Nov. 18, 2020
President John Garvey sent a letter to the campus community on Wednesday, Nov. 18, outlining the University's plan for the spring semester.
Nov. 13, 2020
Especially as we approach the holiday season, the University wants to ensure that our community members are aware of the latest guidance (effective Nov. 9) provided by the Government of the District of Columbia.
Mayor Muriel Bowser asks that District residents returning to the District after traveling to any place other than Maryland, Virginia, or a low-risk state (currently Hawaii and Vermont) or country must either:
“Limiting daily activities” does not apply to going to work, obtaining medical care, food, or pharmaceuticals. During those 14 days, a person who has recently traveled should check their temperature twice daily (for any reading higher than 100.4) and self monitor for symptoms: sore throat, congestion, cough, headache, and loss of taste or smell. If they do exhibit any symptoms, the person should cease any activity involving close contact with others and contact a medical professional.
District guidelines suggest that those traveling should:
Residents of Maryland and Virginia are exempt from Mayor Bowser’s guidelines. Residents of these jurisdictions should check for the current guidance in their states and counties, because many of them have changed in recent days (e.g., Maryland reducing indoor gatherings to 25).
If you confirm that you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, please do not report to campus for at least 14 days. “Close contact” is defined as spending at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone over a 24 hour period. The incubation period for COVID-19 is 14 days, so even after one negative test, a person who has been exposed should remain in quarantine, continue to monitor their symptoms, and retest, if possible.
Testing — Err on the Side of Caution
Dr. Loretta Staudt, director of Student Health Services (SHS), wishes to remind the community to please exercise caution if you experience ANY (even mild) COVID symptoms. The majority of positive cases identified in the student body this semester have been in individuals who experienced relatively minor symptoms (sore throat, congestion, headache).
Especially as individuals prepare to travel for the holidays, they should remain vigilant and contact SHS (if they are a student) or their primary care physician to report any symptoms.
COVID Work from Home Policy
The University’s COVID Work from Home (C-WFH) program will be extended through the end of March. The C-WFH program is designed to allow those employees whose work activities can be completed from home to work from home for up to 2-3 days per week. The University is continually tracking the District of Columbia's current guidance to ensure the safety for our employees, and will adjust the policy as needed as the pandemic evolves.
Any questions or concerns related to these topics should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nov. 12, 2020
Over the past few weeks, coronavirus infection rates throughout the United States have steadily increased and now regularly exceed 100,000 daily cases. Just yesterday, there were over 145,000 new cases reported nationwide and Washington, D.C., reported over 200 cases which is the highest daily total since May. D.C.’s seven-day average caseload exceeds 100 which is almost triple the average caseload on October 1.
While the number of Catholic University students testing positive for COVID-19 remains low, the trends that we are seeing nationally and locally provide another reminder of the need to be diligent in following public health guidance related to face coverings, social distancing, and hand hygiene. By adhering to this guidance and making informed choices about our daily activities, we reduce the chance of exposure and help to keep ourselves and our community safe.
For those students who are preparing to depart Washington, D.C., and travel home for Thanksgiving, I urge you to be particularly attentive to the following:
Now is not the time for complacency; it is the time to redouble our efforts in keeping ourselves and one another safe.
Judi Biggs Garbuio, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Nov. 9, 2020
The Landmark Conference leadership groups continue to meet diligently to discuss scheduling models and postseason opportunities for its league's student-athletes in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff and the overall campus communities are the first priorities when planning a return to athletic activities and competition at any point during the 2020-21 academic year. The Landmark will sponsor conference play and championships if, and only if, a safe environment can be created by following all local and state requirements.
Further, the conference will adhere to the NCAA's Sport Science Institute's guidelines and recommendations as return to play models are considered.
At present, the conference still plans to conduct athletic competition in conference-sponsored sports during the Spring of 2021. The primary focus of competition will be league play with a goal of playing a regular season schedule with an expanded postseason tournament in all team sports. For individual sports, the conference continues to explore opportunities for these Championships to be conducted safely and with additional precautions in place.
Nov. 2, 2020
We are now accepting applications for emergency grants made possible through the generosity of donors to the Light the Way Crisis Response Fund. Emergency grants are intended to lessen the financial challenges resulting from the continuing health crisis; eligible expenses include travel assistance, emergency medical bills, technology needs to support student virtual learning, overdue utility bills, housing assistance, and food insecurity. This funding is not intended to replace or supplement existing financial aid and does not have to be repaid.
