You are here: American University Coronavirus Community Resource FAQ - Campus and Student Life

FAQ - Campus and Student Life

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Student Health

The Student Experience

Housing and Residence Life

Dining

Campus Store

Athletics and Recreation

Transportation and Parking


Student Health

What if I am experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to concerns about family who might have been exposed to or affected by COVID-19? What if I notice a student, colleague, or other person who seems to be experiencing related difficulty?

We recognize the emotional stress this situation can cause and our need to support one another. You should encourage anyone having a difficult time with this situation to use resources available from the university. We encourage you to show compassion and support for those most closely impacted, know that COVID-19 is not confined to any one group or community, and maintain our values of inclusivity and compassion.

Students seeking assistance with non-medical concerns about COVID-19 can contact the Office of the Dean of Students or the Counseling Center remotely as in-person counseling services are suspended at this time. Please follow this link to access AUCC triage services. Counseling Center triage hours are 10 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you require urgent assistance outside of these hours, please contact AUCC ProtoCall Services at 202-885-7979.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) continues to support international students during this difficult time.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek support via the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP), which makes confidential professional counseling services available to all full-time and part-time faculty and staff members and their immediate families. Contact Dale Rampell at FSAP@american.edu or 202-885-2593.

Faculty and staff concerned about students, should file a CARE report.

I am on campus and may have come in contact with someone who has coronavirus and/or I feel as though I may have coronavirus, what should I do?

The university is following the guidance from U.S. health agencies and continues to implement steps to keep the AU community safe and healthy. The Student Health Center has implemented new policies and procedures with dedicated personnel to handle coronavirus-related concerns.

Symptoms of coronavirus generally include fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, coughing and/or trouble breathing. If students are experiencing trouble breathing, they should call 3636 if on campus, (or 911 if off-campus), or proceed to the nearest emergency room if that is possible.

If you or a family member has had a potential COVID-19 exposure as outlined by the CDC, please call (202) 885-7777 or email SHCcoronavirus@american.edu for further instructions. Please call ahead of time rather than coming directly to the Student Health Center or making an appointment online. Messages will be checked Monday through Friday between 9:00am and 4:30pm.


If it is after 5 p.m. on a weekday or if it is a weekend, students can direct questions to the Nurse Advice line at 833-381-8545.

I am off-campus, may I use my school insurance?

Yes. Information about AU’s student health insurance is available on the Student Health Center site.  Please also take a moment to read CareFirst’s COVID-19 Information page, including the message from president & CEO of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Brian D. Pieninck about changes that have been made to make healthcare easier and more accessible to its members.

Student Experience

What will be done to ensure a traditional campus experience as much as possible?

We are planning a blend of in-person/online and purely online classes, and all students will have some face-to-face opportunities. Classes will begin as scheduled on August 24, 2020, and grading procedures will resume as normal. We will offer an on-campus residential experience to approximately 2,300 first-year, transfer, and some sophomore students living in single residence hall bedrooms. As experiential learning is a hallmark of an AU education, we will offer a suite of career-readiness and self-care skill-building workshops, courses, and guest speakers throughout the fall semester. We will also promote opportunities for virtual internships and leverage our DC connections to advance community-based learning and special topical issues, such as the upcoming US election and research in the time of COVID-19.Finally, fall break (October 9-11, 2020) will be transformed into a series of symposiums, skill-development workshops, and community events both in-person and online.

As experiential learning is a hallmark of an AU education, we will offer a suite of career-readiness and self-care skill-building workshops, courses, and guest speakers throughout the fall semester. We will also promote opportunities for virtual internships and leverage our DC connections to advance community-based learning and special topical issues, such as the upcoming US election and research in the time of COVID-19. Finally, fall break (October 9-11, 2020) will be transformed into a day of symposiums, skill-development workshops, and community events both in-person and online. 

With limited activities on campus, how will AU build community?

