Tracking reopening plans at D.C. universities, peer institutions

Updated: July 30, 2020 at 6:46 p.m.

After transitioning to remote learning in the spring, universities across the nation are now gearing up to deliver instruction this fall in a new normal.

At GW, officials reversed their original plan from last month to reopen campus in August with strict social distancing and cleaning measures in place and instead will conduct all classes online for the fall semester.

Ten of GW’s 12 peer institutions will offer at least some in-person instruction while implementing extensive mitigation efforts, such as reducing the density of residence halls or requiring masks in campus buildings. The University of Southern California reversed its decision to bring students back to campus and will now deliver courses entirely online.

All of the University’s peer institutions will deliver at least some classes online or through a hybrid format, which includes a mix of in-person and online instruction.

Here’s how GW’s peers and other D.C. universities are planning to operate this fall:

Peer institutions
Boston University – BU officials are planning for a hybrid model in which students will have the option to “learn from home” if they need to leave school, self-isolate or don’t feel comfortable returning to campus. Students will be required to wear masks in class and in public spaces.

Georgetown University – Officials at Georgetown had originally planned to invite freshmen students back to campus but later announced that all students will begin the school year online, with some students in need of housing being invited to live on campus.

New York University – NYU is intending to deliver courses through a hybrid model, including in-person classes for students who wish to return to campus. Officials at NYU are designing ways for students to spread out their classes over the next year among three semesters, including next year’s summer term, without additional tuition costs.

Northeastern University – Northeastern University officials announced they will operate this fall in a hybrid model. Students can choose to tune in to their classes online rather than in person on a week-to-week basis.

Syracuse University – Syracuse officials are planning to welcome students back to campus this fall and will require students and visitors to wear masks in public spaces. Faculty have been asked to prepare their courses to run in face-to-face, hybrid and fully online formats.

Tufts University – Tufts will move forward with a hybrid model for reopening in the fall, with some classes being held in person and others being held partially or fully online. Tufts officials will implement social distancing protocols in classrooms and in residence halls.

Tulane University – Tulane students can return to campus in August, but many classes will offer an online option. Students will ship most of their belongings to their residence hall room in advance to reduce crowds and package handling during move-in. Individuals will be required to wear masks in public spaces on campus. Students will begin classes five days earlier than originally planned and will switch to online learning following Thanksgiving.

University of Miami – Students at the University of Miami will return to school for in-person classes a week earlier than originally planned and will take final exams remotely following Thanksgiving. Most classes will resume in person, but some classes will be offered through a hybrid or online format.

University of Pittsburgh – University of Pittsburgh officials announced students will return to campus in the fall and take classes in a hybrid model. In-person classes will end before Thanksgiving, and students will begin the fall semester nearly a week earlier than originally scheduled and take classes on Labor Day.

University of Rochester – Students at the University of Rochester will stagger their arrival on campus in August and attend classes in a hybrid model. All large lecture classes will be conducted online. Residence hall rooms’ density will be reduced, and those that house three students will be changed to doubles. Instruction will move online following Thanksgiving, and the school will not observe a fall break.

University of Southern California – Officials at USC had planned to deliver the fall semester in a hybrid format but reversed their decision on July 1 and announced classes will be held online. Students are advised to not live on or near campus, but the school plans to offer limited housing options.

Wake Forest University – Wake Forest officials are planning for a hybrid fall semester with roughly half of undergraduate courses featuring in-person instruction. Residence halls will be open at reduced capacity, and students will take classes and final exams remotely following Thanksgiving.

Schools in the District
American University – AU officials had initially planned to hold classes in a hybrid format with some freshmen and sophomores coming back to live on campus in single rooms. Officials later announced that all AU students will take classes remotely with some housing exceptions for students in “extraordinary circumstances.”

Catholic University of America – Catholic University officials announced students will take classes in a hybrid format this fall in which anyone can participate virtually at any given time. Students will begin the semester one week earlier than originally planned on Aug. 24 and take classes and exams online following Thanksgiving.

University of the District of Columbia – UDC’s president announced that fall classes will be held online. Students will start classes on Sept. 8, two weeks later than originally scheduled. Campus facilities will remain closed except for specific approvals granted by UDC’s administration.

Trinity Washington University – Sixty-two percent of courses at Trinity Washington will be held online in fall 2020 under the school’s reopening plan, with most other classes being delivered through a hybrid format. Residence halls will house one student per room and many facilities, including the campus gym, may not open until at least mid-to-late fall.

Howard University – Howard University officials are planning for a hybrid model this fall, and all classes that are able to meet all course objectives online will meet remotely. Classes larger than 30 students will be delivered in an online or hybrid format. Undergraduate courses will not meet in person following Thanksgiving, and residence halls will house a maximum of two students per room.

Gallaudet University – Gallaudet officials announced in June that students will attend class entirely remotely for the fall semester.

Note: Georgetown University is listed above as one of GW’s peer institutions and is not repeated as a school in the District.

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