Fall Term Plans Reassessment

July 15, 2020

Dear Grinnellians,

We know there are still many questions about the fall, and we have been working diligently to share the evolving details about our possible fall plans, even as our planning work amid persistent uncertainties continues. All of the details and plans that we share are accompanied by a significant qualification: These plans are subject to change as, and if, circumstances warrant. As such, I want to let you know now that we are carefully monitoring the alarming trend of rapidly increasing coronavirus infection rates in our region and across the country, as delineated in, among other resources, our publicly available dashboard.

At this time, we are going to pause on sending additional invitations to study and live on campus for the second fall term (F2), scheduled to begin Oct. 22. We will remain paused until we can better understand the repercussions of these rapidly changing circumstances and new public health guidance.

We are working so hard to make on-campus learning possible this fall, but we are especially alarmed about the enormous surge of COVID-19 among individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. This trend — with a corresponding increase in hospitalizations, medical complications, and deaths among younger people — is not what any of us hoped for after months of working to “flatten the curve.” While the growing numbers of infections, hospitalizations, serious complications, and deaths among the younger age cohort are disturbing developments in themselves, we are also worried about a possible new wave of infections among those who are more vulnerable due to health or other risk concerns.

Regardless of what the status of the pandemic is, we are deeply committed to providing the very best educational opportunities for our students. Our plans for the new academic year have and will continue to reflect our mission, values, and priorities. While we must press pause for this necessary reassessment, we will follow up as soon as possible with updates on the status of our plans. 

Nothing about the current state of the world is easy. In the middle of such anxious and difficult times, our sense of caring and community have never been more important. Grinnellians are remarkable people, and our research, collaborations, and deliberations will continue to stand us in good stead as they have throughout this pandemic. Together, we will figure out our best path forward.

Thank you for your continued engagement and flexibility.

My best to you all,


Anne F. Harris

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