Catholic University Announces Online Semester for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors


Image Courtesy of The Catholic University of America

By Jessica Fetrow

The Catholic University of America announced that it would be reversing its initial decision to have in-person classes for all students during the Fall 2020 semester and would instead be conducting all online courses for all sophomores, juniors, and seniors virtually. Freshmen, new graduate students, and students with under 30 credits will be able to return to campus for in-person instruction. 

“Last May, we committed to fully reopening our campus at the earliest possible opportunity,” Catholic University President John Garvey said in an email to the university community on July 31. “Since that time we have been carefully gauging the trajectory of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I am very sorry to report that developments in public health conditions over the past few weeks have forced us to conclude that it is simply too early to bring everyone back to campus.”

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be taking all classes for the fall semester online and will not be able to live on-campus. Freshmen, as well as some international students and “students whose personal situations make it impossible to pursue studies at their permanent addresses, will be allowed to move into residence halls beginning August 17 and will be taking all-online courses until September 6. This guideline is in accordance with the District of Columbia’s request that students from “high risk” states quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. Orientation will also be conducted virtually.

The Conway School of Nursing Dean Dr. Patricia McMullen announced on July 31 that “all didactic, laboratory and clinical rotations” will be conducted “solely online” for the semester. Additionally, the Catholic University School of Architecture and Design Dean Mark Ferguson announced the closure of the Crough Center to all students “until public health conditions improve and all students are invited back to campus housing,” which he does not anticipate occurring before the end of the fall semester. The school recommended that students prepare a “quality at home studio” and plans to utilize digital platforms to efficiently reach students. 

The university announced a 10% tuition reduction on August 3 for all students planning on taking in-person courses before the announcement of online classes. Room and board refunds were also granted to all students planning to live on-campus. 

The Landmark Conference announced on July 31 the postponement of all conference regular season contests and championships until at least January 2021. All updates regarding the winter and spring seasons are expected to be announced by October 15.

The George Washington University, Georgetown University, American University, Gallaudet University, and Howard University have also announced that the fall semester will be conducted remotely. 

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