Experiential learning is a hallmark of the AU education and is central to learning and growth. Throughout the semester, we will work with students to conceptualize and implement community-building initiatives, deploy virtual and immersive experiences, safely utilize outdoor spaces, and create opportunities for student mentorship. Although we must modify our behavior, we will still have student organizations, select small events, unique speakers, and other opportunities to build community. 

We will augment our curricular offerings with a suite of career-readiness and self-care skill building workshops, courses, and guest speakers. This will include a Skills Development Institute for students to develop market relevant skills. Programs will feature alumni, staff, faculty, and friends of the university to provide a wide range of perspectives and learning opportunities.

In addition, we will leverage our partnership with Washington, DC, to bring the experience of the city to our community. This will include community-based learning, including special topics such as the 2020 US elections and research in the time of COVID-19. 

For our student-athletes, AU Athletics is also preparing for a phased resumption of operations in accordance with all DC and AU health and safety standards.

What accommodations will be made for students in high-risk groups?

Students who require reasonable accommodations due to a disability or medical condition should register with the Academic Support and Access Center. We highly encourage students in high-risk groups to consult with relevant medical professionals to decide what fall learning option is best for them. The curriculum is designed to allow for flexibility so students who need to remain remote can continue to be enrolled full-time.

Housing and Residence Life

For students staying on campus, how should we address health concerns?

Please see the subsection on Student Health.

How is the university handling mail and packages?

We are in the process of reviewing and updating the process for the fall.

Will there be students living in the residence halls?

Yes, students will be living in the residence halls. Our residential capacity will be reduced to support greater physical distancing, and all students will have their own bedroom.

Who will be eligible to live in the residence halls?

Incoming first-year students, including Washington Mentorship Program (WMP), incoming transfer students who apply by the outlined date, some returning sophomores, students with previously approved disability-related housing accommodations and gender-based housing considerations, and a small number of student athletes.

What if I already had an on-campus room reserved for fall 2020?

In light of the fact that we have had to reduce our residence hall capacity for health and safety reasons and will be providing single bedroom occupancy to all residential students, we regrettably will need to cancel all confirmed housing assignments for rising sophomore and upperclass students. Only students classified as sophomore will be able to reapply for AU operated housing and will have the opportunity to select from a limited number of spaces. Sophomores should also review the email sent to them from Housing and Residence Life for additional off-campus options. Upperclass students should seek off-campus housing and utilize the Off-Campus Posting Site on the Housing and Residence Life webpage.

Will there be specific housing considerations for students with preexisting medical conditions that put them more at risk than the general population?

Students with medical conditions or disabilities should request accommodations through the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC). Please use the ASAC’s web page to learn more about the three-step registration process. Please note, all new housing accommodation requests will be reviewed; however, given the timing, reasonable implementation of accommodations for the fall 2020 semester may be limited. We advise students to be in contact with ASAC as soon as possible. Additionally, if students are concerned about their health and community living, they should consult with relevant medical professionals to decide what fall learning option is best for them. The curriculum is designed to allow for flexibility so students who choose not to be in the DC area are able to enroll full-time and remain remote if desired.

How will the residence halls promote safety?

All students will be placed in single bedrooms allowing for extra personal space. Suites and apartments will continue to have multiple occupants within the large suite/apartment. Buildings and floors will also have a reduced number of students to allow for greater physical distancing while using community spaces. Students will be expected to abide by university safety guidelines including face coverings, hygiene, mandatory safety training, self-screening, reporting, testing, and contact tracing. Enhanced cleaning will be established for all common areas and floor bathrooms. Residents will also be instructed on sanitizing their personal rooms and areas.

Will there be changes in housing fees?

Students who would normally be placed in a shared double or triple room will be charged the double-room rate, while receiving a single room. Students placed in single rooms in apartments will continue to pay the single-room rate.

How can I return to campus to attend AU if I do not get selected for a residence hall? If that occurs, will AU assist students with off-campus housing?

