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Students with Masks on Fiske Quad

Spring 2021 Semester

What Our Spring Semester Plans Include

Our spring semester is planned with the health and safety of our community as the priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring semester will be similar to the fall semester, with a continued commitment to following protocols on campus, remote and in-person learning, in-person and virtual student events, and weekly COVID-19 testing. We will continue to follow the requirements in the Community Commitment Acknowledgement.

Even as a vaccine is being administered among certain populations, we will continue to be #OwlsUnited by wearing masks at all times except when seated and eating, or alone in an office or at home. We will continue to physically distance at 6 feet or more, and keep private social gatherings to 10 people or less. Remember taking these steps and staying home when you’re not feeling well is good for you, and it keeps your friends, professors, students, and many other people around you safe.

As much as we understand that large gatherings and attending parties is something students want to do in college, in this environment it is seriously irresponsible, and will only put your friends, yourself and your neighbors at risk. Remember that you can speak up if you see someone who is not being careful – each choice we make can either keep each other safe, or can put each other at risk. We are #OwlsUnited, and in this together.

Spread the word that we’re #OwlsUnited this spring. Below is a graphic for your email signature or documents, and also our poster, to download and share with others.


  1. Returning to Campus After Winter Break
  2. Academic Calendar
  3. Weekly College-Wide Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Continues
  4. Mandatory Safety Precautions Continue
  5. Rapid Response Team and Contact Tracing Remain in Place
  6. Spring Classes and Coursework

Returning to Campus After Winter Break

Updated on January 20, 2021

In consultation with students, faculty, health experts, COVID-19 predictive models, and our Keene community partners, it has been decided that the spring 2021 semester will begin on February 15 to ensure the safety of our community and to provide the best student experience. This is three weeks later than was planned. All in-person and remote classes will begin on February 15.

Students, faculty and staff are required to have a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR test result before coming to campus for check-in and regular activities. Students sign up here, and employees sign up here for a pre-arrival Keene State Drive-Up test.

Weekly COVID-19 testing will continue throughout the spring semester. Students are required to be part of the weekly COVID-19 testing protocol, regardless of how they are taking their classes, if they will be accessing any campus buildings at any point during the semester.

Academic Calendar

Spring semester classes will begin on Monday, February 15, 2021. The spring 2021 semester will not include a Spring Break, to help with safeguarding the health of our community. These two changes will allow us to begin finals with a reading day on Monday, May 24, and end finals on Friday, May 28. At this time, we are cautiously optimistic that commencement will take place on May 29. Check this page, for updates on commencement.

Weekly College-Wide Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Continues

Once the spring semester begins and the community has returned with a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 test result, mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing will continue for all students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus. Each week, community members will receive a new wristband of a different color to indicate they are in the testing pool as required.

Mandatory Safety Precautions Continue

All faculty, staff, and students are required to continue safety precautions that were in place in the fall, and with even more diligence due to increased community spread of the virus. We will continue mask-wearing, physical distancing of six feet or more, small group gatherings of 10 people or less, and carefully monitoring of symptoms with phone outreach to medical supports when not feeling well.

We encourage students to remain in Keene as much as possible to limit risk of infection. We understand some students may need to return home for appointments or family needs. In these cases, students must fill out a travel registration form before departure.

Rapid Response Team and Contact Tracing Remain in Place

The Keene State College Rapid Response Team (RRT) will continue to facilitate quarantine, isolation and contract tracing. The RRT works in support of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH-DHHS) as a tier one, initial urgent response for members of the Keene State community. The RRT provides collected information and data to NH-DHHS to support their comprehensive contact tracing response.

The RRT immediately responds to suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 by facilitating isolation of positive cases and by identifying, within 24 hours, any people with potential exposure to person who tested positive to facilitate quarantine of contacts. Contacts are identified as any person who has been in sustained contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. We strongly suggest that students have a sick plan and a bag prepared in advance, so that they don’t need to be concerned about packing at the last minute and having to make any last-minute arrangements for their needs.

The person who tested positive is moved to isolation for 10 days, and until symptom-free. Contacts of a person who tested positive are moved to quarantine for 14 days. If either the person who tests positive or any of the contacts cannot move home, a dedicated space is provided for them.