We will work to address demonstrated needs to the extent funds are available. Please note that most grants are in the $300 - $600 range and priority will be given to students with the highest demonstrated financial need. To apply for an emergency grant, please complete this application with as much detail as possible. Questions about this application should be directed to the me directly.
pproved applications will have funds placed directly on their student accounts for immediate refund. To receive the refund quickly, applicants should ensure that they have direct deposit established on their student account. Students enroll in direct deposit by following these instructions on the Enrollment Services' website.
All enrolled Catholic University undergraduate and graduate students experiencing unexpected financial hardship resulting from the coronavirus pandemic are eligible to apply. Students in the Columbus School of Law should visit the Law Student Financial Relief Fund for resources.
Jonathan C. Sawyer
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
Oct. 27, 2020
Dear Members of the University Community,
When we established the Roadmap 20/21 taskforce earlier this year, we knew where we wanted to go. Our goal has always been to arrive at a point where we could reopen our campus and operate again at full capacity. How we were going to do that, and how long it was going to take, has taken some figuring out.
While we’re not there yet, we’ve made steady and substantial progress. It was the right decision to invite a smaller group of students to campus this fall. This allowed us to learn how to navigate the complexities of social distancing, testing, quarantines, sanitizing, and contact tracing. Our staff and faculty have responded with agility, creativity, and competence to a million and one issues that have arisen in connection with COVID-19. I’ve been impressed with the progress we’ve made and everything we have learned.
Last week we met with Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of her staff. One staffer remarked about the innovation our team demonstrated in resolving issues of social distancing in our residence halls. Mayor Bowser said that Catholic University has taken the most “aggressive” approach of any university in the District to offering its students a residential college experience. I think we can take great pride in her recognition of our efforts to bring our students back as much as is safely possible.
We spoke with the Mayor about our plans for next spring. While not everything has been decided yet, we can share a few details.
We moved our start date for the spring semester from January 11 to January 25. All students will be asked to quarantine upon their return to the University, whether they live on or off campus. Some athletes will return early and observe their quarantine in conjunction with their training, and the Law School will start on January 4 with its first two weeks online.
We will make up for the delayed start by eliminating spring break. This will eliminate the need for another quarantine, because of travel, in the middle of the semester, which would be disruptive to in-person classes and residence life.
Our Easter break will be shorter than usual but we will still be closed on Good Friday.
By Thanksgiving we will have more detailed information on next semester’s academic offerings.
I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom. I always teach a Virtues class in the spring, and this year is no exception. It was unfortunate that last year’s class had to be moved online. Zoom conversations are simply not the same, no matter how awesome your webcam is.
I know many other professors are equally ready to go back to in-person classes. Because of the success we have had with our safety measures and with technology in classrooms already open to freshmen, we have now begun allowing several of our senior classes to meet in person.
This is a complicated process for a variety of reasons, but it’s good that we are taking these small steps. It will eventually lead us to being the vibrant campus we all want to see.
Continued success hinges on our vigilance in doing what we all know by now: washing our hands, keeping our distance, wearing masks. We must keep up this behavior, take care of each other, and remain especially alert to our neighbors in Brookland and elsewhere.
Sept. 23, 2020
Dear University Community,
Now that we are several weeks into the semester, we have seen the effectiveness of both the quarantine period and the reduced density on campus. Now, after several hundred student tests, we have had and will continue to have students on campus who test positive for COVID-19. We expected this to happen and many of you have seen or experienced the processes that are in place to both support those who become ill, and to slow the spread of the virus.
Last week, the University began “surveillance testing” of student athletes while continuing the testing of symptomatic or recently-exposed students (and their close contacts) at our student testing center. Surveillance testing and the testing of symptomatic students are identical PCR tests. Surveillance testing is the intentional testing of non-symptomatic students, in our case part of our NCAA compliance, while the test center is available for any student who feels symptomatic, or believes they were recently exposed to someone who tested positive.
Sept. 10, 2020
Now that the initial quarantine period has expired, off-campus students may access the campus to participate in on-campus jobs, to utilize their meal plan in the Pryzbyla Center, attend Mass, and to attend scheduled appointments at Student Health Services and the Counseling Center.
