July 30, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

Since the college announced on July 1 plans to resume in-person learning and welcome most students back to campus this fall, much has evolved, both in attending to the many decisions and protocols necessary for reactivating campus and in the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic beyond Trinity. With the latest guidance from the state of Connecticut, we write today to share details about the student arrival schedule and process, including what to do before you get here and our plans for testing and quarantining after arrival.

We will continue to monitor state guidelines and conditions regarding the virus both locally and globally, and we will stay abreast of information from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local/state health authorities. We ask all students and families to stay informed as well, both of the situation where you are and of updates that we’ll provide to you via email and on our Returning to Trinity websiteThe situation is fluid, and conditions may require us to shift plans at any time, whether before or after the semester begins. Please know that we will provide as much notice as possible if/when things need to change. We strongly recommend, if possible, that you make your travel plans with some flexibility to allow for the possibility of changes to these plans.

Student move-in will begin August 24, ahead of the September 7 first day of classes. We will bring students to campus gradually over several days, in conjunction with a comprehensive COVID-19 testing protocol, the details of which are below. We have been heartened by the response from our students, the vast majority of whom are eager to return to campus. The housing assignment process is under way, and we anticipate assigning first-year housing in early August. We are eager to welcome you to campus and begin the fall semester!


Pre-arrival PCR COVID 19 Test

As you know, across much of the U.S., the prevalence of the virus is increasing—in some places, alarmingly—even though the trends continue to be positive in Connecticut and surrounding states. To help reduce the risk of a resurgence of COVID-19 in our area, the state is requiring all college students to receive a diagnostic test before arrival—and to remain home if they test positive. This requirement applies to all students, whether local or not, as well as those planning to live in college-owned housing or in off-campus residences (including Greek houses).

We are working with a national organization to help facilitate this pre-arrival testing and streamline the flow of test results directly to the Trinity College Health Center. We will be able to update students on this process soon, once we finalize the logistics and receive final guidance from the state. Our aim is for the college to pay the up-front cost for all of the student pre-arrival tests and to add the one-time individual cost (approximately $150) to student bills later in the semester. Those who aren’t able to pay the cost may apply for a waiver of this fee.


You can help Trinity start the semester off well and keep the community safe by doing all you can before you arrive to stay healthy. All students should self-quarantine at home for 14 days before coming to campus, avoiding travel and limiting close contact with non-family members. Please do not come to campus if you test positive for the virus or are experiencing any symptoms, and please take care to wear masks and follow public health guidance during your travel to campus.


As of today, the state has travel restrictions in place for those coming from 36 “hot spot” states and regions with a high prevalence of COVID-19. Based on the states currently on the list, the restrictions would apply to about 350 Trinity students. The travel advisory requires a 14-day quarantine upon arrival for anyone staying in the state for more than 24 hours. If a quarantine isn’t possible, a traveler can present a negative COVID-19 test result that is no more than 72 hours old. We are conferring with state officials to determine if other options will be available to those students. In the meantime, to accommodate the quarantine requirement we will begin our move-in process with students from hot spot areas. Please stay informed as to whether your location is affected by Connecticut’s travel advisory.

To reduce density and allow for the safest-possible process during move-in, we will allow students from the surrounding area—those within a reasonable driving distance of campus in New England or New York or New Jersey—to drop off their belongings for move-in during the week of August 16-21. This is not required, but is an option for those students who have the ability to do so. Students who choose to drop-off their belongings will not be permitted to remain on campus. Students from the surrounding area will receive an email tomorrow (Friday, July 31) inviting them to schedule drop-off times.

General Move-In Schedule

August 16-21: Local student drop-off of belongings permitted (drop-offs only)

August 24-25: Students from states affected by travel advisory, as well as student leaders

August 26-28: International students

August 31-September 4: All other students, both new and returning

Move-In Process

Each student will sign up for a two-hour move-in timeslot during their scheduled arrival days. Students will receive an email tomorrow (Friday, July 31) containing a link to sign up for their move-in timeslots.

A parent or family member may accompany a student; we ask that if possible only one person accompanies each student. As long as they do not stay overnight, guests coming from virus hot spot areas are not subject to the state’s 14-day quarantine requirement.

All students, family members, and visitors must arrive with face masks or cloth face coverings and wear them both indoors and outdoors while on campus, as well as adhere to posted public health guidance for physical distancing, hand washing, and other safety measures. More specific details about campus arrival, including a checklist of what to bring (and what not to bring) will be shared in the coming days.

All students, whether they will live in campus housing or nearby in off-campus residences, will be required to officially check in with the college upon arrival in Hartford. Students living off campus should coordinate their arrival dates with the schedule above; no student should plan to arrive prior to August 24, which is when our testing regimen begins.

If a student from outside of a hot spot arrives with a negative COVID-19 test result that is no more than 5 days old, they would not be quarantined. All others will be quarantined until they have received a negative test result (either the result of their pre-arrival test or of the test they are given upon arrival on campus).

During the semester PCR COVID-19 TESTING

Testing for COVID-19 will be critical to our ability to monitor the health and safety of our community. We are partnering with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to provide very frequent testing of all students in the first few weeks of the semester and a regular cadence of screening after that. All students and employees who are on campus can expect to be tested regularly throughout the fall semester. The college will pay for the cost of this testing plan.

More details about the test are available in our FAQ; here are the basics of the plan.

  • During the initial weeks of the semester, all students will be tested twice per week, and employees will be tested weekly. If the prevalence of infections on campus remains low, we will adjust the testing cadence to once per week for students and every other week for employees.
  • Testing for asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff will be conducted on campus, at the Ferris Athletic Center Field House. Some portions of the process will be conducted under a tent outside the building.
  • Throughout the semester, any student with COVID-19 symptoms or who is at risk of contracting the virus through known contact with someone who has tested positive will be evaluated and tested immediately at a location separate from the field house.


There’s much more to come as we proceed with the details of resuming in-person learning and students living on campus. We’re implementing extensive new measures and protocols to minimize the risk of an outbreak on campus. But these measures alone will not be sufficient. They must be met with equal effort and dedication by all to contribute to the collective care of our community.

To that end, all students will be required to complete COVID-19 health education and to sign a Community Responsibility Agreement. It is our shared responsibility to care for and about one another and to demonstrate that care by following the protocols we are putting in place. Students will be required to bring a signed copy when they officially check-in. Please do not send this to the college before your arrival.

We know you’ll have questions; more detail is available online and will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead. Next week, for example, student bills will be available, as will detailed information on dining plans. We also will be sending you an invitation to join a virtual town hall for students and families the week of August 10. In the meantime, you’re welcome to write to [email protected] with any specific questions. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and flexibility as we all manage the complex challenges brought by the pandemic. We are grateful for your support and partnership in this work.

We look forward to seeing the campus come to life with energy with the arrival of our students. We have missed you!


Joe DiChristina
Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management

Jody Goodman
Dean of Student Life and Director of the Bantam Network