Information for Returning Students

We're looking forward to welcoming you back to Mills for the spring 2021 semester. Based on public health guidelines, our plan for spring is to continue to offer classes primarily online. We hope that we will be able to offer more in-person academic experiences for scholarly scientific and artistic work following all safety and social distancing guidelines. 

Student Guide to COVID-19 | Your Academic Experience | CARES Act | Transportation | Housing | Dining | Student Life

Student Guide to COVID-19

To help you navigate the changes brought on by COVID-19, we have compiled a student guide outlining how we will manage this health crisis together. You'll find expectations for preventative measures, self-wellness monitoring, and changes to campus life (including residence halls and dining). You'll also find the range of available student support services to meet your academic, accessibility, health and wellness, and career planning needs. We encourage you to download and review this guide and to check back frequently for updated versions.

Mills Student Guide to COVID-19 (8/13/20 PDF)

Your Fall 2020 Academic Experience

Academic Resources

CARES Act Emergency Grants

In March 2020, Mills was allocated $567,791 by the federal government to assist students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that the effects of the coronavirus would present both immediate and long-term challenges to our students, Mills used some funds to provide immediate assistance to our students during the spring 2020 semester and reserved a portion to assist students during the fall 2020 semester. Students are eligible to apply for these grants once per semester. Eligible students should submit their Mills Grant Fall 2020 online application by Monday, October 12, 2020, at 5:00 pm PDT. For detailed fall 2020 application information (PDF), download the information from the Mills intranet.

Who Can Apply for This Assistance?

Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in “ground-based” academic programs (excludes the online MA in educational leadership) who are eligible for Title IV funding may receive emergency grants. The US Department of Education has advised that DACA, undocumented, and international students are ineligible to apply. We can assess your eligibility for Title IV funding if you have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Support for Undocumented Students

Undocumented students enrolled for the fall 2020 semester can apply for a Mills-funded grant. The amount of this grant is equal to the average amount of the CARES grants that have been awarded to Mills students who are eligible for federal funds. These are one-time-only grant awards that do not have to be paid back. Eligible students must submit their Mills Grant Fall 2020 online application by Monday, October 12, 2020, at 5:00 pm PDT.

While we recognize that these grants and other support offered by the College are not all inclusive and that many of our undocumented students face unique challenges during the COVID-19 health crisis, we hope that this effort will help lessen the burden.

Public Transportation

Students who will be using public transportation should refer to the prevention section of our health and safety guidelines page for more information.

Due to the health crisis, the Mills shuttle will not be in operation and the College will not be issuing AC Transit passes to students. We have eliminated the AC Transit fee from the 2020–21 student fees. AC Transit does, however, provide student discounts and monthly passes that may be purchased directly.


Winter Break & J-Term Housing

Students have the option of signing up for on-campus housing during winter break and January Term. All students will be housed will be single rooms in Warren Olney Hall, with the exception of students who are currently residents of Prospect Hills Apartments and Courtyard Townhouses. Food service on campus will be limited during winter break. The housing application is available now with a deadline of November 13, 2020. Visit the winter break and J-Term housing web page for detailed information and rates.

Housing Information & Guidelines

All students who signed up to live on campus in a traditional residence hall will be assigned a single room. Our limited number of double rooms will also be single occupant only, but charged at the double rate. Our residence halls and independent living spaces will be capped at 75% capacity to allow for social distancing and hygiene protocols.

Social distancing and face coverings will be required in all common areas, including entryways, living rooms, hallways, laundry rooms, community kitchens, etc.

Before leaving their residence hall each day, students must perform a daily health check using the free MillsGo app to determine if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Students in traditional residence halls will be assigned specific bathrooms, trash rooms, and kitchenettes for use. This is being done to support contact tracing and hygiene standards.
  • High-touch areas such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, and elevators will be limited to single-occupancy use.
  • Students will be expected to utilize cleaning products to sanitize shared residential spaces directly before and after use.
  • Shared spaces will be regularly disinfected by cleaning staff in accordance with local health protocols.
  • Residential lounges, study rooms, libraries, recreation rooms, computer labs, and traditional gathering spaces will be closed to reduce contamination and contact.
  • Residents are not allowed to gather or congregate on campus, including in other resident’s rooms on campus or in common areas.
  • Printing stations will be provided in centralized campus locations and available with the on-demand printing service, PrinterOn.
  • Students who are concerned about exposure to COVID-19, experience any symptoms, or are being tested will be provided safe and separate accommodations with support from campus staff for meals until isolation or quarantine is no longer required.

All residential students must review and adhere to the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Residential and Dining Policies and Expectations.

On-Campus Apartments

Residents in each unit in the Underwood Apartments will be treated as a “family pod.” Since each apartment houses individual families, the new single-occupancy protocols do not apply to Underwood.

All students living in apartments—including Courtyard Townhouses, Ross and Larsen Houses, and Prospect Hill—should be aware that if someone living in your apartment has COVID-19 symptoms or is being tested for COVID-19, all residents in that apartment will be required to quarantine. See the if you're sick section of our health and safety guidelines page for quarantining and contact tracing information.


For your health and safety and that of your fellow students, residents are prohibited from bringing any guests into the residence halls for visits or overnight stays. This includes guests from outside of the Mills community, Mills students residing off campus, and Mills students residing in a different residence hall. The only exception to the guest policy is for individuals providing care to a resident after Residential Life and Public Safety have been contacted.

Dining on Campus

All students who will be dining at the Tea Shop should review the prevention section of our health and safety guidelines page for detailed information and to learn the steps our food service partner, Bon Appetit, is taking to address COVID-19.

Student Life

We know that immersing yourself in Mills' social, cultural, and intellectual life is an important piece of your college experience. We will be offering a vibrant line up of cultural events, readings, speaker series, and student club events will be offered online. You'll also have access to additional online events through the Mills College Art Museum and Mills Performing Arts.

Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (APER)

During these stressful times, it's more important than ever to balance your academic work with physical exercise. Our APER Department is offering online classes, including strength training/cardio fitness, pilates, Zumba, yoga, and introduction to meditation. Details of these classes are listed in the updated course schedule.

The athletic facilities section of our health and safety guidelines page outlines how each facility will be run when state and county health orders permit us to safely reopen them. Our on-campus hiking trail, Pinetop Trail, remains open and available to students.

For the well-being of our varsity student-athletes, we are canceling fall competition. If permitted by public health guidelines, we do intend to hold socially distant team activities so our student-athletes who return to campus will have the opportunity to participate in individual and small-group workouts and activities with members of the APER staff, including out-of-season activities in accordance with NCAA rules. Our coaches and staff will continue to provide workout plans, academic and personal support, and leadership development opportunities to our team members who cannot return to campus for the fall semester. For additional information, visit the Mills Cyclones website. While there are many details to be finalized, we are working to provide a positive experience for all of our fall, winter, and spring teams in the upcoming year.

Counseling & Psychological Services

If you should need extra support as you navigate the academic year and the challenges that come with the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation, counseling and psychological services will be available to you online.


Mills students, faculty, and staff can visit our COVID-19 information pages for previous communications and FAQs. If you have additional specific COVID-19 questions, email