Fall 2020 Guidance
In response to COVID-19, university courses and operations remain predominantly online for fall.

Fall 2020 Plan: Threshold Program

Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Find information regarding our Threshold Program's operations for the fall semester. We will update this page regularly as we monitor the conditions surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic and as more details become available.

This web page reflects our plans based on current circumstances. These plans could change based on the level of student interest and possible future changes in public health requirements. 


Contact Program Director Ernst VanBergeijk at evanberg@lesley.edu or Joanne Silva at jsilva2@lesley.edu.

Return to Campus Community Compact

Lesley students who are using in-person campus resources must read and sign our Return to Campus Community Compact (PDF) before arriving on campus. Students under the age of 18 must have their parent or guardian sign the Compact.

Living Arrangements & Meals


Q. Why can’t students live in the dorms?
A. Using hotels will allow us to minimize shared spaces and maximize sanitation. We cannot accommodate single bathrooms in the dorms.

Q. What hotel will be used and is it walking distance to classes?
A. Threshold students, along with residential staff, will be housed at the Sheraton Commander. Some of you may be familiar with the Commander, given its proximity to the Brattle Campus. Housing the full program in this location will make it possible for Threshold students to live and learn together while following appropriate physical distancing guidelines.

  • First-year students are invited to stay from September 8 until October 9.
  • Second-year and Bridge-year students are invited from October 13 to November 13.

These dates are contingent upon enrollment and could change as students make their decisions.  Dates will vary by a day or two to allow for phased move in and move out. 

Q. What does the hotel cost?
A. The University has secured a reduced rate of $74/night (including tax). This is a significant discount from the Commander’s standard rates and is in line with what students would pay to live in a single room on campus. Unlike a single room on campus, the Commander rate includes private bathrooms for all rooms as well as weekly housekeeping. 

Q. How do I reserve a hotel room?
A. Students must notify both Dean of Student Life and Academic Development Nathaniel Mays (nmays@lesley.edu) and Program Director Ernst VanBergeijk (evanberg@lesley.edu) if they want to take advantage of the in-person option and hotel housing option as soon as possible and no later than Friday, August 21, 2020.

We will then let students know and inform the hotel of their names the following week, at which point students can call and make their reservations. Students are responsible for paying the hotel directly. Please do not contact the hotel until you have heard from Dean Mays or me. During the booking process, the hotel will confirm with the University that the student is enrolled and approved to return to campus.  

Q. Will Threshold staff be living in the hotel?
A. Yes. Three graduate resident advisors and the Director of Residence Life, Susanne Carter, will live on the same floor as the students in the hotel. They are on call nights and weekends as they would have been in the dorms.


Q. Where will we eat?  How much will a meal plan cost?
A. Outdoor or indoor spaces would be made available for communal meals in small groups for the Threshold Program students and staff, either on the hotel premises or on Lesley’s Brattle Campus facilities nearby. If for any reason an alternative meal plan is needed, we expect that the University will coordinate catered meals which you will eat together on the Brattle Campus.

Students are responsible for paying for their meals directly.

Learn more about dining options and discounts at local restaurants.


Q. Can students commute?
A. Unfortunately, no. This would result in additional possible exposures to our students, faculty, and staff every day and therefore will not be possible.

Q. Do students have to live in the hotel to participate in the program?
A. No. Students will be able to participate remotely in our synchronous virtual environment.


Q. Can families visit students, or can students visit families, during the residential term?
A. For now, we need to say no, other than drop off and pick up. Traveling and receiving visitors increase the exposure risk to the student, their peers, faculty, staff, and families. Families have asked if they could have dinner at a nearby restaurant with their students or visit them on campus outside of the hotel; we strongly discourage this right now and will let you know if/when we are able to broaden our community to include visits.

Learning Remotely & Employment Education

Q. How will students learn independent living skills remotely?
A. We will expect students to practice independence even while living at home through course content that teaches, and assignments that reinforce, skills for independent living. For example, students will be expected to get up and ready independently, prepare some of their own meals, do their own laundry, keep their spaces clean, manage their time, and work on personal finance skills. Students who come to campus will have the benefit of a term away from home, even though it will involve physical distancing and be shorter than usual. Keep in mind, this is one semester (we are hopeful about a return in the spring) out of 4-8 semesters, depending on students’ enrollment in Bridge and/or Transition.

