College considers trimester or three-semester calendar for 2020-2021 academic year

In an all-faculty meeting on Wednesday, President Maud S. Mandel announced that she is strongly considering adopting either a trimester or a three-semester model for the 2020-2021 academic calendar. This adjustment to the academic calendar, Mandel said, has the potential to mitigate some of the difficulties posed to the College by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mandel emphasized in a later interview with the Record that no final determination on the academic calendar has been reached, but that both the trimester and the three-semester systems are under serious consideration.

Record survey results elucidate student views on potential fall plans

Last week, the Record sent out an anonymous survey to gauge student views on various possibilities the College is considering for the fall 2020 semester. The survey found broad dissatisfaction with online learning and a willingness to withdraw for the fall semester either if campus were not opened or if it were opened under flawed circumstances.

Division III courses adapt laboratory activities to online learning

Collecting specimens from local frog ponds in the Berkshires, manipulating glassware and working with hazardous chemicals are just some of the activities originally designed for Division III lab courses that faculty have had to alter drastically or remove entirely since the College switched to remote learning.

In Other Ivory Towers: Planning for the fall

In Other Ivory Towers is the Record’s look at colleges and universities outside the Purple Bubble. In recent weeks, schools nationwide have been considering the question of whether classes can be held on campus in the fall.

A closer look at the College’s adjustments to on-campus summer programming

In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the College has been forced to make large-scale changes to both spring and summer scheduling. An all-campus email sent by Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom on April 13 laid out alterations to the College’s summer programs and housing, including announcing that students who need housing will be able to stay on campus during the summer and that normally on-campus research and summer programs will move off campus during June and July.

Student-run Williams for Williamstown feeds Berkshire Medical Center staff while supporting local restaurants

While many students spent their spring break adjusting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for the transition to remote learning, Eliza Bower ’20 was also thinking of a way to help the local Williamstown community. About three weeks ago, Bower reached out to medical centers and restaurants in Berkshire County and began organizing a campaign that would connect the two, providing medical workers with free meals and giving restaurants much-needed business.

Professors balance remote teaching with childcare as Massachusetts schools close

Following Gov. Charlie Baker’s March 15 order for schools across Massachusetts to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some faculty at the College have had to contend with caring for their children in addition to restructuring curricula for remote learning. School closures were initially set to expire on April 6, but an extension ordered by Baker will keep public and private schools and non-emergency daycare programs closed until at least May 4.

College orders all non-essential staff to cease on-campus work

Since Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order on March 23 ordering all nonessential businesses in the state to close due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, staff at the College were directed to work remotely unless their in-person services are determined to be essential. Staff duties had already been significantly altered following the departure of most students from campus.