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Gallaudet Way Forward: Spring 2021 | Students

November 11, 2020


Dear students:

We hope the fall semester is coming along well for you. It has been challenging, but you have persevered. Please know that we think of you often and miss you very much. The Bison spirit remains strong within ourselves!

This email is to share our plans for Spring 2021.

Gallaudet University will offer remote learning for most of its students and remote work for many of its employees. Pending approval from the District of Columbia, we hope to increase the number of students on campus from 85 students to up to 200 students, and possibly to offer a few hybrid courses for students residing on campus.

However, we want to bring more students back to campus. We know that you thrive in visually-oriented surroundings. We know that you need and value face-to-face learning and an ASL-vibrant environment. We want you to be able to have personal connections with one another. These connections are a very important part of the Gallaudet experience. They will just be on a smaller scale – up to 200 students.

Living on campus will come with some restrictions. There will be rules to follow: wearing masks, hand-washing, social distancing, app-based health screenings, mandatory flu shots, and frequent COVID-19 testing. There will be limited social opportunities and students will not be able to have parties or do other things that college students normally enjoy. This is part of the new experience that students are having on campuses across the country. Please know that we are committed to making your experience as authentic as possible. We will work with you to create a vibrant, enjoyable student experience that is built around a safe living community.

All summer and fall, we have worked tirelessly to create a safe environment for learning — one that will benefit you now and post-pandemic. We have designed safer classrooms, residential spaces, and common areas. We have made our faculty and staff offices more safe for everyone — you, our employees, and the public.

Our hard work has paid off. To date, there have been NO positive cases of COVID-19 among students living on campus. This is testimony to our rigorous health and safety protocols, and to our on-campus students’ commitment to those protocols. We are proud of this accomplishment.

So, now what?

Here is what you need to know.

  • You may begin to register for spring semester classes on Monday, November 9.
  • The spring semester will begin on January 19 and end on May 4. Final examinations will be from May 5 to May 7. Spring break will be March 15 to 19. Commencement will be on May 14. It will be held remotely, as it was in May 2020.
  • Pending District of Columbia approval, up to 200 students may return to campus in Spring 2021. We will explain below how you can apply to return to campus this spring.
  • You, and everyone else who lives or works on campus, must follow requirements for frequent COVID-19 testing, and any other rules and regulations established by the District of Columbia or the University.
  • There will be no winter or spring athletics program. If you are a student athlete in winter or spring sports, your coach will be in touch with you.
  • You will receive a 15 percent tuition reduction, as you did this fall.


Pending District of Columbia approval, up to 200 students may return to campus this spring. Most classes will still be offered remotely. We may offer a few hybrid courses for students who live on campus.

Returning students may include those who would benefit most from being on campus, including those:

  • whose personal circumstances make on-campus living their most viable option,
  • who have an internship that requires their physical presence,
  • who are conducting research, and
  • who are participating in selected pods created to foster the in-person experience.

In the next week or so, the Office of Residence Life and Housing will communicate how students will be selected to return to campus. Our administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders are working together to develop this plan.

Residence Life will coordinate all housing requests as they did for the fall semester. If you are accepted for on-campus housing, you will need to follow several protocols, including mandatory quarantine upon arrival from your home state or country. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Residence Life and Housing.


Students, staff, and faculty on campus will be required to undergo frequent COVID-19 testing throughout the semester, and must follow all protocols that are already in place, including wearing masks, hand-washing, and social distancing. We will share information about COVID-19 testing requirements prior to the beginning of the spring semester.


We miss seeing our students very much, and we think of you every day. We look forward to welcoming some of you back to campus in the spring, so we can begin to restore the visually-oriented, ASL-vibrant environment that makes Gallaudet so special to all of us. Please watch your email in the next few days for more information. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy.



Jeffrey W. Lewis
Interim Provost

Travis L. Imel
Dean of Student Affairs

11 November 2020


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