Georgetown University will go virtual for fall semester

Georgetown University will go virtual for fall semester
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Georgetown University will begin classes in the fall semester virtually, university President John DeGioia said Wednesday. 

He cited the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and new restrictions put in place by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) as reasons for amending the plans for the fall semester. 

“This was a very difficult decision—and one that I know will disappoint members of our community who have been eagerly anticipating a return to campus,” DeGioia said in an online update

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In the update, DeGioia noted Bowser recently extended D.C.’s emergency declaration through Oct. 9 and added restrictions requiring visitors from COVID-19 hot spot areas, including college students coming back to a D.C. campus, to quarantine for 14 days. 

“These new D.C. restrictions reflect a growing awareness and concern about the accelerating spread of the virus in the United States and the speed at which COVID-19 test results can be delivered. These developments indicate a strain on our public health framework,” DeGioia wrote. 

He also noted that D.C., Maryland and Virginia are “designated as ‘high risk areas’ by states throughout the country.” New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all list D.C., Virginia and Maryland on their travel advisory lists.  

All Georgetown University courses for undergraduate and graduate students will begin virtually. Select activities, including biomedical, life and physical sciences research, will continue to take place on campus. It amends the university’s plan announced in early July to bring about 2,000 undergraduate students, including the members of the first-year class, to its main campus. 

DeGioia said the university plans to introduce in-person course elements “as soon as health conditions permit,” but did not provide a timeline as to when that may happen.