Academic Department Town Halls/Webinars

Town Halls/Webinars
The University has organized a number of Zoom webinars to address various topics related to the reactivation of campus. These virtual events will give students and families an opportunity to learn about and discuss plans for such areas as academics, health services, residential life, and more. Students and family members are encouraged to attend any or all events that are pertinent to their particular situation.

Friday, July 24, 2020
11:00 a.m.
Meeting ID: 924 4466 4078
Passcode: 076148

College of Letters
11 a.m.
Meeting ID: 929 7763 6254
Password: 962957

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Meeting ID: 916 8885 0061
Passcode: WesTheater

Math and Computer Science
2:15 p.m.
Meeting ID: 970 6037 2288
Passcode: 990311

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
German Studies
9 a.m.
Meeting ID: 925 0816 6330

Thursday, July 30, 2020 (Tentative Date/Time)
FGLI Town Hall
4 p.m. ET
Additional information is forthcoming

Public Health Update 7/24/20

From: Tom McLarney, MD
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2020 9:00 AM
To: Renee Johnson Thornton
Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,
Welcome to the dog days of summer. Did you know this expression actually comes from the rise of Sirius, the dog star, from July 3 to August 11? It has nothing to do with dogs, though my Labrador Retriever remains skeptical. And there’s your piece of trivia for the day!

I write to you amidst a heat wave in Connecticut, as my colleagues and I are working hard in preparation for the start of school, just over a month away. Today, I’d like to share details of Wesleyan’s plans for COVID-19 testing.

For testing on campus, we are partnering with the Broad Institute, a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, MA that has a history of performing premier work with human genetics. They also have an extremely large capacity to run tests, and are partnering with many other colleges and universities in New England. The Broad Institute has promised a turn-around time for tests of 36 hours, greatly superior to the typical turnaround time of four to 10 days for many commercial labs.

The Broad Institute will be using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, a kinder and gentler anterior nasal swab that students, faculty, and staff will self-administer under the observation of Davison Health Center staff. The sensitivity of this test (detection of true positives) is believed to be greater than 95 percent.

Testing at Wesleyan will begin on or around August 24, when students begin moving in to campus residences. All students will be tested on the day they arrive on campus, and must self-quarantine in their student residences. Students returning from any state with high COVID-19 activity will be required to quarantine for 14 days based on current state of Connecticut requirements. The state of Connecticut will also recognize a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 test (with written proof of test) performed within 72 hours of arrival. We are actively seeking guidance from the state related to our testing protocol and whether that will allow for a shorter quarantine based upon two negative results on campus.

On the subject of pre-arrival, we are asking all students to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arriving on campus. Yes, I realize this will put a damper on the typical end-of-summer farewell celebrations that are a tradition for many students, but for the safety of our campus community, it is essential that students avoid such gatherings and other opportunities for contagion.

Following arrival, students will be tested twice weekly. Testing will be performed outside in tents, as outdoors has been shown to be a safer environment to deter the spread of COVID-19, and six-foot distancing will be enforced. Wesleyan faculty and staff will also be tested regularly, and details on those plans will be forthcoming. We’ll be releasing more details regarding testing locations and appointments in the near future. Wesleyan is also pursuing an app that will remind people of their test times, give test results, and share national and state information related to COVID, among other things.

With the results of these tests, Wesleyan will be performing contact tracing to contain the spread of any contagion. This means that anyone who receives a positive test will be asked about anyone with whom they had close contact (including roommates/housemates, intimate partners, and anyone with whom they have been in contact—less than 6 feet apart—for 15 minutes or longer) within 48 hours prior to the test being performed (or, if the person tested is showing symptoms, within 48 hours prior to symptom onset). We will reach out to these individuals, without revealing the identity of the person who tested positive, and they will be required to quarantine for 14 days (the maximum incubation time for COVID-19). Because people can infect others two days prior to symptom onset, we aim to put close contacts in quarantine before they become infectious, preventing the spread of COVID.

