Saying the college has “an unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and community,” President Bob Iuliano announced today that that the college’s current plans are to “open at limited residential capacity, utilizing primarily single bedrooms, and to invite the sophomore, junior, and senior classes back to campus for the spring semester.”
The semester is scheduled to begin on February 1, 2021.
“This commitment necessarily means that the plans we outline below are subject to adjustment as we monitor the virus and respond to state and federal guidance,” said Iuliano. “As the spring semester approaches, we will provide regular updates on whether the state of the pandemic is affecting the timing or other important aspects of our spring plans.”
Iuilano said the decision had been made using input from public health experts and various advisory groups along with an assessment of college students’ experiences in the fall semester, both in Gettysburg and elsewhere.
Students will be able to choose either to return to residence or to study remotely. First-year students will have the opportunity to petition to remain on campus for extenuating personal circumstances.
Iuliano said on-campus students should anticipate that there will be a mix of in-person and online instruction.
The safety plan for the spring semester requires every student to be tested twice on arrival to campus and two times per week throughout the semester. Employees who come to campus regularly will be tested and a percentage of those who spend time with students (such as faculty and health center employees) will be tested on a weekly basis.
Iuliano said the college would also be adding personnel to assist with positive case management and had updated its quarantine and isolation protocols.
Iuliano said the surge in cases the campus experienced in the fall, which resulted in most of the students being sent home in September, occurred because people “let their guard down,” and that the campus would more “visibly and more stringently enforce the public health protocols we have put in place.”
“Students should expect strict enforcement protocols for COVID-19 violations in the spring semester, said Iuliano.