In a number of Q&A’s open to DePauw students in the last few weeks, DePauw staff provided information on the upcoming semester.
According to Julia Proctor, chair of the COVID-19 Task force, the administration hopes to release housing assignments and contracts early December, along with more information about move-in and the upcoming semester. Students will have one week to sign housing contracts and confirm their residency plan.
With the information from the Nov. 6 housing intention forms for the spring semester, the university is working on a concrete plan. Although Proctor said she couldn’t “share specifics yet,” she said she was pleased with the responses. “It is showing that students are excited to be back on campus but also understanding that it’s not going to be like other semesters,” Proctor said.
The spring semester will begin with four weeks of online learning. During this time, students will move-into university housing in staggered groups. DePauw can house up to 1,150 students in single-occupancy residences.
Students were able to request “living groups,” groups of students to be grouped on the same floor or in the same building, in the Nov. 6 survey but will not have roommates. The university hopes giving students a say in their living groups will help students socialize; the “inter-residence visitor question” is still being discussed, according to Proctor, as it can make tracing and mitigating the virus more difficult.
International students, students with academic needs and student athletes will be eligible to move in earliest. The first potential date for students to return to campus is Jan. 6, and the earliest planned move-in period for international students is Jan. 26-28.
The target to have international students moved in is mid-February, allowing time for testing and quarantining. Amanda Kim, VP of Diversity and Inclusion, said the university will find temporary accommodations for international students who need to quarantine once they return to campus before moving into their residences.
All students will need to submit a negative test before returning to campus, Proctor said, but the method is under consideration due to difficulties with the mail-in tests used this summer.
According to Stevie Baker-Watson, Associate VP of campus wellness, the university will continue the weekly random testing of 10 percent of the student body. DePauw is looking into expanding testing for students who feel it’s necessary, and Baker-Watson said that Putnam County Hospital also expects to continue offering free testing to students upon request.
Bon Appetit will provide meals to all students with meal plans next semester, but Proctor said that the specifics are still undecided. Like much of the spring semester, Baker-Watson said it depends on both the school’s own policies and the county and state health regulations.
When in-person learning resumes in March, classes are expected to have a similar format to the fall semester with both in-person, mixed and remote options and using alternate learning spaces such as auditoriums and outdoor spaces when the weather allows.
Spring break will be replaced with five break days spaced throughout the semester.
Once more decisions have been made, further information will be emailed or provided to students in Zoom meetings.