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Spring Term Update Oct. 9

Dear DePauw Students, Faculty and Staff, 

Now that the October meeting of the Board of Trustees concluded earlier today, and discussions have been held throughout campus with staff members who are part of DePauw’s COVID-19 operations team, faculty, students and health officials, I am happy to share that for spring term we will welcome all students who choose to live and learn on campus. 

I want to thank everyone for your ongoing careful consideration, assistance and participation in the many ongoing COVID-19 discussions, both formal and informal, your ideas and your feedback during fall term, which is one unlike any other before it. There were a number of recommendations to consider and, due to the complexities associated with planning during a pandemic, there is no single best approach. However, the care and concern demonstrated by all involved was especially appreciated.  

Additionally, I want to commend students in residence this fall whose adherence to health and safety protocols have enabled my confidence that we can successfully welcome back all students who desire for Spring Term.

To maximize the health and safety of those who will work, live and learn on campus during spring term, we do need to make adjustments to the spring academic calendar. All details are not yet finalized; however, due to questions that arose following incomplete information reported earlier this week, I thought it best to confirm calendar information as quickly as possible.  

Very importantly, so that we may best plan for spring term, all students will be asked, through a forthcoming survey, to let us know your preference regarding residency either on or off campus; other details will be shared by Academic Affairs and Student Academic Life as discussions continue, so please check your email frequently. Please note also that the university will continue to work with the Greek Community Board and House Corporations on housing plans for students who are affiliated with our Greek chapters.

The following are key components of the spring calendar:   

  • All classes will begin February 2 and finish on a normal schedule. 

  • The first four weeks of class will be conducted remotely before some classes transition to other teaching modes as described below.

  • Classes will continue in multiple formats (mixed, face-to-face and remote) beginning March 1st, which will minimize overlap with any seasonal flu virus while providing us the most flexibility in utilizing both indoor and outdoor classroom spaces. Faculty will decide the format of each of their courses and we expect to have this information available well before students complete spring course requests.

  • Resident students will be invited to return to campus in phases, with the initial group of students returning before classes begin and remaining students invited to return in phases prior to March 1. We will announce those shortly so students will be able to plan accordingly.  

  • There will not be a traditional spring break. Instead, the five days typically allotted for spring break will be restructured to occur over five weeks when in each of those weeks classes will only meet for four days, providing one day where no classes will be held to support student mental health and allow more time for restoration.

  • DePauw Dialogue will occur as a virtual event on February 24 and additional events associated with it will be spread throughout Fall and Spring terms. 

Detailed information about housing, move-in, testing, campus health requirements, athletics, Greek recruitment and events will continue to be shared in the coming days and weeks, with updates also shared on the COVID-19 website. As always, we will continue to watch COVID-19 trends and plan for alternative scenarios if necessary.  

Through my many conversations with members of our community and the board this week, during my first full board meeting since becoming president, I have truly seen and felt the care you have for each other and DePauw. I look forward to meeting more of you in person and continuing to get to know our remote learners in the following weeks and during spring term.

I remain deeply inspired by and appreciative of the ongoing dedication, campus wide effort and hard work in addressing the myriad challenges caused by the pandemic. 

Sincerely, 

President White