President DeGioia shares fall 2020 undergraduate plan

Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia on July 6 updated members of the Georgetown University community on fall planning, sharing information about the university’s approach for its undergraduate programs, its plan being submitted to the D.C. Government, and its comprehensive public health framework. The letter follows up on DeGioia’s June message outlining the practical assumptions guiding the university’s decision-making for the coming academic year.

“Our actions are guided by our deep commitment to the health and safety of our community,” DeGioia writes in this week’s communication. “As we respond to this global pandemic, the safety of our community is our most important consideration.” 

Subset of students in residence

In an effort to significantly reduce the density on Georgetown’s campus and in its residence halls, the university plans to welcome to campus this fall approximately 2,000 undergraduates, if conditions allow.

According to a July 7 letter from Georgetown University Provost Robert M. Groves, “priority for on-campus residence has been given to students whose personal or family situation makes it impossible or impractical to complete their studies at their permanent address.” Those circumstances include housing or food insecurity, safety and security concerns, extraordinary living conditions and high financial need, unresolvable internet inaccessibility, and a permanent home address more than five hours away from the Eastern US time zone. 

“We want to make sure that every Georgetown student, regardless of their different circumstances at home, can fully engage in what we have to offer at this challenging moment,” Groves writes. 

In addition, the university will welcome to the Hilltop Campus members of the first-year class, a limited number of seniors and other students whose graduation requirements and academic program necessitate an on-campus presence, and some student resident assistants. 

“If the conditions of the pandemic permit, we will look at the possibility of moving to a next stage—welcoming additional students back to campus residence halls, beginning with members of our senior class,” DeGioia writes.

Hybrid-flexible teaching environment

For students who are not in residence on campus this fall, Georgetown will employ a virtual learning environment. For undergraduate students in residence on campus, some classes may be provided in-person, while others will be virtual. 

Every in-person class will employ a hybrid and flexible approach that will enable a student, or the entire class, to participate in a virtual environment as needed. This summer, Georgetown is upgrading classrooms with enhanced educational technology, microphones for students, cameras for lecture capture purposes, and data projectors. It also has radically reduced the number of desks in each room to provide for physical distancing.

Health and safety

President DeGioia’s update also addresses key health and safety considerations, including:

  • COVID-19 testing 
  • Symptom monitoring
  • Quarantine and isolation
  • Contact tracing
  • Safety measures
  • Primary care and behavioral health
  • Monitoring of public health conditions

Noting that “many circumstances remain out of our control or have yet to unfold,” DeGioia says the university is “working to provide as much clarity as possible, while we continue to track, anticipate, and respond to the ongoing and serious threat that the pandemic presents to individuals and to communities.”

Read President DeGioia’s full message here.

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