Welcome back to Elms College!

To all of our incoming first-year students, transfer students, and returning students: Welcome! We’re thrilled that you’re part of the Elms community. Below you’ll find a helpful list of frequently asked questions as they relate to five areas of the college experience: Health and Wellness, Academics, Residence Life, Student Life, and Athletics.

Health and Wellness

Mary Statue Banner

Student Information

What do I do if I’m sick?

If you are a residential student and notice symptoms you are expected to contact the Health Center immediately by phone or the healthcenter@elms.edu email. A nurse will utilize telehealth and contact you for triage and instructions on next steps. If you are a commuter student, you should contact your medical provider immediately and follow their recommendation- please make sure you update the Health Center on any changes to your health!

How do I make an appointment with the Health Center? Where do I go?

You can call the Health Center at 413-265-2288 or email healthcenter@elms.edu and one of our nurses will provide a phone consult via phone or Telehealth and decide your next steps. For routine or “well” visits, you may also utilize the calendar appointment system located online here . The Health Center has relocated to 15 Gaylord Street (brick building behind the Mary Dooley College Center).

Do I have to make an appointment with the Health Center, or can I go to my regular doctor?

Appointments are necessary to be seen in any healthcare facility during the times of this pandemic. You are welcome to utilize the Health Center if you are a residential or commuter undergraduate student or you can go to your regular doctor. Whichever option you feel the most comfortable with. If seen by an outside provider, you must notify the Health Center for adequate record keeping.

What symptoms do I need to look out for? How should I report them?

You should report any unusual symptoms to the Health Center or your regular doctor. In reference to COVID-19 symptoms, you should monitor for the following:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

If I get sick do I have to go home, or, can I go home? Or, where will I reside if I become ill?

Each illness has many factors to consider and must be addressed individually. If diagnosed with a communicable disease, like COVID-19, you are required to return home for both yours and Elms community’s health and safety. For students with extenuating circumstances, Elms has designated a separate housing area for isolation/quarantine.

What if I have come into contact with someone who is sick?

If you come into close contact (within a 6 ft distance) for longer than 10 minutes with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case, isolate yourself and contact the Health Center.

If someone I dorm with or have classes with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, will I be notified? How?

Each positive COVID-19 case has many factors to consider and must be addressed individually. If there is a risk of viral transfer then you would be notified via phone.

How can I keep myself safe and help protect others?

Elms has created an online training module to explain the procedural changes and safety implementations. To keep yourself and others safe, you should adhere to the training information which will include the basics:

  • Practicing proper hand hygiene
  • Distancing six feet from others
  • Wearing facial coverings when a six foot distance is not possible
  • Practicing proper sneeze and cough etiquette
  • Monitoring your health
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces

Should I bring anything with me to campus, i.e. mask(s), hand sanitizer, disinfectant, medication, etc.?

We recommend bringing a couple washable face coverings, hand sanitizer, and an antipyretic medication of your preference, ie Tylenol is preferred, and a personal thermometer.

Parent Information

What safety measures are being taken on campus to protect students?

There are many safety measures being taken throughout campus to protect students in accordance with CDC & MDPH guidance. The College will expect all on campus to adhere to CDC and MDPH guidelines for health and safety. To speak to a few measures right now: Everyone is expected to maintain a minimum of 6ft distance from others if possible; hand sanitizer and safety signage will be abundantly placed around campus; face masks are expected to be worn when in the presence of others; residential students are not permitted to have outside guests at this time; additional cleaning schedules are being put in place; the Health Center is implementing many changes etc. Please note, this is a very small list of measures.

Will I be notified if there is an outbreak on campus? How?

If there is an outbreak, the College would be in coordination with MDPH. The entire campus community would be notified, as soon as possible, by the President of Elms College.

What are the expectations of my student in regards to safety? Should I make sure they have anything specific on hand?

Elms College has a set of expectations for both our students and employees. Elms will require all students, staff, and faculty to complete an online mandatory training that explains our safety protocols and expectations before returning to campus. Students should consider bringing a personal thermometer, numerous face coverings (they should be washed when damp), hand sanitizer, and antipyretic medication (Tylenol is preferred) if possible. We ask that students DO NOT bring their own cleaning supplies as we want to ensure safety by not mixing chemicals with Elms’ cleaning supplies.

