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Emory Academic Continuity Planning

--This message is sent on behalf of the leadership of Emory’s Academic Continuity Group, which is coordinating Emory’s response to COVID-19--

Dear Emory community,  

Without a doubt, this semester has provided lessons for all of us. Many of us have become newly acquainted with public health terminology, and extraordinary measures such as quarantine, stay-at-home orders, and physical distancing have clarified just how interconnected our lives — and our health — really are. Many of us have also experienced uncertainty the likes of which we might never have imagined. We all want to know how and when it will end, and we all want to bring a semblance of order, predictability and regularity to our lives. 

Since early February, the Office of the Provost, working with colleagues throughout the university, has been laser-focused on the spread of COVID-19, its impacts on our community, and the forms of support our students, faculty, and staff need as we do our part to respond and seek to flatten the curve.

This required many decisions and rapid actions, including:

  • Implementing remote learning for 4,239 classes taught by 1,662 professors;
  • Supporting thousands of employees in transitioning to remote working;
  • Developing a pandemic mitigation plan that resulted in ramping down and redirecting all but critical activities in our nearly $690 million research operation;
  • Recalling more than 150 undergraduate students from study abroad;
  • Helping 4,100 students move out of the residence halls;
  • Accommodating and relocating more than 300 students, including 49 from our Oxford campus, who were unable to return home before the end of the semester to the Clairmont campus;
  • Issuing student credits for housing, dining, and fees totaling nearly $14 million;
  • Providing students with lump sum payments of nearly $400,000 for federal work study, and paying non-federal work-study student employees $1,075,197 for anticipated on campus work contributions;
  • Providing $1.55 million in cash stipends to undergraduate students with the greatest financial need;
  • Disbursing $2.2 million to graduate and undergraduate students through the EmoryTogether fund, processing more than 6,000 requests for aid; and we expect to process another 1,000 applications for assistance;
  • Creating a virtual community hub to pull together ways that students can connect online with old friends, make new friends and take care of themselves and others;
  • Treating more than 700 student patients in student health services, and preparing a secondary facility in the event of a surge in illness;
  • Adapting grading policies for students, and extending the tenure clocks for faculty;
  • Combatting health stigmatization and racism by reaffirming and communicating our core values;
  • Aligning academic affairs, health sciences, and business administration to effectively manage our resources with the greatest of care so that we can be in the strongest possible position for the fall.     

Alongside all this activity, we have been planning for the future by drawing on the expertise of our world-renown and pioneering faculty in public health. We are assessing the capacities of our extraordinary health care system, learning from our peers, and consulting our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC. 

The outstanding question on the minds of all of us at Emory is what will happen in the fall? We don’t have a decision for you just yet. However, we do want you to know that we are working on a plan for the coming academic year, and we thought you might appreciate more insight into the process and framework we’re using to reach decisions.                                                        

The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is paramount. And we’ll settle for nothing less than excellence in the arenas of teaching and learning. Colleagues from across the university have been meeting in teams with leaders from each and every school and college, including Campus Life, Campus Services, Occupational Safety, Research Administration, Student Health, General Counsel, Communications and Public Affairs, Business Affairs, Enrollment Services, Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, and Procurement to tackle problems and rapidly identify possible solutions.  

Together with CEPAR, we are drawing on all of these insights and operational expertise to develop a plan that will allow us to deliver on our academic mission, maintain standards, support path-breaking research, and advance the priorities of the university.  

All of us want to be together again to study and learn, explore and share just as soon as it safe for us to do so. We all want a return to life on campus, to classrooms and residence halls, libraries and labs, and clinical placements. When might we do so? How can we best support a healthy campus? These are among the many factors we are integrating in our planning.  

As we do this work, we’re inspired by the creativity, commitment, and resolve of our community. We will get through this together. Moreover, we are confident that — because of the efforts of so many — we are building an Emory that is even more capable and adaptive to change. That resilience will serve us well in both the short- and the long-term.  

Thank you for your patience as we explore what’s possible. Our resolve remains to “create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity.” And that mission matters now more than ever.   


Christa Acampora, Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs

Enku Gelaye, Vice President and Dean of Campus Life

Please visit the Academic Continuity page on Emory’s Coronavirus website for additional information.