COVID-19 Planning and Information

December 30, 2020 - Information as You Plan for January 2021 - Start Date - Testing - Move In

December 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

This update has critical information that you need to know as you plan for January. The University will also be following with more detailed emails about some of the topics mentioned here, so please keep an eye on your email.

First, classes will start as planned on Thursday, January 21. As you recall, this start date already was pushed out two weeks to allow time for self-quarantining after the holidays, so we believe our start date is a good one. Students who wish to take face-to-face courses in a hybrid fashion, on campus, will be able to do so. Students who wish to take courses remotely for any reason also will be able to do so. Our planning task forces continue to watch guidance from the state and county. In the event there is any need to adjust the in-person start date, we will communicate that to you as soon as possible. Right now, our plans appear to be on track to launch the spring semester on January 21, as planned, absent any government action that would require change.

Second, you should be receiving a COVID-19 test kit soon. As you know, a key to a successful start is testing for everyone—students, faculty, and staff—before they arrive on campus. For that reason, no member of the campus community will be able to return to campus without providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test just before arrival. The University is sending compact Everlywell test kits to all students, free of charge. They should arrive at your address sometime in the next ten days. Do not take the test when you receive it. Rather, look for an updated communication from the University and read carefully the instructions that come with the test. That communication will tell you the best date to take the test before returning. Timing is critical for the testing to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Third, students will be able to move in to on-campus residences on Sunday, January 17 through Wednesday, January 20. Make sure you sign up for a date and time slot with the Office of Residence Life at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DuqMoveIn. The University will continue to operate with proper social distancing protocols in place. To ensure safety for the arrival of all students, our arrival process has been designed to avoid the denser conditions more typical of move-in days.

Fourth, I’m pleased to announce that Duquesne will be doing even more testing during the spring semester, to ensure the health, safety and success of our students. We’re investing in this additional testing, alongside our existing protocols, to make sure we get to the semester’s finish line successfully. All students, faculty and staff will be tested—free of charge—every two weeks. Such testing will be mandatory for those individuals who will be on campus, a practice that will help maintain a safe on-campus experience. We wish to ensure that all of our students can maintain their academic progress and have a productive semester. 

Fifth, Duquesne’s flexible residency program is in effect again for the spring 2021 semester. As it did in the fall, this program provides students registered for a Duquesne residence the ability to delay arrival or leave prior to the semester’s end—based on health, safety or travel concerns—and have their room and board fees adjusted proportionately. Full details will come in a separate email in the next day or so. If you intend to use the plan to delay moving to campus, you must let the University know by Thursday, January 7.

Finally, we’ve listened to your feedback about campus operations this past fall. We’re incorporating your ideas for the upcoming semester. There will be some creative new options to look forward to when you arrive—including enhanced indoor study and dining spaces around campus.

More information about spring operations will be sent to you in the coming days. Thanks in advance for keeping alert to messages the University will be sending, so that you have the most up-to-date information possible.

As always, our students’ health, safety and well-being are our highest priority, along with ensuring that nothing disrupts your ability to achieve your academic goals and earn your degrees. Thanks for your continued dedication and resolve and, above all, for the kindness and respect you’ve displayed toward all the members of the Duquesne family, in particular your fellow students. I’ve never been prouder of our campus community.

I look forward to a wonderful semester ahead. In the meantime, I hope that you and your families have a rewarding New Year in 2021, filled with many blessings, including plenty of vaccines for all!

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