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Georgetown University reverses plans, will start fall semester online

Georgetown University will begin the fall semester online.
Georgetown University will begin the fall semester online. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
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Georgetown University will begin the school year online, the campus’s president announced Wednesday, rescinding previous plans to conduct courses online and in-person this fall.

The school joins George Washington University this week in amending its plans for the fall as novel coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country.

John J. DeGioia, Georgetown’s president, cited the rapid spread of the virus and new travel restrictions in a message he sent to the campus community. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) recently announced that students and other travelers from 27 virus hot spots would have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the city, and extended the city’s emergency declarations through Oct. 9.

“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,” DeGioia said, referring to the disease caused by the virus. “These developments indicate a strain on our public health framework.”

Georgetown intended to bring about 2,000 undergraduates — including freshmen, some international students, resident assistants and students with special circumstances — to live on campus, but plans to offer housing to all first-year students have been scrapped, DeGioia said. Some freshmen, including those unable to live at their permanent addresses, may still be offered on-campus housing, according to Ruth McBain, a spokeswoman for the campus.

“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 wrote to the student body.

Some work, including biomedical, life and physical sciences research, will take place on campus, but most students will not have in-person activities or instruction until university and health officials deem it to be safe, DeGioia said,

In light of the pandemic and its effects, Georgetown last week said it would offer a 10 percent tuition discount to undergraduates who are not invited to live on campus, a savings of about $2,800 per student. The full tuition for the semester is $28,692.

The campus announced Wednesday that graduate students will get a 5 percent tuition break, bringing the cost-per-credit hour in graduate programs down from $2,214 to $2,103.30.

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