How is the Health Center preparing for possible COVID-19 cases?

The Health Center Director continues to research laws and guidelines while regularly meeting with the state entities governing health and institutes of higher education. Numerous policies have been put in place and can be found in Elms’ Reopening Plan.

Is the Health Center adequately staffed to handle a possible outbreak?

The Health Center will follow guidance from the CDC, MDPH, and ACHA to ensure they have the resources needed to safely handle our campus community in the event of an outbreak. This includes staffing schedules, alternate staffing, and accessing local resources if necessary.

What is the college’s protocol if my student becomes ill? Who will be caring for my student?

Who will be caring for my student? If your student becomes ill while living on campus, they will be asked to contact the Health Center for symptom screening and our staff will direct them on their next steps. Each situation will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

If my student becomes ill where will they stay?

We are requesting students return home, if at all possible, if they need to be isolated as this is in the student’s and campus community’s best interest for health and safety. If a student is unable to return home, they will be moved into the designated isolation housing area. The Health Center Director will remain in close contact with the ill student to monitor their status until their health status improves and they are permitted to safely vacate isolation and return to the campus community.

Will I be notified if my student becomes ill, or needs to be tested for COVID-19?

If your student is under the age of 18, yes, you will be notified. Once a student reaches the age of 18 they are considered an adult and the Health Center is not allowed to share protected health information under the guidelines of HIPPA unless the student authorizes them to do so. If your student is over the age of 18 they can voluntarily sign an authorized release waiver allowing the Health Center to share their health information with whoever they would like.

If my student has no cold symptoms but still needs medical care, i.e. for an injury, how will they be protected?

The Health Center is divided into separate zones for both “sick” and “well” students respectively. Sick students will be isolated into a separate area to reduce transmission to healthy students. All students will be seen by appointments only and will not be mingling with others during their time in the Health Center.

Is there 24-hour care if my child is ill?

The College has health and safety protocols to ensure your student is cared for around the clock. While our nurses are not on the premises after-hours, the Wellness Center Directors have created a protocol to ensure proper continuity of care after-hours that has been successful for our community.

If my student is in isolation or quarantine can I be with them?

We are requesting students return home, if at all possible, if they need to be isolated as this is in the student’s and campus community’s best interest for health and safety. If a student is unable to return home, they will be moved into the designated isolation housing and not be permitted visitors for health and safety reasons set forth by the CDC and MDPH.


How will classes work?

Beginning fall 2020, Elms College will implement the Elms Flex plan. All courses are being designed to be in-person classes by default, but students will have the option of taking their courses online as well.

  • In-person courses will follow all health and safety requirements.
  • For most classes, there will be live and asynchronous ways to connect to classes online. A few classes will be all online.
  • Students will have the option to decide how they would like to learn in each class.

Do I have to wear a mask at all times in class?

Yes. Students who choose to attend class in-person are required to wear a mask at all times.

Can I decide how I attend class?

  • Information will be sent later this summer to new students with details about how to opt-in to learning options for your fall courses.
  • If you make a decision, but then change your mind, don’t worry. Changing you mind is okay.

Will the library and computer labs be open?

Yes, the library and computer labs will be open for student use.

How will I get my textbooks?

Once students are registered for classes, they can use the Elms College Bookstore website to find the books and materials that are required for their classes. We strongly encourage students to order their books online and have them shipped to their home address. If students need to purchase their books on campus, the bookstore will be open prior to the start of the fall semester following all health and safety protocols.

What technology will I need? How can I access needed technology through campus resources?

Information will be provided later this summer regarding technology requirements and on campus and online resources for this fall, as well as how to request technology.

A photo of a microscope and computer in the Lyons Center research lab

Residence Life

Photo of O'Leary Hall

How will move-in work?

For health and safety measures, students will be moving in by floor between January 22 – January 23, 2021. Residents will receive their move in day and time, along with detailed instructions, through their Elms email. 

