Update on Fall 2020 Semester Plans

July 14, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff:

On June 1, President Cordano announced that Gallaudet would start the fall semester with remote learning. Today, we provide more detailed information about our plans. 

Fall semester: Fully remote

We are still in the first phase of a three-phase model. Phase 1 requires primarily remote working, teaching, and learning operations. Therefore, all classroom instruction will be delivered remotely this fall. Nearly all of our faculty have been meeting with our faculty online training team, learning to be more effective and engaging in their remote instruction, and how to design sign language-vibrant learning experiences for their students. We have designed a similar program for our students. 

Some students may have questions about their fall internships or courses. Please contact your academic advisor, program director  or internship coordinator if you need information.

When will we return to “normal”?

We do not know when we will move from one phase to the next, or what we need to know to prepare and make decisions. Our decisions will be influenced by the global and domestic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and by local guidance and best practices. We are committed to communicating with our community about our plans to move between phases as quickly as we can to support you in making plans and decisions. We also are committed to community engagement and shared governance to ensure that we are building the strongest way forward. We ask again for your patience and trust.

Will there be any students on campus?

A cross-divisional team, including students, is working to determine how we can bring some of our students back to campus this fall. Health and safety are our highest priority. We will need to ensure that we have appropriate measures in place, including COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, health care services, campus design changes, and ongoing cleaning and sanitation services.

One of our goals is to create a student-led model where our students lead the way forward for our campus and our broader community during this public health crisis. We believe that this will provide opportunities for our students to learn and demonstrate leadership. More information will follow.

Will technological support be available?

As we did last spring, we will provide technological support to our students who need it. Students may request loaner laptops, wifi routers, and webcams through Gallaudet Technology Services.

Will academic support services continue?

All academic support services will continue unabated, including Student Success, tutoring, academic advising, career services, disability support services, and counseling and psychological services. Our professional staff has adapted to online service delivery, and we are confident that they will provide the same high-quality services to which you are accustomed.

What about international students?

Earlier this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that international students whose schools are only offering online classes may not remain in the United States. Gallaudet, like nearly all colleges and universities, is very concerned about the likely consequences of this disturbing development. We have mobilized all our international, legal, and academic resources to ensure that our international students have the opportunities they deserve to continue receiving their education at Gallaudet. We also will join forces with other universities working to change this new rule. 

The Office of International Affairs (IA) is in touch with all international students — those who are currently in the United States and those who are in their home countries. IA has arranged counseling and psychological support for international students who are affected by this decision. For information and help, please reach out to caps@gallaudet.edu.

We are grateful to all the faculty members who have offered their support to our international students. Dr. William Ennis, chair of the University Faculty, will be in touch with these faculty members.

How can students cover their educational expenses?

Gallaudet University has reduced its fall semester tuition by 15 percent for all full-time and part-time students. This applies to both U.S. and international students. It also includes students in the English Language Institute. While we are confident that our students will receive an excellent education virtually, we recognize the loss of the on-campus experience. We also recognize that some students and their families may have had changes in their financial circumstances. 

Students: The Office of Financial Aid looks forward to working with you to determine how they can help you meet your direct costs. If your or your family’s circumstances have changed since you filed your FAFSA, let Financial Aid know, so they can consider this new information. Please visit their website at https://www.gallaudet.edu/financial-aid. You may also reach Financial Aid via email at financial.aid@gallaudet.edu.

Many students have received CARES Act emergency assistance. There are still funds available for students who meet certain criteria. The Finance Office communicated with these students earlier this week. 

Summary

As President Cordano stated on June 1, “Our strong collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic this spring was possible because of the grace we showed each other as we navigated this new world together and our commitment to engaging and communicating with each other. While there are still more questions than answers, each new piece of information brings us one step closer to our ultimate goal — to reunite our community on Kendall Green.” We in Academic Affairs are fully committed to our students’ continued learning. We will continue to communicate with you throughout the summer.

Stay safe and healthy!

Sincerely,

Jeffrey W. Lewis

Interim Provost

Khadijat K. Rashid

Interim Dean of the Faculty