Presidential Announcement: Update on Spring 2021 Semester

By Daniel DiPrinzio | October 20, 2020

Dear Arcadia Community,

This fall, we made a difficult decision to begin the 2020-21 academic year fully online to protect the Arcadia community’s health and safety. Since the fall semester began, we have made significant progress with the early phases of our campus reopening plan, including having small groups of students engaging in highly controlled, in-person learning opportunities. 

We have a deeply committed COVID team that extends across our community and includes faculty, staff, public health experts, and peers who continue to work through and meet challenges posed by the pandemic. We will continue to build on what we have learned and what is feasible to safely populate our campus with increased learning opportunities and residential housing.

The below outlines our plan for the spring 2021 semester; you will receive detailed information regarding these plans in the coming weeks. Please know that any plans need to be flexible to respond to the unpredictable paths of COVID and this season’s flu. Our decisions this year have been grounded in the health and safety of the Arcadia community, and that philosophy and our values will continue to drive University decisions moving forward. 

Faculty, Staff, Student Information

  • COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan – All campus decisions remain grounded in our University’s Health and Safety Plan. Success in the gradual resumption of campus operations is dependent on our access to testing, our contact tracing effectiveness, and our commitment as a community in remaining ARCADIA STRONG against COVID-19 and the flu. To safely expand our campus access and usage, our campus community will commit to a campus compact to protect and respect our community by embracing physical distancing practices, wearing masks, and limiting group gatherings. We will update our health and safety guidelines accordingly for the spring semester and post any changes or updates on our Health and Safety Plan page
  • Classes and Academic Calendar – Course instruction will resemble the fall 2020 semester and remain fully online for spring 2021, with classes starting January 19. Arcadia will offer on-campus supplemental instruction and experiential opportunities that connect with some of our courses and academic programs. We will provide additional details in the coming weeks about these options, which may include access to art studios, guided exploration of scientific concepts in some of our laboratories, and optional meetings of study groups. Arcadia’s spring academic calendar will remain the same. Priority course registration for the spring semester runs Nov. 9 through Nov. 20, and the spring course schedule will be available in early November. Details on spring semester events and traditions will be shared as information becomes available.
  • Residential Living – A limited residential living option will be offered this spring in a subset of available space in Oak Summit in a single bedroom occupancy to provide the safest possible residential experience. By November 2, Residence Life will send students more information and instructions on applying to live on-campus. We are very much looking forward to housing every Arcadia student who wishes to live on campus and will do so as soon as we can.
  • Campus Usage – Undergraduate and graduate students not residing on campus in the spring semester will need to apply for campus usage. It is important to reiterate that such access would require strict compliance with all health and safety guidelines, including regular testing. Information and instructions on how to apply will be communicated to students in the coming weeks.  
  • Athletics – Athletics will continue to follow regulations and guidelines from the NCAA and related sports organizations, as well as state and regional public health organizations. The current limited access to the Kuch Center, athletics fields, gym, and workout spaces for fitness and general recreational use for undergraduate students will continue. Athletics will communicate directly with student-athletes and their families once formal decisions are made regarding intercollegiate athletics for winter and spring sports and the possibility of fall sports during the spring semester. We expect to provide an update on winter sports in November.  
  • Study Abroad – International response to COVID and border closures have limited the ability to travel, live, and study overseas. Arcadia has focused our study abroad opportunities this academic year on programs in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Spain. Anyone interested in study abroad opportunities for spring 2021 should contact the Office of Study Away. The Office of International Programs will share details on Preview and Global Field Study courses soon. 
  • COVID Testing – Student Health Services will communicate a regular testing schedule for students. This testing will be weekly to start the semester; however, the frequency may change as the COVID-19 situation evolves through the semester. Students who live on campus or are authorized to use campus facilities will need a COVID-19 test at the beginning of the semester and will be tested regularly thereafter. Students, staff, and faculty who test positive for COVID-19 and have been on campus within two days of the results must report it through the Self Disclosure Form. All faculty and staff who have been or will be working on campus and in areas where students may be learning, working, or visiting need a COVID-19 test at the beginning of the semester and will be tested regularly thereafter. Information on our current campus testing and reported COVID cases can be found on Arcadia’s COVID-19 Dashboard

Information Session for Students and Families
We encourage students and families to register for our online information sessions, where we can answer questions and address concerns community members may have. The sessions are scheduled for Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Registration details will be communicated next week. 

We have made incremental steps through the academic year, and we will keep progressing toward our goal of having all University community members back on campus as soon as it is safe to do so. In the next few weeks, the Provost, Dean of Students, and other members of our University leadership will communicate details to the Arcadia community on updates specific to their departments. Staff members have been communicating regularly with students and their families throughout the fall semester, and we encourage any Arcadia community member with questions or concerns to contact the appropriate department or office. 

I very much look forward to seeing each of you on campus as soon as possible. Until then, I hope you take care and remain in good health.


Ajay Nair, Ph.D.