Wesleyan will cover the cost of all testing. Needless to say, if a student, staff, or faculty member will be doing 100 percent of their work virtually (off-campus), there is no need to come to campus for a COVID test. We are not planning to do antibody testing on campus, as these tests do not tell if someone has an active disease, nor do they necessarily mean that person is immune to reinfection from COVID-19.

Testing and contact tracing will go a long way toward keeping us all safe, but practicing other safe behaviors at all times—including wearing masks/face coverings anytime you are in public (outside your own dorm room or private office), staying more than six feet away from others, and washing hands frequently—are also critical. Please pack a thermometer to help self-monitor for illness.

Stay safe, and I look forward to seeing many of you on campus (a safe distance away!) very soon.

Tom McLarney, MD

Brief Information on Tech Resources for online courses

Remote Student Tech Needs
Rachel Schnepper
Wed 7/22/2020 3:29 PM
  1. Internet Access. As long as the service that you are obtaining will provide you with “2 Mbps up/down” (2 Megabits per second of bandwidth for uploading and downloading), you should have no issues participating in Zoom. Students can test their home internet speeds at:
  2. Software for Students: – Wesleyan provides many applications via a virtual application environment called MyApps. You can run these applications on your personal device without having to install it locally. opens up a portal with access to the following applications:  (Note that these applications run on either a Windows or Mac, even if the application is Windows-only based). More information on software available for students and software running on MyApps can be found here:
  3. Zoom. All students have a Pro license of Zoom. Please consult the Zoom Quickstart Guide for Students we developed. Additional resources are available through Zoom Help Center. Login to Wesleyan’s Zoom here.
  4. Higher power computers for specific courses.
  5. Noise-cancelling headphones to create a quiet place to study in a busy home environment.

Move-in/Housing Update July 17, 2020

From: Fran Koerting <>
Sent: Friday, July 17, 2020 1:09 PM
To: All Students on campus <>
Subject: update on move in schedule and plans

Dear students,

One part of the current testing plan is for all undergraduate students to be tested upon arriving to campus, followed by a self-quarantine in their student residence until they meet the following criteria: Students who are from New York, New Jersey and New England until they receive a negative test result, and all other students, including those coming from another country, until they receive two negative test results (which will likely mean a seven day quarantine).  These students can shorten their quarantine period by having a test done on their own within 72 hours prior to coming to campus and bringing proof of the negative result to campus, which will be considered their first of two negative results.

Therefore, Residential Life is adapting its arrival and move in plan as follows:  All undergraduate students may sign up for a day and timeslot between August 24 through August 30.  The number of timeslots is limited by hour and location in order to facilitate physical distancing as students are moving in.  We ask that students who will only require one negative test result sign up for the latter half of the week, leaving the earlier days for students who need two rounds of testing.  Students living in program houses, wood frame houses and apartments (other than Fauver, Low and High Rise) do not need to sign up for a day and timeslot, but should plan to arrive between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on one of those days.  Any student whose travel plans have them arriving after 7:00 p.m. should email  and we will leave their keys at Public Safety for them.

We are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, July 21 at noon to review the move-in process and answer questions students might have related to housing.  The link is listed below.  The platform for move-in sign-ups will be available on Tuesday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m., following the webinar.   If flight arrangements need to be made prior to this time, students may email with the day and time they anticipate arriving on campus and we will reserve that timeslot for them.

Since the sign-ups are based on residence, we hope to have housing assignments for first year and transfer students completed by Wednesday, July 22, so that they may begin making their travel plans.  We are working on assignments for students who do not yet have one and for those who have requested changes.  These students will be able to see their assignment in their WesPortal on August 7, and should wait to sign up for a timeslot until then.

Students who live within a few hours driving distance of campus may drop off their belongings the weekend of August 22-23.  They will be given access to their residence, but will not receive their key until they return the following weekend.  More details regarding this option will be sent next month.

Webinar information: Residential Life:  Move in and Reactivation of Campus
Jul 21, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Password: 597042

We hope you are able to join us next Tuesday.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.  We look forward to welcoming those of you who are able to be on campus this fall.  If you are not able to be on campus this fall, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can finalize housing assignments for those who do not yet have one.


