WASHINGTON — George Washington University will be teaching all undergraduate classes online this fall with limited exceptions, President Thomas LeBlanc announced Monday in an email. Most graduate programs will also be conducted online, with certain programs holding in-person classes.
LeBlanc cited the latest data on the resurgence of COVID-19, guidance from public health experts and fears about the impact on a campus residential experience as the deciding factors in the university's decision to hold courses online.
LeBlanc pointed to feedback from the George Washington community, describing "a sentiment of growing unease among our faculty about in-person instruction and among our students about living on campus."
Only a limited number of students who have "extenuating personal or academic circumstances" will be able to live in GW housing. Otherwise, students will have to make off-campus arrangements or stay home.
The university is offering a 10% tuition reduction to undergraduate students who do not live on campus, LeBlanc said, in recognition of the COVID-19 pandemic's financial toll on many families. He also noted that many students will lack resources they would have had access to as residential students.
LeBlanc is optimistic about the remote learning experience because of the additional time faculty have to adapt their curricula to an online format.
"We have used our experiences and additional time to further enhance our teaching, learning, and community engagement at a distance," LeBlanc said. "We directed considerable resources into virtual instructional technology, and our staff and faculty have been actively collaborating to develop innovative ways to continue to provide a rigorous and high-quality academic experience for all students."
The university will provide specific information to first-year students and is planning to hold virtual question-and-answer forums for members of the community over the next few weeks.