of us as a result of COVID-19.

WHY?
Going online in no way reduces the workload or pedagogical expectations of our faculty. If anything, the highly individualized nature of a Hollins education and the connections made between students and faculty require a greater investment of time and energy in a virtual environment than an in-person setting. Thus, tuition costs will not change due to a change in the method of delivery.

If I choose to go online for the fall semester, how will the $1,000 room credit from spring 2020 be applied?
[Added August 7 The room credit from the spring 2020 term would be applied to your spring 2021 term room costs.

Will Hollins University refund tuition or room and board if students are required to complete the term out of residence?
[Updated July 31] If Hollins is required to move to fully online classes with students no longer in residence, residential students will be reimbursed for a prorated amount of the board costs in accordance with our published policy for the remaining portion of the term until Thanksgiving break begins. In accordance with our published policy, neither tuition nor room costs will be refunded.

WHY?
If Hollins experiences an outbreak and, under the directive of state or national public health officials, is required to move to fully online classes with students no longer in residence, residential students will be reimbursed for a prorated amount of the board costs in accordance with our published policy for the remaining portion of the term. In accordance with our published policy no other fees, including tuition and room costs, will be refunded.

If a student completes their courses remotely, will their financial aid package change?
[Updated August 11] If a student is not in residence and elects to complete all coursework online, Hollins must adjust the student’s total cost of attendance to reflect these changes. Generally, a lower cost of attendance may result in less financial need. This can change the results of the government’s formula for need-based aid. For in-state students, as of August 10, the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant is available for students choosing an online-only option (due to COVID-19 concerns) for the fall 2020 term, provided all other eligibility criteria are met.

Each student’s aid package is specific to their needs; students seeking more information about how their financial aid may be impacted if enrolled fully online should complete this form by August 10 to receive more information.

Can a student choose to take all their courses online and still live on campus?
[Added August 7No, they cannot. Any student who elects to take all of their courses online is expected to remain off campus for the fall term and engage with the community remotely. Any student whose courses are fully online as a result of instructor choice and not the student’s choice will have the option of living on campus.

What is the date a student needs to inform the university about their choice to take courses remotely?
[Added August 7] Students seeking to enroll fully online and not live on campus during the fall term should complete this form by August 10 to receive more information.

What will January Term look like? What will spring term look like?
[Updated July 31] At the present time, we are focused on the fall reopening. We look forward to planning for J-Term soon. We will remain attuned to the local and national public health situation and announce any key changes well in advance.