Spring Semester Announcement: Information for the First-Year Class

President Bob Iuliano informs first-year students about the College’s plans for the spring semester.

Dear First-Year Students,

In a few minutes, you will receive a message to all students about our plans for the spring semester. In the announcement, you will see that we have determined that it is necessary for us to continue having fewer than a full complement of students on campus as a means of reducing the spread of the virus on campus. To balance out residential experiences among students, we will be inviting the sophomore, junior, and senior classes to return to residence this spring. First-year students who have extenuating circumstances can petition to remain on campus.

There is nothing easy about any of these decisions, which require us to weigh our most fundamental aspiration—having every student on campus—against the many challenges presented by the virus. Because we take seriously our responsibility to explain our decisions, especially those that affect students’ ability to be on campus, I want to share with you our rationale for that decision and what it means for your spring semester.

The root of the matter is that after carefully analyzing campus facilities, reviewing what happened this fall, and examining practices that are working on other campuses, we determined that it is important to make nearly every room a single. Doing so promises to reduce the risks of transmission of the virus and to aid in the infrastructure challenges we experienced early in the fall, in the event that there is an uptick in positive cases.

As you can imagine, focusing on singles drastically reduces our residential capacity. Given this, it was important to give classes who have not been on campus this fall an opportunity to be on campus this spring.

I know this news will be disappointing to you, and it is a decision we have reached with the utmost reluctance. You have done an extraordinary job living on campus this fall, in circumstances that were not always easy. You have proven that—together—Gettysburgians can effectively manage a campus experience despite COVID-19. You have followed the guidelines, supported one another, and managed to keep our positive cases in the single digits—even as cases continued to rise beyond our campus. We have learned with and from you.

I also want to stress our commitment to building opportunities for you to stay engaged with one another and the Gettysburg community across the spring semester and beyond. We have a planning team focused on creative ways for doing so inside and outside of the classroom experience. We will have more to say as our plans become more concrete, but here are just a few steps that you can anticipate the College taking for the spring semester:

  1. Virtual first-year experience program.
  2. Ongoing connections with your First-Year Seminar, Faculty Advisor, Student Success Advisor, and upperclass students.
  3. The establishment of a First-Year Advisory Board focused on keeping your class engaged.

We will be in touch over the next month with additional information about the spring for your planning. Acknowledging that today’s news raises many questions, on Wednesday, December 2 at 7 p.m. we will host a town hall meeting for members of the first-year class and their parents. We hope you can plan to join us. We look forward to discussing with you then any issues related to the spring. If you’d like to submit questions in advance, please email covidupdates@gettysburg.edu with “FY Town Hall” as the subject line.

There is nothing I would like more than for all Gettysburg College students to be together on our campus this spring. That’s who we are, and that’s what we so want to return to as soon as we can.

Please stay well and know how proud we are of the Class of 2024.


Bob Iuliano