As we prepare for a far more traditional fall semester in residence, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the College’s current planning.
This summer, we have more than 120 students on campus, conducting research with faculty mentors and pursuing other academic and career endeavors. There’s a true sense of optimism among our community, as we slowly resume our daily routines and our lives begin to return to some form of pre-pandemic normalcy. For those of us on campus, we’re witnessing this transition every day: tents that once served as classrooms have been taken down, students and employees who are fully vaccinated are no longer expected to mask, and recently, the Centennial Conference issued a statement that it anticipates a regular schedule of athletic competition and championships for the 2021-22 academic year. These are all promising developments.
Of course, our collective optimism can be directly attributed to the broad distribution of the vaccine, and the encouraging vaccination rates we have seen to date. As announced in May, every Gettysburg student is required to be vaccinated this fall, unless they have a medical or religious exemption. Given the congregate living environment for students, this important step will reduce the risk of COVID outbreaks and open up a wide range of events, programs, and activities to students that would otherwise have been simply infeasible to pursue in person.
While we anticipate having more details to share in August about the upcoming semester, below you will find some preliminary information about what to expect for the fall.
The College will return to on-campus teaching, advising, and mentoring of students. Facilities Services has been working this summer to return the classrooms to full-seating capacity.
First-Year Move-In will occur on Wednesday, August 25. Staff and volunteers will be on hand and are excited to welcome the Class of 2025 to campus. Please visit the Orientation website for more information about First-Year Move-In and Orientation.
Upperclass Move-In will occur from Friday, August 27, through Sunday, August 29. Early arrival housing for pre-season athletes, student leadership trainings, and pre-Orientation programs will also occur. Please visit the early arrival website for details.
Opening Convocation, First-Year Walks
Opening Convocation will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 25, to welcome new students and their families to the Gettysburg College community and to celebrate the official opening of the 2021-22 academic year. The First-Year Walk will occur on August 26 for the Class of 2025.
The College is working closely with the Borough to secure a permit for the Class of 2024 First-Year Walk. More information for the Class of 2024 regarding their First-Year Walk and other fall activities will be sent soon by the Class of 2024 Officers and Residence Life.
The College is still working through fall semester policies regarding masking, testing, visitors, and events. We hope to have more information to students soon, but it is likely that—consistent with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for higher ed—students who are vaccinated will not have to wear masks on campus or in buildings, and will not be subject to COVID-19 testing throughout the semester. Unvaccinated students (students who have received an exemption) will have to participate in pre-arrival/arrival testing with a possible quarantine period upon arrival, will be required to wear a mask indoors, and will participate in surveillance testing throughout the fall semester. Additional information will be provided by College Life as we finalize decisions.
I hope that reading this message begins to get you excited for a return to campus. While we will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, and will make adjustments to our fall plans as necessary, we are eager to have you back in Gettysburg in a few short weeks!