September 4, 2020: Read President Iuliano’s letter announcing the decision to de-densify campus.
We are significantly reducing our total number of students in residence to approximately 900. To this end, a residential cohort of students will remain on the de-densified campus, while a remote cohort will continue to study virtually, for the remainder of the fall semester. Specific details for each cohort can be found below.
On this page:
First-year students, transfer students, international students, and select other students who are unable to return home due to personal or academic reasons.
Students who will not remain in residence will continue their studies remotely for the fall semester.
Academic calendar modifications
Recognizing the monumental task of moving more than 2200 students out of residence, the College instituted a one-week pause of classes for all students in September. To account for this pause, the College will extend the fall semester by one week, concluding final exams from December 7 - 13.
Our decision to de-densify
Together, with our public health consultants, faculty, and Board of Trustees, the College determined that our best path forward for the remainder of the semester is to de-densify campus by reducing the number of students in residence. A number of factors informed this decision, including: an in both positive cases—and close contacts of positive cases, as identified through contact tracing; our isolation and quarantine capacity, and; consideration of the quality of the residential experience if the entire student body were to remain in residence, given the restrictions that would have to be put in place.
As it became clear to us that de-densification would be the next logical step in our comprehensive public health strategy, we were faced with the difficult question of how to de-densify. To answer this question and to inform our path forward, we were necessarily guided by the needs of our diverse student body, and how a de-densified campus would enable us to continue to meet those unique needs:
- Offering our first-year students the opportunity to remain in residence is critical to laying the foundation for a successful four years at Gettysburg College and was an academically-based decision. Similarly, transfer students, who are also some of the newest members of our community, are experiencing our campus for the first time, as well. Our decision to retain these students on campus centered around providing them with the experiences, opportunities, and connections they will need to be dynamic and contributing members of this community moving forward.
- For many of our international students, our campus may provide resources that may be less readily available in their home countries. Traveling internally also presents considerable logistical challenges.
- For our education students, remaining on campus will enable them to continue to serve as Student Teachers in local schools within the greater Gettysburg area, which is a critical component of their education.
- Students, particularly seniors, with specific graduation requirements such as capstones, laboratory research, and/or creative requirements, may be able to remain on campus where they will have access to the facilities necessary to complete their degree.
- Many students who are leaders within our community, such as Residential Advisors (RAs), Residential Coordinators (RCs), and others who have been charged with co-curricular responsibilities, will be integral to supporting the student experience on our de-densified campus, and have been asked to continue to serve the community as part of our residential cohort.
- Finally, select other cohorts will also stay, or had the opportunity to petition to stay on campus, due to challenging financial, familial, personal, or other circumstances.
Reducing the number of students in residence will allow us to test every student weekly and house students in single rooms. However, whether you are studying on-campus or off-campus, we are committed to delivering the quality learning experience our community expects and deserves.
The de-densification plan will remain in effect for at least the remainder of the fall semester, and we will continue to carefully consider our options for the spring semester.
Spring semester housing
Given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, housing assignments have been suspended for the spring semester. The Office of Residential and First-Year Programs will be in touch in the coming months with more information regarding housing selection for the spring 2021 semester.
Gettysburg College recognizes the emotional and financial burden that COVID-19 has had on our community. Emergency funding for students is available on a case-by-case basis, and considerations include the student’s financial need, the nature of the request, and the availability of funding at the time the request is made. For students with high financial need, the Fund has provided support for a variety of expenses including medications, glasses, emergency food and clothing, and most recently, necessary travel and equipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All requests are confidential. Students in need of financial assistance are encouraged to submit an Emergency Fund Request.
- Residential cohort information – What you need to know if you are remaining in residence for the fall 2020 semester.
- Remote cohort information – What you need to know if you are studying remotely for the fall 2020 semester.
- Current restrictions – As of September 1, an all-student quarantine is in place.
- President Iuliano’s letter announcing the decision to de-densify campus