Fran Koerting
Associate Dean/Director of Residential Life

Dean Thornton’s FAQs


University Calendar 2020-2021 (latest update) 

Leave of Absence:

Q: How do I take a Leave of Absence for Fall 2022?

To activate a Leave of Absence, you must submit the form available at:

Q: If I take a Leave of Absence, will I forfeit my housing?

Yes, you should inform your housemates/roommate of your decision to take a leave and encourage them to recommend a returning student as a permanent replacement. Regarding housing for Spring 2021, the Office of Residential Life will use your housing preference to accommodate your requests based on the available housing stock. You are not guaranteed return to the Fall 2020 placement upon your return in Spring.

Q: What is the difference between academic and non-academic leave?

Academic leave – plan to take classes as a visitor at another college during leave; Non-academic leave – do not plan to take classes

Q: Where can I locate general information about the Leave of Absence process?

Q: Please clarify the difference between “deferral” or “deferred admission” and a “leave of absence”?

“Deferring admission means that you have been accepted, but you have decided to postpone your start date for school, usually to take a gap year” (Retrieved from So, deferrals pertain to incoming first-years (class 2024) and first-time transfer students. As a member of the Class of 2022, you may seek a “Leave of Absence.” To do so, please review the Leave information and complete the Leave form available at 

Q: Is it possible to enroll in classes at another university while on a Leave of Absence from Wesleyan?

  1. Yes, students must secure advanced approval before registering as a visiting student at another university or college, Pre-Approval of the specific course or courses from the Wesleyan department.
  2. It is not too late to make these arrangements.

Q: For purposes of my Fall 2020 enrollment at Wes, may I use the terms “remote” and “off-campus” interchangeably?

No. The distinctions have financial implications that you may review on the Financial Aid website.

This is how I have come to understand it: “remote” means the person is planning to live with family and will not (and can not) come to campus during the semester while the term “off-campus” is being used by the Office of Residential Life and the term “commuter” is being used by the Office of Financial Aid to refer to students who secure a special exemption from the residency requirement to live in or around the immediate City of Middletown and may enroll in a combination of in-person and on-line courses, may travel to and from campus on a regular basis, and may likely occasionally eat meals on campus. Based on these distinctions, you need to request release from the residency requirement using the following “off-campus request form.” Please complete it immediately. Additionally, you will need to send an email to Michelle Myers-Brown, who manages the dining plan, requesting exemption from the meal plan. We can discuss this more if you would like.

Student Health Insurance:

Q: May I sign up for Wesleyan Student Health Insurance while taking a Leave of Absence for Fall 2020?

Unfortunately, students must be enrolled in the Fall in order to participate in the Student Health Insurance program.

Fall 2020 Housing

FAQs: Fall 2020 Semester and Move In Process

Q: What does “Family Unit” mean and how does it differ from a “Cohort”?

A family unit consists of students who live together: roommates in a double room, students in the same apartment, program house or wood frame house. For houses with multiple units, a family unit includes all students living with their specific unit only.

A cohort consists of a larger network of students who interact with each other on a frequent basis, such as students living on the same corridor in a residence hall, students in the same orientation group, etc.

When interacting with anyone beyond one’s family unit (including your cohort), proper safety precautions of social distancing and face masks must be followed in addition to guidelines outlined by the plan for reactivating campus.

Q: I would like to pursue living in housing off-campus, how do I go about doing so?

Students who will be Juniors or Seniors for the 2020-2021 academic year were invited to apply for a special exception to the live-on requirement policy. These requests have been reviewed and decisions communicated to students. Residential Life does not anticipate making additional off-campus releases at this time.

General Topics:

Q: Is it possible to only take a couple of classes at Wesleyan and still return the following year as only a Junior?

Wesleyan requires full-time enrollment, so you may not enroll in fewer than 3.00 credits per semester. Wesleyan does not allow “part-time enrollment.” As for one’s class year status upon returning from a Leave of Absence, if you currently are “at Pace” 16.00 credits cumulative after 4 semesters and you were to earn credits while on-leave, the number of credits earned would determine your graduation term (May 2022 or Dec 2022). So, if you do not earn credits while on Leave, you would return to Wesleyan in the Spring of 2021 at your current stage, likely 1st semester junior.

