Spring Semester 2022


The remote start to spring semester will coincide with important modifications that will support Emory’s transition to sustainable campus operations amid COVID-19.

Important Modifications

Academics and Research

Spring Semester Class Schedule

  • Courses will begin on time, without delay.
  • Spring semester classes will begin in a remote format for undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students, with exceptions for clinical, research, School of Medicine courses, and select academic activities.
  • Most undergraduate courses will be canceled on January 27 and 28 to accommodate students moving back to the Atlanta or Oxford campuses.
  • In-person classes will resume Monday, January 31, as health conditions permit.

Research

Research activities will continue as scheduled with the appropriate safety precautions currently in place.

Study Abroad

University-sponsored study abroad programs planned for spring 2022 will continue as scheduled. We understand uncertainty related to global travel during COVID-19. Further effort is ongoing to support academic continuity needs should partnership programs/countries postpone or cancel.

Campus Access

Campus will remain open, services will still be provided, and class schedules will remain the same. Reducing density on campus by moving to remote learning is to address the immediate demands of the Omicron surge and minimize disruption to academic continuity. The resulting protocol changes will support the transition to a more sustainable operational model for Emory’s COVID-19 response moving forward.

Campus Operations

Emory University is shifting to an orange operating status effective Tuesday, December 28. All nonessential events and gatherings should be postponed or moved to a virtual setting. Nonacademic indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 persons or fewer. Indoor dining is not permitted for any event or gathering.

Protocols

Pre-Entry Testing

All students will be required to complete a negative PCR test 48 hours or a negative antigen test (includes at-home tests) 24 hours before returning to campus to begin spring semester. Students must receive a negative test and complete the attestation form on the Emory Forward testing page prior to returning to campus for any reason; students will be able to attest their pre-entry test status once the form goes live on December 31. Students who remained on campus during winter break must test and complete the form as soon as possible. Free COVID-19 screening testing is available to all students, faculty, and staff on campus.

What do I do if I don’t have access to a COVID-19 test in my area?

We understand testing availability is limited in certain areas. If you are able to conduct a PCR or antigen test to fulfill the pre-entry testing requirement prior to arrival at Emory, please do so. For those who cannot secure outside testing, Emory’s COVID-19 screening sites are available for asymptomatic students to fulfill the pre-entry testing requirement.

What do I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed?

Students who have COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have a household contact testing positive for COVID-19 should not return to campus and follow Emory’s reporting instructions.

Test upon Arrival

Unvaccinated students moving into the residence halls will also be required to test upon arrival to campus. Within 24 hours of moving into campus housing, unvaccinated students will need to conduct a screening test on campus, and then again three to five days later. Students will receive email and text notifications directing them to schedule their testing appointments when arriving on campus.

Weekly Screening Test

Unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff are required to continue participating in weekly COVID-19 screening testing. Anyone unvaccinated, who will not be on campus during a given week(s), must fill out a testing exemption form.

Isolation and Quarantine

Emory Conference Center Hotel will continue to operate as an isolation location for symptomatic or high-risk students living on campus requiring enhanced medical and support services.

Following the recently announced CDC guidelines, Emory University will implement new isolate-in-place protocols for COVID-19–positive students living on campus with mild or no symptoms. Revised protocols will  include a reduced isolation period after five days for those who are asymptomatic and revised quarantine protocols for those exposed to COVID-19.

Campus Life

Dining Services

Students who return to campus before in-person classes resume on January 31 should prepare for modified dining services. Food service will transition to a grab-and-go model available in the main dining areas. In the event of COVID-19-related disruptions, facilities may implement further modifications as needed.

Normal dining operations are scheduled to resume with the return of in-person learning on January 31, as health conditions allow.

Housing

Residence halls will remain open to begin the spring semester. Students are not required to change their move-in plans and have the ability to return to campus housing throughout the remote period. 