Students will be assigned a 3-hour move-in window, and may bring up to three (3) guests to assist them. Everyone (residents and guests) must be wearing a face covering and practice physical distancing during move-in, and guests are required to leave as soon as the 3-hour window ends.

Students are expected to self-quarantine at home for 14 days prior to their move-in. Students will receive a COVID-19 test upon arrival to campus. After moving in, students will quarantine for 24-48 hours in their rooms while they await their COVID-19 test results. Meals will be delivered to students during this time.

When will students receive their housing assignments?

Details regarding housing for the spring 2021 semester are forthcoming, and will be shared with students over winter break. Resident transfer students and students who are still interested in housing should contact Residence Life (reslife@elms.edu) with any questions.

Will Elms have enough housing for everyone?

Everyone that requested housing has received an assignment and will be able to live on campus this fall.

What will residence life look like?

Residence Halls will be at approximately 50% occupancy.

  • Single Rooms? All first year students will live alone. Returning students may request a roommate and will be placed together only if both roommates agree. Those living together will be placed in our largest rooms as available.
  • Cleaning? Public spaces in the residence halls will be cleaned twice daily.
  • Restrooms? Plexiglas dividers are being added between each sink. Fewer students in the residence halls means fewer people will be accessing and using the bathrooms.
  • Are masks required at all times? Yes, masks are required whenever you are in public and social distancing is not possible.
  •  Social distancing? Yes, students must practice safe social distancing (six feet away from others) while on campus.

How will dining services work?

Aramark has a clear three phase plan that depends on the status of the pandemic. They are prepared to limit the number of students in the dining hall as well as provide more to-go options. Plexiglass dividers will be set up to separate diners as well.

What new policies will be in place on campus regarding COVID-19?

Like all campuses, Elms College will need to modify certain policies to adjust to the new normal. Some of the policy changes will include:

  • Having one guest at a time in your room (students should maintain safe social distancing and continue to wear a mask in their room while hanging out with a friend).
  • No non-student guests (including family).
  • Smaller co-curricular programming.
  • Lounge furniture is being spaced out to ensure social distancing.
  • Students are asked to limit their travel.

Can I still have guests in my room?

Yes. Guests are limited to other residents only, and must visit one at a time.

Can I live on campus but only take classes online?

Yes, but your request might be given lower priority than those of students intending to take classes in person.

Are there any restrictions on leaving the residence halls or campus?

Students are asked to limit their travel and avoid any unnecessary travel. If travel is necessary, students should only travel within New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT) during the semester. Students should contact the Director of Residence Life before traveling if there is an extenuating circumstance requiring travel outside of New England.

Am I required to stay under the housing contract for the full academic year? If not, can I get a refund?

If you request to live on campus and are assigned a room you will be held to the room & board contract. As always, if an unforeseen and extenuating circumstance arises, we will consider requests for release from the contract on a case by case basis.

If the college is unable to provide housing at any point, students would likely receive a refund for the time they are not living on campus. Please note, this would affect financial aid for most students.

What if I get sick?

The first step is to contact the Health Center by phone. Students who are sick will be asked to return home (if they live within a reasonable distance) while recuperating, and may only return to campus with approval from the director of the Health Center & the director of Residence Life. If a student is unable to safely return home, the college will provide a temporary quarantine/isolation space outside of the traditional residence halls.

What if someone else gets sick?

See above. They are required to follow our policies as the safety of all students is our priority.

Student Life

Will clubs be allowed to meet? Will there still be organized weekend activities?

Clubs and activities will be allowed to meet and take place within the guidelines for the maximum number of people who can gather. Students should practice social distancing and use masks while following other guidelines outlined by the college.

How can students get involved if campus is not fully open?

  • Students can get involved by participating in virtual or in-person events.
  • Students can stay connected with other students in their classes.
  • Students may still join clubs and get involved as there will be options to participate virtually and there may be limited in-person meetings and events.

Campus Ministry

Will mass be offered on campus?

For the 2020-2021 academic year, students can participate in weekly Mass virtually by visiting the Elms College YouTube Channel. Mass is posted every weekend on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Will the Office of Campus Ministry be offering mission trips this year?

