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Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College Announce Plans for Fall 2020 In-Person Instruction And Campus Residency in Addition to Continued Remote Instruction

ATLANTA, Georgia, July 1, 2020– Three Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) institutions— Clark Atlanta University (CAU), Morehouse College and Spelman College— today announced comprehensive plans to safely resume in-person instruction and campus residency for specific cohorts of students during the Fall 2020 Semester, with significant adjustments made to normal operations due to the continuing coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, pandemic. Additional students will continue remote instruction. Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), also an AUCC member institution, operates on a separate timetable due to the unique medical and public health mission of the school. The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library also announced plans to provide both in-person and remote service to AUCC students.

Fall classes begin on August 19. Specific instructions and policies for students, faculty, and staff regarding the Fall 2020 Semester will be provided by each institution.

The highest priority of AUCC institutions is protecting the health of AUCC community members. The institutions are deploying an innovative data-driven and scientific approach which relies on comprehensive testing and data-driven protocols through coordination with MSM. A renowned academic health center, MSM is also leader of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities. Informed by sophisticated data algorithms, AUCC institutions will be able to closely monitor the situation, perform frequent and targeted testing, provide appropriate medical services if needed, and more generally provide the AUC community with a high degree of confidence that campuses are safe as possible.

Health and Safety

Health and safety protocols are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and Georgia Department of Public Health. CAU, Morehouse, Spelman, and the AUC Woodruff Library will coordinate with MSM to implement a layered approach to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on AUCC campuses. Key elements include:

• Mandatory Testing of Students, Faculty, and Staff. Students, faculty, and staff will be tested for COVID-19 prior to arriving for the Fall 2020 Semester and periodically during the semester.

  • Social Distancing. To encourage social distancing, in many cases, event sizes will be limited, visitor access will be restricted, and adjusted work schedules for some staff are being implemented.
  • Mandatory Face Coverings. Face coverings (such as masks) must be worn in all public spaces including the AUC Robert Woodruff Library.
  • Symptom Checking. Students, employees, and all persons entering campuses will undergo temperature checks and must complete an app-based daily symptom screening.
  • Modified Facilities and Access to Campus. Adjustments to entry points on the campuses, pedestrian traffic patterns, and facility layouts have been undertaken; additional hand sanitizing stations have been installed; and ventilation systems have been evaluated to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
  • Comprehensive Physical and Mental Health and Wellness. Individual campus health and mental wellness services will be augmented with support from the AUCC Student Health Services team via a new state-of-the art facility.Academic Continuity and Career Development
  • AUCC institutions are committed to maintaining academic quality and continuity and all students should progress regardless of whether they are on campus or learning remotely.
  • The AUC Woodruff Library will operate on a reduced schedule providing services to both in- person and remote students.
  • AUCC Career Services, the Dual Degree Engineering Program, and similar programs will continue to be available to students, operating using a hybrid of both online and in-person services.Modified Academic CalendarThe Fall 2020 semester will end before Thanksgiving. Key dates in the academic calendar include:
  • Aug 10-14: New Student Orientations (different based on each institution)
  • August 19: Classes begin
  • November 16-20: Final Exams
  • No fall break, classes and exams conclude before ThanksgivingWhile we fully recognize and understand that no mitigation measure is guaranteed to eliminate all spread of the virus, we believe that the data-driven, thoughtful and measured approaches outlined in each institution’s plans mitigates risk to students, faculty, staff, and their families while maintaining the academic quality and traditions historically associated with the institutions. National or state developments in community spread of the virus may cause plans to be adjusted. All stakeholders will need to maintain awareness and flexibility, as well as take personal responsibility for adhering to AUC requirements and public health guidelines and for keeping the AUC community safe.

More information is also available at aucenter.edu. Please refer to each institution for more information on their individual plans and policies.