Fall departure update

Message sent on October 30, 2020

Julie Ramsey, Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students, informs students about the end of semester dates, COVID-19 testing, student travel, departure planning, and the petition process for remaining on campus.

Dear Students in the Residential Cohort,

I am writing to provide you with important information about the remainder of the fall semester and your planning for departing campus before the Thanksgiving holiday. I want to emphasize, out of full transparency, that the guidance articulated within this email speaks exclusively to the fall semester and should not be interpreted as having an impact on our spring semester plans, which, as President Iuliano said earlier this week, are still being formulated.

The sections below include the following topics:

End-of-Semester Dates

The last day of in-person classes is Friday, November 20. The residence halls will close on Sunday, November 22 at noon. We are not scheduling a specific move-out time for each student. We encourage you to depart campus once your classes have ended and you have a testing result (see next section). Fall semester meals plans also end on Sunday, November 22. Students will resume remote classes from their homes from November 30 - December 4. Finals will be held remotely from December 7 - December 13.

Testing Prior to Departure from Campus

Testing will be made available to students in the residential cohort on November 16 or November 17. Students will receive an email closer to that time and will be expected to take a COVID-19 test before departing campus. Additionally, students will be expected to remain on campus until they have received a negative test result (likely November 18 or November 19). Students are strongly discouraged from leaving campus without a negative test result. Students who test positive will have the option of remaining on campus for their isolation period. The Health Center will follow up directly with students who test positive.

It is important to note that there is risk of COVID transmission if a student departs campus prior to testing or prior to receiving a negative test result. If students are concerned about the possibility of contracting and transmitting COVID to their home environment, they should consider quarantining for 14 days prior to the departure from campus. Students who desire to quarantine should contact their faculty and the Health Center for assistance.

Student Travel During the Two-Weeks Prior to Departure (November 8-22)

In preparation for end-of-semester testing and departure from campus, we are asking students to avoid non-emergency travel from the campus during the final two weeks of the fall semester, November 8-22. We are asking students to remain in Gettysburg during this time in order to limit the possibility of a member of the community being exposed to COVID-19 when traveling and to reduce the risk of other members of the community becoming infected. This is particularly important as the number of COVID cases in Pennsylvania and the region are on the rise.

Please plan ahead as the break approaches and keep these important tips in mind to protect you and your family:

  • Remain on campus and in the nearby Gettysburg community prior to departure.
  • If you have not yet received your flu vaccine, you will be contacted by the Health Center to arrange to receive one, at no cost, before you leave.
  • Continue safe COVID practices, including masking, distancing, and hand washing, to protect yourself and others.
  • Limit your contact to your immediate social circle, i.e. roommates and apartment-mates.

Departure and Contingency Planning Information

Please keep in mind that no decision has been made about how many students —or which students— will return to campus in the spring. Our goal is to open residentially for the spring semester and to have as many students in residence as we can safely accommodate.

Over the break, we plan for a thorough cleaning and sanitation of all residence halls. In order to accommodate our cleaning protocols and to account for the uncertainty of COVID-19 in late winter, we are asking all students to move all of their belongings out of their rooms.

We understand that this is a significant inconvenience for many of you and we apologize for that in advance. We understand that not all students will be able to take all of their belongings from campus. In the event you are not able to take all of your belongings with you when you depart on or before November 22, you have the following options:

  1. You are able to ship them home at your expense. The Campus Post Office will be setting up a “Delivery Kiosk” to ensure a simple, secure way for you to ship your packages home. You can bring your packaged items to the campus Post Office for the staff to weigh the package(s) and gather the required package dimensions. You will then be asked to log into the UPS website where you can complete the UPS shipping process using your preferred information. After completing this process, you will have the option to pay for your shipment using a credit card or PayPal. Upon completing the transaction, a digital shipping label will be generated, and your packages will be sent out during the daily UPS campus pick up.
  2. Minimal on-campus storage will be available for extreme extenuating circumstances. Please fill out the storage form to request to have your belongings remain on campus. If you are approved for on-campus storage, you will receive additional information on how to prepare your belongings and access storage before departing campus.
  3. Residential and First-Year Programs has compiled a list of off-campus storage options.

Petition Process to Remain on Campus

Those students who cannot leave campus by Sunday, November 22 at noon, including international students and those with extenuating circumstances, should fill out a petition. A small number of students will be approved to remain on campus for the final weeks of the fall semester and throughout the winter break. For more details about the petition process please click here.

Students who are approved to remain for part or all of the break period should take careful note of the following:

  1. The College is planning to use the Ice House and College Apartment complexes for winter break housing and all students will be assigned to a room in one of these areas. Students will have the option to reside alone or with one apartment-mate in separate bedrooms.
  2. All students will need to continue to adhere to the provisions of the Student Health Agreement including masking, distancing, and not attending/hosting gatherings.
  3. Students who submit a petition and are approved to remain on campus from November 22 through December 12 are strongly encouraged to limit their travel except for emergencies. Additional information and guidelines will be provided for students approved to remain after December 12.
  4. The College will not be operating the COVID-19 Testing Center during the break. Testing for students concerned about exposure will be available through Health Services and students with questions or concerns about testing should contact Health Services at 717-337-6970.
  5. Dining will provide limited food options during the break. Students will be able to use any remaining Dining Dollars or Bullet Bucks that they have on their accounts. The College will be closed on some dates and food service will be unavailable. Additional details will be provided to students who are approved to remain over the break period.

Again, let me thank you for your continued understanding, support, and adaptability during this most unusual time. If you have any questions about the information covered in this letter, please email covidupdates@gettysburg.edu.


Julie L. Ramsey, Ed.D.
Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students