This year there will be no international trips, nor a trip to Puerto Rico, due to the continued uncertainty of COVID-19.  The college follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH).

We are planning to have domestic trips in the spring semester. These trips will depend, however, on the receiving organizations with whom we work, as well as the health guidelines for the receiving state. We will also monitor guidelines for reentry to Massachusetts. 

What other programs will be offered?

Campus Ministry has many programs which will be offered in the fall: Agape Latte, Soup and Substance, interfaith luncheons, Campus Ministry Club, Bible study/meditation group, community service opportunities, and Founders’ Day and St. Joseph’s Day celebrations with the Sisters of St. Joseph.

A photo of a painting showing the Elms College lightning bolt


Photo of the basketball court in the Maguire Center

When do sports begin?

To be determined.  Elms College is committed to supporting student-athletes through a holistic college experience. A decision about whether there will be competitive athletic activities in the fall does not depend on Elms College alone. Guidance for that decision will come from various sources, including the CDC, the Commonwealth Task Force on Higher Education, the NCAA, the New England Collegiate Conference, and individual schools. Elms College will monitor the information coming from these various sources and will make the best decision to ensure the safety of student-athletes as well as other members of the community. One way or the other, Elms College will support all student-athletes in their athletic and academic growth during the fall semester.  Our coaches will be communicating with student-athletes directly when the plan is set.

What will be the safety measures put in place to ensure the health and safety of players and others on campus if there are competitive fall athletic activities?

If the NCAA and the NECC decide that there will be competitive activities in the fall and if Elms College decides to participate, a number of measures will be taken to ensure the safety of our athletes, the rest of the campus community, and of the general public. Some of these measures may include:

  • All students will be asked to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms prior to coming to campus.
  • Athletes may need to be tested to ensure that they have not been exposed to COVID-19 before being cleared to participate in athletic activities
  • Ongoing surveillance testing may be necessary to ensure that student-athletes who participate in fall sports remain free of the coronavirus.
  • Other ongoing testing may also be put into place. This may include symptom screening and/or a temperature check before practice.  Athletes may also get screened before leaving for an away game.  Athletes who develop symptoms at any time will be required to be quarantined. Athletes who have been in close contact with an athlete who develops symptoms may also be required to be quarantined.
  • The NCAA is currently recommending student athletes wear masks for practice/play.  Athletes should be prepared to bring their own mask for use each day.
  • While the athletic training room may be open for treatment and evaluation,  athletes must have an appointment to be seen.  Only one athlete per athletic trainer will be allowed to be in the room at the same time.  Currently there are two full-time athletic trainers on staff.  Whirlpools will not be able to be used.  Electrical stimulation will be used when needed–each athlete will be provided their own electrode pads.
  • Fan attendance at games or other athletic events will be evaluated to determine whether it can safely take place within the guidelines provided at the time by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

What happens if I have had COVID-19 during the summer or have been in contact with someone who was diagnosed with it?

You should alert your PCP and ask them to note whether or not you are cleared for athletic participation, as well as the date that participation can begin, on your physical exam form. You can also request the note to be made on a separate sheet of letterhead from the PCP’s office. You should inform the director of the Health Center to determine whether you are cleared to come to campus.

What happens if I develop symptoms of COVID19 during an away game?

You will be required to be quarantined.  Accommodations to return to campus will be provided for you if you are not able to go home.

Will I need to be screened for COVID-19 every day to practice/play?

Yes. It may be a symptom screening and/or a temperature check before practice. You will also get screened before leaving for an away game. Currently there is conversation to also get screened upon arrival at the host school.

Will I need to wear a mask for practice/games?

The NCAA is currently recommending student athletes wear masks for practice/play.  Athletes should be prepared to bring their own mask for use each day.

Will the athletic training room be open for treatments and evaluations?

While the athletic training room may be open for treatment and evaluation,  athletes must have an appointment to be seen.  Only one athlete per athletic trainer will be allowed to be in the room at the same time.  Currently there are two full-time athletic trainers on staff.  Whirlpools will not be able to be used.  Electrical stimulation will be used when needed-each athlete will be provided their own electrode pads.