Fall 2020 > Updates > Student update to DePaul's fall planning-8/12/20

Student update to DePaul's fall planning

August 12, 2020


Key takeaways:​

  • DePaul plans to reduce students’ on-campus presence by shifting more classes online and limiting residence hall occupancy.
  • The university is committed to providing additional targeted grant support for students based on financial need.
  • As the COVID-19 risk diminishes, we are optimistic about welcoming more students back to campus after fall quarter and December intersession as safely as possible.

Dear students,

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced DePaul to move almost all university operations online in March, we told you that your health and safety come first. With a fundamental understanding of who we are as a DePaul community, and in light of the consistently worsening national and local public health outlook, DePaul has decided to further reduce student on-campus presence in the fall. With few exceptions for pedagogical reasons, the vast majority of courses will now be delivered online in the fall term and residence hall occupancy will be limited for the time being. We are committed to providing our students the best uninterrupted fall experience.

If you were registered for on-campus courses, you will receive a message soon with information about changes to those courses’ modalities. Know we have spent the summer working hard to provide the best experience and further strengthening our online capabilities. DePaul has delivered quality online learning for more than a decade, and now we’re even better. More than 200 faculty members completed DePaul’s award-winning training to prepare for teaching courses online, bringing the total to more than 1,000. Technology was upgraded in more than 100 classrooms to better facilitate online learning.

To further reduce the density of people on campus, DePaul residence halls will not be available for most students who planned to live there. Residential students will receive a message from Housing later today with more information about refunds and an online form to apply for an exception.

We understand you and your families may be facing financial pressures caused by the pandemic. DePaul has already started an urgent fundraising campaign to provide additional targeted grant support to students based on financial need. This is in addition to our decision last spring to rescind a planned tuition increase for the 2020-2021 academic year in recognition of the economic impact COVID-19 has had on many families. For fall, we also will cancel the student activity fee and Athletics fee, and the student U-Pass will be optional for eligible students.

We know the news about fall is disappointing to many of you. You were looking forward to learning alongside your friends. If you are an incoming student, you were looking forward to discovering new friends. After your absence during the last few months, we were looking forward to seeing more of you, too. Students bring life to campus, and we miss you.

External factors that are beyond DePaul’s control have changed the environment in which we hoped to return. We have spent recent days analyzing data, consulting with medical and public health experts and analyzing the best way to proceed. Given our Vincentian values to take care of one another and our community, we do not believe that currently there is a reasonable way to open the campus to the full extent we originally had planned and continue to effectively manage the potential health risks to the university and local community.

Even in a remote learning environment, many aspects of your DePaul experience won’t change. As in the spring and summer, you will have online access to Career Services, academic advising, the library, counseling, wellness and mental health support, which we know is more important than ever. Your faculty and staff remain ready to support you through these challenging times. Student Affairs is continuing to establish ways for students to engage and socialize with each other online.

At the same time, the campus will be a bit more open than it was in spring quarter. Most DePaul buildings will be accessible, including faculty offices. Library services will still be available. Some computer labs will be open.

We know you will have questions about what fall will bring. A town hall for students and parents with university leadership is planned for next week. We will share more details in Newsline. You also can find information on the Fall 2020 website.

These days, it may seem as if change and uncertainty are the only things you can count on. On the contrary, you can count on this: everyone at DePaul will do his or her best to offer you our very best. We are committed to providing you top-rated instruction and preparing you for the next stage of your life.

We will continue to follow public health guidelines regarding COVID-19, and are optimistic that as the COVID-19 risk diminishes, we can resurrect our plans after fall quarter and December intersession to offer a safe and vibrant on-campus experience.

Thank you for choosing DePaul. We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,
A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D.
President

Salma Ghanem, Ph.D.
Interim Provost

Jeff Bethke
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer