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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Summary Information

Updated - July 30, 2020

COVID-19 continues to affect our community and the nation in many ways. The nationwide COVID-19 case count now exceeds 4 million with nearly 70,000 new cases per day. The strained testing system is causing challenges for the public health response. DC area K–12 schools are planning online classes which impacts our faculty and staff. The District of Columbia recently implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for people from 27 states. These evolving health conditions and government requirements now compel us to adjust our plan and offer fall semester undergraduate and graduate courses online with no residential experience.

Updating our fall operating approach due to the changing conditions is based on our steadfast commitment to the values that have guided us throughout the pandemic—safeguard the health and well-being of our community, advance our educational and research mission, and contribute to the overall response in the DC region.

COVID-19 offers no easy answers, and we all must take difficult steps to navigate these times. We made the decision to communicate the broader framework as quickly as possible to help the community prepare for the fall. We have posted an initial set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and will be updating them and providing additional details as we progress the revised approach.

Initial FAQ for Online Fall Semester

7/30 Update: AU’s fall classes will now be online. More information is available on the Initial FAQ for Online Fall Semester page.

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Operating Status

All operating decisions will continue to be based on the best available information about the trajectory of the pandemic, the safety of our community, updated scientific and medical guidance, directives from local governments, COVID-19 testing capacity, and the ability to effectively support community health through preventative measures.

AU will continue the pre-August 1 workforce categorizations (e.g., full telework, full or partial physical presence, etc.) for the time being. Human Resources will work with each of the units on revising their staffing plans and communicating updates to the workforce.

The academic calendar will remain in place, with online classes beginning August 24 (WCL on August 21) and concluding with finals the week of December 7. Existing online graduate programs will continue in their traditional format. Limited in-person learning opportunities, including select research-based or experiential courses that cannot occur online, will be made available. Departments and academic advisors will be working with students preparing to graduate in this academic year to address specific needs that may require in-person instruction. Bender Library and WCL’s Pence Law Library will have online services available and students in the DC area can access study spaces on a limited basis, with all visitors required to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing.

We will provide updates about our ongoing planning throughout the fall semester.

Health and Safety

The AU community is expected to adhere to required health and safety guidelines established by the university, the District of Columbia, and other local jurisdictions. While this modified fall 2020 approach will further reduce density on campus, it is important that we all continue following health and safety guidelines at all times, including wearing a face covering, practicing physical distancing, and washing your hands frequently. These are the critical steps that will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and we all must do our part. COVID-19 testing will be available for students in the DC region at the Student Health Center and any AU community members who comes to campus this fall will take a required health and safety training.

On-Campus Housing

Students assigned on-campus housing and off-campus AU-leased housing will automatically have the assignments cancelled for fall and student accounts will be adjusted accordingly. We will provide emergency housing to a very limited number of students with demonstrated need and who face extraordinary circumstances.

An application process will be available from Housing and Residence Life in the coming days. Applications will be reviewed by a committee in the same manner as the spring semester.

Buildings, Facilities, and Student Services

Bender Library will have online services available and students in the DC area can access study spaces a limited basis, with all visitors required to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing. The American University Washington College of Law (WCL) will have some spaces available in the Pence Law Library and designated other areas of the law school for students who apply and demonstrate a need for physical access to study space. All study spaces will include access to campus Wi-Fi. The law library will offer many services to support our students’ academic success, including remote reference assistance via email, Chat and Zoom, and all students will be able to check out books from the general collection with contactless delivery.

Limited dining services will be available for students living in emergency housing, other dining facilities will remain closed. The Student Health Center will be open for any students living on-campus or in the DC region. The fitness centers will remain closed.

Additional information about facilities and other services are being determined and will be available in the near term.

Workforce

AU will continue the pre-August 1 workforce categorizations (e.g., full telework, full or partial physical presence, etc.) for the time being. Human Resources will work with each of the units on revising their staffing plans and communicating updates to the workforce.

A significant portion of the workforce is expected to continue working remotely throughout the fall.

Athletics

The Patriot League has announced that there will be no competition in either championship (men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, field hockey, volleyball) or non-championship (lacrosse) sports in fall 2020. The league will decide about winter sports later this fall.

All training for student-athletes and the opening of Athletics & Recreation fitness centers and facilities are suspended until further notice.

Study Abroad

All study abroad programs for the fall semester are suspended. While studying abroad in the fall will not be possible, students are encouraged to consider classes or internships through AU Abroad's Premier Centers in Madrid, Nairobi, and Brussels.

University Travel

Travel outside of the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area, continues to be suspended pending reassessment in the fall.

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