Q: Is it possible to take 5 years to complete a bachelor’s degree instead of 4?

Unless there are exceptional, academic reasons for a student’s delay in completing all requirements for a major, students must complete their degrees in 8 semesters (4 years) or fewer.

Financial Aid:

Q: When will our class (2022’ers) receive their Financial Aid Award information?

The Office of Financial Aid will release Award letters by July 15th

Q: We understand that international students can do their courses online from their home countries.  Will these courses be fully counted towards their curricular/major requirements?

If immigration regulations allow F-1 Visa holders to enroll in on-line courses, we will honor the credentials (credits and major requirement completion) of those courses. It is noteworthy to remind students to consult their particular major department website(s), review their Major Certification form available in their WesPortal, and sign up to meet with their major advisor and/or Class Dean to review any concerns.

Q:  If our children do come back to campus, what are the minimum in-person course requirements? In other words, if a student takes 4 courses during Fall ’20, how many of these should be in-person to enable the student to stay? And does the entire course have to be in-person or a percentage of hours of the course?

It is my understanding that University has not set a “minimum in-person” course enrollment requirement. The university has not set any standard for the distribution of in-person/on-line courses. We will continue to monitor any news that might be set by government affiliates concerning F-1 visa holders and enrollment in on-line courses.

In general, please note, the University Regulations stipulates that students should enroll in 4.00 credits for 8 semesters to earn the 32.00 credits required to graduate. However, some students find it necessary to reduce (or increase) their course load per semester. Students who reduce their course load below 3.00 credits may encounter difficulties with their visa status, financial aid, or academic discipline status.

Q: After classes end before Thanksgiving, can international students stay on in the US with family for the reading period, finish their finals and then return or are they expected to leave and spend reading period in their own country?

The University expects that all students who are able to do so, leave campus (return to home/temporary housing in US or abroad) on Tuesday, November 25, 2020.

Tuesday, 11/24/2020 – Tuesday, 12/01/2020
Thanksgiving recess begins November 24, 10 p.m. and ends December 1, 8 a.m.


Enrollment in Courses:

Is there any partial enrollment option for the fall for international students?  

Wesleyan will continue to require students to enroll full-time (3.00 credits minimum). There may be other restrictions on the immigration end so you should consult the Office of International Student Affairs to learn about any immigration-specific guidelines. For now, please note that Wesleyan does not offer “partial enrollment.” However, from time to time a student might fall below 3.00 credits earned in a semester due to Withdrawing from courses during the semester. Those students are given an “academic discipline status –probation, strict probation, etc. and close advising to return back to “good standing.”  Please visit the Academic Regulations to learn more.

How will drop/add work if I’m not on campus? I am going to have to move my schedule around a lot and I am worried that I will not have the chance to.

This semester, Drop/Add will be on-line only process conducted through WesPortal. The link will become available to enrolled students on August 24.  Students will need to activate the “Enroll Me” button in WesPortal on the morning of August 24. Unlike previous semesters, students will not be required to be on the physical campus to activate their “Enroll Me.”  Please visit the Registrar website to learn more about Drop/Add.

Reactivating Campus in Fall 2020, July 8

From: Michael S. Roth <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 8, 2020 11:02 AM
To: Renee Johnson Thornton <>
Subject: Reactivating Campus in Fall

Dear friends,

As promised in my June message, I am writing now with more specificity concerning our plans to reactivate campus in late August. Since our first priority is the health and safety of our community members, these plans may have to be adjusted in response to changing public health conditions. Whatever these challenging conditions may be, we intend to provide an excellent educational experience (on campus or remotely).

We have developed a robust set of resources on our website about our campus reactivation, including information on instruction and campus lifehealth and safety, and returning to work on campus. Here are some highlights:

We will begin fall classes on August 31 (one week earlier than initially scheduled), with the possibility of finishing the semester online after Thanksgiving (there will be no traditional fall break). Students will be asked to avoid large gatherings in the weeks before coming to campus and to take increasing precautions, in addition to wearing masks and social distancing. Students who are able to get tested will be encouraged to determine that they are negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours of traveling to campus. Everyone on campus will be tested shortly after arrival, and there will be frequent testing on a regular basis thereafter. Those on campus who test positive for Covid-19 will be provided with supportive isolation until they are no longer contagious. Students who test positive will be able to continue their coursework remotely.

