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Online Instruction for Fall 2020 Semester

A Message from Dean Pete Peterson

As of July 23, 2020

Following President Gash's message on Wednesday, the School of Public Policy will transition our fall semester classes to online, maintaining our planned start date of August 17, and concluding the semester on Thanksgiving. Thankfully, our previously announced "Maximum Flexibility Strategy" already included online options for each of our fall classes, making the transition to going fully online relatively straightforward. I want to take this opportunity to thank Associate Dean Shires and Assistant Dean Covey, along with our terrific faculty and staff, for their creativity and hard work as our efforts to deliver an exceptional online learning experience for our students continue.

Given current conditions and the policies set forth by state and county officials, we are in full agreement with University leadership that this decision best supports the health of our SPP students, faculty, and staff. Our goal remains clear: a safe start to in-person classes as soon as possible.

As noted, this announcement deviates only slightly from our message back in May regarding the "Maximum Flexibility Strategy," and our faculty are working to customize their classes to go fully online this fall. Our first full semester online classes were offered through our "DC Policy Scholars" program last month and this month, and we've learned much about optimizing our class content in the online environment.

Building upon a busy summer calendar of webinars on topics ranging from the future of the conservative movement to race and policing, we're excited to continue our plans to host well-known academics and policymakers in a series of online events. Please stay tuned for these announcements.

On-Campus Housing

The School of Public Policy welcomes students from throughout the country and from all over the world. Given that we are a graduate program where housing (on-campus and otherwise) is a primary residence for our students, I am working closely with the University to support our new and returning students that are in vital need of housing. Even with our transition to online, some of our students coming from outside of the region will still need local housing. Our Student Services staff remains in personal contact with each of our students, and, as usual, is providing them with all the help possible.

Looking Ahead

The School of Public Policy remains committed to preparing public leaders for the "Post-COVID Era." While we continue to pray for the healing of victims of the pandemic, and for successful deployment of a vaccine, we know that the fields of politics and policy—from local government to international relations—have already been impacted for years to come. This announcement marks another experience in "change management" for our students, faculty, and staff—an essential skill for the months ahead. Added to our coursework grounded in America's Founding Principles, I couldn't be more excited to see this cohort of students go on to places of influence in a world that desperately needs them.