Novel Coronavirus Information
Simmons University is closely following the latest news and updates related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We will continue to update this web page to keep our community informed of the University’s efforts related to this disease and to provide additional resources and guidance.
Our Latest Information
- Test Optional for 2021-22 Academic Year: Simmons University will not require students applying for the 2021-22 academic year to submit standardized test scores.
- Federal CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
- Considering When to Reopen: From now until July 1, we will be working to determine a plan for fall that prioritizes the safety of our students, faculty and staff, and one that is consistent with our mission and values.
- Summer 2020: Learn more about our decisions for the summer.
- Meetings & Events: We have cancelled all on-campus summer conferences and events.
- Remote Working: Guidelines for remote working and who to contact with questions.
- Work progresses on our online undergraduate plans
- Resources for Virtual Instruction and Learning: Resource pages have been created on our internal website for students and faculty.
- Simmons University Responds to COVID-19: Read about how Simmons University has responded to COVID-19.
- Supporting Our Students (SOS) Fund: We are grateful that so many members of the Simmons community have expressed concern for our students and asked how they can help. In response, we have established the Supporting Our Students (SOS) Fund to help provide needed resources to our students.
- Stay Safe: Things you can do to keep safe.
- Previous Communications: See previous communications sent to our community.
Federal CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides funding to institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.
Simmons University has signed and returned, to the Department of Education, the Certification and Agreement related to the CARES Act and will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received to provide emergency financial aid grants to eligible students.
Details on the amount received, the number of eligible students as well as the methodology for determining which students received grants can be found in our 30 Day Fund Report.
Considering when to reopen
Governor Baker released his reopening plan for the Commonwealth today. The cautious, phased approach provides direction on when and how certain businesses and services can open, and what each is required to do to comply with state guidelines for safety. For higher education, the state is enabling each institution to make their own campus plans for each reopening phase, with certain requirements in place for safety and monitoring. (See page 25 of the report in the link above.)
We are eager to re-open as soon as we can but we must re-imagine what our daily life will be like, and accept that the way things were — pre-pandemic — will not be the same. The changes we must make will have major implications financially, operationally, and socially.
From now until July 1, we will be working to determine a plan for fall that prioritizes the safety of our students, faculty and staff, and one that is consistent with our mission and values.
A COVID-19 task force has been assembled to evaluate all the possible scenarios for re-opening Simmons, including implications for facilities, living and learning, staff returning to work, financial impacts, and overall health and safety. The input from this team, along with the guidance we will continue to receive from public health officials, the Mayor, and the Governor, will inform our decision about when we can open and how we can reopen. Our COVID-19 task force is working in sub-teams to address specifics for:
- Campus Infrastructure
- Situation Monitoring and Tracking
We are approaching our planning in stages:
We will not be holding classes on campus for the summer and we have cancelled all on-campus summer conferences and events.
All non-essential employees should continue to work remotely until at least August 14. Please note that we will continue to make accommodations for individuals who need access to their offices to pack or obtain personal items, in accordance with previously established protocols.
Guidelines for Remote Working
Since Wednesday, March 18, all non-essential personnel at the University have been working remotely. Essential personnel include certain employees required on-campus to deliver safety or service needs to students, or those who maintain certain recurring business continuity functions. Employees who are considered “essential” were notified in advance. Please note that Simmons is not "closed." Hundreds of classroom hours are underway for the duration of the semester. Students will continue to have needs we must address. Enrollment recruiting, fundraising by mail and phone, virtual meetings and other activities will continue. We are open for business, and we are doing our work remotely.
We have continued to provide helpful information, including webinars to help our employees work remotely as effectively as possible. Employees should keep a close eye on their email and on the Simmons Internal Faculty & Staff website. Please continue to reach out to [email protected] with any specific questions.
Work progresses on our online undergraduate plans
Our work in support of offering some 300 undergraduate courses online in September has begun in earnest. We are working with experts from 2U, the world's leading on-line education company, to retool content and delivery. I'm extraordinarily proud of the faculty and their commitment to make this happen for the good of our students, who will now be able to continue their academic studies no matter what happens in the fall.
Resources for Virtual Instruction and Learning
Supporting Our Students Fund
We are grateful that so many members of the Simmons community have expressed concern for our students and asked how they can help. In response, we have established the Supporting Our Students (SOS) Fund to help provide needed resources to our students. Gifts to the SOS Fund provide relief for alternative housing and transportation, mental health and medical needs, groceries and personal items, technology, and other accommodations to complete coursework.
Learn more about supporting our students.
In any instance of in-person interactions, keep in mind the safety measures the CDC offers – stay about 6 feet apart, be careful to cover your coughs and sneezes, resist shaking hands or touching your face, wear a mask when out in public, and wash your hands often and properly. Keep calm, wash your hands and stay home if you're sick.
For more information on what to do if you feel sick, or if you become aware that you or someone in your household may have been exposed to the virus or becomes symptomatic, check out our frequently asked questions.
We will continue to send updates as we have them and as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves; please keep a close eye on your email and on the Simmons web page.
Also, since March 18th Simmons has been sending staff and faculty daily information, updates, upcoming virtual events, where to find resources, and more via email. These emails will continue. If you have particular questions or concerns, please send them to [email protected] and we will get back to you with accurate directions, information, or answers.
- April 15 - A communication was sent to students with details about the undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies.
- April 3, 2020 - Update for Students and Families
- March 17, 2020 - Latest Campus Closure Information for Students and Families
- March 13, 2020 - Residence Campus Closure Information
- March 13, 2020
- March 11, 2020
- March 5, 2020
- February 28, 2020
- February 5, 2020
- January 27, 2020
The uncertainty surrounding the spread of the coronavirus has heightened anxiety around the world. As we implement precautionary measures to protect the health and wellness here at Simmons, I remind everyone that we are a strong, united community. We must work together as we face this common threat, treat one another with kindness and empathy, and offer our support to those who need it.
- President Helen Drinan