Isolating cases are followed up with by Health Services at The Wellness Center, and quarantined contacts are followed up with by the Rapid Response Team. People who isolate and people in quarantine must be cleared at the end of their time period before returning to regular daily activities.

If a student is not feeling well or is concerned that they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, and don’t know what to do, they should call Campus Safety for help with next steps at 603-358-2228.

Every person is vulnerable to the virus. Students, if you are living off campus, have a plan in advance for how you’ll get food and supplies, should you have to isolate or quarantine. Know what you’ll need, and express your needs in advance.

Spring Classes and Coursework

While our in-person fall semester is going well, we know that some students are interested in an online learning experience in the spring semester, instead of joining the Keene State community on campus. Our goal is to help you have a successful semester by providing you with as many options as possible for completing course requirements, whether this is done on campus or via online instruction.

The information below provides details on the kinds of courses that are available for selection in the course registration system. Please note that not all classes are designed to be offered remotely. Be sure that the courses needed to complete the semester are available online, if a fully-online learning experience is desired. To see which courses are available remotely, students may use Student Planner in Self-Service. Search the “Course Catalog” by “Locations” and select “Online Accessible.”

Students who are beginning at Keene State in spring 2021, and are in need assistance with adjusting their course schedule for spring, should reach out to Academic and Career Advising to do so. Returning students may adjust their academic schedule through the Student Planner in Self-Service. If a student would like assistance in selecting courses, they should contact their advisor.

Choices in Academic Course Delivery – In-person, Hybrid, Blended or Online

In the Student Planner, there are four general categories of spring 2021 classes. In order to maintain the quality experience that students expect at Keene State, professors are choosing the way courses are being taught, to best fit the learning needs of their classes.

Students can take classes in a variety of ways. Classes are identified in course registration with the information below:

1. In-person: These classes will take place in person, in a classroom on campus or in a field-based placement. In-person classes are identified as Clinical Practice, Field-based Experience, Guided Inquiry, Incorporates Lecture & Lab/Studio, Internship, Laboratory, Lecture-based Learning, Practicum, Seminar, or Studio.

2. Online: These classes take place entirely online and are identified as Online.

  • Students are expected to be available for the entire class meeting time to participate in regularly-scheduled instruction.
  • With these classes, there are no times scheduled for in-person classes for students and instructors.
  • These courses are delivered entirely online using regularly-occurring meeting times (synchronous), classwork that is completed outside of regular class times (asynchronous), and/or flexible participation approaches.

3. Hybrid: These classes take place both online and in-person on campus, using rotating student groups for the in-class experience and are identified as Hybrid. Students are expected to attend in-person class meetings as scheduled. Students who are not in the classroom access the course online during the regularly-scheduled class times. Some of these courses are identified as Remote Hybrid – these are Hybrid courses that can be fully accessed remotely. Remote-Hybrid courses meet the needs of students planning to participate fully remotely during Spring 2021.

  • These classes take place both online and in a physical location on campus.
  • A portion of the scheduled in-class time between students and instructors is delivered online during regularly-occurring meeting times (synchronous), and includes classwork that is completed outside of regular meeting times (asynchronous), and/or flexible participation approaches.
  • These classes frequently rotate student groups. Students are expected to participate in in-person class meetings as scheduled.

4. Blended: These classes include a combination of scheduled in-class time on campus, with the online portion of the class primarily or entirely asynchronous (completed outside of a regular scheduled class time) and are identified as Blended. Students are expected to attend in-person class meetings as scheduled. Some of these courses are identified as Remote Blended – these are Blended courses that can be fully accessed remotely. Remote Blended courses meet the needs of students planning to participate fully remotely during spring 2021.

  • These classes take place both online and in a physical location on campus.
  • The scheduled in-class time between students and instructors is reduced by 20% to 80%.
  • These classes may include rotating groups of students. Students are expected to participate in in-person class meetings as scheduled.

If a student is selecting courses for remote-delivery only, they must select course that are delivered either Online, Remote-Hybrid or Remote-Blended. All other course modalities require in-class participation.

Expectations for Student Participation

Please note that students must be available during the entire time periods for which their courses are scheduled regardless of their physical location (on-campus or remote) as they should be available to attend all synchronous (regularly-scheduled) instruction that takes place during their classes.

