By Anna Cincotta, Editor-in-Chief, Gauri Mangala, Managing Editor, Maddie Neiman, Managing Editor, Jane Fitzpatrick, Assistant News Editor, and Nicole DeJacimo, Content Producer
- 31 additional students have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Some are symptomatic.
- Approximately 1,300 students must leave campus between Sept. 5-7.
- First-year students, along with a group of others, will remain on campus for the rest of the fall semester.
- All classes will be put on hold for one week. Final exams will now take place between Dec. 7-13.
- The likelihood of an in-person spring semester remains uncertain.
150 students are currently in quarantine due to contact tracing, and there have been 31 additional positive cases confirmed as a result of surveillance testing conducted throughout this week. Over the last eight days, 64 students have tested positive for COVID-19 on Gettysburg’s campus.
Students tested since Wednesday, Sept. 2 have not yet received their results from the college.
According to President Iuliano, some students are now symptomatic. The spike in positive cases also “threatens to outstrip [the college’s] ability to house and quarantine students.”
The situation, in the eyes of administrators, is no longer “sustainable.”
Today, the college made the decision to send all students home except for First-Years, international students, transfer students, and students with extenuating circumstances. Residential and First-Year Programs student leaders, students teachers with placements in local schools, and students leading in-person co-curricular experiences will be permitted to stay. Additionally, students with a need to fulfill specific graduation requirements (such as capstones, laboratory research, and creative projects) can fill out a Housing Petition to remain on campus. These students must have a faculty advisor or mentor support their request. Those facing housing insecurity or other difficult circumstances may also complete the same Housing Petition in order to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester.
The petition form must be completed by noon on Monday, Sept. 7, and all petitions will be reviewed by a committee in the Provost’s Office. According to the Student Phone Bank, students who fill out the form will be allowed to remain in their rooms while waiting for a response from the college.
Only 900 students will be allowed to remain on campus for the remainder of the fall semester due to the need to de-densify.
According to the email sent out to the campus community today, all classes will be put on hold for one week. Final exams will now take place between Dec. 7-13.
The de-densification of campus will take place between Sept. 5-7, and protocols will be similar to those put in place during move-in week. Students have been assigned move-out dates based on their home state:
Saturday, Sept. 5: Pennsylvania, Maryland, D.C.
Sunday, Sept. 6: New Jersey, New York, Delaware
Monday, Sept. 7: All other states
Students will be allowed to have one additional person to help them with the move-out process, and the college is also providing additional packing supplies for all students who may need it. Pick up locations for these materials will be in the Stadium North lot, Huber parking lot, and the former Agway Building parking lot at the corner of North Washington and Railroad Streets. Students remaining on campus will each be given a single room.
During the move-out process, students must continue to uphold the Student Health Agreement by wearing masks and social distancing. Students who violate the agreement will still face college disciplinary measures, including suspension. Those living in on-campus motels and off-campus hotels will be required to stay until their quarantine period concludes.
All personal belongings must be removed from housing, and any items shipped to the campus post office or held at the campus bookstore must be picked up before departure. Students can request to leave personal items in storage. Items left in a space, without approval from the college, will be discarded or donated.
Any students currently in isolation at home may return to campus, once their quarantining period has concluded, to retrieve their belongings or to rejoin campus, depending on their status under the college’s guidelines. Health Services will continue to monitor these students’ isolation period and reentry time.
Residence hall key(s) must be dropped off at the College Union Building Bullet Hole patio doors between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Students in the hotel must bring their keys to the front desk, not to the CUB.
Emergency funding is available on a case-by-case basis for students who fill out the Emergency Fund request form and are approved. Students will be refunded 80% of their housing and meal plan credits, and any BulletBucks will roll over into the spring semester.
The college is currently reevaluating the cost of tuition.
Transportation Services will depart from campus at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. to nearby airports and train stations. Students will not have to pay for the shuttles but must reserve a spot ahead of time.
At this point, it is uncertain whether the college will allow students who are leaving for the remainder of the fall semester to return to campus in the spring: “this decision speaks to what we will do for the remainder of this semester, not for the remainder of the year.” President Iuliano said that he remains hopeful for an in-person experience in the spring.
Katie Oglesby contributed to this piece.