- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 2, 2020

Several colleges and universities in the District, like others across the country, are offering online-only instruction this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, though some are planning a mix of in-person and remote learning.

Gallaudet, Georgetown and American universities have announced they are offering virtual-only courses.

Gallaudet, the nation’s premier college for students who are deaf and hard of hearing, was reportedly one of the first schools to decide to go fully remote this fall, according to Robert Weinstock, a university spokesman. The university also is offering a 15% tuition discount for all students for the fall semester.

The university has a three-phase plan to bring students back to campus: The first includes remote activities, the second consists of a mix of remote and face-to-face activities and the third involves modified in-person activities that allow for physical distancing. A maximum of 100 students who have no or unsafe housing options and need on site support for virtual learning will be allowed to reside on campus.

Georgetown announced last week that it will provide online-only instruction, after having said earlier last month that it intended to bring 2,000 undergraduate students to campus.

“Due to the acceleration of the spread of the virus and increasing restrictions on interstate travel we cannot proceed with our original plans for returning to campus this fall,” University President John DeGioia said Wednesday in a letter sent to the community.

American University, whose officials made the online-only announcement on Thursday, said it is cutting students’ fall tuition by 10% and offering an additional $13 million in financial aid for this academic year. The sports center fee also is being waived for the fall.

George Washington University has announced it will offer all undergraduate courses online for the fall semester, with limited exceptions. The majority of graduate programs also will be virtual, although certain programs will conduct in-person classes.

The school also is providing on-campus housing for a limited number of students with “extenuating personal or academic circumstances.” Those who reside on campus will attend online courses and are expected to social distance, wear masks and get regularly tested for COVID-19. GWU also is offering a 10% tuition discount to undergraduate students who do not live on campus.

Meanwhile, the Catholic University of America says it is bringing students back and trying to offer as many in-person or “blended” classes as possible.

“We value the in person interaction with our students,” the university says on its website. “But, we recognize students may need to be virtual to self-quarantine or self-isolate, and that faculty might need to do that, too, so our plan is to be in person as much as we can but with flexibility.”

Catholic University is developing a daily health checker for students and says all students should conduct daily symptom checks two weeks before traveling to the District. The institution says it is working with vendors to establish a testing center on campus, which will be reserved for symptomatic students and those who have had direct exposure to COVID-19.

The University of the District of Columbia is offering roughly 10% to 12% of its courses either in-person or as a hybrid of in-person and online instruction, said Lawrence Potter, the college’s chief academic officer.

Mr. Potter said in-person courses require hands-on or applied learning such as engineering or upper level chemistry, but these courses will be limited to 10 people. Also, instead of starting the school year on Aug. 24, UDC has decided to delay the semester until Sept. 8.

In June, Howard University announced plans to reopen using a hybrid approach. However, university employees are still discussing and may adjust their plans, said Alonda Thomas, the university’s public relations director.

Although the college plans to offer a large number of fully online classes, not all courses will be remote such as those involving lab work. Howard will provide face coverings and sanitizers to all staff and students as part of their care packages.

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