Courses have been taught using different approaches to accommodate students in the past. The world continues to face this unprecedented time during the coronavirus pandemic, therefore, faculty continue to embrace a variety of approaches to teaching, to ensure participation and attendance. Please be sure to thoroughly read your course syllabi to understand the established expectations and requirements for each class.

Choices in Accessing Campus Resources and Events

Students can choose to access on-campus resources and events in different ways. Keene State is committed to providing a rich living and learning experience, with a combination of virtual and in-person student engagement activities.

Full Campus Experience: This is the option for a student who wants to take some or all of their classes in person, and will have full access to all online and in-person events and on-campus resources. Regular, weekly COVID-19 testing is required. Failure to participate in regular testing may result in disciplinary sanctions.

Remote Classes with On-Campus Experiences: A student who chooses this option will take all of their classes online, but will access events and physical resources on campus, including Zorn Dining Commons, the Student Center, Mason Library, Recreation Center and any other building or resource located physically on Keene State’s campus. Regular, weekly COVID-19 testing is required. Failure to participate in regular testing may result in disciplinary sanctions.

Fully-Remote Experience: In this case, a student chooses to take all classes remotely, and will not access any resources physically on-campus or attend any on-campus events. Mason Library, Spaulding Recreation Center, Student Center and all other buildings located physically on campus are not accessible. Regular weekly COVID-19 testing won’t be administered to students who remain away from campus full-time. Faculty advisors, Academic and Career Advising staff, Wellness Center staff, and other supports will be available to these students online.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Testing

Q. Will we need to have a pre-arrival test before returning to campus in person?
A. Yes. All students, faculty, and staff are required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR pre-arrival test, and they also must check in, with their negative pre-arrival test result in hand. Sign ups for pre-arrival testing and times for check in are posted here.

Q. I’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19, do I need to test weekly at Keene State?
A. Yes, you must continue to test weekly, because you may still spread the virus to other people.

Q. Can I provide a result from an antigen test outside of Keene State for my pre-arrival?
A. No. All students, faculty, and staff must have a negative PCR test result. Antigen test results aren’t acceptable for pre-arrival. At this time, all tests must be taken through Keene State College in order to qualify for return.

Q. Can I do the drive-up test as a walk-up, instead?
A. Yes, a walk-up option is available if needed. Students must first go to the Campus Safety vehicle on Appian Way by Oya Hill (next to Zorn Dining Commons) to be checked in, prior to heading to a test site.

Q. Will there be weekly COVID-19 testing during the spring semester? How will it be done?
A. Yes, there will be weekly COVID-19 testing on Thursdays and Fridays. We will follow the same weekly testing process used in the fall.

Q. Will required testing provided by the college continue to be free for students?
A. Yes, these testing costs will be covered by the college for students who are taking in-person classes or are entering campus buildings to access resources, and for those employees who are working on campus.

Q. How soon will I get my COVID-19 test results?
A. Keene State is contracting with a new testing provider, and results are being received within 36 hours.

Q. Should I continue to get regular COVID-19 testing after I’ve had a positive result?
A. If you tested positive, your test results will continue to come back positive for 90 days after that time. If you’re unsure what to do next, employees may contact Human Resources and students may contact the Dean of Students.

Contact Tracing and What Happens When Someone Tests Positive

Q. What happens when there is a positive test result at Keene State?
A. The Keene State College Rapid Response Team is monitoring test results 24/7. In the event someone has a positive test result, the Rapid Response Team is quickly mobilized to contact the individual with a plan of action and begin the process of contact tracing. The rapid response process is very tightly managed with excellent oversight.

Q. If I test positive, will I get an email or phone call and need to react immediately? What is next?
A. You will be immediately contacted by the Keene State Rapid Response Team if your test comes back positive. Staff will provide instructions to you about what to do in that moment. We suggest that students have a sick plan and bag prepared in advance, so that they don’t need to be concerned about packing at the last minute and having to make any last-minute arrangements for their needs. If you are not in your room at the time you learn you have a positive test, arrangements will be made with you by campus staff to assist you in safely returning to your room for any needed belongings.

Q. What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
A. Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and it lasts at least 10 days from the day the person had their test, and until symptoms are gone. Quarantine is for people who have been in sustained contact with people who test positive, and it lasts 14 days from their last exposure to the person who has tested positive. There isn’t testing for COVID-19 at the end of isolation and quarantine. For people who were positive for the virus and are not contagious, residual RNA remains in the body for three months, which returns a positive result. These timeframe are science-based and in place to ensure the safety of everyone in our community.

