We're looking forward to welcoming you back to Mills for the 2020–21 academic year. Our goal is to provide you with a high-quality education while minimizing the risk of COVID-19. Our original plan was to offer a combination of online, in-person, and hybrid (combined in-person and online) courses. Based on the recent surge in coronavirus cases and updated public health guidelines, we are now moving to a primarily online format for the fall 2020 semester. This means that nearly all academic courses—including many classes that we had planned to teach in hybrid mode—will be offered entirely online.
Depending on upcoming guidelines for higher education from the State of California, we hope to be able to offer limited in-person learning opportunities in programs that do not translate into an online environment.
Classes will begin in late August, with any in-person instruction ending before the Thanksgiving holidays. After the break, classes will be held online through the end of the semester.
All students, residential and commuter, will be required to complete online COVID-19 training when they return to campus. The training is meant to ensure that all students have a shared understanding of their individual responsibility for mitigating the risks associated with COVID-19. All Mills faculty and staff are also required to complete COVID-19 training prior to returning to campus.
Every member of the Mills community and official visitors are asked to perform a daily wellness check to determine if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms before coming on to campus/leaving a residence hall. The College will provide a wellness checklist before the academic year begins.
All students should review our health and safety guidelines for detailed procedures and protocols.
|Wednesday, August 26, 2020||All classes begin (online and, if offered, in-person)|
|Tuesday, November 24, 2020||Any in-person instruction ends with the start of the Thanksgiving holidays|
|Monday, November 30–Monday, December 7, 2020||All classes are conducted online only|
|Tuesday, December 8–Wednesday, December 9, 2020||Reading days|
|Thursday, December 10–Wednesday, December 16, 2020||Final exams|
|Wednesday, December 16, 2020||Residence halls close at noon|
To maintain high academic quality while keeping the number of people on campus low and socially distanced, Mills classes will be offered in one of two formats:
Use our class search tool to see the most updated information about individual classes and how they will be taught (look in the notes section).
We recognize that students who don't have access to the technology needed for online learning have been disproportionately affected by this change during COVID-19. In response, Mills has expanded our existing iPad initiative to increase technology access and affordability for our students.
In addition to our iPad Semester Loan Program, we've introduced the Mills College iPad Purchase Program. You'll be able to purchase a new 128GB iPad, an Apple Pencil, and two years of AppleCare technical support through Mills for half of the standard purchase price. You will be responsible for paying $300 split between two semesters ($150 each semester) via your student account; Mills covers the remaining cost. At the end of the academic year, the College will transfer full ownership to you, including the second year of AppleCare.
Students who submitted the purchase request form by July 24, 2020, will have their iPad mailed to them directly from Apple prior to the start of fall classes. Students who apply after that date will receive their iPad from Apple as soon as processing and shipping can be completed. Times will depend on demand, and there may be longer delays after the start of classes due to national and regional availability.
For students who are not interested or unable to participate in the iPad Purchase Program, Mills is continuing to support those access needs by expanding the Mills College iPad Semester Loan Program. You can apply to receive an iPad and Apple Pencil using our iPad Semester Loan form. The only cost to you is a $60 AppleCare fee charged to your student account once per academic year. At the end of each semester, you must return the iPad and Pencil.
For assistance or questions about the iPad initiative, please contact the Mills Information Technology Helpdesk at email@example.com.
Reliable Internet access is another challenge that disproportionately affects many students. To help you get and stay connected, we've compiled a list of low-cost Internet options that are being offered by different companies and organizations.
Our librarians will provide online access to reference/research services and instruction via email, chat, video conferencing, and telephone and interlibrary loan of articles and book chapters. You'll also have 24/7 access to electronic resources including licensed content such as electronic journals, eBooks, and databases. The library subscribes to 50,000+ electronic journals and 168,000+ eBooks. View the F. W. Olin Library COVID-19 Access and Procedures for guidance on accessing these and additional resources.
If the College reaches a reopening phase where the library building can be occupied, we may be able to circulate physical library materials (e.g., books, DVDs, etc.), offer limited computer use and scanning, provide some study spaces, and offer a variety of in-person services by appointment (reference, special collections use, etc.). Library staff would be available to assist you and facilitate the acquisition of needed materials. Safety precautions would include:
To help you succeed at Mills, we continue to provide a wide range of academic support services. Most of these services will be available exclusively online and include:
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. The fall 2020 application will open on Wednesday, August 26 (the first day of classes), and the link will be sent to all students via email.
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).
Undocumented students returning to Mills in fall 2020 will be able to apply for awards similar in process and amounts to the CARES funding that they were not able to access. An email communication will go out in August with application information. In the fall, Mills will continue to offer additional support for our undocumented students since they are not considered eligible to receive federal financial aid.
While we recognize that these supports are not all inclusive and that many of our undocumented students’ financial hardship is much greater, we hope that this effort will help lessen the burden.
Due to the health crisis, the College will not be issuing AC Transit passes to students. We have eliminated the AC Transit fee from the 2020–21 student fees.
If State of California guidelines allow Mills to offer on-campus housing, 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.
All residential students must review and adhere to the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Residential and Dining Policies and Expectations.
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.
All students who will be dining at the Tea Shop or Founders Commons 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.
We know that immersing yourself in Mills' social, cultural, and intellectual life is an important piece of your college experience. Our spacious, beautiful campus and mild Bay Area climate allow us to provide in-person, outdoor activities for students, following physical distancing protocols. In addition, a vibrant line up of cultural events, readings, speaker series, and student club events will be offered online. You'll also have access to online events through the Mills College Art Museum and Mills Performing Arts.
During these stressful times, it's more important than ever to balance your academic work with physical exercise. If State of California guidelines allow, our APER Department will offer a small number of in-person classes, such as strength training, cardio fitness, and tennis, using physical distancing protocols. Details of these classes will be 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.
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.