Faculty have been given the choice as to whether they will teach their classes in person, remotely, or in some combination. It is likely that many students will have a portion of their instruction online, whether they return to campus or not. While some staff members will continue to work remotely, there will be a presence of staff on campus.  Apart from the commuting of employees (who will be tested for the virus), we expect little travel to campus.  There will be no program of intercollegiate sports or club sports, but we do plan to have safe athletic training on campus.

Despite the economic challenges we are all contending with, Wesleyan remains firmly committed to both enrolling a socio-economically diverse student body and meeting the full demonstrated need of our financial aid students. Given new regulations from Washington, Wesleyan is particularly concerned about our international students, and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure that they can continue to make academic progress in Fall 2020.

Please consult the website for detailed information most relevant to your own circumstances, and feel free to reach out to the appropriate department with your questions. We will continually update this site with more information as it becomes available. We will send out another community message in August, or sooner depending on the public health trajectory. Obviously, we are very concerned about the recent surge in cases in the South and West and are monitoring the situation closely. Our plans may have to change.

We believe in the value of an on-campus education, and the basic steps we need to take are clear. The simple act of wearing a mask consistently reduces the likelihood of transmission. Masks combined with rigorous testing, tracing and supportive isolation will make our campus safer. I look forward to a fall semester in which we take good care of one another and continue to excel in learning together.


Michael S. Roth


Fall Housing Information 5_29_2020

From: Renee Johnson Thornton <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 7, 2020 10:23 AM
To: jr_deanofc <>
Subject: Fw: important Fall housing information for juniors Dear 2022’ers – I hope you are safe and healthy. with the high volume of emails, I am receiving I am reserving half of my lunch hour to be available by Zoom. Please stop in anytime between 12 pm – 12:30 pm, this week (Tuesday – Friday) for general Q&A. You may signup using my calendar link for individual appointments (early morning for GMT or afternoon for EST). For now, please find below important information concerning campus housing this fall.
Sincerely, Dean Thornton

Renee Johnson-Thornton, PhD         Dean for the Class of 2022    Class of 2022 blog           

Sign up for Appointments using my Google calendar link to meet in my virtual office located at
Learn about our plans for reactivating the campus this fall.

From: Fran Koerting <>
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2020 5:38 PM
To: Renee Johnson Thornton <>
Subject: important Fall housing information for juniors
Dear Members of the Class of 2022,

I hope this email finds you safe and healthy. We recognize that these difficult circumstances will impact the ability of some of our students to be on campus for the fall semester.  In the past, we have randomly assigned a student who does not yet have housing to vacancies as they develop.  This year, in hopes of creating a win-win situation for all students involved, we will give you the opportunity to request that a particular student fill the vacancy, if the member of your housing unit notifies their class dean by July 17 that they are planning to take a leave of absence or study remotely for the fall semester.  After that date, there will not be enough time to accommodate such requests, and ResLife will assign someone to it.  Therefore, please encourage your friends to notify their class dean as soon as possible.  Simply email with your request and copy the student you would like to pull in.  Please note that the person you pull into your unit must be class appropriate and not already committed to a program house or community based living program.

In addition, we plan to release a number of juniors and seniors to off campus status for the 2020-21 academic year.  Students who are released will receive a credit of 60% of the Residential Comprehensive Fee.  The balance covers meals and student fees.  If you are interested in being put on the waitlist for off campus, please submit this form.  Priority will be given to individuals whose entire housing unit is interested over those who would leave a partially vacant unit, and to those who do not yet have a housing assignment.  Offers will be made on a rolling basis, beginning July 6, and you will have an opportunity to secure off campus housing before being removed from your housing assignment, if you already selected one.

Should you have any questions, please email me at

Stay safe,

Fran Koerting
Director of Residential Life