Q. Can I take a COVID-19 test to get out of quarantine?
A. No. Due to the differences in virulence and presentation of the virus at varying times for different people, it is not possible to test out of quarantine. So, someone exposed to the virus may not develop an infection immediately and could develop a clinical infection at any point during a 14-day period. As a result, Keene State follows Department of Health and Human Services and CDC guidelines to quarantine for at least 14 days, which allows confidence that transmission of the virus did not occur for the person in quarantine.

Q. I may have been exposed to someone who tested positive but I wasn’t contacted by the Rapid Response Team. Should I have been?
A. It’s likely that you were not contacted because the person who tested positive did not identify you as a contact. If you feel you have in fact been within 6 feet of this person for more than 10 minutes, you can first notify Campus Safety to reach the Rapid Response Team at 603-358-2228 and then self-isolate at your home for 14 days.

Classes and Coursework

Q. Who should I contact if I need help with my spring schedule?
A. Students should contact Academic and Career Advising for assistance with their class schedules. They can be reached by aca@keene.edu or 603-358-2500.

Q. How will Keene State ensure physical distancing in classrooms?
A. Classrooms and labs are structured to ensure physical distancing and classes will be offered remotely and in person to provide hybrid delivery for learning. 50 classrooms will have new technology so that half of many classes can be offered remotely. This means that students who are sick or are in quarantine can still keep up on their classes, remotely. In residence halls, occupancy has been reduced without using triples and quads.

Health Services and Safety Precautions

Q. Will we need to continue to wear masks, maintain physical distance and keep gatherings to 10 people or less?
A. Now, more than ever with significant viral spread, we need to do these things. Even if a vaccine is available during the semester, we will continue our precautions.

Q. What should students do if they have symptoms similar to those known for COVID-19 during the semester, and they need to talk with someone outside of Wellness Center hours?
A. If students have COVID-19-like symptoms and need to talk with someone during the weekend or outside of Wellness Center hours: Students living on campus should call Campus Safety at 603-358-2228. Students who live off campus or are commuting to Keene State should call Cheshire Medical Center’s COVID-19 hotline at 603-354-5400.

Q. Can students still have off-campus jobs?
A. Yes, and we ask students working in jobs off campus to carefully follow mask wearing and physical distancing and hygiene protocols also while away from campus.

Q. Can students go home for weekend visits during the spring semester?
A. We want to make sure our students stay well connected with their families, and we do need to consider potential risks of exposure associated with leaving Keene. Students will be able to return home for visits, appointments, etc. but we encourage students to stay in Keene if possible. Students must fill out the travel registration form before leaving Keene to travel.

Athletics

Q. Do you expect to have travel for spring athletic teams?
A. At this time, yes, regular competition is being planned. We are hopeful, and will closely monitor pandemic - the health of our community is the priority.

Q. I’m a student-athlete. When do I need to get my pre-arrival test? Who can I talk to for help?
A. Please contact your coach with questions.

Residential Life

Q. If I want to move onto campus for the spring semester, and I’ve been remote for the fall, what do I need to do?
A. Please contact Residential Life - they can work with you to find a living space and a roommate. You can reach the team at reslifeadmin@keene.edu or by calling 603-358-2339.

Q. Can family/friends help a student move their items into their residence hall?
A. No. For the health and safety or our community, only people who participate in the college’s COVID-19 testing protocols may enter campus buildings.

Student Clubs and Activities

Q. Will student clubs and organizations still meet in person (as well as virtually) in the spring?
A. Yes! In fact, the college is working on finding even more ways for students to connect through activities and organizations during the spring semester.

Events, Visitors, and Performances

Q. Will visitors not in the COVID-19 testing protocol have to remain outside campus buildings in the spring?
A. Contractors and visitors on business with the college who complete a health attestation in coordination with their college contact may enter buildings to conduct their business. Otherwise, visitors and guests outside the COVID-19 testing protocol cannot enter buildings. This is a policy from the fall semester that will continue for the health and safety of our community.

Q. Can family members enter residence halls?
A. No, only Keene State community members who are part of the weekly surveillance testing on campus, or vendors who have submitted a health attestation in coordination with an employee, may enter campus buildings.