To arrive at the spring plan, we again evaluated our existing criteria—case count and trajectory of the virus; availability, reliability, and speed of COVID-19 testing; local public health requirements; and the operating status of local public K-12 schools. Additionally, we have learned a great deal over the past months, both from our experience and from other universities and institutions. These inputs, along with our health and safety protocols, help to determine the additional spring activities and operations.
The spring semester will feature continued online instruction with additional opportunities for select in-person classes, increased co-curricular activities, and increased residential options on a limited basis for students with acute housing needs or specific requirements to be on campus for programmatic needs. This approach allows for more in-person community engagement as conditions permit and a focus on equity. Importantly, all health and safety measures remain in place and we are prepared to adapt should the public health situation change.
For health and safety reasons, we will adjust the spring semester calendar. It is likely that case counts and community spread will continue at high levels throughout the winter months and the following changes will help maintain the health and safety of our community. Spring classes will begin on January 19, one week later than originally planned. Spring break will be canceled to avoid a situation where travel and social gatherings can cause an increase in cases locally and communities around the country. AU Community of Care tuition discounts will continue.
Our specialized facilities, such as the Hall of Science, Don Myers Building, and Media Innovation Lab can be utilized for select in-person classes in compliance with health and safety guidelines. Students in the DC area can access study spaces on a limited basis, with all visitors required to complete a daily self-screening questionnaire, wear face coverings, and practice physical distancing. There will be expanded COVID-19 testing for students for spring 2021 through the Student Health Center. Students living on campus or coming to spend time on campus will be required to have regular COVID-19 testing.
Most faculty and staff will continue to telework through the spring semester, with some physical presence needed in select areas to support increased on-campus activity. Departments will work with individual faculty and staff who may need to come to campus to support in-person classes and activities. Any faculty and staff required to come to campus regularly for work requirements will have access to COVID-19 testing.
We will provide updates about our ongoing spring planning throughout the remainder of the fall semester.
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