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FAQ - General Information


What course modalities are available during the spring (e.g. live/synchronous, asynchronous, etc.)? What classes will have an in-person component?

We have expanded in-person classes in the sciences, visual and performing arts, media studies, and select other areas. While the majority of spring classes are being offered online, AU has significantly increased the number of in-person classes offered in the fall. Classes start January 19 (one week later than originally planned) and AU Community of Care tuition discounts will continue. While Spring Break 2021 is canceled in light of the significant public health risks associated with community travel, the university has identified alternative ways to help students, faculty, and staff decompress, recharge, and get caught up on work during the semester. To that end, we have converted March 7–13 into a Wellness Week that will offer a change of pace while allowing the delivery of course content to continue. Classes will still meet synchronously or move forward with asynchronous material, but the week will be free of written assignments, required reading, quizzes, and exams. 

With the ongoing security concerns in Washington, DC following the January 6 events at the US Capitol and in preparation for any potential incidents in the lead-up to the January 20 presidential inauguration, all AU class meetings, including at the Washington College of Law, will be fully online through January 24. While most courses are already in a virtual format due to the pandemic, any previously scheduled in-person class meetings during the next two weeks will be rescheduled/moved online by the faculty.

If my class is offered in person, can I still participate online?

We are seeking to avoid simulcast situations, where some students are in person while others are online, as we know this arrangement does not generally work well for students or faculty. The majority of courses offered during the spring semester are online. We are committed to making sure that all students can progress their degree. If you have a question about a course offered in person, please check with your academic advisor for help and additional information.

Are online options in the spring available for students who are currently outside D.C.?

Yes. We continue to have a robust online learning experience. For students who continue to reside outside of the D.C. area, AU continues to provide online options for continuing their studies and staying on track to complete their degrees.

How does the spring decision affect international students?

AU has identified important implications of the AU spring announcement based upon DHS' recent decision to extend the fall 2020 flexibility to spring 2021. Please visit our International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) FAQ page for international student FAQs developed for spring 2021, and contact ISSS at isss@american.edu for more information.

Has AU changed the health and safety protocols for the spring semester?

Yes.The health and safety of the AU community is our top priority. As AU continues to respond to the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are updating health and safety protocols for the spring 2021 semester. There are requirements regarding the Spring Health and Safety Acknowledgment/Pledge, Self Screening and Self Reporting, AU COVID-19 Testing Procedures, Affiliate Notification, and COVID-19 Vaccinations. A safe and successful semester depends on all of us following these procedures and supporting our community of care. Additional details are available in our Health and Safety FAQs and on our COVID-19 Testing Procedures page. Please also review our procedures and guidelines to help mitigate the spread of infectious diseases.

Will there be any events allowed on campus?

Some buildings and campus spaces are available for studying and small group meetings that comply with safety guidelines and other in-person activity. During the fall semester AU launched a reservation system for students to book meetings of up to three people in select rooms in the Mary Graydon Center and Don Myers Building. In November, we expanded available spaces on the ground floor of the SIS building and piloted limited, reservation-based access to the Cassell Fitness Center. As conditions improve, we will revisit gatherings according to the ReOpen DC plan and guidance. All community members must wear face coverings and practice physical distancing while using any facilities. If you are planning to visit the campus for any reason, please complete the required daily self-screening questionnaire prior to reporting to AU’s campus. The screening will be completed via the AU Forward portal.

What is the status of spring 2021 commencement?

The university continues to evaluate the best approach for the May 2021 commencement ceremonies, based on safety conditions and health guidance, and will provide updates as soon as possible.

Where can I get more information on COVID-19?

For up-to-date information, please check the following websites:

How will COVID-19 affect implementation, organization, and the filing of Title IX complaints?

COVID-19 has not and will not affect the Title IX complaint process. The only change is there may be limited or no ability to meet in person to discuss, investigate, and adjudicate complaints. For more details, please visit the Equity and Title IX Office website.

Has AU made decisions about the summer?

The majority of summer courses will be available online. Some in-person classes will be offered in the sciences and other areas that require in-person activity.

To expand access to summer courses, we are offering $1.27 million in new financial aid. Traditionally, financial aid has not been available for summer courses, but as we build on the learnings from COVID-19 and expand our work to make higher education more affordable, equitable, and accessible, we believe this will help our students and their families.