On March 25, Gordon announced it would continue courses online through the remainder of the spring semester in response to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19). This page attempts to address the many questions prompted by this decision. If your question is not answered here, please contact Gordon’s COVID-19 call center (978-867-4700) between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. EDT on weekdays or contact COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Are summer camps and other programs running?
The La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership has canceled all summer programs—including Compass, Adirondack Expeditions, Adventure Camp and Adventure Pursuits—due to the pandemic. Summer sports camps run by Gordon Athletics have also been canceled, as has Elevate Leadership Lab and Heritage. All external programs, conferences and events hosted at Gordon have been canceled for the summer.
How will Gordon re-open campus?
The College is working on a phased reopening in compliance with Governor Baker’s “Reopening Massachusetts” plan. As part of phase one, a portion of departments returned to campus on June 1, including those needed to prepare for the return of students and those essential workers, such as Physical Plant and Gordon Police, who have been active on campus throughout the shutdown. These departments are working on a staggered basis to maintain low occupancy on campus. The remainder of staff departments are expected to return during phase two of Governor Baker’s plan, which is tentatively scheduled for mid-June. The Campus Health and Safety Committee is working on trainings, cleaning protocols and signage around campus in preparation for staff returning to campus, and the College will work carefully with individuals to be caring and responsive to concerns during this transition. For the duration of June and July, even as staff begin returning, campus will remain closed one day per week. Currently, those days are expected to be on Fridays for the first three weeks of June and additional updates will be provided at a later date. The College is also working with the Town of Wenham as they reopen public outdoor spaces. Gordon’s outdoor trails (with the exception of Gull Pond Beach) opened for public use on May 27. Guests must follow social distancing protocols and wear a mask if within six feet of other guests.
Who is allowed on campus during the phased reopening?
Will Gordon resume in-person courses in the fall?
We plan to welcome our new and returning students to campus this fall, and we will do so with wise, data-driven protocols that will ensure a healthy and safe residential college experience. For students with extenuating circumstances that would inhibit their ability to be on campus this fall, we will be happy to explore options with them individually. As we work to apply the wisdom of our public health and government leaders in this fight to mitigate COVID-19, this may mean limiting contact between healthy members of our community and those in at-risk populations and/or allowing vulnerable members of our community to work and study remotely. We are also increasing the frequency and methods of deep cleaning our campus facilities as an added and sensible precaution in the longer run. Gordon faculty are already preparing for multiple instructional scenarios on campus that will allow us to follow appropriate health protocols while enjoying strong faculty-student interactions and vibrant academic community. We also intend to take advantage of our intentionally small class sizes and our suburban campus location to manage group interactions. More details will be available as we get closer to August, but Gordon remains committed to implementing the best ways to keep our community healthy and to deliver the personalized education for our students.
What is Gordon doing to minimize the spread of COVID-19?
Our custodial staff takes a serious and thorough approach to clean and sanitize our facilities daily. We are well trained to use proper PPE and follow best sanitization practices including using EPA registered disinfectants effective against virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more ➔
Is any international or domestic travel allowed?
All official college international travel is banned at this time. Anyone arriving in the U.S. after traveling internationally should self-isolate for 14-days before coming to campus. All official College domestic travel is limited at this time and requires the advance approval of a cabinet officer. Personal domestic travel is discouraged and may require a self-isolation period prior to returning to campus as conditions around the country are quickly changing.
I’m a parent completing the 2020 census. Should I include my student who was unexpectedly living at home as of April 1?
No. Per census rules, the College will count any student who was expected to have been living on campus throughout this semester. Including those students in a household census would result in a duplicate count.
Were students reimbursed for room and board costs this semester?
When the worsening pandemic precluded a return to campus after spring break, we were just under halfway—in fact, 47 percent—through the semester. The remaining 53 percent of costs for room and board this semester have been credited back to each residential student’s account. The precise amount varied depending on each student’s room plan and meal plan, and after taking into account the financial aid which had already been applied to these costs. (See a sample breakdown and explanation of calculations.) Every residential student likely received a credit of at least $1,000, and in many cases, the amount was higher. A detailed breakdown of each student’s particular financial adjustment was mailed from Student Financial Services at the end of April. For graduating seniors or those few students who told us they do not intend return to Gordon in the fall, the credit was posted by May 1. At that time, any positive balance on their account could be refunded by completing a refund request form. For all returning students, the credit was split equally to be applied to next year’s fall and spring semester student accounts. Resident assistants had their RA Grant applied to their room adjustment. For students receiving tuition exchange, a percentage of tuition exchange funds were included as aid applied to room costs and were part of the room adjustment calculation. Students who remained on campus did not receive adjustments because they are receiving room and board.
Will students get a credit for other fees (like lab fees or parking costs for the semester)?
Unfortunately, the College was not be able to offer a prorated reimbursement for these fees. They are the basis of our annual budgetary process at the start of each semester and help cover fixed costs in providing campus services—many of which were repurposed to support the virtual learning and living community online for the remainder of this semester.
Can I make a gift of my room and board credit as a charitable donation to help other students?
Yes! Knowing that everyone in the extended the Gordon family is facing adversity amidst a pandemic that has upended lives around the world, students and families who have the ability and desire to help other Gordon students have an additional option to apply all or a portion of their room and board credit to the newly established Emergency Fund for Students—launched with the generous support of several Gordon families to assist students most affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Families interested in supporting this fund by donating from their student account credit can fill out the form.
Will Gordon be distributing CARES Act funding to students?
Gordon was awarded a grant from the Department of Education CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to provide emergency financial aid grants (up to $1,000) to students who have incurred new expenses and financial hardships due to COVID-19. Students must meet specific eligibility requirements and apply. Learn more at www.gordon.edu/caresact.
Were grades or credits adjusted with the new online structure?
For the spring semester, students were given the option to take any course of their choosing as Credit/No-Credit. This was a voluntary “opt-in” process by students, as faculty were still be required to submit a grade for every student in every class at the end of the semester. After final grades were posted on my.gordon.edu, undergraduate students could elect to review their grades and then apply this one-time grading policy to one or more of their spring 2020 courses. A student could choose to convert any grade from a D- through an A to “Credit,” and any grade of F may be converted to “No-Credit.” This flexibility allowed Gordon students to focus on successfully completing a class without worrying about how a particular letter grade might affect their GPA.
If Commencement is in October, did seniors still “graduate” in May?
With input from the Gordon College Student Association Commencement Committee, Commencement activities will be combined with Homecoming and Family Weekend (October 2–3, 2020). Degrees were conferred, and diplomas mailed per usual in May. This change in the date of Commencement does not change the actual date of a student’s degree conferral (as long as they have completed their graduation requirements).
What did the College do to help students make the transition to online learning?
The Student Care team compiled a new web resource—Living and Learning Remotely—focused on four primary topics to help students survive and thrive during their time apart: learning online, emotional and physical wellness, spiritual life and other resources. Here, students could get tips on setting up their remote study space; access weekly devotionals, podcasts and sermons from the Chapel Office; access help from the Counseling Center or Academic Success Center; and read advice on maintaining physical and mental health during an uncertain time.