Q. Where will classes take place?
A. Classes will take place on the Brattle Campus so that Threshold students can easily travel a short distance between their classrooms and residences. We will make spaces available for communal meals for Threshold students and staff, and synchronous online and in-person class time will be a major part of the fall approach. Students who come to Cambridge will have five weeks of distanced in-person time with teachers, staff, and each other.

Q. What kind of computer should students use?
A. Whatever type of laptop they are most comfortable with, but we don’t recommend Chromebooks and Ipads, which cannot run all Lesley platforms. Having a smartphone will also be helpful. If you need equipment, please review this information about Lesley's Laptop program.

Q. What will the employment education be like in the fall?
A. Returning students who decide to stay in the hotel for their residential term will not have an internship this fall. However, they will be using a comprehensive online career exploration program while they are learning remotely (this is a different program than the one they did in the spring).

Q. Will Early Childcare students be able to have preschool/daycare internships?
A. The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care is prohibiting volunteers, including interns from working in preschools/daycares in the Commonwealth.

Q. What should we do if online learning doesn’t work well for our student?
A. First, check in with us about what specifically doesn’t work well, so we can build the online experience with this in mind and/or provide additional supports as needed. We have made significant changes to our approach since the spring. Here are some places students might be challenged by online learning, and how we plan to respond:

  1. Feeling disconnected from classmates and the instructor: Synchronous online class time will be a major component of the fall approach. Students will be “in the room” with each other and instructors while remote and will have opportunities to interact with one another asynchronously through a captioned selfie video platform that has worked extremely well for our students and alumni. In addition, students who come to Cambridge will still have 5 weeks of distanced in-person time with teachers, staff, and each other. Fully online students will be incorporated into those physical classroom spaces using our HyFlex model.
  2. There isn’t enough structure in online learning: This is certainly true of asynchronous and self-directed online learning, but that will not be our model. Students will follow their on-campus class schedule synchronously while remote, with limited exceptions. We will also build in break time, content catch-up time, homework time, and social time to help students.
  3. Accessibility of online learning: Please let us know as soon as possible if there is any specific accommodation we should be aware of for in-person or online learning so that we can make arrangements through Disability Services. Live captioning, ASL interpretation, audio-described videos, braille text, and audiobooks are some examples of accommodations that might be needed and can be arranged.

Social Activities

Q. Are activities being planned for my son/daughter to participate in?
A. Yes, there will be an activity each evening during the week and at least four activities on the weekends. These activities will either be run in-person or virtually depending on if the student is living in a hotel or at home and depending on which staff member is running the activity. Students living in the hotel will receive an activity calendar the day they move in and students living at home will receive one electronically.

Health and Safety Protocols

Q. What will happen if there’s an outbreak on campus?
A. We are working on specific protocols.

Q. What will the testing protocols be?
A. Student Health Services will provide us with this information soon.

Q. What will the social distancing and health protocols be?
A. We will be following recommendations from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Billing, Refunds, and Access to Accounts

Q. What’s the tuition refund policy?
A. If a student withdraws before the start date of class, the refund is 100%. View the full Refund Policy.

Q. What other websites do we need for bill pay, signing FERPA releases, etc. so parents can access student account and academic information?


Email & Communication

Q. Why am I not getting emails from the University?
A. Official email from Student Accounts, the Registrar, and other departments will only go to the student’s Lesley email address. Make sure that students are checking this frequently and sharing messages with you. It is possible but not recommended to forward emails from the student’s Lesley email to a parent’s email. These are the instructions on how to forward your Lesley email to a personal email if you want to do this just for the summer, before students begin to get frequent emails from teachers and staff. Make sure to check the box asking whether to keep a copy in the Lesley email inbox so that the student can still access all their emails.

Q. We can’t get into the student Lesley email, what do we do?
A. Contact Joanne Silva through another email account at jsilva2@lesley.edu

Spring 2021

Q. What will happen in the spring?
A. We don’t have an answer to this yet but we are hopeful we can invite students back for a more traditional semester if conditions allow.