Incoming first-year students, including Washington Mentorship Program (WMP), and incoming transfer students who apply by the outlined date will be guaranteed on-campus housing. Interested sophomore students are encouraged to apply for on-campus housing and participate in the upcoming room selection. Sophomores should also review the email sent to them from Housing and Residence Life for additional off-campus options. Upperclass students should seek off-campus housing and utilize the Off-Campus Posting Site on the Housing and Residence Life webpage.

What will be the protocol to ensure physical distancing in residence hall bathrooms and other common areas?

Students will be asked to comply with physical distancing of 6 feet/2 meters in their interactions. Lounges and other community spaces will have their capacities adjusted to support physical distancing. Use of multi-user community bathrooms will be limited to a maximum number of students to allow distancing and reduced density. Community lounges and bathrooms will be cleaned by our housekeeping staff with even greater frequency. Students will be expected to wear a face covering when in common shared spaces.

How will move-in be handled, and when will move-in days be assigned?

Move-in will employ multiple strategies to support health and safety of students and their families. Students will mail items ahead of time, allowing only for essential items to be brought in the specific move-in day/time. Move-in days will be spread across multiple days, August 16 through August 20, to reduce the density of individuals on campus.

Students’ have received specific move-in dates and times along with their housing assignments. Students will be allowed up to 2 preregistered guests/family members to support them throughout the process. These guests will have a limited amount of time to be in the buildings. For more information, please visit https://www.american.edu/ocl/housing.

Will there be an isolation/quarantine building or area?

Yes. We will have one building specifically designated for isolation and quarantine. In this building, every student will have their own bedroom and bathroom. Students who are in quarantine may be asked to remain in their existing spaces if appropriately configured for that purpose. The Student Health Center in partnership with Residence Life will guide the protocols for isolation and quarantine and will provide instructions to residents.

What happens if I live off-campus and test positive for COVID-19? Do I self-isolate at my local residence or in the campus isolation building?

Students living off-campus can be tested for COVID-19 at the Student Health Center or at an off-campus testing location of their choosing. Students that test positive will be provided with information and instructions for self-isolation and care, and the Student Health Center will regularly check in with them while they are recovering.

Students living off-campus should self-isolate in their personal homes. They will not self-isolate in the campus building because it is safer for them to remain at their own home and not travel back and forth to campus while sick. Roommates who have been living with the student will be likely be contacted by the DC Department of Health’s contact tracing team and will be required to quarantine in their off campus home for 14 days, just the way that family members would be expected to do if the student was living at home. The safe and effective way to self-isolate at home is to stay in one room away from any others living in the home and use a separate bathroom if possible. This is the same approach that will be utilized in the on-campus self-isolation space.

AU has designated one residence hall for self-isolation of students living on-campus who test positive for COVID-19. The isolation spaces are designed to remove infectious students from the residence hall setting in order to minimize the potential for large-scale transmission of COVID-19. This is especially relevant for students in residence halls where up to 12 students share living, kitchen, and bathroom space. Students in the isolation rooms will be expected to remain in these rooms, just as they would if they were living in an apartment or at home. There is no additional nursing or medical care in the isolation space. Any student, living on-campus or off, can come to the Student Health Center for care.

What will on-campus housing for spring 2021 look like?

Per the Housing & License Agreement students sign when applying for housing, all housing assignments are for the full academic year (fall 2020 & spring 2021 semesters). Should this change, students will be notified. Decisions regarding the spring 2021 semester housing configurations (double rooms, etc.) have not yet been determined.

How will I get help with arranging housing in DC?

First and second-year students are eligible for on-campus and university managed housing. All other students should use the off-campus housing services available https://offcampus.american.edu/.

Can I still choose to come back and live on campus, even if none of my class sections are being offered in person?

Yes. Students may choose to return to live in DC regardless of their class type/delivery method. First- and second-year students are eligible for on-campus housing and university managed housing.

If I am eligible for financial aid for on-campus housing, can I use it for off-campus housing?

