Monday afternoon, Provost and Senior Vice President, Deena González, announced a plan put in place for students to return for the spring semester. 

González immediately acknowledged the racist attack on Gonzaga Univeristy’s Black Student Union members that occurred on Nov. 8 on Zoom.  

It is my hope that this incident underscores for all of us the importance of continuing to confront racial injustice when and where it occurs, and work towards greater understanding of both the prevalence of racial discrimination in our society and community, as well the imperative to work for its elimination,” González said via email. 

This email to students comes after Washington state tightened restrictions in response to rising COVID-19 numbers statewide. Although the state is heading into a partial lockdown, González said the remainder of the fall semester will continue as planned and the spring semester will follow similar guidelines.

At this point – provided we are not otherwise restricted by the State, and in view of current guidance and protocols - we have every intention of once again welcoming our Zag community back to campus for in-person, hybrid, and remote instruction for spring semester in January 2021,” the email said.

Courses will be offered to students by way of remote, hybrid and in-person learning, similar to fall semester. 

We are grateful to our students, faculty and staff for making our models of instruction possible and successful this fall,” González said. “Spring semester will look very similar to fall; students can learn about the intended instructional decision for each course via ZagWeb.”

GU is asking students to select classes that will offer the delivery method that best suits their academic pursuits. 

GU Housing & Residence Life has developed a plan for those students moving out for Thanksgiving Break and for students who are planning to move in for spring semester. 

“Students and families should have received communication earlier this week regarding move-in specifics, roommate assignments, and more,” the email said.

If families did not receive this information, they are asked to contact GU Housing & Residence Life.

GU plans to continue providing on-campus dining options for students, as Sodexo will release their plans closer to the spring semester. 

Spring New Student Orientation will be held virtually in the spring and Student Affairs will be sharing what this experience looks like closer to the spring semester. 

The spring semester schedule is still under consideration as GU announced the removal of spring break from the academic calendar. The week-long break was added to the scheduled winter break. 

“I want to acknowledge those who have reached out with concerns regarding the decision to eliminate the spring break week and thank you for your feedback,” González said. “We understand that the extension of holiday break and subsequent removal of spring break is not ideal, but the decision was made with our campus community’s health and safety as our first and foremost priority. We have, however, heard from the GSBA that a proposal for the Spring 2021 calendar is coming forward and this will be given serious consideration.”

Surveillance testing, walk-in and Signs, Symptoms and Exposure (SSE) testing was brought to campus during the fall semester. GU will give more details about testing options in December for the spring semester. 

“Additionally, we will provide more information about possible antigen testing in the future which would make testing more widely available, and less expensive for the institution,” the email said.

As students head home for the holidays, GU has asked that students do not return to campus if they leave Spokane County and they get tested if they are leaving, before seeing loved ones. 

Before González closed, she asked students to do three things: continue to follow protocols, celebrate the holidays and rest, as well as return to campus in January excited for the upcoming semester.

Hannah Hislop is a news editor. Follow her on Twitter: @hannahvhislop.

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