Preparing for a Full Return to Campus This Fall
March 25, 2021
Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:
In these remaining weeks of the spring semester, we are beginning to look ahead to the new academic year. I write to share with you a sense of how we are envisioning the Fall 2021 semester.
There are many encouraging signs about the trajectory of the pandemic in the United States—increasing rates of vaccination combined with, since January, overall improvement in the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19. While we are still navigating a difficult period at this moment, when we look ahead to the fall, these indicators are encouraging. In my weekly presentations (new window) I’ve described some of these trends we are seeing and shared reflections from some of our colleagues with expertise in public health who are helping to advise our efforts.
We anticipate the conditions will be in place this fall to bring our full community back and resume more regular life on our campuses. We will begin our gradual return this summer, leading up to a full return of our community for the fall semester. We can expect some public health measures to remain in place this fall and are working with our Public Health Advisory Group to develop the most appropriate approach, which may shape factors such as classroom set up and mode of learning.
Our decisions continue to be informed by national and local public health guidelines and the current state of the pandemic. Our plans, which are subject to review by the D.C. government, may need to be updated should the trajectory of the pandemic or these guidelines change. We will share additional updates about our plans in the coming weeks.
As we plan for this return to life on our campuses, we have begun to bring colleagues together to reflect and learn from our experience of the past year on issues ranging from remote work and virtual learning to mental health and wellbeing. I look forward to sharing more with you on these issues going forward.
We are eager to have our community back together on our campuses and deeply appreciate the way all of you have come together to navigate this past year. We know that, for our graduating class, this message of our intended return this fall is bittersweet. I share the disappointment that comes with our plans for this year’s commencement, especially as we reach what we hope are the final stages of this pandemic. Commencement represents a unique and special moment in your lives and we are working to develop smaller gatherings this May to provide moments of recognition and celebration for our graduating students. We sincerely look forward to the future, when it will be possible for us to welcome the Class of 2021 back to Georgetown for a celebration of your accomplishments.
I look forward to sharing more with you soon, and I wish to thank all of you again for your deep commitment and contributions over this past year.
You have my very best wishes.
John J. DeGioia