More updates for residential first-year students

Message sent September 16, 2020

Keira Kant, Associate Dean, updates the first-year class about gatherings and social distancing, campus hours, living arrangements, and on-campus resources for residents.

Dear Residential First-Year Students,

I hope this email finds you well. I write to you today with additional updates based on questions presented to the First-Year Class Officers, which they have relayed to us. Our plan moving forward is to send you regular updates with information pertaining to the First-Year Class and your experience in residence.


As the College has addressed in many communications, in addition to wearing masks/face coverings, it is essential for all of us to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from one another inside AND outside.

In an effort to support appropriate distancing outside and to create a reminder, you will notice that the Adirondack chairs around campus have now been set up in grids, particularly on Stine Lake, around the Atrium dining, and on Memorial Field between the tents and Plank. You will see that these grid groups of four to six chairs are physically distanced, yet positioned to accommodate a small group of students.

We are doing this in order to help you all enjoy the wonderful fall weather and to enjoy one another’s company in a safe manner.

Campus Hours/Campus Access

Some recent student questions have centered around the status of the quarantine, curfew, campus access, visitors, etc. The all-student quarantine and the curfew are no longer in place. The hours for campus buildings, the access to those buildings, and the services we provide have been updated and details can be found here.

We also received questions about exploring town and having guests come to campus. As the Student Health Agreement (SHA) addresses, students may go into town, but asks that students register if they need to travel outside of the Gettysburg area (for exceptions noted in the SHA). As previously stated, for health and safety considerations, guests are not permitted on campus at any time. Additional information about updates to the Behavioral Rubric related to the SHA will be forthcoming.

Living in Single Bedrooms and Creating Community

We understand that some students are looking forward to having a single bedroom, while others would have preferred to remain with a roommate. You can think of this like having your own bedroom in a very large home – the campus!

When students are inside their own bedroom, the maximum number of student guests is three (therefore FOUR TOTAL people) and masks/face coverings and physical distancing apply. This number is based on square footage of rooms in the First-Year areas. If you are concerned about the space and maintaining the six feet of distance, please gather in a common room or living room or outside. If you are in your own bedroom by yourself, no mask is needed.

Although you will not have a roommate, you will have every opportunity to meet others in your Class through in-person and virtual events and activities. And if you’re worried about living alone or having trouble meeting other Gettysburgians, remind yourself that everyone else is in the same boat, sharing the same situation. We’ll all get through it together.

Resources to help

Counseling Services

Counseling Services continues to be available to assist students who need or want confidential therapy services. Students should call the Counseling Services office at 717-337-6960 to schedule an appointment. Services are free.

Would you just like to talk to someone about your feelings rather than make an official counseling appointment? Consider meeting with the PEEPS!! The PEEPS are also available through Counseling Services to provide confidential ongoing support to other students. The PEEPS are upper class students, specially trained to be Peers Educating and Encouraging Peers to Succeed. Call Counseling Services at 717-337-6960 to schedule a time with the PEEPS for some extra support as you settle in for the rest of the semester.

Watch out for information about connecting with the PEEPS. Talk with them about what may help you to feel healthy and happy as the semester moves forward!

Resident Assistants (RAs)

All first-year students will continue to have a Resident Assistant (RA) in their living space. RAs will help to build community and foster connection between students in their areas. RAs can also help first-years stay connected with the friends they have already made on campus.

Student Success Advocate (SSA)

Our Student Success Advocate program will continue for first-year students and all fall 2020 transfer students. The SSA (a professional staff member) will work as part of each first-year student’s “team” of support, which includes a faculty advisor and RA. SSAs will continue to reach out to offer resources or an opportunity to meet. If you have a question about the SSA program, please contact Keira Kant, Associate Dean for Residential and First-Year Programs at

Opportunities to Connect Outside of Your Room and Building

Meet People and Find Activities

As we continue through the semester, we know how important it will be for you all to build community with one another and to offer input on the kinds of experiences we are offering. The best way to find information about what’s happening on campus is to stay connected with engageGettysburg, the College’s online portal for event details, activities, meeting people and much more. You can also download the engageGettysburg app on your iPhone or Android device.

If you have not finished your engageGettysburg profile, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible so you can connect you with new people. Using interests listed on student profiles in engageGettysburg, we will identify commons interests among the students on campus. Based on interest, the College will use this information to help inform the types of programs offered. Topics are wide ranging and will include academic interests, hobbies, fandoms, and pop culture. Funds will be made available to these groups to host programming for themselves and others on campus.

Help Plan Events and Activities

Offices and departments across campus will be partnering to expand social programming for students on campus centered around fun activities, food, and building community with one another. These programs will include regular weekly programming, late-night programming, and special events. If you are interested in planning events like these, please email the Office of Student Activities & Greek Life at

Fitness Center, Campus Recreation, and Intercollegiate Athletics

We plan to resume in-person recreational activities within the Jaeger Center, including at the College pool, today, September 16 (but no later than September 18). Check engagegettysburg for more details about in-person and virtual events.

In addition, coaches will be engaging with members of teams who are part of the approved residential cohort. The coaches will lead our student-athletes in athletic activities, beginning as early as today.

There will continue to be mitigating practices in place to comply with federal, state, NCAA, and institutional policies surrounding COVID-19. However, since conditions on campus have changed (de-densification and testing each student regularly), certain adjustments will be made to adapt to these new conditions.

Open Office Hours

If you would like to share ideas and information, have questions, or would just like to connect, please visit my office hours during the semester:

Thank you and be well,

Keira Kant, ‘95
Associate Dean of College Life