Carleton College campus from the west.

The plan outlined below—which took effect Aug. 1, 2021—draws upon the advice of public health experts, as well as our experience during academic year 2020-21 and our confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all students, faculty, and staff. As we return to mostly normal operations, Carleton will remain nimble, forward-looking, and focused on the health and safety of every member of our community.


Key Points

  • Students will live, learn, and work on campus.
  • Faculty and staff will be on campus to teach, mentor, and support students.
  • All students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza.

Health and Safety

Vaccination Requirements

In order to offer the best protection against disease transmission in our campus community, all Carleton students, faculty, and staff are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement took effect Aug. 1, 2021.

Carleton will assist students and new employees in obtaining a vaccine if they were unable to get vaccinated in their home state or country by Aug. 1. Some restrictions will be in place for these individuals until 14 days after the completion of their vaccination series.

All students, faculty, and staff also are required to be vaccinated against influenza by the end of October 2021. A flu vaccination clinic will be held on campus in the fall.

Requests for exemptions from these vaccination requirements will be considered and managed for employees and students in accordance with applicable state and federal law.

Testing, Quarantine, and Isolation

With a fully vaccinated population, Carleton will not conduct weekly campus-wide surveillance testing. The College will have COVID-19 testing available based on recommendations from our epidemiological consultant and health professionals. Isolation space and a student care team will be assembled for students who become symptomatic during their time on campus. Contact tracing will be conducted according to public health recommendations.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Cleaning and sanitizing processes will primarily return to pre-pandemic standards. These include: daily cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms, hallways, entries, and kitchens/lounges in residence halls; daily cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms, entries, hallways, and classrooms in academic and administrative buildings; and weekly cleaning and emptying trash in offices.

The Student Experience


All courses will be taught in person, with flipped classrooms or technology-enabled innovations used by faculty at their discretion to meet pedagogical goals. Classrooms, laboratories, studios, and rehearsal spaces will return to normal or near-normal occupancy levels. Fully-online courses may be offered only in exceptional circumstances. 

Carleton’s typical academic calendar, daily class schedule, and passing period time will be observed. Visiting speakers, class field trips, and in-person community-based projects will also resume as usual and in accordance with state and federal public health guidelines.

Student Housing and Dining

With a fully vaccinated population, residence rooms and dining halls will be structured to operate at full capacity and without physical distancing. Dining Services will continue to offer the Green to Go program for students wishing to take their meals to go, as well as app-based ordering from Sayles Café.

Athletics & Activities

Student activities will resume as usual. Varsity, club, and other athletic sports teams and organizations will participate in traditional competition.

The Campus Environment

Community Expectations

Carleton’s culture of accountability and respect remains essential as we move into the 2021-22 academic year. We have an obligation to protect one another and the members of the Northfield community, and we all must continue to take that responsibility seriously—especially amidst a global pandemic. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to adhere to these values.

Mask-Wearing and Physical Distancing

With a fully vaccinated population, mask-wearing and physical distancing are not required on campus during the 2021-22 academic year unless local, state, or federal guidelines advise otherwise. Some fully vaccinated individuals—visitors, faculty, staff and students—may choose to continue to wear masks on campus. The College is fully supportive of this.

Those who are not fully vaccinated must be masked when indoors, except while eating or drinking.

Visitors and Events

Visitors are welcome on campus during the 2021-22 academic year, including for move-in day, New Student Week, and Family Weekend. Public audiences, standard occupancies, and traditional catering operations are allowed for events held on Aug. 1 or later. Those who are unvaccinated are asked to wear a mask when indoors, except while eating or drinking.

While most visitors are not required to be vaccinated in order to spend time on the Carleton campus, those who are staying overnight—such as through the Taste of Carleton program—will be required to submit proof of vaccination.

Emeriti faculty and retired staff may regain access to the Rec Center and library resources by submitting proof of vaccination to the College. Access to these resources for others in Carleton’s affiliate OneCard program—including employees’ family members and nearby alumni—will be determined in early fall.

College Operations & Planning

Working on Campus

The Group 1, 2, and 3 designations that were put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic expired on Aug. 1, 2021, coinciding with the college-wide vaccination requirement. Employees who have been working remotely are transitioning back to regular, in-person operations over the summer based on departmental needs. All employees are expected to return to work on campus by August 30.

Remote Work

Human Resources is developing a revised flexible work policy, which is expected to be shared with faculty and staff in August. This work is being done in consultation with supervisors and in consideration of what the College learned about remote work during the 2020-21 academic year.


With a return to more normal operations, departments and offices are encouraged to return to their usual planning and decision-making processes, in consideration of current public health guidelines. The COVID-19 Core Team continues to be a resource to those looking for additional guidance and clarity; submit a question to the team.