Fall Planning Update

October 21, 2020

Dear fellow Grinnellians,

I write today to congratulate you on your accomplishments in our first fall term and to provide you with a general update on our planning for the remainder of the academic year. Below my signature, you will find specific updates on off-campus study, social scurries, and support of academic community.

In the upcoming second fall term, we will welcome back a very small number of students to campus for in-person learning experiences. These students, identified by faculty members, are approaching completion of their degrees and require access to campus resources, such as what you find in labs and art studios. The gradual addition of students to our campus community will help us prepare for further growth in the context of ongoing community health challenges.

We already have students living on campus through our continuous residency program, for which we are still accepting petitions, as well as students approved to live off campus in Grinnell. Adding  students to live and learn on campus is a crucial step as we work toward a more robust spring residency program.

As predicted, infection rates are growing nationally, regionally, and locally but our campus community testing program is showing that students are doing an amazing job of keeping themselves, each other, and our community healthy and safe. I extend my gratitude to all students, both at Grinnell and in your many locations, for everything you are doing to contribute to community wellness — you are making a needed and meaningful difference.

We are meeting regularly with our team of public health experts to build on the community health success to which students, faculty, and staff have all contributed and to grow our capacity to host students on campus safely. We are monitoring trends among our students with admiration and optimism and watching a variety of factors as we plan for the spring. They include regional and local trends, cases among members of the campus community, and safety measures in our local community. These factors are helping us devise the safest living and learning residency program that we can.

I am heartened to learn that many of you have made positive connections in our virtual community, through programming hosted by our campus partners as well as our scurry program organized by the Division of Student Affairs. I am equally glad to see several students returning from leave for the second fall term.

Grinnell’s commitment to community is here to sustain you: I invite any students seeking stronger connectedness to reach out to our campus partners. We are eager to know how we can support you. Please use our questions form so members of our dedicated staff can help youplan and stay connected. As always, if you are experiencing a change in your life circumstances, we would like to hear from you so that we can offer the support you need to continue your education.

In the midst of seasonal transitions, it’s important to note that we will be “falling back” from Central Daylight Time to Central Standard Time on Nov. 1 — please remember the one-hour time change when you are setting your alarms for class!

Thank you for your hard work, your dedication, your brilliance, and your commitment to our shared educational mission as we continue to learn and grow together.

With gratitude,


Anne F. Harris



Academic Community

To promote the development of social connections within academic courses, the Dean’s Office and Academic Advising will host a session on “Creating Community in Class” on Oct. 29 in the Convocation slot. Much of this session will include parallel faculty-student small-group discussions to share successful strategies and lessons learned from Fall Term 1. This will be a wonderful opportunity to provide feedback relating to your experience of academic community in your courses during the first fall term. Please look out for more information on this session soon.

Off-Campus Study

Off-Campus Study (OCS) Spring 2021 will proceed on a limited basis to programs in countries that meet health and safety standards during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Those currently approved include programs in Hungary, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Italy, Netherlands, and Taiwan. The majority of countries and programs are not open or in a position to host students. Grinnell-in-London is postponed until Spring 2022, at which time Professors Shuchi Kapila and Xavi Escandell will lead the program. Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) senior staff will continue to monitor global and local conditions in each site with the understanding that providers may cancel the program if conditions worsen.

OCS students whose programs have been suspended or are in a country not deemed viable by IGE will have the option to defer to next year or transfer to one of the approved programs that are still accepting applications. There is no petition process and exceptions will not be granted.

Questions may be directed to the following IGE staff: OCS Partner programs: Alicia Stanley, Director of Off-Campus Study stanleya@grinnell.edu; GIL: Susie Duke, Acting Director of Grinnell-in-London dukesus@grinnell.edu; Global Health, Safety, and Security: Kate Patch, Senior International Officer patchkat@grinnell.edu.

Social Scurries

Student Affairs is helping students stay connected with friends, and maybe even make new friends, through its off-campus scurry program. We currently have over 20 scurries based on geography and common interest. It’s possible that you’ve even established an informal scurry with friends — if you have, please let us know about it! We may have others who want to connect with you based on where you are or the things you love thinking about and doing. We’ve created a simple form for you to see what scurries are already available and join up or suggest another scurry altogether. Once you are in a scurry, you may be eligible for funding for some common activities from the Center for the Humanities through its Humanities Exploration Fund or its Student Arts and Humanities Fund.

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