Financial aid for housing is not specific to campus living and can apply to off-campus housing.

I have more questions about residence life and on-campus housing?

For more information you can visit https://www.american.edu/ocl/housing.

Dining

What dining services will be available on campus?

To conform with physical distancing and safety protocols, on-campus dining services will be modified. The meal plan will start on Sunday, August 16, 2020, and the All Access Meal Plan will be suspended for fall 2020 due to the limited seating in Terrace Dining Room (TDR). All other meal plan options will remain in effect. Packaged meals and limited seating will be offered in dining halls, as well as a mobile ordering system for select retailers on campus. There will be no self-service food stations, and deep cleaning and strict safety measures in food service areas will continue. Adaptation to any of these measures will be made following local health department guidelines, CDC recommendations, and university requirements.

The fall dining program will officially open on August 16, 2020, with the following locations:

  • Starbucks,  
  • Eagles Nest convenience store,
  • Subway,
  • TDR at dinner time.

These locations will open Monday, August 17, 2020, (depending on final move-in date & MGC usage):

  • District Pickle,
  • Create,
  • Wonk Burger,
  • Einstein Bagel.

The following locations will open the first day of classes:

  • Pom & Honey,
  • East Campus convenience store,
  • Build Pizza,
  • Spring Valley Café for online ordering only.
  • Locations in Kerwin Hall and Bender Library are to be determined.
  • Dining hours of operation will need to be adjusted to ensure physical distancing and allow for cleaning.
  • Catering services will become contactless in fall 2020 with new revised menu options.
  • Based on the previous setup of the Spring Valley Café as a buffet, it will move to mobile order only.
  • The University Club will be part of the Bridge Café for fall 2020.
  • Due to limited seating in TDR, Dining Services will need to operate select retail locations in the Marketplace and Tavern on Saturday and Sunday.

What cleaning and safety measures will be put in place in the fall?

Deep cleaning and strict safety measures will be implemented for all food service operations. Physical distancing will be in place in both production and service areas following local health department guidelines, CDC recommendations, and university requirements. All Dining Services employees (managers and associates) must attend mandatory training on ServSafe COVID-19.

Upon arrival each day, employees and managers will undergo temperature checks using non-contact thermometers. These checks will be conducted at dedicated staff entrances assigned per location. Chartwells employees will be required to wear a face covering at all times (except for break times). Plexiglass shields will be in place at all points of sale locations, pickup areas, and service areas, tables will be cleaned between guest seating, and sanitizer stations will be available at the entrance of each area. Handwashing and surface sanitizing will take place every 30 minutes (set by timer). Upon closing for the day, the team will disinfect the entire facility utilizing a high-grade disinfectant.

How will dining be set up to ensure physical distancing?

Physical distancing will be in place in both production and service areas following local health department guidelines, CDC recommendations, and university requirements. Each location will have a maximum capacity, which will be strictly adhered to using counters. The use of physical distancing graphics will be in place in both the dining and production areas.

Will buffets continue to be available?

Self-serve options (salad bar, soup, pizza, etc.) will be removed and replaced with attendant-served options. All beverage stations will be attended and will solely use bottled or canned beverages, except for coffee, which will be poured by an attendant. Condiments will be available upon request from behind the line of service.

Will there be new meal plan structures and costs?

The meal plan prices remain the same as last year for fall 2020:

  • Block 175 - $2,442 per semester
    175 meals per semester + $400 EagleBucks
  • Block 100 - $1,588 per semester
    100 meals per semester + $400 EagleBucks
  • Block 50 - $695 per semester
    50 meals per semester + 100 EagleBucks
  • EagleBucks Plan - $800 per semester
    800 EagleBucks per semester

Meal Plan Requirements for Residential Students for Fall 2020:

  • 175 Block Plan – First-Year Students
  • 100 Block Plan – Second-Year Students
  • 50 Block Plan – Apartment Students

Campus Store

What are the safety measures at the AU Campus Store?

