Students and parents

COVID-19 Response information for students and parents.

Last updated: March 31, 2020

Frequently asked questions:


Is the College moving to online classes?

Yes. We started teaching all classes in a remote learning environment on Monday, March 23.

Is the College closed?

Due to the Pennsylvania Governor’s order on March 19 to close all non-life sustaining businesses until further notice, Gettysburg College will be closed beginning 8 p.m. March 19.

What far-reaching decisions has the College made in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College made the measured decision to extend spring break for students through March 22. On March 16, it was then announced that the only responsible step to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our students and our community at large during this global health crisis would be to suspend our residential program and resume classes on an exclusively remote basis on March 23. The College will move to a remote learning environment for the remainder of the academic year. Learn more about remote learning ›.

How did the College come to the decision to extend spring break and move to remote learning?

The College’s decision to extend our students’ spring break for an additional week was intended to provide the College, students, and families a fuller opportunity to understand the continued evolution of the COVID-19 situation. It also afforded the faculty time to prepare should the possibility of a return to campus prove infeasible and the need to teach students through alternative means become apparent.

Since the decision to extend spring break, the global health situation has continued to deteriorate. The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, and the United States government declared a national emergency. Likewise, the Pennsylvania Governor signed a disaster declaration.

At a time when public health officials are urging that individuals engage in social distancing, we have students living in close proximity to one another, eating in common spaces, and learning in hands-on classrooms. Should a case arise on our campus, our structure would likely facilitate the transmission of the virus throughout our campus community—and perhaps throughout the Borough of Gettysburg. Given these and many other factors, the decision was made to move to remote learning for the remainder of the academic year.

Why did the College choose not to take a more incremental approach?

We considered, as some have urged, making a series of interim decisions, similar to how we extended our spring break by a week. Given the view of public health experts that the virus will continue to spread domestically for the foreseeable future, and the need for families, students, faculty, and the College itself to make plans, we decided it was not constructive or appropriate to create such uncertainty.

If the Gettysburg student population is younger and less susceptible to risks associated with COVID-19, why did the College move to remote learning?

We have reached this decision mindful of the well-being of the entire campus. Like any academic community, what we do requires essential support from so many people, including faculty, dining service workers, staff in health services, our information technology team, and many others. We also have students with a range of health conditions. COVID-19 presents different risks to these populations. Ensuring that the campus is a place where every member of the College community can live and work safely is not only ethically necessary, but it is also foundational to the effective education of our students.

If the global health crisis improves, is there any chance the College would resume normal operations on campus for the remainder of the semester?

We will be engaged in remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. With that said, given our commitment to a residential educational environment, we will continue to monitor the global health situation carefully and, in the unlikely event that circumstances change such that we are able to responsibly resume normal operations before the semester ends, we will be prepared to change course.

Are any adjustments being made in terms of withdrawing or registering for courses?

Withdraw from a Course with a W:

  • Last Day to withdraw from a course with a W extended by one week to Friday, April 10
  • Accepting email authorizations to withdrawal from a course; both instructor of the course and advisor email authorization required. Please send email approvals to

Fall 2020-Spring 2021 Course Registration:

  • 2020-2021 course registration dates remain the same; April 1 for rising seniors, April 8 for rising juniors, and April 15 for rising sophomores
  • Departmental pre-registration, for those that participate, will remain March 23-27. If you would like additional time for enrollment, please let us know and we will make the adjustments.
  • Advising Hold will need to be removed by your advisor prior to registration; please send a proposed course schedule to your advisor via email for review. Please do not wait until the last minute to send your schedule and expect your advisor to remove the hold; allow for plenty of time for your advisor to provide feedback on your course selection
  • For course registration, please consider the Campus Mobile option for course enrollment and validating your Shopping Cart if you do not have access to a computer or laptop.
  • The Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Announcement of Courses and the course offerings may also be found using the Class Search function via your Student Center

Summer 2020 Online/Hybrid Courses:

The Office of the Registrar is working on finalizing the list of Summer 2020 Online/Hybrid courses, with anticipation of enrollment beginning Wednesday, April 22. A separate email notification will be sent to students when the courses have been confirmed.

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to course registration, or the last day to withdraw from a course with a W, please contact the Office of the Registrar at your convenience:

I rented my textbooks through the Bookstore but now I am going home and will need them for online classes. What do I do?

Textbooks rented through Gettysburg College Bookstore can be used through the last day of Final Exams (May 9, 2020). There is no reason to return your rental textbooks now if they are currently needed. At a later date, students will be provided a UPS shipping label to return their rented textbooks at the end of the semester (no reason to travel to campus). The Bookstore will send updates to the email provided at the time of rental as more information is available and as we approach the end of the semester. If you have questions, please contact Gettysburg College Bookstore at, or 717-337-6367.

