Category: Messages to the Community

Title: COVID-19 Update: Flexibilities to Assist Undergraduate Students During Spring 2020 Remote Learning

Dear Georgetown Undergraduate Student:

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives. We know that the coming days are crucial if we are to maximize the kind of social distancing that will save lives across our community and beyond in the weeks ahead. It is for these reasons that Georgetown University decided to move to virtual instruction for the rest of spring semester 2020.

We understand the sense of difference, dislocation and loss many of you are experiencing and the real challenges of the transition, which will affect each and every one of us in different ways. We know this semester will be challenging. Our faculty are deeply concerned for you and your learning experience. Together, we will be with you every step of the way.

Given these circumstances, we are implementing a set of new measures designed to increase flexibility for students and support the learning environment, as classes resume March 16.

First, all undergraduate students at Georgetown may choose to take their courses pass/fail this semester, a choice they are free to make until the last day of classes. (The formal policy will be made available shortly.)

Second, the withdrawal date for each course will be extended to the last day of classes. Withdrawals will, as usual, require approval by the deans.

Third, we are providing the following guidance to your faculty:

  • to grant absences to students missing classes because of any issues related to the transition of housing or to a virtual learning environment over the days before March 30;
  • to maximize flexibility for students to participate in learning activities, recognizing connectivity issues, time zone differences and other challenges;
  • to use class meetings to engage students on how best to adapt to the online environment;
  • to seek feedback from students on how best to serve their needs in the new environment; and
  • to postpone any evaluations (tests, assessments, papers) scheduled for the week of March 16-20.

We recognize the challenge of transitioning to virtual instruction on March 16 and that many of us wish we had more time. Beginning on that date permits us to end the semester at the scheduled time, without extending the disruption into the summer.

Let us give each other the gift of assuming good will in a difficult situation. We will be patient, we will be flexible, and we will never forget to listen to each other in the spirit of Georgetown: cura personalis.

Robert M. Groves