We have increased cleaning and sanitizing within our store to help prevent the spread of all germs. A limited number of guests will be permitted in the store as we physical distance. We are following local health department guidelines, CDC recommendations, and university requirements.

How can I obtain textbooks?

All required course materials can be ordered online and will be supplied by our local warehouse. Textbooks are available for FREE in-store pick or can be shipped to your home for a nominal fee.

What happens if I drop my class or the professor changes books?

A refund is available until September 7, 2020, in-store or remotely by shipping the book back.

When can I pick up my Textbook order?

You will receive a 'Ready for pickup email.' If your order is not picked up within 7 days, a reminder email will be sent. If the order is not picked up within 21 days, it will be considered abandoned and placed back into stock. No refund will be issued.

When will Rental Textbooks be due back for the Fall2020 semester?

The deadline for the return of rental textbooks for Fall 2020 is December 16, 2020.

Can I work at the AU Campus Store?

We are currently accepting applications for Fall employment. Please apply online at https://www.follett.com/careerportal/.

Athletics and Athletic Facilities  

What was the University COVID-19 Health & Safety Task Force and Athletics COVID-19 Task Force process for determining the safe return of student-athletes, coaches, and staff to campus?

The process was a collaborative effort between the groups. They focused on identifying the areas of operation that needed adjustment to support a potential return to operations. The planning is ongoing and reflects best practices in preventing the spread of the virus and redesigning institutional controls to afford the student-athletes an opportunity to train and develop their skills in a safe, supportive environment.

When will student-athletes, coaches, and staff return? 

As outlined in the university’s fall announcement of 06/16/20, that will depend on circumstances, particularly the phased re-opening of Washington, DC, which is now in phase two. Per Patriot League protocols announced on 6/22, our student-athletes will not return for authorized athletic activities until the opening of the campus for the academic semester.

What guidance has been given by the NCAA, Patriot League, and other university affiliations?

Primary guidance was through the university Health & Safety Task Force and their coordination with the ReOpen DC Advisory Group. We also referenced the NCAA’s Resocialization of Athletics guidance and will comply with Patriot League guidance. Other professional groups across the sports medicine and intercollegiate athletics landscape are being consulted by our staff including (but not limited to) National Athletics Trainers Association (NATA), NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, as well as other peer institutions.

When will competitions begin?

At this point our focus remains on a safe return to campus for all student-athletes and we will not participate in competitions prior to September 4th as set by the Patriot League and announced on 6/22.

What COVID-19 prevention education will staff and students receive?

The plan commits to a variety of educational and training modules for all student-athletes, coaches, and staff. Additionally, AU Athletics is participating in campus-wide training and signage programs to ensure compliance with personal hygiene, surface cleaning, and transmission-mitigation efforts.

What are the plans for competitions, and how will the health of fans, players, and staff be addressed?

Those plans are still being formulated and will be provided later.

What are plans for intramural and club programming?

Intramural and Club Sports will offer a modified schedule in the early phases of the semester in accordance with university safety and social distancing guidelines. Initial offerings will include a variety of phase appropriate programs and events with a focused emphasis on outdoor individual and small group events, virtual programming, and E-Sports.

Will the fitness centers be open for use?

Upon the full opening of campus, the Jacobs and Cassell Fitness Centers will available for AU student use only and the Duber Fitness center will be open for small group programming only. Fitness Center hours will be reduced to help ensure we have ample time to appropriately clean each facility and social distancing of equipment and patrons will be expected. We will also continue to provide virtual personal training.

Transportation and Parking

Will the university shuttle continue to operate?

The shuttle system will return to modified operations to ensure physical distancing.

What parking restrictions are in effect on and off campus?

At this time, parking access, enforcement, and payment requirements have been suspended until further notice.

Faculty and staff who have canceled their payroll deductions are eligible to re-enroll through the online parking portal when needed.

As of June 16, 2020, student permits have not been made available for purchase. Students will be notified when they will be available to purchase through the portal.