Dear Georgetown University Undergraduate Students,
I write following President DeGioia’s message earlier today regarding Georgetown’s current plan for the Spring 2021 semester. Let me first note my thanks for your exemplary work under extraordinary circumstances this semester. We all share the deep regret that we cannot assemble all students and faculty together in classrooms, offices, and study spaces to conduct the academic enterprise in a traditional manner. We miss you on campus. I have never been prouder of the Georgetown undergraduate body in dealing with these stressful times.
Students Given Access to the Hilltop campus
Undergraduates currently housed in residence halls because of special circumstances will remain throughout Spring term. Seniors not currently in DC will be welcomed to campus residence halls for the Spring semester. We will learn over the coming days how many of those students will choose to take advantage of this offer. Both seniors moving into residence halls and those off-campus will have in-person eligibility for classes offered in a hybrid mode as well as access to study and library facilities. It is important to note that this plan is dependent on the course of the pandemic and may be altered under changed circumstances.
For First-Years, New Transfer Students, Sophomores and Juniors
We have listened carefully to your feedback and have shared this information with faculty who are designing their Spring courses now with your input in mind. We are developing an exciting selection of courses, building upon the foundation of online coursework offered in the Fall. We know it is disappointing to know that public health conditions do not allow for all students to return to campus this Spring. We encourage you to continue to engage not only through your coursework, but through the many opportunities to create and be part of the Georgetown community that our Student Affairs group offers. Please also take advantage of department offerings and gatherings hosted by Georgetown’s many Centers and programs, who are anxious to include you in their activities.
Undergraduate Students Approved for Residence Exception
Undergraduate students who were granted approval in the Fall through the Housing Stability Application process will be able to live on campus along with students who had been invited to return to campus because of academic requirements, and a limited number of Resident Assistants to support this residential community. Students in the BSN program will be contacted by their program leadership regarding their return to campus in the Spring for clinical placements.
For the vast majority of our programs, the first class meeting is later than usual, on January 25, 2021. This gives us all a slightly longer break between semesters and hopefully avoids some of the risk of rising COVID-19 counts. The academic calendar also includes a combined Spring and Easter Break, from March 29 through April 4, 2021. A few graduate programs may have different calendars but most will follow the University’s updated academic calendar. We acknowledge that this will require some adjustment of class schedules. You will soon hear from your Dean with further details.
We will continue the same tuition reductions in place for Fall 2020 (10% for undergraduates and 5% for graduate students) with the exception of Class of 2021 undergraduate students who choose to have physical access to on-campus facilities, subject to density and other public health requirements. We will provide more information to members of the class of 2021 who decide not to have physical access to campus facilities.
Public Health Conditions and Student Responsibilities
All students, faculty and staff coming to campus or residing on campus must meet all testing protocols, quarantine and public health requirements set forth and accessible through our website. This may include quarantining prior to coming to campus.
Once cleared to return to campus, those on campus two or more days in a week will have viral tests twice a week; those on campus only one day a week will have a single viral test per week. You can find additional information on Health and Safety on the COVID-19 website and in the frequently asked questions which are updated regularly.
Mode of Class Delivery
We expect that only a minority of our courses will have in-person components. They will be accessible only to seniors and graduate students. All other undergraduates will continue exclusively in virtual learning.
Classrooms have been upgraded technologically, with camera and audio support for Zoom and microphones for instructors. Classes will be cleaned between each usage. Classrooms are set up with physical distancing measures in place. Ample hand sanitizer is available in all buildings. Instructors planning in-person classes will be supported by CETS in a technology check and rehearsal of the use of the classroom equipment.
We have heard from our students and understand that study spaces are very important. We plan to make available a number of new study spaces for Spring that include physical distancing, accessed through a new space reservation system similar to the Library’s space reservation system. We will be in touch as the semester approaches with further details.
The University recognizes that this change may have a special impact on international students who may now have new travel plans. For students continuing to study remotely, faculty are planning ways to make it possible for students in distant time zones to continue to engage directly with their professors and classmates. International students who are concerned about their visas should contact the Office of Global Services (OGS) with questions about their specific situations. In general, according to current guidance, continuing international students with existing visas can study online from any location (in the U.S. or abroad) and maintain their active visa status. Please contact the Office of Global Services with any questions. New international graduate students should contact the Office of Global Services to discuss their options.
We are working to provide students with access to WeWork facilities globally. We are assessing the needs of our community members regarding this resource and will develop a pathway for those whose current environment is challenging. WeWork provides office space for individuals in 800 locations in 32 US cities and in 88 cities around the world. We hope this resource will be helpful in supporting our virtual learning environment.
Due to the continuing impact of the pandemic on global travel, we have decided to continue the moratorium until further notice on University-related international travel for all students, faculty, and staff. There will be very limited exemptions that must be approved by the appropriate campus EVP or the COO (for staff). This decision was made after careful consideration and in the interest of the health and safety of our community.
A Special Summer for the Class of 2024
Members of the rising class of sophomores, the class of 2024, will be welcomed to live in residential halls and take classes during the Summer of 2021 if public health conditions allow. The University is planning to invite current first-year students for a Summer residential academic experience, making available credit-bearing courses typically taken in the sophomore year of study.
We are committed to providing support and resources to our students during this challenging time. Most services are being offered virtually, and a description of health and wellness resources can be found on the Mental Health, Wellness and Health Care Resources page.
There are many opportunities for engagement in student organizations, activities, and recreation, and these offerings are outlined on the virtual engagement website.
In addition, our Office of Campus Ministry has adapted much of its programming to our virtual environment, and more information for students of all faith traditions can be found on the Office of Campus Ministry website.
We thank you for your commitment to your studies, to your academic endeavors, and to the University. We must continue to prioritize public health needs in our decision-making, and to work to protect the health and safety of our community.
You can find additional information on the COVID-19 Resource Center website and in the frequently asked questions, which are updated regularly. If you have additional questions, please call the University’s COVID-19 Helpline at 202-784-3510 (available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday to Friday) or email email@example.com to be connected to the appropriate University representative to answer your question.
While we may have faced certain disappointments this year because of the public health pandemic, we are also presented with many new opportunities to engage with each other. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the University in the Spring in the many enriching and diverse ways we define our community – virtually and in-person.
Robert M. Groves