Residency Update

July 27, 2020

Dear Students, 

With thanks to those who have worked tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of our community while honoring our goal of providing every Grinnell student one 7.5-week term on campus this year, I am pleased to share our revised residency model for the 2020-21 academic year. The residency model, which is built around class years, has implications for many areas of our program. Below, you will find details about the residency plan, enrollment options, and information about a personalized, required questionnaire about your intentions for the coming academic year. The questionnaire, which you will receive shortly in a separate message, will also include some questions that will help us meet as many of your needs as we can.

There is no more meaningful and pressing time than now to be a liberal arts student and to benefit from learning in community, virtual or in person. Now more than ever, we need to develop nuanced, multifaceted understandings of the most vexing questions of our day, and we need to continue to develop adaptive skills to changing conditions. As illustrated recently in web forums about virtual learning and community, we are planning your living and learning with purpose, energy, and optimism. We have plans for a robust series of virtual programs offering new opportunities for engagement and continuing support.

From wherever you will join us, we look forward to engaging you.


Elaine Marzluff
Acting Dean of the College

Residency Plan

With limited exceptions, we will actively plan for the following groups to live and learn on-campus during these corresponding terms: 

  • Fall Term 1: Small number of students approved for continuous residence, who will remain on campus for most or all the academic year 
  • Fall Term 2: Third-year students and mid-year graduates 
  • Spring Term 1: First-year students 
  • Spring Term 2: Second- and fourth-year students 
  • Summer Term: Optional term to meet academic needs that arise 

Throughout the academic year, wherever you are, you will continue to have access to the amazing resources that are part of a Grinnell education. Grinnellians are proudly connected to a variety of student groups and co-curricular activities, many of which have been disrupted by the pandemic. We previously announced Grinnell athletic teams will not compete during the fall seasons. We are now extending that difficult decision to include the winter seasons. We have not made a final decision on spring sports, but we acknowledge that participation in spring seasons will require a significant shift in public and community health. We share with you the disappointment these losses bring.

Enrollment Assumptions and Options

Due to anticipated space limitations, if you decline your invitation for a term on campus, we cannot guarantee that you will have another opportunity. Unfortunately, if public health conditions do not permit you to come during your designated term, we regret that we will not be able to make additional adjustments to the residency plan. If public health conditions warrant, however, we will be pleased to increase the number of on-campus students beyond those currently planned. We will continue to use scientific data and research in our decision-making processes, and to communicate our plans in a timely manner.

All students will be able to enroll in remote-learning classes this fall. Any student considering a delayed start or leave of absence will find instructions on our COVID-19 Information for Students page. For all enrolled students, we expect that you will be enrolled full time unless you are approved for part-time study.

Required Enrollment Questionnaire

Shortly, you will receive a required questionnaire that asks you to let us know your intentions for your designated term on campus. Please submit this short, required questionnaire by July 31 so we can prepare to support you on campus and online. 

If you would like guidance from us prior to responding to the questionnaire, please send us your questions without delay so we may assist you. The Questions link on our website will direct your question to the office that can most readily answer it. Over the next two days, some of you will also receive follow up communication from departments across the College that will address more specific elements of our program. 


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