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Emory University announces fall semester plans

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A revised plan for returning Emory University students to campus for the 2020 fall semester was announced today by President Claire E. Sterk and Emory President-elect Gregory L. Fenves.

Changes were necessary due to the current COVID-19 conditions in Atlanta.

In a letter to the community, Sterk and Fenves outlined the plan to lower the number of students allowed to live in residence halls and take in-person classes this fall. “We will still deliver a first-class education to all students but will do so in ways that allow us to maintain community health for students, faculty and staff,” Sterk and Fenves wrote.

On-campus housing for the semester will be limited to students who have an approved housing agreement for the coming academic year and fit into the following categories:

  • First-year and new transfer students
  • International students
  • Select seniors completing Honors work
  • Undergraduate students receiving scholarships as part of a scholarship program specifying on-campus housing as a condition of their scholarship
  • Students with specific on-campus housing needs (pending review and approval).

“We want to bring as many students back to campus while keeping health and safety considerations a top priority for students, faculty and staff,” Interim Provost Jan Love said. “We can’t really control what the people in this region do or what the advice is among governmental officials in this region, so we’re trying to control what we can internal to Emory to keep people safe and healthy while delivering our mission.”

“We especially want to protect our international students, who are particularly vulnerable due to the political climate in the country,” Love added.

Undergraduate, on-campus courses will be limited to courses that must be taken in-person for students to make meaningful progress toward graduation in the coming academic year, international students, select first-year seminars and a small number of courses that mandate in-person labs, performance and studio time, academic research or necessitate campus-specific library access.

“Students will have a quantitatively different experience with remote classes than they did in the spring,” said Michael A. Elliott, Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences. “The situation in the spring required us to switch to remote teaching instantly and gave faculty little time to prepare. This summer, over 700 faculty and graduate instructors have completed intensive training on course design and online teaching, allowing us to maintain the high standards of engagement, intellectual inquiry and academic rigor inherent to an Emory College liberal arts education.”

Graduate and professional programs are being addressed on a case-by-case basis with online classes offered for those courses that do not necessitate in-person instruction.

The plan will be revisited for the spring semester. Revisions will be contingent upon a decrease in COVID-19 prevalence in Atlanta and the ability of Emory community members to practice safety measures this fall.

Details of the plan and updates are available at the Emory Forward website.

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