Fall 2020 FAQ

You have questions about Fall 2020

– So do we.

We’re working on getting answers to some of the most commonly asked questions on our Instagram. As we receive new answers, we’ll add them below. In the mean time, if you have a question that’s not answered here, DM us on Instagram or comment below.



Can students still register for 5.5 credits in a semester (i.e. 2.5 credits taken in module A and 3 credits taken in module B)?

Yes. The current policy that students must register for a minimum of 3.0 credits and not more than 5.5 credits for a semester is still in place. So, a combination of 2.5 credits in module A and 3 credits in module B is possible. Students must register for at least 1.0 credits each module though.

Will add/drop change at all? If so how? Add/drop will be earlier than the usual opening the day before classes start and will open in late August.

We are working on the specifics with Student Affairs as that must be coordinated with the schedule for students to return to campus. I anticipate it will begin in August 28th but this specific date is subject to change.

For the Winter Semester will students register for Module C and D at the same time or will they register only for Module C and then Register only for Module D?

In November, students will register for modules C and D in the winter semester at the same time.

Will students still be allowed to take all classes pass/fail?

The Academic Standing Committee and the faculty are currently reviewing the pass/fail policy.

Will students who are no longer doing study abroad be allowed to register during the initial add/drop period?

Given the current situation and the possibility that study abroad programs may not be feasible in the fall, students who were planning to study abroad in the fall were allowed to register for the fall semester last spring. Anyone who has not yet done so should contact the Registrar’s Office.


Residential Life

Will students have to re-do housing registration?

We do not anticipate students needing to re-select housing assignments. We know housing is very important to students and that a lot of care went into their selections for the upcoming year. Those who do not currently have a housing assignment will continue through the summer placement process and will receive assignments as soon as we are able to do so.

Where will students go for the 24-48 hours that they are awaiting testing results?

While students are awaiting test results, they will be asked to remain in their room. Students awaiting test results will be provided with access to necessary resources within their floors. We know that being asked to stay in your room for a period of time is not easy so we will be doing everything we can assist in getting test results returned as quickly as possible.

Are students only technically unable to access dorms that aren’t their own, or are there concrete rules barring them from spending time in other dorms?

Students will only have key card access to their own residence halls and students are only permitted to be in their own residence hall. This is a cautious approach to the fall semester, and we may elect to make some changes to this policy as things evolve in the fall semester.

Will there be enough housing for the entire body, considering most fall abroad programs are cancelled?

With fall abroad programs being cancelled, we are working quickly to add to our existing housing resources to try to be able to provide a place for everyone. Whenever possible, we have been consulting with students to get a sense of what they might be interested in, including potentially living off campus. Another option students may see is the expansion of housing to include local hotels.

If a student requests a single, will they be guaranteed one?

The process for those who need a single for a documented disability is facilitated by the Office of Accessible Education. Those who feel they may fall into this category are encouraged to reach out to Accessible Education immediately to begin working through this process. Single rooms represent a small portion of available housing options and are granted as accommodations only in rare circumstances. It is important to note that students are not making a request for a specific housing assignment, but rather a request for an accommodation. As always, separate from the accommodations process there is no specific type of room or location that is ever guaranteed.

Are you able to elaborate on what is meant by a “Pod”? Will students be able to help organise pods themselves so that they can be close to friends and minimise social interaction, or are they essentially First Year Centers without JAs?

Think of a pod as those you share a bathroom with, so in most cases, those on your floor. The behavior of the virus that causes COVID-19 has practical implications for those who live around each other and share spaces. While there may be implications for pods if someone within the pod is diagnosed with a positive case of COVID-19, other aspects of your experience on campus will not be organized by pod. You may have read about other schools using the pod system to organize dining schedules or even class schedules. This is not part of the Bates plan for fall. Students will still be able to connect broadly with friends across campus, while wearing a face covering and observing physical distancing guidelines.


Work Study/Financial Aid 

Geoffrey Swift, Bates College Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer


My work study job is with the Donor Relations Office, which most likely won’t come back to campus (it will continue to work remotely until at least January). What will happen to work study jobs if bosses aren’t on campus?

The work study program at Bates is an important component of financial aid packages and will continue to be. The health crisis doesn’t alter our commitment to it, but it may change how it is implemented. We are reviewing student work opportunities for the fall, which will in part depend on how many students return to campus and the breadth of needs of offices. Typically not all students who are offered work study opportunities use them. Other students work more hours than their work study amount. Our goal is to give students the agency to fund part of their education through work, if they choose.

Whether or not the office is working on campus or off campus is less important than whether there is work that students are well positioned to perform. Offices that are working remotely now for instance, are still working as teams, and a student could join those teams remotely. A nonessential physical presence on campus, such as the example you used, Donor Relations, does not mean that the office itself is nonessential. Donor Relations continues its operations and is fully functioning. How it or any office performs its work, and whether or not staff needs students to work in that office, will be determined by that office.

If you hope to return to a previously held work study position, you may find that the office has not been able to tell you with certainty that you’ll be able to return. We understand that frustration and ask for your patience in the coming weeks as we determine both the needs of those offices and how many students will be returning. If a student decides to learn remotely, we will replace their campus job grant with a loan. We’ll be updating the Student Employment Office site with more information soon.


How will students who work in the Dining Halls be trained for their new responsibilities/safety measures?

Our expectation is that there will be opportunities for students in Commons and more broadly across dining. There will be training where needed, as health and safety protocols in our dining areas will be enhanced to reduce risk of infection. Keeping all members of our staff safe is essential and training will be a part of that.

Because we are in the midst of redesigning the dining program, we cannot provide specifics, but please understand that student employment opportunities within dining services will likely look different than they did in the past.


I am expected to have a summer contribution that goes with my financial aid, but I can’t work this summer because of health concerns. Will my financial aid forgive this or charge me more?

The summer earnings expectation ranges from $1,800 to $2,100 depending on the class year. As with work study employment, the amount earned and hours worked during the summers have always been up to each student. These funds are intended to help offset student’s personal expenses during the year (an estimate of travel and personal expenses is included in the cost of attendance for on-campus students.)

We understand that COVID-19 disrupted many summer plans and may have made it difficult for students to secure employment during the summer of 2020. If this is the case, students may replace part or all of those earnings expectations with a student loan.



Last Updated 7-2-20