A Message to the Community from the Georgetown Community Partnership

Photo by Georgetown University via Facebook
Georgetown University
Georgetown University

Georgetown University has released its plan for the Fall, 2020 semester.  They are moving forward carefully, as conditions allow, to bring to campus approximately two thousand undergraduates a majority of whom will be members of the first-year class, the Class of 2024.

 

As community members of the Georgetown Community Partnership (GCP) steering committee, we are pleased that the GCP’s collaborative process has been engaged to address the concerns about impacts this opening could have on the neighborhoods surrounding campus.  During this time of unprecedented challenges, the GCP has been guided by a deep commitment to the health and safety of our community.  We believe GU’s plan recognizes the serious threat that the pandemic presents to individuals and to communities both on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.  Through the University’s health expertise and our conversations, GU has put in place a science-based protective regime designed to mitigate impacts on the neighbors as well as on GU’s students, faculty and staff.

 

Included in the plan are the following guidelines:

 

What if a student is not among the groups selected for on-campus housing? 

We strongly recommend students who will not be living on campus to stay at their permanent residence and complete their fall semester virtually. Faculty leaders, campus services and other support staff have been preparing for a hybrid and flexible format throughout the summer based on feedback and best practices gathered from the quick transition to a virtual learning environment in March of this year. We are committed to providing a comprehensive educational experience, making the most of Georgetown’s strengths, regardless of whether you are completing your semester in person or virtually.

 

Undergraduate students, other than the groups specifically noted above, residing off campus are prohibited from attending in-person classes on the Main Campus, and from entering any buildings on campus.

 

In order to support the health and safety of our community, undergraduate students who have not already leased a residence in the off-campus neighborhoods of Georgetown, Burleith, or Foxhall (the “Neighborhood”) are strongly discouraged from leasing or moving into off-campus properties in the Neighborhood. Rising juniors are reminded that if they live in the Neighborhood they are required to live on campus their senior year.

 

Students who are planning to reside in the Neighborhood this fall are required to follow the University’s strict expectations outlined below. 

 

What if an undergraduate student has already secured housing in the neighborhood? 

We understand that a number of undergraduate students already have leased in the off-campus neighborhoods of Georgetown, Burleith, or Foxhall for the fall 2020 semester. For the health and safety of the entire community, those students will take their classes virtually, unless they are members of specifically included groups eligible for on-campus activities. Students who are planning to reside off campus in the Georgetown neighborhood this fall are required to follow the University’s strict expectations outlined below.

 

If an undergraduate student resides off campus in the Georgetown neighborhood this fall, what will be expected?

Any undergraduate student who resides off-campus in the DC Metro region will be required to abide by the Georgetown University Community Compact, which will affirm their commitment to engaging in important measures to support the health and safety of our community and city, including wearing a face covering and practicing physical distancing. Undergraduate students residing off campus in the Neighborhood also must comply with all University and District of Columbia health and safety guidelines.

 

Undergraduate students residing off campus in the Neighborhood, or anywhere else off campus, are prohibited from attending in-person classes on the Main Campus, and from entering any campus buildings. They are allowed on outdoor campus spaces.

 

Undergraduate students residing off campus in the Neighborhood will be required to participate in the University’s pre-testing protocol before returning to DC. They will be included in the University’s testing and tracking system. They will have access to visit the Student Health Center in person. The university will be unable to provide a place for undergraduate students residing off campus if they are required to self-quarantine or self-isolate. They and all the members of their group house will be required to self-quarantine or self-isolate together.

 

Undergraduate students residing off campus in the Neighborhood are required to participate in the University’s Hoya Living Off Campus Orientation and abide by the University’s standard expectations, including those on noise and trash, and all relevant District of Columbia rules and guidelines.

 

Social gatherings, in the Neighborhood and in on-campus residential spaces, will be limited to ten or fewer individuals, unless a lower limit is imposed by DC health regulations.

Violations of health and safety rules may lead to severe student conduct sanctions, including suspension or removal from the university. 

 

We believe the plan is flexible.  It explicitly states that “in the event that we face significant community spread of COVID-19 on campus or other conditions that require action, we will be prepared to become fully virtual for all classes and activities. As we monitor the conditions of the pandemic and our public health obligations in the coming weeks and months, it may become necessary for us to revise our plan and to further reduce the number of students on campus, either before students arrive or during the semester.”

 

All of us – community residents and GU’s students, faculty and staff – need to remain careful personally and be considerate of others in managing the pandemic in the months ahead.  We are happy to acknowledge the steps GU is taking regarding health and safety.  We plan to work with the University to monitor the process as it moves forward.  As GCP members, we look forward to welcoming the Class of 2024.

 

Jennifer Altemus Romm, Nan Bell, Conrad J. DeWitte, Jr., Joe Gibbons, Ron Lewis, Rick Murphy and J.P. Szymkowicz