Students who return to campus before in-person classes resume should prepare for a greatly reduced on-campus experience with limited activities, few co-curricular events, modified grab-and-go dining, and new changes to isolation and quarantine protocols.

Students who plan to return during the remote period must input their arrival date in the MyHousing portal. Further campus housing information will be communicated directly to residential students.

NCAA Athletics

Emory University will continue winter and spring NCAA athletics as scheduled, with increased safety provisions to be communicated directly to student-athletes. As Emory transitions to the orange operating condition, spectators will be restricted from attending sporting events during this time. Club sports and intramurals will be postponed through January to support a lower density campus. 

Nonacademic and Co-Curricular Activities

Co-curricular student activities will be moved to a remote format. Outdoor activities can continue in accordance with the new orange operating condition status. All other indoor activities will be postponed or can be rescheduled outdoors through January 31, as health conditions permit.

Faculty and Staff Workforce

Campus will remain open to all employees. Faculty and staff whose duties require them to be on campus should continue working in person, and are strongly encouraged to regularly use screening testing options available at Emory. Units may offer additional flexibility for remote work when operations allow. Employees should consult with their supervisors about their school or unit’s approach to flexible work arrangements during this time. All faculty and staff are encouraged to conduct meetings remotely when able.

Policies

Travel Policy

There are no modifications to Emory University’s current travel policy at this time. Federal requirements for international travelers recently changed and further modifications may occur in the coming weeks. The State Departmentand CDC provide current guidance on vaccine and testing requirements, along with important safety recommendations for travelers.

Those traveling are responsible for understanding any testing requirements with upcoming travel. Student Health Service’s travel page and the Georgia Department of Public Health list options for scheduling destination-specific tests. Please plan ahead should you need to test before traveling.

Visitor Policy

No modifications to Emory University’s current visitor policy at this time. However, visitors are strongly encouraged to postpone any planned campus visits or move nonessential meetings, activities, and events to a remote format. All campus visitors are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and must adhere to Emory University’s established safety protocols while on campus.

FAQs: Spring Semester Remote Start 

Emory’s campus will remain open and courses will begin on time. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional school courses will start the spring semester in a remote format, excluding clinical and research activities, School of Medicine courses, and other select activities. In-person learning will resume on January 31, as health and safety conditions permit. Most undergraduate classes will be canceled on January 27 and 28 to accommodate students returning to the Atlanta or Oxford campuses. Further information about Emory’s start for the spring semester can be found on the Emory Forward returning to campus page.

Central to all COVID-19 policies, Emory University’s decision-making process is informed by public health advisory officials, governance groups, and leadership teams committed to carefully considering prevailing evidence, medical guidance, and community concerns from many angles. 

National projections point to a significant increase in cases in the United States during the coming weeks, with regional forecasts predicting a COVID-19 surge in Georgia during January due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. While we do not anticipate serious illness among our student community given high vaccination rates and the booster requirement, we must be prepared for a high number of infected students due to Omicron’s high positivity rates. 

Given these conditions, the primary driver of Emory's decision is to allow for academic continuity of our students. The temporary shift to remote classes, we believe, is the best way to ensure our students have continuity in their classes and progress academically. If classes were in person during this surge, students testing positive—and we have to plan for many positive cases—would be unable to participate in person, which would be more academically disruptive than temporarily beginning the semester with remote classes. While we understand that most students strongly prefer attending classes in person, we are confident that remote classes provide excellent educational content in a format that is reasonably adjusted to the current pandemic environment.

Emory University regularly reviews multiple COVID-19 metrics to help inform decision-making on the campus operating condition and parameters for conducting in-person classes, events, gatherings, and other operations across campus. 

After consultation across Emory’s public health advisory teams and leadership groups in the days preceding the December 28 announcement, the university moved to an orange operating condition based on the prevailing evidence and data across these safety indicators, which include case rates, transmission data, testing capacity, regional health care demands, ability to maintain operations, and others listed on the Emory Forward operating condition page. 

