GREENCASTLE — The COVID-19 resurgence has prompted a big change in DePauw University's plans for the fall semester.
The liberal arts private college with an enrollment of about 2,000 will have only first and second year students on the Greencastle campus when the fall semester begins at the end of August.
The hope is to bring juniors and seniors back for the spring semester.
The announcement was made Monday by DePauw President Lori White. “Despite our best hopes, efforts and preparations, we now know that to safeguard the health of our DePauw and Greencastle communities in the face of an alarming resurgence of COVID-19 in our state and nation, we must reduce the number of students who are on campus at any one time,” White said.
“The number of students we can have on campus for fall term in university-owned and Greek housing is based on our ability to provide students with single rooms and the need to carefully balance the number of those living on campus with the number of available isolation spaces, as per health department guidelines,” White wrote in a letter to students, faculty and staff.
White, who assumed the DePauw presidency July 1, said “I share the frustration and sadness that many of you must feel.”
In addition to first-year students and sophomores, the university is allowing on-campus learning to new transfer students who want to live and study on campus; international students who must remain on campus because of travel and government regulations; students whose home environment is not conducive to academic success; students at academic risk; and some student leaders.
Upperclass members will be learning remotely and return to campus in the spring, along with midyear transfers.
“We know the on-campus residential experience at a small liberal arts college is paramount, and this approach allows every student who wishes to live and study on campus do so for at least one term,” White said. “Extensive data support the importance of strong on-campus interaction and mentorship in facilitating degree completion for first-year and sophomore students. Giving priority to first-years and sophomores this fall provides first-year students time to familiarize themselves with campus and their professors, supported by student leaders and peer mentors, and allows sophomores, who have had only one full term on campus, to obtain additional support and experience.”
Classes are set to begin Aug. 31. The last on-campus day of the fall term is scheduled for Nov. 20, followed by a week for Thanksgiving break; two weeks of remote instruction for all students; and a week for projects, papers and exams. The term will end Dec. 18.