Are events canceled?

Due to the Pennsylvania Governor’s order on March 19 to close all non-life sustaining businesses until further notice, Gettysburg College will be closed and all in-person events canceled beginning 8 p.m. March 19.

Get Acquainted Day will be held virtually, stay tuned for more information.

Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, after careful deliberation, the College has decided that it is necessary to postpone our in-person Commencement Weekend scheduled for this May. Reunion weekend will also be postponed. The Junior Open House on March 28 has been canceled. Gettysburg College has temporarily suspended all Admissions campus visit events through April 3, and we will re-evaluate the situation as the date approaches. This decision was made to support the health and well-being of both our visitors and campus community members.

Please visit our events webpage for information on specific events, understanding that this is a fluid situation and the status of events may not yet be determined.

Does the College still plan to host Commencement Prep Day?

Due to the College’s transition to remote learning for the rest of the spring semester, as of March 16, Commencement Prep Day has been canceled. We have not determined what the alternative will be, and we encourage seniors to watch their email in the coming weeks for additional information.

Because of the current evolution of the virus, the College has also decided that it is necessary to postpone our in-person Commencement Weekend scheduled for this May. We are actively exploring how best to honor the senior class with a proper graduation.

Are we going to have Commencement?

After careful deliberation, the College has decided that it is necessary to postpone our in-person Commencement Weekend scheduled for this May. The College recognizes how much it means to come together, as a community and with family and friends, to celebrate the academic milestone represented by graduation. Precisely because of the importance of these ceremonies, we are actively exploring how best to honor the Class of 2020 with a proper graduation.

If commencement is postponed, will I still get my degree?

Yes, seniors in May will receive the degree they have earned through their academic work. Those seniors who have been voted their degree will be able to report having graduated from Gettysburg College as of May 17, 2020.

What will take place of an in-person ceremony?

The College is conducting a survey of the members of the Class of 2020 to better understand their preferences as we move forward with planning how best to honor graduates.

Why did the College decide to postpone commencement?

Ceremonies associated with graduation are quickly approaching and the College was hearing from parents and students anxious to make plans. In addition, the logistical realities associated with graduation, whether in-person or virtual, are significant. If we had tangible signs that the pandemic was abating, it might have been possible to defer the decision a small while longer. But, unfortunately, the current evolution of the virus gives little reason to believe that we could responsibly—indeed, safely—bring thousands of people from across the country and world to campus by mid-May.

If in-person events are canceled, will any be rescheduled virtually?

It is still early in our discussions, but we are very much focused on how to create opportunities in a virtual environment that will foster curricular and co-curricular events that will amplify our students’ academic experience and that will speak to the dynamic community that defines Gettysburg College.

Are athletic competitions canceled?

All spring sports and competitions have been cancelled.

Will I still have access to the library’s resources and services?

Musselman Library will continue its commitment to support the teaching and research needs of the Gettysburg community during the COVID19 pandemic. The library staff will work with students and faculty to ensure that as many scholarly resources and services as possible are accessible remotely. Information on library resources and services will be updated regularly on the Musselman Library Services and Resources During Campus Closure page. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance accessing resources and services.

How do I access library materials?

You can still access online materials (e.g. articles, ebooks, streaming film) using MUSCAT Plus and library databases. For 24/7 access to primary sources materials from Special Collections and College Archives, visit the GettDigital Collections web page.

How do I get research help?

Librarians will be available to help from 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EST on weekdays and from 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. EST Sunday–Thursday. You can reach us by chat, email, or text during those times. If you email outside our regular hours, someone will respond to you as soon as we can.

What resources or policies will the College offer for helping international students?

International students who need to remain on campus have been approved to remain. We are updating our international students regarding visa implications as soon as we get new information. Applications for OPT, tax software help and other advising situations will move to an online format. Appointments with Brad Lancaster can still be scheduled through the link on the ISS homepage.

When do you anticipate international students can return from their home country to the U.S after the outbreak?

International students who returned home will need to keep a close eye on announcements from the U.S. Consulates in their countries for the most updated information on travel guidance, especially around returning to the U.S.

How can I keep updated on the latest information?

At any time, you can check the Gettysburg College Coronavirus (COVID-19) information webpage for more information and updates. We thank you for your patience at this time.

I'm an undocumented student, what resources and support are available for me?

Please visit the United We Dream website for more information.