Moving to the orange operating condition reflects the shift in these COVID-19 indicators as well as the subsequent guidelines needed to help limit the impact of COVID-19 on our campus community. We believe moving to this operating status is in the best interest for the safety of our campus members and will provide important modifications for conducting safe activities during this period of time.

National and regional forecasts predict the Omicron surge to last through the middle of January. We are timing the remote learning period to end when infection in the community is projected to significantly decline and conditions are expected to improve.

Our plan is to resume in-person classes on January 31, and at this time, we have high confidence in being able to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic, though, has taught us that no certainties exist and plans are subject to change based on health conditions, so we must leave open the possibility that this surge lasts longer than projected.

Classes will be held remotely in January primarily to best support academic continuity for our students. Campus is still open, most research and clinical activities remain in person, and we will continue to support students who choose to return to campus during the remote learning period as needed.

By having campus open but moving to a largely remote format for courses, it allows students to remain engaged and keep pace academically, while avoiding the likely inevitable disruption to their academic continuity that beginning the semester with in-person courses would bring. 

Making this temporary shift to a remote start allows us to reduce density through a protracted return to campus and implement important modifications to our COVID-19 response model that will better serve the academic mission and campus experience in the future. 

Throughout the course of the pandemic, Emory University’s COVID-19 response efforts and policies have been informed by public health guidance and the best available evidence to help protect our community. Vaccines, boosters, and masking remain effective at reducing campus transmission and minimizing illness—and are the best steps you can take to protect yourself and others. 

Current data continues to confirm that being fully vaccinated and boosted is the best protection against the Omicron variant, and those testing positive after being boosted are likely to exhibit mild to no symptoms.

The decision to move to remote instruction, even with requirements for vaccines and masking in place, is due to the anticipated COVID-19 surge that the highly transmissible Omicron variant presents. A large increase in cases, even though our community is largely protected from severe illness, would significantly disrupt academic continuity and overwhelm important resources dedicated to maintaining our mission. Thus, we believe making this temporary shift to a remote start and reducing density through a staggered return to campus is in the best interest for our students, faculty, and staff. 

All students will be required to complete a negative PCR test 48 hours or a negative antigen test (includes at-home tests) 24 hours before returning to campus for the spring semester. Students must receive a negative test and complete the attestation form on the Emory Forward testing page prior to moving into campus housing or returning to campus for any reason. COVID-19 screening testing is available on campus for asymptomatic Emory students, faculty, and staff.

Unvaccinated students moving into the residence halls will also be required to test upon arrival to campus. Within 24 hours of moving into campus housing, unvaccinated students will need to conduct a screening test on campus, and then again three to five days later. Students will receive email and text notifications directing them to schedule their testing appointments when arriving on campus.

Unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff will continue to be required to conduct weekly COVID-19 screening testing. Anyone unvaccinated, who will not be on campus during a given week(s), must fill out a testing exemption form.

The primary driver of Emory's decision is to allow for academic continuity of our students. The temporary shift to remote classes, we believe, is the best way to ensure our students have continuity in their classes and progress academically during the anticipated surge.

If classes were in person, students testing positive—and we have to plan for many positive cases given the projections—would be unable to participate in person, which would be more academically disruptive than temporarily beginning the semester with remote classes. While we understand that most students strongly prefer attending classes in person, we are confident that remote classes provide excellent educational content in a format that is reasonably adjusted to the current pandemic environment.

Therefore, students will continue to receive course credits and make academic progress toward their Emory degrees, and there will be no changes to tuition and fees as a result of moving to a remote format. For questions about student accounts including tuition, fees, and room and board, please contact the Emory Student Accounts and Billing Office.

The best source for COVID-19 policies, protocols, and information at Emory University is the Emory Forward website, which regularly updates important guidance to help inform the campus community. In addition, President Fenves and other university leaders will be hosting a virtual town hall to discuss spring semester plans on Thursday, January 6, at noon. More details about this town hall will be shared on Emory Forward, and all campus community members are welcome to attend.