Students are also free to walk around campus for exercise and leisure, but should maintain social distance, wear face coverings, and abide by all health and safety precautions.
Prior to coming to campus, students should complete the online symptom checker; students should not come to campus if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID and should contact Student Health Services.
On and off-campus students living within the local area can utilize the campus COVID testing center. However, to ensure the highest levels of safety for our students using the testing center and the staff who work there, on campus health facilities do not offer walk in hours. Students should call Student Health Services at 202-319-5744 and talk to a healthcare professional who will discuss their symptoms or exposure and determine if the student needs to be scheduled for an appointment and make the necessary arrangements. In most cases, students are seen within 24 hours.
Students who receive a positive COVID test result from an off-campus testing center should inform the Dean of Students of so that we can provide support and guidance. Students should also contact Student Health Services if their condition is worsening or not improving or for additional medical guidance.
Additional campus services and facilities (library, labs, study areas, etc.) will gradually become accessible to non-residential students as the semester progresses, though often with conditions such as reserved time slots, advance notice, and limitations on capacity. Updates will be communicated via emails and on our COVID FAQ page.
Please reach out to me at email@example.com with questions.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
Aug. 24, 2020
University President John Garvey addressed the pandemic in his August newsletter.
Aug. 17, 2020
The University has contracted with Ascension Healthcare through Providence Health Services to host a COVID-19 testing site on campus for students. It is available for all students, whether they live on campus or off campus.
Students who experience a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 should call Student Health Services. A healthcare professional will discuss their symptoms with them, and may schedule them for testing.
July 27, 2020
How have you spent your summer?
Facilities staff have spent the last months streamlining cleaning processes to ensure they can clean classrooms between classes come the start of the fall semester while also maintaining cleanliness in residence halls once students move back to campus.
University custodial staff will be supported by contracted cleaners working the overnight shift. The contracted cleaners will perform the traditional vacuuming, dusting, and floor cleaning of classrooms, offices, restrooms, and lounge areas in addition to disinfection overnight. During the day, custodial staff will be performing the traditional cleaning tasks as well as increased touchpoint cleaning in common areas in all working and living spaces on campus. Additionally, classrooms will be sanitized between classes.
July 22, 2020
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-080 to clarify and extend requirements related to wearing masks indoors and outdoors in Washington, DC.
Under the new Mayor’s Order on masks, people must wear a mask when they leave their homes if they are likely to come into contact with another person for more than a fleeting moment. Exceptions are listed in the Mayor’s Order, and common exceptions include: children under the age of three; a person who is in an enclosed office that no one else is allowed to enter; a person who is actively eating or drinking; and a person who is engaged in vigorous outdoor exercise and is maintaining social distance of at least six feet from other people. The full Mayor’s Order on masks can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov/maskorder.
July 15, 2020
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is relieved to hear that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has agreed to rescind the July 6, 2020 policy that threatened international students with deportation if their U.S. institutions turned to online-only instruction. ISSS will continue to communicate with and update our international students as further DHS guidance is available pertaining to the Fall 2020 semester and course registration.
As University President John Garvey and Provost Aaron Dominguez said in a letter last week:
"Every year Catholic University is home to hundreds of international students from all over the world. They are here to learn, to conduct research and to contribute to our global community. We embrace their cultural diversity, and we welcome the unique gifts and perspectives they bring to the academic enterprise. We support policies that welcome international students to our country, and incorporate them into our community. We stand in solidarity with the international students at Catholic University, and across the nation."
June 16, 2020
McMahon Hall 112 (the Fulton Sheen Classroom) has received updated technology this summer and is being rearranged by facilities staff to demonstrate how learning will be supported in the fall while focusing on the health and safety of faculty and students in the ongoing COVID pandemic.
May 28, 2020
Focused working groups have been meeting since the beginning of March to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the University. There is at least one group meeting each day of the week to examine the current situation.
The working groups continue to monitor the latest guidance being presented by the CDC and District of Columbia. Reopening measures will meet (if not exceed) those safety precautions.
Employees who have specific questions or concerns about the pandemic and its effects on the University should contact their direct supervisor so that concerns can be forwarded to vice presidents and/or their representatives on the working groups. They can also send questions or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catholic University's fall reopening plan includes information about returning to campus for the 2020-2021 academic year. It provides COVID-related updates for students, parents, faculty, and staff.Learn More